The news broke (in England) at the beginning of last week that Pulitzer Prize winning biographer of the late Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. David Garrow, had unearthed a cache of new documents, many supposedly under strict lock-and-key at least until 2027, detailing some horrific cases of sexual activity by King, as many as forty such incidents, and one in which King stood by and watched and egged on a fellow black Baptist minister.
Here is the background of what happened: On January 31, 1977, Federal District Judge John Lewis Smith signed a court order that instructed the FBI to deposit all of its extensive electronic surveillance material—audio tapes, notes accompanying, etc.—with the National Archives, and sealing them for fifty years. However, as Garrow relates in a blockbuster article (nearly 8,000 words, with documentation) in the English journal, Standpoint:
…in recent months, hundreds of never-before-seen FBI reports and surveillance summaries concerning King have silently slipped into public view on the Archives’ lightly-annotated and difficult-to-explore web site. This has occurred thanks to the provisions of The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, which mandated the public release of tens of thousands of government documents, many of which got swept up into congressional investigations of US intelligence agencies predating Judge Smith’s order. Winnowing the new King items from amidst the Archive’s 54,602 web-links, many of which lead to multi-document PDFs that are hundreds of pages long, entailed weeks of painstaking work.
In his long essay Garrow continues his explanation of how supposed-to-be secret documents and tapes became available to him:
Wiretap summaries…were supposed to be sealed pursuant to Judge Smith’s 1977 order, but by then the Department of Justice had forced the FBI to share many of its King records with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, often called the Church Committee after the name of its chairman, Idaho Democrat Frank Church. In turn, all of the FBI’s documents relating to the Church Committee and the subsequent House Select Committee on Assassinations came to be covered by the 1992 Kennedy assassination records act.
Now, Garrow is not a conservative, no right wing fanatic out to “besmirch” the reputation of the late civil rights icon. Not at all.
He was—at least until this article and its implications—a highly respected, liberal author and academic, whose biography of King, Bearing the Cross (1986), won him praise and a Pulitzer, and has been used as the basis of film and screen adaptations.
But after his Standpoint essay, The Washington Post dropped the guillotine’s blade on him: he had said and written too much, he was no longer a “respectable” (that is, establishment liberal) historian, his findings were pronounced to be “dubious” and “of little value.” Indeed, the Post found a whole slew of its favored leftwing “historians” to literally denounce Garrow for his transgressions, even though he had written that he believed these new revelations would not damage King’s reputation [“No. Not at all. I don’t think that’s possible”].
The FBI recordings and notes document as many as forty “sexual episodes” involving King, a married man, with women, many of them “rough” and unnatural sex. But perhaps the most revolting occurred when King and a fellow black pastor, Logan Kearse, were staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C., in early January 1964.
Professor David Greenberg of Rutgers University, writing in the highly-respected Politico, June 4, raises a number of serious questions about these new revelations and what they may portend not just for the “King legacy” and its meaning, but also for how Americans view their history. Unlike The Washington Post and other zealously leftist media outlets who either attempted to ignore the story, or else downplayed it as meaningless “speculation,” not based of substantiated or confirmed fact, Greenberg—no conservative himself—understands that this new documentation and its significance should be confronted. It could not simply be explained away or swept under the carpet and ignored.
Certainly, as Greenberg admits, many of our American heroes, despite their many virtues, have had “feet of clay,” have had their faults. Nevertheless, we have continued to admire them…at least, that has been the case until fairly recently, when, it seems the fanatical Neo-Marxist social justice warriors have sought to totally cleanse our culture and our country of practically all figures of historical significance, specifically if they were white and male. Now no one is safe from the howling and frenzied mob of brainwashed students and professional race-and-sex warriors.
And it is not just the statues to Confederate volunteers who went off to war and died for their states, such as the “Silent Sam” monument that was violently toppled by a crazed mob on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on August 20, 2018, or the equestrian monument to Robert E. Lee at Charlottesville, Virginia. Now literally the existence or names of hundreds of statues, plaques, schools, highways, and other symbols of historic figures, including of Founders such as Washington, Jefferson and James Madison, are severely threatened with disposal in the waste bin of history…and memory.
Will these new revelations affect King’s contemporary position in America, a position and symbolism revered not only by the political and cultural Left, but also by the pseudo-conservative establishment, who also claim his legacy?
Not likely. The King case is unique. As demonstrated by The Washington Post’s strenuous attempt to discredit Garrow and defend King as a kind of plaster saint, largely untouchable, but also illustrated by the reaction of the dominant Neoconservatives (on Fox News), King’s status will remain sacrosanct in the increasingly authoritarian culture and society where the new dogmas on race and sex reign supreme, and woe be to anyone who dares transgress or come close to denying them.
Witness an episode on the Laura Ingraham Show (May 29, 2019), after both the [London] Sunday Times and Daily Mail had first reported the revelations. Dinesh D’Souza, who fancies himself an historian of merit, but whose level of historical knowledge and comprehension is far less than that of my intelligent cocker spaniel Jasper, attempted to explain that all America’s black leaders historically were conservatives and Republicans: “[When I think of] The great black Americans of our history I think of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington," he said during an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News. “All of these were Republicans, they were conservatives….” And Martin Luther King was just the latest in that line: he had his faults, yes, but his “message of equality” was far greater and simply must be celebrated by all, including conservatives. He was, in short, an epochal giant who ushered in the final stage of completing that revolutionary message.
And in this sense, D’Souza like the dominant Neoconservative narrative, echoed another vaunted exponent of the King mythology, Jonah Goldberg (August 28, 2013):
“…the genius of King’s appeal to an ideal of colorblindness was deeply patriotic, rooted in the foundational principles of the republic….When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the American context, these are universal appeals. King pleaded for the fulfillment of America’s classically liberal revolution.” [Italics mine].
Which is a complete inversion of the American Founding and a more-or-less misreading, purposeful or not, of American history.
The symbolic canonization of Martin Luther King and the obligatory imposition of his cult on the nation was and is an action, collaborated in by both the zealous progressivist Left and the slightly less-Leftist Establishment conservative movement, with more dogmatic power and enforcement than any hierarch in Rome or any despot in Soviet Russia ever dreamed of, because it is more pervasive, far more than skin deep or simply a prophylactic, as the old Soviet power over Eastern Europe was for forty-five years. It is emblematic of not only the insistence on external assent in actions and words, but of a steady internalization which is equally monitored, the slightest variance from which brings excommunication, denunciation, loss of reputation and position, shunning, shaming, and even imprisonment.
This, then, is the legacy of King and those like him, those who protected him and glorified him, and the so-called civil rights transformation which opened the door wide for the aberrations and hideous results in racial and sexual questions we see and experience around us today.
No. Would that the Garrow revelations meant a serious re-examination of King, but they probably won’t. For there is literally no one of stature willing, no one fearless enough, to risk the obloquy and defamation to follow. We must, hopefully, wait for some future generation to do that.
This piece was previously posted on My Corner on June 8, 2019.
June 3 of this year is the two-hundred and eleventh anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis. Born in Kentucky in 1808, actually not far from the birthplace of his future nemesis, Abraham Lincoln, Davis in another time might have risen to become in his own right a celebrated president of the United States. As it was, it was his thankless duty to captain the forlorn Confederacy through four years of tragic and bloody war which saw the end not only of the society and culture he loved, but, in effect, the practical end of the old constitutional republic originally set up by the Founders.
From a good family and with advantages that augured well for future prominence, Davis at an early age demonstrated both leadership potential and intelligence. Like many other well-bred Southern boys of the period, he received a superb classical education. In 1815 Davis entered the of Saint Thomas Catholic school at St. Rose Priory, a school operated by the Dominican Order in Washington County, Kentucky. At the time, he was the only Protestant student (he was an Episcopalian) at the school. As a boy he desired to enter the Church, but his age and family argued against it. Nevertheless, he would carry a strong affection and love for the Catholic Church throughout his life.
His famous war time correspondence with Pope Pius IX, an inveterate foe of liberalism in any form who was pro-Confederate, is famous, and indicates that the pope recognized Davis as de facto head of the Confederate States of America. In his correspondence the pope refers to Davis as the “Illustrious and Honorable President,” an implied recognition of the Confederate government. Responding to Davis’s expressed desire to find a just resolution to the conflict raging between the Confederacy and the North, Pope Pius finishes a letter to the Confederate leader acknowledging that there were, in fact, two separate governments in America: “May it please God,” wrote the pontiff, “at the same time to make the other peoples of America and their rulers…receive and embrace the counsel of peace and tranquility,” as Davis did.
After the conclusion of the war, while Davis was a prisoner in Fortress Monroe, Virginia, the pope addressed to Davis correspondence demonstrating his great sympathy for the Confederate president. The Blessed Pius IX sent a picture of himself to Jefferson Davis with the hand-written inscription: “Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [“Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et ego reficiam vos, dicit Dominus” – St. Matthew 11:28] Associated with the famous communication from Pius IX is the equally famous “Crown of Thorns,” for the longest time believed to have been woven by the pope and also remitted to Davis. Davis’s major biographer, Hudson Strode, accepted that account as the correct one.
Yet detailed research by a more modern biographer, Felicity Allen in her Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart, reveals that the crown was most likely woven by Varina Davis. Records donated by the New Orleans Confederate museum and now housed in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University (Rare Books and Manuscripts Division) indicate that both the autographed photograph of Blessed Pius IX and the crown were originally donated, according to the inventory, in 1891: “The Pope sent this picture to Jefferson Davis whilst a prisoner at Fortress Monroe. Accompanying the picture is a crown of thorns made by Mrs. Davis that hung above it in Mr. Davis’ study.” [Quoted by Felicity Allen from correspondence with Tulane University, August 6, 1985; see for extensive detail: Jeff Davis's Crown of Thorns.]
Unfounded rumors abounded both during and after the war that Davis had converted clandestinely. But he remained an Episcopalian throughout his life. Nevertheless, the sympathy for the Confederacy and its president shown by the pope and the Catholic Church during the war were clear. Robert E. Lee, pointing to his own portrait of Pius IX, told a visitor that he was “the only sovereign…in Europe who recognized our poor Confederacy.”
Although Davis’s tenure at the helm of the Confederacy receives by far the most attention historically, his pre-war career was truly illustrious: A West Point graduate, Davis distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War as a colonel of the Mississippi Rifles volunteer regiment, and as United States Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. Both before and after his time in the Pierce administration, he served as a US Senator from Mississippi. As senator, he argued against secession but believed each state had an unquestionable and constitutional right to secede for just cause from the voluntary Union of the Founders, just as they had seceded from England seeking political liberty. Davis resigned from the Senate in January 1861 after receiving word that his State of Mississippi had voted to leave the Union.
Davis explained his actions saying:
“[T]o me the sovereignty of the State was paramount to the sovereignty of the Union. And I held my seat in the Senate until Mississippi seceded and called upon me to follow and defend her. Then I sorrowfully resigned the position in which my State had placed me and in which I could no longer represent her, and accepted the new work. I was on my way to Montgomery when I received, much to my regret, the message that I had been elected provisional President of the Confederate States of America.
Davis had been a patriotic American who tried to save the Founders’ republic from Northern revolutionaries, and who reluctantly departed the Union with the old constitution intact to form a “more perfect Union.” He contended that he would rather be out of the Union with the Constitution than to be in the Union without the Constitution. The Southern States, he stated, seceded not to defend slavery but in order to save the Constitution of the Founders. Davis remarked in July 1864:
“I tried in all my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, and for 12 years, I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on till the last man of this generation falls in his tracks, and his children seize the musket and fight our battle, unless you acknowledge our right to self-government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence, and that, or extermination, we will have . . . Slavery never was an essential element. It was the only means of bringing other conflicting elements to an earlier culmination. It fired the musket which was already capped and loaded. There are essential differences between the North and the South that will, however this war may end, make them two nations.
At the end of the War, when a fellow traveler remarked that the cause of the Confederates was lost, Davis replied: “It appears so. But the principle for which we contended is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.”
Davis was critical of the Gilded Age corruption and political ignorance of the United States Constitution. In 1881 he remarked: “Of what value then are paper constitutions and oaths binding officers to their preservation, if there is not intelligence enough in the people to discern the violations; and virtue enough to resist the violators?”
President Davis was never indicted for treason. He demanded a fair trial in order to argue the constitutionality of the South’s actions in 1860-1861. This was denied by his Jacobin tormenters, and the reason was revealed by Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Salmon P. Chase, in 1867. Chase admitted that:
“If you bring these leaders to trial, it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not a rebellion. His [Jefferson Davis] capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. We cannot convict him of treason.” [quoted by Herman S. Frey, in Jefferson Davis, 1977, pp. 69-72]
President Davis died on December 6, 1889. In death as in life, citizens across the South mourned his passing and honored him as their champion.
In 1893 his body was transported by funeral train to Richmond where he was interred at Hollywood Cemetery. At each stop thousands of mourners, white and black, paid respects. In Raleigh historic photographs show a mammoth procession down Fayetteville Street. My grandfather (on my mother’s side), then a thirteen year old apprentice, stood along the street paying respects to Davis, and he would, sixty-seven years later, recount that moving and indelible experience to me, his young grandson.
Our traditions do not really die. Sometimes, under attack, they remain dormant, to be re-awakened by new generations that re-discover them and the supreme importance that they have played, and can continue to play, in our lives, if we let them.
That’s right: It is time to disestablish our public school system, sell or lease the public school facilities to various independent associations (e.g., family groups, churches, corporations, etc.), and use the tax monies as vouchers for parents for their school age children so they may go where parents judge best.
It’s time, it’s right, and it’s necessary if the nation and our state survive.
Back on Wednesday, May 1, thirty-four public school systems in North Carolina closed for a day in the middle of the week so that teachers and support staff could travel to the state capital Raleigh to engage in an organized mass demonstration titled “Red 4 Ed.” The rally was organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE)—and the object was to demand that state legislators give them large salary raises and additional benefits for their work in and out of the classroom. Dressed out in red T-shirts with a Marxist-style clenched fist emblazoned on the front, participants partially surrounded the State Legislative building and screamed out their demands. Some demonstrators at this “non-partisan” rally held signs demanding Medicaid expansion (a hot political issue in the state General Assembly) and, of course, “gun control” (e.g., “more funds, less [sic!] guns” a sign read—hopefully, this placard was not created by an English teacher!!). And anti-Trump sentiment was
also present, if mostly just below the surface.
Raleigh Police estimated that “fewer than 19,000” attended the May 1 rally, fewer than the rally held on May 1 last year. Yet, the loquacious leftwing Mark Jewell, President of the NCAE, estimated the total at 30,000, going so far as to tweet out a highly doctored photograph attempting to prove his assertion; when called out for his dishonesty by others and by other photographers, Jewell conveniently deleted his post [“How big was the teacher’s rally? NC education leader posted an altered crowd photo,” The News & Observer, May 2, 2019]
Among the speakers at the rally was the irrepressible black extremist and radical social justice advocate the Reverend William Barber who
…wrapped up the rally, giving his first speech on the grounds since he was banned from the property after a [violent] protest in 2017. A judge recently lifted the restriction, specifically denying a prosecutor’s request that Barber be kept away at least until after the teachers rally, because he tends to draw a crowd. “They didn’t want me to come,” Barber told the crowd, “but it looks like they’ve got a bigger problem than me.” Barber told the teachers, teacher assistants, nurses, counselors, custodians and other school workers who stood in the sun that they were right — morally, legally, constitutionally and religiously — to stand where legislators could hear them and demand better treatment. “It’s time to teach them a lesson,” he said again and again, to the teachers’ cheers. Barber especially praised the group’s solidarity, advocating not only for themselves but for each other and the students…“Together,” he said, “we will turn North Carolina around.” [For the second year, teachers march through Raleigh demanding more education funding, News & Observer, May 1, 2019.]
Interestingly, the average salary (as of March 2019) for a public school teacher in North Carolina comes in at $53,975, and the General Assembly is proposing the restoration of extra pay for advanced degrees and pay raises ranging from 1 percent or $500 for school support staff to 4.6 percent for teachers, 6.3 percent for assistant principals and 10 percent for principals. The Republican-sponsored budget would bring teacher pay to $55,600 by 2020. Such figures are actually higher than what the average North Carolinian makes per year: $52,752 (by 2017 figures). Thus, teachers currently average $1,223 more per annum than the average Tar Heel makes.
Yet this is not seen as anywhere nearly sufficient by the unionized NCAE which is joined at the hip to the state Democratic Party. The NCAE is demanding a $15 minimum wage for school support staff, a five percent raise for all school employees and a five percent cost of living adjustment for retirees; Medicaid expansion statewide; and the hiring of “thousands of additional staff psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals” to meet the “national standard.” In reality, this effort was little more than politics at its worse: using teachers as pawns in a larger battle against the Republican legislature. No doubt, if the GOP General Assembly were to raise all salaries by $10,000, there would still be rancorous complaints from the NCAE and its minions.
One friend, a retired educator and college professor, remarked that given the state of public education in North Carolina, were our public school system a private business, probably half of those teachers would be terminated for ineptitude and inability to perform their jobs. Of course, there are many dedicated public school teachers who deserve our appreciation and support—but could they not do even better if not weighed down by excess bureaucracy and unqualified fellow personnel?
That comment is no exaggeration when you consider the relative success of the operation of charter schools in the state (cf., Lindsay Marchello, “A Public Decision: School Choice has a Long History in North Carolina,” Carolina Journal, May 2019, pp. 1 et seq.). The Raleigh Charter High School, for example, ranks as one of the top high schools in the United States, and it achieves that without an expensive sports program, without a cafeteria serving three meals a day, without an auditorium, and without all the additional “support staff” deemed so necessary by public educators.
Our public school system has increasingly become not so much a vehicle for educating our children as rather a massive Petri dish in which to incubate future social and cultural revolutionaries who are “woke” to the perceived “crises” in the environment, to the “white racism” inherent in our history and societal structures, to the misogyny and “toxic masculinity” which has oppressed women (and the LGBTQ community), and to the absolute imperative to “overthrow” the institutionalized “prejudice” and “inequality” that characterize our society and our republic.
Thus, any opposition to such demonstrations as we saw on May 1, even the slightest demurrer or questioning of the basic premises of such manifestations and demands is met with shrieking accusations—the same ones we are now accustomed to hear regarding so many other issues—about race, gender, prejudice, equality and “right-wing extremism.”
Here, for example, is long-time Democrat strategist and former special assistant to Democrat Governor Jim Hunt, Gary Pearce, making those accusations:
…why the anti-teacher, anti-public-school rhetoric and action? There are five reasons: race, religion, ideology, politics and – as is so often the case in politics – money….Under Trump, the Republican Party is dominated by rural, high-school-educated whites. Hostility to “race-mixing” still runs strong….Sometimes this is camouflage for race, and sometimes its [sic] sincere conviction. The Supreme Court not only struck down school segregation, it “took God and prayer out of the schools”….The Republican Party today holds to a rigid right-wing ideology that is rabidly anti-government….The rise of anti-public-school politics coincides with the rise of an ultra-wealthy, ultra-reactionary oligarchy…who have deployed their wealth to shape politics, dictate policy and reshape society in a way that serves their own selfish interests at the expense of most Americans.
The message is clear: if you in any way oppose the full demands of the educational establishment—the real oligarchy—and the Democratic Party, you must be a racist, a bigot, an intolerant Christian fanatic, or somehow connected to “ultra-reactionary, ultra-wealthy oligarchs”—and one of those unenlightened “rural, high-school-educated whites”! (Notice the dripping ill-concealed condescension.)
And you should just shut up. Got that?
Fascinating: back in 1981 it was a critical phone call by Pearce that assisted me in getting a full time position (initially pretty low paying, but it was still a job) with the Department of Cultural Resources. But in 1981, it seems, Pearce had not yet “evolved” into the raving social justice fanatic he apparently is now, and the old Democrat Party still had room for folks with traditional ideas about merit over race and gender.
Over 140 years ago the great Southern theologian, essayist, and critic Robert Lewis Dabney prophesied the future failure of public education in a series of essays he penned for Planter and Farmer magazine and later for the Richmond Enquirer (1876). State-run education imposed an unnatural equality on students and exposed the school system to ideological manipulation by “demagogues, who are in power for a time, in the interests of their faction.” “Providence, social laws, and parental virtues and efforts, do inevitably legislate in favor of some classes of boys,” he declared. “If the State undertakes to countervail that legislation of nature by leveling action, the attempt is wicked, mischievous, and futile.” The older system of largely private education left “the school as the creature of the parents, and not of the state….This old system evinced its wisdom by avoiding the pagan, Spartan theory, which makes the State the parent. It left the parent supreme in his God-given sphere, as the responsible party for providing and directing the education of his own offspring.” (R. L. Dabney, “The State Free School System,” reprinted in Dabney, Discussions, vol. IV, “Secular,” pp. 201-210)
So, yes, our legislature—and legislatures around the country—must continue the process of disestablishment: more charter schools, more support for home schoolers, more voucher programs, more parental control, with a final goal that our public school system—which is now serving as a vehicle for ideological and cultural indoctrination—be dismantled. Let newly-formed associations of parents, corporations (why not Duke Power, Red Hat, etc), church organizations, and others assume control of buildings and use them; why not take the tax monies collected and disperse them accordingly? Would this not be real school choice? And, if in some few cases, perhaps in some poorer counties, this would work less well, then certainly there would be no time limit in the process of disestablishment.
In the long run our students—our children—will be far better off, better educated, and better prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. And the ideological incubation so prevalent today would, hopefully, in large part subside.
As readers of these installments will already know, the journalist and sometime political figure Patrick J. Buchanan has been both a dear friend and mentor to me for over thirty years. I have written more than once that I believed had it not been for Pat’s writings and eloquent voice, the “counter-revolution of the ‘deplorables’ “ we witnessed in 2016, and the election of Donald J. Trump as president, may well not have happened, at least in the form that it did.
Pat, through his books on different aspects of American politics, foreign policy, economics, immigration, and culture—and through his regular columns—was, or so it seemed at times, a lonely voice in the wilderness (the “vox clamantis in deserto” as Scripture reads) who, to quote one of my unfavorite political personalities Jesse Jackson, appealed to our better natures to “keep hope alive!”
The “Buchanan Brigades” and “pitchfork battalions” of the 1990s never really went away. After them came the “Tea Party.” And after that—and with the continued abject submission to the Deep State managerial elites by the Republican Party of Bob Dole, Bush Jr., the unlamented John McCain, and the political chameleon Mitt Romney—much of the conservative base began to realize that as a vehicle for real opposition to the steadily advancing administrative state, the GOP was practically a nullity, indeed, it actively collaborated in the triumph of the managerial elites.
Almost all the Republican leadership was bought and paid for by crony capitalists and international commercial interests, led by the nose by a zealous Neoconservative intelligentsia which had forcibly taken control of the older “conservative movement,” casting out and barring the door to traditionalists, old rightists, paleo-libertarians, and, in particular, Southern conservatives, at least those who would not deny their Confederate heritage.
In fact, the Republican Party had never been truly a friend of the South, despite its attempts to enact some sort of transgendered façade—the “Southern strategy”—during the Nixon and Reagan administrations. Certainly there were those like the late Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina who understood the imperative of connecting the older heritage and traditions of the Southland with a new political framework, a new political nomenclature, if you will. But he also understood like few others the real danger that Southern Republicanism would become just another appendage of a national GOP establishment which had swallowed hook-line-and-sinker the egalitarian and globalist nostrums, the ideology that dominated that party for much of its history since the defeat of South in 1865.
And, indeed, the Southern branch of the Republican Party now headlines such fervent globalists and mad egalitarians as Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both of South Carolina. Graham never saw a foreign war that he did not want to involve this nation in, nor an “undemocratic” country he did not want to impose “American democracy” on. Scott, a fanatic for what he calls “civil rights,” has become a zealous doorkeeper who believes he is the chosen one to prevent even good and decent conservatives from assuming higher appointive office if, for instance, they actually had dealings with Senator Helms thirty years ago. The recent situation where he personally vetoed the nomination of the eminently qualified North Carolina attorney Thomas Farr for a federal judgeship is a brutal case in point. Farr’s crime? He supported Helms’s campaign and gave it his legal counsel.
Buchanan fought mightily against this sorry state of affairs, and his columns continue to serve as a clarion call for those who supported Donald Trump in 2016 and have placed their hopes in him for a real counter-revolution against the elites, both Democratic and Republican. They—we—must not be disillusioned, for the conflict is too severe, too final. The struggle goes on, and oftentimes within the Trump administration, itself.
One-hundred and twenty-five years ago the great and prescient Southern writer, Robert Lewis Dabney, a notable theologian and former chief-of-staff to “Stonewall” Jackson, foreseeing the future disasters of unleashed egalitarianism, crony capitalism, women’s suffrage, and the craze for “progress,” exclaimed, in a paraphrase of the Greek dramatist Aeschylus (in the Agamemnon): “I am the Cassandra of Yankeedom predestined to prophesy truth and never to be believed until too late.”
Pat Buchanan continues to serve as a prophet, a clarion voice in deserto, reminding us of the firmament of the old republic, its principles and foundations. Those principles and those foundations have been clouded and perverted not only by their confirmed enemies on the Left, but also by those who falsely claim to be their friends and defenders. It is they who luxuriate behind their walled mansions in Silicon Valley or within their million dollar gated communities along the Potomac who hold us in contempt, they who plot our destiny from the board rooms on Wall Street or in the well-guarded offices of the European Union in Bruxelles.
May Pat’s voice and his searing philippics continue long and clear…and be believed!
This piece was previously published on MyCorner on April 6, 2019.
As the old saying goes: “Who are you gonna believe, us or your lying eyes?” For two years, through 500 called witnesses, over 2800 subpoenas, millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent, a 24/7 drum beat on almost all media, lives ruined financially by spurious court action, thousands upon thousands of assurances that Donald Trump was a “Russian plant” or at the very least “involved in a conspiracy with Vladimir Putin” that managed to “steal” the 2016 presidential election from the divinely-ordained-to-win candidate Hillary Clinton—with all that, we now confirm that this process has been part of a gigantic attempted silent coup against a sitting president, by unhinged lunatics who simply wanted us not to believe our “lying eyes.”
That process, even with zealous Democrat lawyers employed by the Mueller Commission, came up a virtual dud: no collusion at all with anyone in the Trump campaign, nothing that rises to actionable status on obstruction.
Of course, such conclusions are totally unsatisfactory to those who have invested the past two years assuring us the exact opposite—who have assured us that they have “seen” proof of collusion (e.g., Congressmen Schiff and Swalwell) or that we “know for a fact” that Donald Trump is a Russian agent (e.g., MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, etc.). And the very reason that they are demanding now to see every jot and tittle in the Mueller Report, all the background material, everything, is simple enough: maybe, they think, if they go back and comb through all the “evidence” just one more time, something, anything, might jump out on which they can hang their continuing attacks on the president.
These fanatics spent the past two years solemnly telling us that “our democracy was in peril.” In fact, it was—and is. But not due to President Trump, but because one of America’s two major political parties was literally possessed by an uncontrollably demonic desire to overturn a national election and would do anything, including fabricating fake intelligence, subverting and criminally abusing our intelligence agencies, misusing Congress’s investigatory powers, and employing the “presstitutes” in the media, to achieve that result.
Many of you are old enough to remember the 1973 blockbuster film, The Exorcist, roughly based on a real case of diabolical possession that occurred in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, back in 1949. In a remarkable display, for the past two years we have witnessed, as it were, an entire and not insignificant portion of our nation “possessed”–transfixed like the subject of William Blatty’s screen play—or maybe, more ominously, like the followers of Jim Jones and his suicidal Peoples’ Temple (and we know how that ended).
That is the truly frightening aspect of what we’ve been passing through…. Millions continue to believe, cult-like, that there is something “there,” when we have known all along that there is no “there,” there.
If anything demonstrates beyond rational debate the existence of a veritable and poisonous Deep State—what the late Dr. Sam Francis termed the Managerial State—these past twenty-four months have done so abundantly.
The question now is this: will those, eyes glazed over and minds numbed, wallowing in their cult-like Trump Derangement Syndrome, ever get over it, recover from its infectious and deadening poison?
For the vicious manifestation we have witnessed for the past two years is the result of years of conditioning by our ideologically-corrupted educational system and colleges, by our media, and through our entertainment system. And by a debased political class and the managerial elites who have considered themselves to be literally above the laws of the land…and certainly above all of us “deplorables” and Hoi Polloi who live in “fly over” country.
You see, their understanding of “democracy” has no room for us in it. In the name of those magic talismans—in the name of “democracy” and “equality”—so urgently demanded at home and so vigorously pushed upon the rest of the world, the reality is an all-powerful hegemon, a virtual totalitarianism, a new type of slavery in which most of us are the slaves and our masters are those mostly unelected elites and their pliant politicians who control our destiny.
Such ingrates we are not to appreciate the benefits of this arrangement!
This piece was originally published at MyCorner on March 25, 2019.
For thirty-one years the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has sponsored annually Confederate Flag Day, an event commemorating our state’s rich history and Southern heritage, held in the House of Representatives chamber of the historic 1840 Tar Heel State Capitol. First proclaimed by former Governor James G. Martin in 1988, the day has served as an occasion to host a number of major guest speakers: including former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Beverly Lake Jr., distinguished historians Clyde Wilson and Lee Congdon, and internationally-known authors such as Don Livingston and Paul Gottfried.
For all those years, the event has been peaceful and gone off without problems. Indeed, the Sons of Confederate Veterans has been a major contributor to the programs of the State Capitol, providing funding for restoration and preservation projects, and supplying volunteers for Capitol activities.
This year was different.
This year the commemoration, on March 2, was beset and harassed by dozens of—perhaps around seventy or eighty—screaming and frenzied demonstrators, a mob that surrounded the Capitol, shouting the vilest profanities at women and children as they made their way to and from the event, and threatening physical violence towards all attendees.
Online the organizing umbrella group responsible for the demonstration was titled #SmashingRacism, a loose coalition of members of several far Left and Marxist elements centered in central North Carolina, including Antifa NC, Democratic Socialists of North Carolina, Hillsborough Progressives Taking Action, and other such groups.
Given what has happened in recent months in the Tar Heel State, such a reaction might have been expected, but not on the scale witnessed on March 2. In recent months violent mobs have destroyed the monument to Confederate veterans in Durham, followed by the toppling of the “Silent Sam” monument on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a monument erected a century ago to honor university students who went off to war in the 1860s.
The threats to Flag Day were such that nearly 200 members of law enforcement—State Capitol Police, Raleigh City Police, and, finally, State Highway Patrol—were summoned to maintain order and to prevent the hysterical protestors from attacking attendees. Indeed, at the end of the event, police were compelled to form protective corridors to permit attendees to safely reach their automobiles. On each side of the corridors were unhinged screaming demonstrators, many holding placards denouncing “racism” and “white oppression”—some declaring “F – the Confederacy.” Prevented by the police from physically engaging the exiting attendees, the mob shouted in unison: “Cops and Klan, go hand and hand!”
It cannot have endeared them to the members of law enforcement attempting to maintain order—who were viewed as protecting the “white supremacists” as they tried to leave the event!
You would think that local news media would have covered the event thoroughly, that 200 members of law enforcement present, most of the streets in central Raleigh closed down to traffic, and the necessity to physically protect event participants would have been a major story on WRAL-TV’s 11 o’clock news—but it wasn’t: barely a brief twenty seconds of coverage. That was it.
Could it have been that the constant, very audible shouts of “Cops and Klan, go hand and hand,” and the obvious violence directed at the peaceful attendees did not make for good, politically correct television, that it did not serve the correct political slant?
There was one short interview with a black man…he seemed not to have been actually a part of the demonstration. The reporter for WRAL-TV had to chase him down for his comment.
And therein lies the rest of the story: the mob was almost entirely white, mostly millennials and college-aged white students, uniformly from upper middle class families. Indeed, tuition at nearby Duke University now costs nearly $74,000 a year, and at UNC at Chapel Hill the figure is equally jaw-dropping. How many average middle class parents can afford that? No doubt many of the students receive handsome grants and scholarships; and the non-students also have few worries about finances—pass-through funding reaches them via a variety of progressivist foundations, including from the myriad of George Soros-related organizations.
As I exited with other attendees I looked into the faces of the mob: what I observed was a very real madness, an unleashed fury, eyes filled with uncontrolled hatred—if they had not been restrained, no doubt they would have physically attacked us.
To read their Web sites and their tweets these revolutionaries are consumed by “the fight against white supremacy” and against “historic racism.” Their entire existence is wrapped up in that struggle, a struggle which has become increasingly violent and which has discarded any concept of belief in “freedom of speech” or “free expression of ideas”—if you dissent from their advancing narrative, if you seek to express a different point of view, you are obviously a “racist” and a “white supremacist,” and have no right to express your views.
Indeed, in reality you have no right to exist, as a grad student at Chapel Hill, the son of a upper middle class white family I know, told me a couple of years ago. After finding out that I had voted for Donald Trump in 2016, he—let us call him Mark—informed me that his generation would soon dominate this country, and that “your generation will die out in a few years, and then we can completely change things!” His parents don’t share his university-learned opinions but seem helpless or incapable of responding.
What is so apparent about Mark and hundreds of thousands like him is that his hatred for “white privilege” and “historic racism” is directed at his own history and inheritance, and in a very palpable and real way expresses his own personal self-loathing. His reaction—like the reaction of the frothing mob on March 2—is an effort to virtue signal, to in a way expiate for the sins of his ancestors of whom he is the latest miserable representative. He bears the weight of millennia of “whiteness” and all the accumulated wrongs and sins associated with it, and if his parents or other white people will not grovel and apologize and make reparations for that, then he must do it for all of them—and he must remind them in stentorian voice of the centuries of evil and oppression, by expiating his own self-hatred as a very comfortable white grad student, attending one of America’s most prestigious universities…a recipient of that very same “white privilege.”
Mark’s penance, then, like that of the seventy or so Leftists who assembled outside the 1840 North Carolina State Capitol, is to accuse and assault—if possible—the rest of us who do not see what he sees, who do not understand what he understands, who do not support the burden he supports, and attempt to shut us down and extinguish any dissent from his raging ideology, the burning fire that consumes him. And in so doing, he tries to expiate his own imagined heavy burden, inflicted on him in large part by such prestigious institutions as Duke and UNC which serve as incubation facilities for frenetic post-Marxist Leftist revolutionaries. And by a culture that now facilitates and encourages that posture, or, at best, coddles it like the man who thinks he can tame an angry rattlesnake.
Those angry faces—those glaring and fierce eyes—I saw on March 2 betrayed ruptured souls, corrupted and demonized, existing in a kind of counter-reality with their own set of always-advancing rules, but dedicated in a fearsome and unambiguous way to the destruction—salvation through destruction—of Western Christian civilization, of mankind as we have known it.
In the end, like all incendiaries they will burn out, but their unhinged and violent praxis may well end in something far, far worse for us all.
This piece previously appeared on My Corner on March 6, 2019.
In our society each time a vocally radical Leftist group or the media cry “racism” and demand that our public figures “jump,” those leaders respond, usually meekly and apologetically, hat-in-hand: “How high?”
Confronted by such accusations almost always they run for the tall grass (to quote Patrick Buchanan) hoping that endless self-effacing apologies and some form of reparation will lessen the indelible stain, that nearly unforgivable sin which screams to the heavens. No matter if that infraction was “committed” decades ago, maybe an innocent student prank, or simply being photographed holding a Confederate Battle Flag, for instance—since our society has “progressed” forward, we now know that such actions are symbols of deep-seated white supremacy and bigotry that must be extirpated and punished severely.
In America the charge of racism has become a magical talisman which, once made, is a virtual death knell for almost any public official or social figure, perhaps only exceeded in effect by the accusation of anti-semitism.
It makes little difference whether the charge is true or not. Once stated and picked up by an eager-to-oblige media, it could end a career, it could forever discredit a person, and it may effectively end any platform he might have to express his views to a large audience. In effect, he would become a virtual “non-person,” a lone voice speaking to small groups of other “non-persons,” and prevented from reaching any wider audience.
This is especially true of Republicans and the dominant conservative movement. In too many cases, it is the fearful conservative establishment that participates in this process: any faint or farfetched hint of “racism,” present or past, real or imagined, any deviance from the new Progressivist dogmatism that saturates our society, brings not just attacks from the Left, but obloquy and quarantine from our frightened conservative elites.
To protect their right flanks and for fear of being labeled “racist,” those elites erect speech barriers and will not in any way permit or enable non-conforming and Old Right conservatives to appear on their networks or in their journals. The examples abound: National Review, The Daily Caller, Frontpage Mag, Fox News (with the notable exception of Tucker Carlson)…the list is endless.
To invite the real Rightwing opposition into their forums would be an admission that these outlets are not, in fact, genuine, that they usually jump when the Left demands it, that they prefer their cocktail parties with their Inside-the-DC-Beltway Leftwing friends or Manhattan boardroom confidants…and it would only increase the innate fear they have of being labeled “racist” (or “sexist” or “homophobic,” as the case may be), as well.
Of course, they will be labeled “racist” no matter what they do or say. And more’s the pity and utter insanity of it, for in their praxis, in their obeisance to the Leftist template and their implicit acceptance of its standards for participation and debate, they facilitate the continued success of this tactic and eventual destruction of what remains of the old republic.
If they would stand up to the attacks, if they would reject the narrative and the ongoing template, if they would refuse its definitions and its accusations forcefully and intelligently, then the field of battle might be different, might be altered a bit. But that would require courage and a truthful examination of American history and culture, and in too many cases, a rejection of dearly held—and false—principles about equality and the American Founding that several decades ago invaded both the older conservative movement—Neoconservatism—and now dominate the Republican Party.
Consider what is going on currently in North Carolina. Two examples.
First: The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors has before it a decision to make concerning a monument erected a century ago to students who volunteered to fight for the Confederacy in the War Between the States. Last August 20 a mob of radical Marxist students, faculty, and others (including votaries of the Hillsborough Progressives Taking Action, ANTIFA NC, Black Lives Matter, etc.), tore down the monument on the Chapel Hill campus while university police were ordered by the school’s administration to “stand down.”
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees then proposed moving the monument to a museum (not yet built) on campus. This solution did not please either the Marxist mob or those who wished the monument to be put back on its pedestal.
Indeed, the North Carolina Monuments Protection Law of 2015 requires the monument to be put back in its original place within 90 days. The very strict legal exceptions to this—major road work, decay of the monument that would endanger the public—obviously do not apply in this case.
Given pressure from both sides, the Board of Governors for the entire university system, having direct purview, created a special committee to come up with an “agreeable solution” for all parties.
In the meantime, the head of the Chapel Hill institution, Chancellor Carol Folt, ordered the base of the monument removed as well (in the middle of the night), once again a clear violation of the 2015 law. As a result, her resignation was requested and accepted on January 31.
But neither the monument nor its base has been put back as the law requires. Indeed, all eyes now are on the Board of Governors meeting on March 15 when its special committee is supposed to report back with that “agreeable solution.”
Here then are the questions for the UNC Board of Governors: Will they also cave to small, noisy and extreme Leftist mobs of students and Marxist activists who demand the obliteration of symbols memorializing our veterans and the total transformation of our culture? Will the Board collaborate in the flagrant violation of state law by the administration of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill?
Every indication is that they will—that they will once again direct that the monument and its base (both now in storage) be placed in a museum. And in so doing they will violate specific clauses in the 2015 Monuments Law that expressly forbid such action.
Almost certainly lawsuits will follow.
But what is fascinating about this situation is that most of the members of the UNC Board of Governors are Republicans appointed by the GOP-controlled North Carolina General Assembly. Most of them are big donors to the party, major business types, for whom having choice front-row seats at UNC basketball games and attending glitzy alumni events are very important, and who wish at all costs to “avoid unsightly controversies” which might get them labeled as racists and adverse publicity in the local leftist media (e.g. Raleigh News & Observer, WRAL-TV, etc.). Standing up for the majority of North Carolina citizens and for respect of and obedience to the laws of the state are apparently far less important.
Like other Establishment Republicans and faux-conservatives, when the Left demands that they jump, they frantically look for a way out, and mutter beneath their breath, worriedly, “how high”?
The news comes this morning that Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. has died [on Sunday, February 10]. He had suffered for some time from a very serious neurological condition, and had been placed in Hospice about a week ago in Greenville, North Carolina.
Representative Jones was one of--if not the--last of the old former Southern Democrat ("Jessecrat") traditionalist conservatives who left the corrupted Party of Jefferson after the Reagan-Bush years, but never was a good fit in the Neocon-directed Party of Lincoln. When his father Walter Sr, (the real last of the old Southern Democrats) passed away, Walter Jr. succeeded him in his congressional seat, and served for years as a stalwart naysayer to almost every form of American "exceptionalism" and foreign entanglement--from Iraq (he had originally supported American involvement, but then became a staunch opponent), to Afghanistan, to Syria, and opposed every every expansion of big government and affirmative action and "civil rights." He even found the "Freedom Caucus" in Congress a bit too liberal for his beliefs.
Like the late Senator Jesse Helms, whom he greatly admired, he was known as "Congressman No" to his colleagues; but his "no" votes were always predicated on firm and abiding principles of statecraft, grounded in the original Constitution and his traditionalist eastern North Carolina upbringing. And he was viewed by members of both parties as the finest and most gracious gentleman in Congress.
At every election the Establishment Republicans would run someone against Walter in the GOP primaries. For his stand against giving a blank check to Israel, Bill Kristol and AIPAC funded "conservative" candidates on various occasions and spent millions of dollars to defeat him. But each time Walter turned them back, and usually with massive support in his district.
As a young man Walter became a convert to the Catholic Church. Years ago when I encountered him in an elevator (he was then a state senator in the North Carolina General Assembly, representing Pitt County, and I dealt with members at that time), I mentioned my own Catholic faith. I recall clearly that he responded: "I became a Catholic because I believe it to be true; but I did not become one to see it destroyed by liberalism."
Walter Jones will be missed deeply by patriotic Americans and North Carolinians, and those who understand what this nation was intended to be. Of his like there are few left...and we are perishing because of that.
Watching NBC’s TODAY program on Tuesday, January 23, 2019, there was anchor Savannah Guthrie demanding to know if Covington, Kentucky, Catholic High School student, Nick Sandmann, wished to “apologize” for his “actions” in front of the Lincoln Memorial when confronted by Indian activist, Nathan Phillips, on January 19. The scarcely-concealed bias that characterized Guthrie’s question and the continuing media narrative—proven to be built on a lie but still perpetrated by the Progressivist Left, was compounded by her next question: was Sandman’s now famous smile in reality a disrespectful “smirk,” a kind of “racist dog-whistle,” a symbol of “white privilege”?
Something had snapped: this small, what probably should have been insignificant event, brought everything, all that is occurring in our sick society, into stark perspective as little else had.
Is America finished? Is the fragile “experiment in republicanism” begun in Philadelphia in 1787 finally over, or at the very least experiencing its noisy death throes?
Certainly, since the defeat of the American constitutional system in 1865 there has been a pernicious and seriously destructive trajectory in our history which, now reaching unimagined and unparalleled frenzy, seems to indicate so.
Are we not living in a geographical entity officially called the United States of America where verifiably there are TWO Americas, TWO conceptions of what is real and what is not real, TWO ideas of what is moral and what is not, TWO views about Truth and Error, TWO visions about using whatever means is available to reach a desired and posited end (which for one of these groups is the creation of a brutal, vicious and soulless “utopia” that would make Joe Stalin’s Communism seem like Disneyland in comparison)?
Words—“devil terms”—now pop up with amazing regularity and frequency: “racism,” “white privilege,” “sexism,” “toxic masculinity,” “equality,” “democracy,” and so on. And these terms have been weaponized and are now employed by those on the Left—but also by many elitist movement conservatives (“conservatism inc.”)—to disauthorize, condemn, and damn anyone who would actually oppose the rapid Leftward spiral of what remains of this nation.
Not just the wide-eyed unhinged talking heads on CNN and MSNBC and on Twitter, but such “respectable” conservative voices as Bill Kristol, Hew Hewitt, and National Review and various Republican types, have joined in with the baying mob. Their hardly-concealed hatred for “middle America,” for that lumpenproletariat of hard-working, gun-owning, church-going, underpaid folks who still try to raise a family morally on a shrinking salary, knows no bounds.
Perhaps as many as one half of our citizens, those who over the decades have become the identifiable elites and financial, political and cultural “upper crust,” look upon the rest of us as mere rubes, a servile class who are not supposed to have a voice—this, you see, is now “American democracy.”
Those folks—our folks—were not supposed to get restive, not supposed to get off the “reservation” assigned to us. But in 2016 we did, we did because instinctively we knew that the old promises of this nation had fallen by the wayside, that an unelected managerial class—an elite more connected globally and more loyal to its own class and more concerned about conserving its power and authority—guided our destiny and did not give a damn about us, despite the constant stream of vomited campaign promises and solemn avowals we hear every election season.
Many of us were stunned at the unleashed and vile hatred directed at us. All we had done was ask—in the normal way at the voting booth—that the long-forgotten promises of the Framers be fulfilled. All we had done was ask that our elected leaders in Congress and in government (and those elites) finally acknowledge our just requests.
But those elites—the media, the entertainment industry, almost the entirety of academia, and not just the Progressivist Democrat Left, but also those supposed defenders of our interests, “conservatism inc.”—responded not only with undisguised and unrestrained anger, but with disdain, contempt and condescension…and with a steady diet of what, charitably, can only be described as lies, fabrications, assaults on our character, attempts to suppress our guaranteed rights to speech and expression, shaming us, and efforts (many successful) to destroy our livelihoods or get us fired from our jobs or dismissed from our schools.
What happened to those Catholic high school students from Kentucky who had been to the March for Life, who wore those MAGA hats, is only the latest—and perhaps the most scandalous and searing—example of this climate of venom and unconcealed hatred. And it is not a hatred that emits from our folks, not from the “deplorables,” but from that “other America” that feels threatened by the “natives”—threatened by those of us on the giant fly-over plantation between the million dollar mansions surrounded by walls in Silicon Valley and the paneled million dollar board rooms on Wall Street where the international globalists gather to plot the future of the world: a world enmeshed in slogans about “the fruits of democracy” and “equal rights,” where “racism” and “sexism” will finally be banished….but where, in fact, the very contrary will exist, where democracy will have become a totalitarian dystopia a thousand times worse than what George Orwell envisioned in his phantasmagoric novel Nineteen Eighty Four.
Even if these two Americas still use the same language they are increasingly incapable of communicating with each other, as almost weekly words and terms are redefined beyond comprehension. The new “devil terms” are fierce and nearly unstoppable weapons used to destroy and humiliate; they are the modern version of hydrogen bombs deployed by the Progressivists. They illustrate what political theorist Paul Gottfried calls a “post-Marxist” praxis that has actually moved beyond the assaults of cultural Marxism towards a new imposed narrative and what German philosophers might call a “gestalt.”
You cannot dissent from it, you cannot deny it. If it demands you call black, white; then you must comply, or suffer the consequences. If your eyes tell you one thing, but the collective media and elites tells you something else, “who you gonna believe, them or your lying eyes”?
Thus, the egregiously false and unspeakably evil reportage concerning those Catholic students in Washington this past weekend, the foul, even satanic attacks upon them…and upon that “smirk” that so provoked Susannah Guthrie. It was just a relatively small incident in the overall scheme of things, yet it became on nearly every news channel, on Twitter, on Facebook, everywhere, an archetypal case of “racism,” “sexism,” “white privilege,” “toxic masculinity.” Those boys were white, Christian, wearing those MAGA hats, and from a Southern state—obviously, they were guilty, no need to examine the facts.
The incident rapidly became a major cudgel not just for the Progressivists but also for the mainline conservative movement types, who are little more than eager foot soldiers doing the bidding of their bedfellows on the farther Left, and who see such opportunities as a chance to eagerly “virtue-signal” to their Progressivist buddies that, “hey, look, we aren’t like those bad uncouth right wing racists—we actually share your essential premises about America!” Hello Ben Shapiro, Jonah Goldberg, National Review, Bill Kristol, and company.
The immediate condemnations of those students came quickly and in the thousands via social media—death threats, demands to publish names and addresses, appeals to have them expelled from their school, encouragement to kill them, and worse…And all based on a totally and blatantly fake narrative, and the openly false statement of a Native American activist and revolutionary. No matter—it served the template, it served the created “gestalt,” it projected the vision and the thinking of that one half of America that is living in a counter-reality, lunatics who have turned much of this country into their own private asylum. But where the rest of us are now seen as the crazies. Is this not G. K. Chesterton’s definition of lunacy in all its aching misery, of being truly outside the realm of reality itself?
Back in 2015 ago I published an essay at Communities Digital News [“Pat Buchanan and the End of America,” in which I suggested, echoing on from writer Patrick Buchanan’s warning from the 1990s, that America—the American nation—was on the brink of fracturing irredeemably, broken apart on the then-still-not-clearly-seen rocks of political correctness, extreme multiculturalism, and the Hydra-headed monsters from Hell, accusations of racism (AKA, “white supremacy”) and sexism (AKA, “toxic masculinity”).
At the time I had a couple of friends whom I would call “regular” or establishment conservatives who approached me and informed me that I was simply exaggerating, that Buchanan was the extremist and fear monger. Later, when I began to write favorably of Donald Trump’s presidential run, and its potentially profound meaning for American (and international) politics and culture, some of these same friends again just shook their collective heads and, with deep concern, wondered how I could “deviate” from what they termed “conservative orthodoxy.”
I was not exaggerating; indeed, what I wrote back then was far too timid, far too mild.
In fact, I have come to the conclusion, fitfully and uncomfortably, and after witnessing the far, far greater meaning revealed by what occurred with those Kentucky pro-life students, that America in 2019 faces three choices for its future:
(1) Either there must be some large mass conversion of one side or the other (a “Road to Damascus” conversion?), probably occasioned by some immense and earth-shaking event, war, depression, disaster; (2) the secession of large portions of what is presently geographically the United States, including possibly enclaves within some states that would basically exit those jurisdictions—this secession could be peaceable, although increasingly I think it would not be; or lastly, and worst, (3) the devolution of this country into open and vicious civil and guerrilla war.
I am not at all comforted by this vision, but, frankly, given the present state of this nation, is there any other possibility? After all, despite the pious pinning of the Neoconservative publicists that America is the world’s “exceptional” nation, the new Utopia, God did not grant us national eternity, did not guarantee our future. And our leaders and many of our citizens have done their damnedest to undo and undermine all those original hopes and promises.
At present the last scenario looks like the one that is coming, and it will not most likely be what any of us expect. Our enemies, the Progressivists and their allies it is true, are growing in number and have demographics on their side. But we do have one advantage: they believe in gun control. We don’t.
This piece was originally published on My Corner on January 22, 2019.
The news came Thursday, November 15, that country music legend Roy Clark had passed away at age 85. For those either too young to know who Clark was, or who perhaps never cottoned to “country” music, for a whole generation, for twenty-four years, he was in many ways the heart and soul of the popular country music variety television program “Hee Haw.” Beginning in 1969, along with co-host Buck Owens, he emceed and performed regularly on that popular extravaganza, and also demonstrated a finely-honed sense of superbly shaped humor.
For its first season, 1969-1970, “Hee Haw” was a staple of CBS’s Sunday night line-up. But CBS had begun to kill off its “rural” programming, including such popular offerings as “Petticoat Junction” (with the inimitable Edgar Buchanan and former Gene Autry side-kick “Smiley” Burnette) in 1970, and most notably later on the long-running “Gunsmoke” series in 1975 (despite consistently high ratings). Corporate bosses decided they would shift their focus to more urban, “socially-conscious” and more contemporary themes, as exemplified in the sit-com “Maude” (one is tempted to see the roots of our present cultural putrefaction in those decisions, just as the killing off of “higher brow” programs dedicated to classical music and art forms, “The Voice of Firestone” and “The Bell Telephone Hour,” had a similarly deleterious effect at the other of the viewing spectrum).
By 1971 “Hee Haw” went into syndication where it remained popular until its demise in 1993.
As anyone who has read installments of MY CORNER knows, I was trained in classical music, grew up with it, and I’ve written about it admiringly—and lovingly—on various occasions. But I also grew up with an appreciation of my traditions in rural North Carolina and the South and its historic musical inheritance, incorporating superb ballads and songs, many of which derive from ancient Scots-Irish or English sources, and many of which found a New World home in Appalachia and in Tennessee and the Carolinas, and eventually in other Southern states, and, finally, on the advancing American frontier in the mid to late 19th century.
I never believed there was anything strange about that. After all, historically, classical music, certainly in Europe was in many cases deeply influenced by the music of the “folk,” by the traditional songs, chorales of the local peoples, as well as by the music of the Church, which itself oftentimes incorporated popular melodies and song into worship. The music of the country folk fed the classical masterworks of Bach and so many other composers.
Anyone who has ever heard Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Christmas Eve Mass,” with its popular French peasant tunes will know what I’m talking about.
And in the United States, perhaps the most “popular” classical orchestral piece, Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” (1944), uses as its base the old Shaker tune “ ‘Tis the Gift to be Simple.” Carlisle Floyd’s noted “American” opera, “Susannah” (1955) uses folk melodies. And not to forget George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” with themes based in jazz and American Negro musical traditions.
A major success of what I would call revolutionary cultural modernism in our time has been to sever, in large part, the essential connection between what we call popular music and historical European-inherited classical culture. The creation of and inspiration for “classical” music appears increasingly limited to a small group of incestuous intellectuals and academics who essentially write for each other and for a self-consciously limited audience, and, despite the efforts of classical music groups to effect “cross overs,” with classical and rock musicians and artists appearing jointly, the general audience for classical has decreased considerably since the 1960s.
By the late 1960s, in place of coloratura soprano Joan Sutherland on the Sunday night “Ed Sullivan Show,” we had “The Beatles.” Indeed, while my mother and grandmother could tune in on Monday nights on radio in the 1950s and hear the New York Philharmonic, or on Saturday, and hear the Metropolitan Opera—and on the major network stations—now such performances are restricted to PBS and have become rarer by the year.
This same bifurcation has occurred, if not as marked, with country and blue grass music. Indeed, country music has managed to survive and, in fact, prosper, despite the lack of the kind of major television programming that existed a half century ago. I can still recall when Johnny Cash had a prime-time television program. Today we have "niche" programming. There are televised “specials” from Nashville, and major country artists are covered regularly by the major media. And, what’s more, country artists sell and have a steady audience for their work.
Yet, I think it can also be argued that, just as in classical music but more successfully, there has been some homogenization and over-the-top commercialization in country music that has enabled this to happen. Many country artists and performers, and their songs, sound far more “rock” than they once would have. “Cross over” is the apparent key in attracting listeners and to eventual success, including monetary success.
I remember four or five decades ago sitting down with my father on Saturday night to watch “Gunsmoke” and then on Sunday, “Hee Haw.” There was the inimitable “Grandpa” Jones on banjo with some of the best Kentucky “blue grass,” and, of course, Roy Clark with his mellifluous voice, and, our favorite, “The Barbershop,” usually with Clark playing off as a foil to Archie Campbell’s hilarious word-twisting comedic skill! Was anything ever more humorous than “Cinderfella and her three suggly blisters”? Or, Junior Sample’s profound philosophical comment: “I don’t know much, but I suspect lots of things?”
My classically-oriented mother, however, also had her way, and when the long-running “Friends of the College” classical concert series functioned at North Carolina State University, she and I always went (when I was not away at university); and on such occasions I was privileged to see and hear Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, Birgit Nilsson, Richard Tucker, as well as Karl Bohm and Vienna Philharmonic, and Yevgeny Mravinsky and the Leningrad Symphony, among others. And when the Royal Marines Tattoo came, with their massed Scottish pipes and British bands, my father eagerly accompanied us.
Nixon was president, Vietnam was still going on, and the old America I had grown up in was still visible, still palpable, although we did not perhaps realize at the time that in a few short decades those of us who cherished that old America and its traditions would find ourselves excoriated as “deplorables” and “irremediables,” looked down on with scorn and disdain by the media, by Hollywood, and by academia as boobs and rednecks, who probably kept our racist KKK sheets secreted away in a closet for use on Saturday night.
Roy Clark was an indelible symbol of a cultural legacy; he made people smile using the best elements of traditional country artistry and entertained millions of viewers for nearly a quarter century. Today we live in—we swim in—a deeply divided and feculent society, an America where cultural anarchy and decay reign. In such times, I look back to Roy Clark, to Archie Campbell, to Grandpa Jones—as well as to the familiar voice of Milton Cross announcing over national radio as he had done since 1931 (until his death in 1975) the Metropolitan Opera, proudly broadcast by the major station then in Raleigh, NC, WPTF, every Saturday. Thank goodness Cross did not have to witness what we are surrounded with and call “kulchur” in 2018.
Today, as Roy use to say, “I’m-a-picking, and I’m-a-grinning,” as I remember him and those days, those good days, but also those days when too many fateful and terrifying choices were made (or left unmade), intellectually, academically, and culturally. We did not then recognize or see what that would mean. And now America is dying, in part, for the lack of a Roy Clark and a Milton Cross.
This piece was previously published on My Corner on November 16, 2018.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.