On Saturday, The New York Times ran yet another execrable op-ed, this time from Professor Ekow Yankah of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. This op-ed argued that black children should not be friends with white children, and that their parents ought to warn them off of such relationships. This assuredly makes things awkward at Yeshiva University, a Jewish school.
The piece begins with Yankah’s oldest son, who is 4, talking about his friends:
My oldest son, wrestling with a 4-year-old’s happy struggles, is trying to clarify how many people can be his best friend. “My best friends are you and Mama and my brother and …” But even a child’s joy is not immune to this ominous political period. This summer’s images of violence in Charlottesville, Va., prompted an array of questions. “Some people hate others because they are different,” I offer, lamely. A childish but distinct panic enters his voice. “But I’m not different.” It is impossible to convey the mixture of heartbreak and fear I feel for him. Donald Trump’s election has made it clear that I will teach my boys the lesson generations old, one that I for the most part nearly escaped. I will teach them to be cautious, I will teach them suspicion, and I will teach them distrust. Much sooner than I thought I would, I will have to discuss with my boys whether they can truly be friends with white people.
This is insanity. Because Donald Trump was elected, all white people are suspect? Because there were 1,000 evil people marching for an evil cause in Charlottesville, some 200 million white people across America are suspect? This is racism of the highest order. And teaching your children not to be friends with people based on their race is the essence of racism.
But Yankah continues:
Meaningful friendship is not just a feeling. It is not simply being able to share a beer. Real friendship is impossible without the ability to trust others, without knowing that your well-being is important to them. The desire to create, maintain or wield power over others destroys the possibility of friendship. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dream of black and white children holding hands was a dream precisely because he realized that in Alabama, conditions of dominance made real friendship between white and black people impossible.
Well, no. MLK’s dream was a dream because he wanted to see it fulfilled and believed that it could be. If he didn’t, he would have gone home and joined Malcolm X. But he should have, says Yankah, since “History has provided little reason for people of color to trust white people in this way, and these recent months have put in the starkest relief the contempt with which the country measures the value of racial minorities.”
The piece continues in this vein, citing differential treatment of the opioid epidemic (largely white) vs. the crack cocaine epidemic (largely black), and ignoring the income levels of those affected by the epidemics, which is a serious confound; black underemployment, which Yankah attributes to “robust evidence of continuing racism,” without showing any evidence; policing, which has not been shown to be systemically racist by statistics. Yankah’s conclusion:
As against our gauzy national hopes, I will teach my boys to have profound doubts that friendship with white people is possible. When they ask, I will teach my sons that their beautiful hue is a fault line. Spare me platitudes of how we are all the same on the inside. I first have to keep my boys safe, and so I will teach them before the world shows them this particular brand of rending, violent, often fatal betrayal.
So we are not all the same on the inside. Which is an idea that John C. Calhoun or Richard Spencer might be comfortable with. But Yankah couches his vitriol in the guise of safety preparations for his children:
Of course, the rise of this president has broken bonds on all sides. But for people of color the stakes are different. Imagining we can now be friends across this political line is asking us to ignore our safety and that of our children, to abandon personal regard and self-worth. Only white people can cordon off Mr. Trump’s political meaning, ignore the “unpleasantness” from a position of safety. His election and the year that has followed have fixed the awful thought in my mind too familiar to black Americans: “You can’t trust these people.”…I do not write this with liberal condescension or glee. My heart is unbearably heavy when I assure you we cannot be friends.
The condescension is real, and the glee is palpable. To teach your children not to hope for a day when black and white can be friends – in fact, to teach your children now that such a day isn’t here – is asinine. And to pretend that every Trump voter is replete with hatred is just as asinine. But racism and bigotry are fine so long as they come from the Left, apparently.
Great news out of violence-plagued Chicago’s South Side: A growing number of black women are buying guns, getting trained in their proper use and receiving concealed-carry licenses. So far this year, 1,368 carry licenses have been issued to black women in Cook County, surpassing the total number of 1,358 issued for all of 2016—which was up substantially from the year before.
What is responsible for this rise? The crucial first step was a federal appeals court decision nullifying Illinois’ unconstitutional refusal to issue concealed-carry licenses.
In December 2012, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a statewide ban on private citizens legally carrying concealed weapons. At the time, Illinois was the only state in the country to still have such a prohibition. The Illinois State Police, who now issue the licenses and maintain demographic data on licensees, proudly proclaim on their website, “On July 9, 2013, Public Act 98-63, the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, became state law (430 ILCS 66). This law requires an Illinois Concealed Carry License to carry a concealed firearm in Illinois.”
Two years after the ruling, the state began to issue licenses for concealed carry—and black women have taken the new freedom to heart. In 2014, the inaugural year of concealed-carry permit licensing, 800 permits were issued to black women. Since then, the number of CCLs issued to black women has risen dramatically, with more than 4,000 issued in Cook County alone. While licenses to men and women of other races still outpace the number issued to black women, the consistent year-over-year rise for black women is remarkable.
Black women aren’t unique in wanting to feel safe outside the home. Getting properly trained to handle firearms and then carrying concealed is an excellent way to do that. Being prepared can promote confidence and even be exhilarating!
One source of carry permit applicants is JMD Defense and Investigations and its Ladies of Steel Gun Club. While the business opened just this year, members report seeking out safety through gun ownership because of an increase in crime in their neighborhoods. Upon receiving their permits, women in the club reported feeling a new sense of confidence as they go about their daily commitments.
Black women in Chicago are getting carry licenses to defend themselves in a violence-plagued city
The Chicago Tribune interviewed the owner of JMD Defense, Javondlynn Dunagan, and her enthusiasm is contagious. She started the venture out of a desire to see more women trained to use guns for self-defense. Dunagan, who was previously married to a police officer, said that after her divorce she “felt kind of naked in a house without a firearm.” In her desire to acquire a gun and get the training to use it safely, she created an environment in her community for others to do the same.
Dunagan saw a need, as there is little firearm training available on the South Side of Chicago. Her story of desiring a greater sense of public safety for herself and her community—then doing something substantial to provide it—isn’t unique, but it is worth celebrating.
At a time when the media deceptively portray gun ownership as a sign of racial animus, seeing more black women getting licensed to carry concealed firearms, practicing regularly and joining gun clubs provides a dose of reality to the narrative and shows what’s really going on in the gun community. What will the media say if crime in Chicago begins to decline? They surely won’t give any credit to the presence of more legally armed women, or to the change in the demeanor of potential victims from a state of fear to one of empowerment.
No, it will likely go unnoticed by them. But at this point, what difference does it make? More firearms freedom is great, regardless of the media’s interpretation. To the women of Chicago who now carry concealed firearms, we say: “Welcome to our tribe. We salute you.”
The secrecy ensured that no country would pay a price for its vote, so nations were free to express their true anti-Israel/anti-Semitic hostility — and thus provide a better (and more depressing) picture of how extensive that hate really is.
Make no mistake: Israel has much to lose here. It’s not just that yet another international body has recognized “Palestine” (the UN, UNESCO and other groups have all offered it some form of membership), thereby boosting its standing.
Worse: Palestinians can now try to use Interpol to push bogus “law-enforcement” efforts (travel bans, extraditions, etc.) aimed at Israelis. Worse yet: Sensitive Interpol intel may fall into the hands of Palestinian terror groups.
Think about it: Washington has designated Hamas, one of the two groups that run “Palestine,” as a terrorist organization. The other, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, also backs terror, albeit less systematically.
Just this week, Fatah praised Tuesday’s attack by a Palestinian terrorist that left three Israelis dead. The PA reportedly will pay his family $1,700, plus $740 a month for life.
Meanwhile, PA President Mahmoud Abbas regularly incites violence and refuses to stop paying stipends to imprisoned terrorists and the survivors of dead ones. On Wednesday, Palestinian Media Watch noted that 75 Palestinian schools are named for terrorists, Nazi collaborators and the like.
It’s tragic: Nations committed to fighting terror (the United States, Israel) may now have to withhold info from Interpol for fear of leaks — weakening its effectiveness and paving the way for more crime and terror.
Until Palestinian leaders end their support for terrorists, they have no business being part of a police organization.
Every week, America implodes over yet another seemingly stupid cultural battle. The latest blow-up over NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem, however, takes the cake. That’s because over the last week, the debate has moved from a relatively clear consensus — protesting the National Anthem is idiotic, but people shouldn’t be fired for doing it — to outright warfare.
Here’s what you need to know.
It’s Idiotic To Protest The National Anthem.Protesting the National Anthem is foolish politics. It’s foolish because that’s one of the symbols that unites us. It’s the equivalent of burning the American flag; no successful American political movement has built itself on flag-burning or Anthem-protesting. There have been historic figures who say they have a hard time with the National Anthem, most prominently veteran and American hero Jackie Robinson — but that was back in 1972, not in 2017, when America has largely moved beyond the shadow of legally enshrined racism. Protesting the National Anthem on the basis of police brutality is particularly stupid, given the lack of statistical evidence of national law enforcement discrimination against innocent black Americans. National Anthem protest-initiator Colin Kaepernick is largely and correctly seen as a dolt who divides the country.
It’s Idiotic For President Trump To Call For Firing Those Who Protest The National Anthem. As Jamie Weinstein suggested, it’s worthwhile doing a little thought experiment: imagine that Tim Tebow had taken a knee during the Anthem to protest against legal abortion. Now imagine that President Obama had suggested that Tebow should have been pulled from the game and fired. Would that have been proper behavior from the White House? Of course not. It’s one thing for the president to speak about his strenuous disagreement with public positions taken by public figures outside the government; it’s another for the president, with the force of the White House behind him, to seemingly pressure businesses to run the way he wants them to run. That’s inappropriate, and we on the Right wouldn’t stand for it if the situation were reversed.
Trump Will Make Bank Off This Issue.President Trump can always count on the media and the Left to lose their minds over everything he does, to the point that their tactics backfire in spectacular fashion on them. This issue is no different. Trump overstepped by suggesting from the White House bully pulpit that NFL owners should fire players who protest the Anthem — that’s a particularly egregious position to take when the Trump administration is actively and rightly fighting for the rights of religious business owners to run their own businesses as they see fit. But that doesn’t matter. By turning the Anthem protests from a settled issue into a referendum on him, Trump pushed the Left’s buttons — and the Left responded in the stupidest possible fashion, by suggesting that everyone kneel for the Anthem. The Left thinks they’re protesting Trump’s overreach. The image that will hit the newspapers, however, is Leftists supporting protesting the Anthem itself, which is deeply and properly unpopular. If the Left believes they’re going to win hearts and minds by kneeling for the National Anthem, they’re insane. Even the New England Patriots were booed for protesting the Anthem on Sunday. The biggest winner of the day was Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, who bucked his team’s boycott of the Anthem to appear and stand for the Anthem (his jersey sales skyrocketed). The biggest loser was Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, who stretched during the Anthem. Trump may have stepped in crap, but he’s the one who will come out smelling like a rose politically.
Democrats Will Make Bank Off This Issue.It’s not just Trump who will do well with this issue. Democrats will do well with their base, even if they suffer with the middle of the country. They may not win back the Rust Belt based on this issue — they’ll almost certainly push a lot of those people into Trump’s camp — but they’ll raise enormous sums of cash from celebrity backers, and increase their cultural dominance and cache. Trump may win Ohio, but Democrats will still be the cool kids hanging out with Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Stevie Wonder. That seems to matter to them.
Our Cultural Fabric Is Eroding. Quickly.In February 2017, I wrote a column titled, “Can The Super Bowl Save America?” The basis for the column was simple: America needs to take a breath from politics every so often. Football is one of those breaths. As I wrote:
Hollywood and pop culture would do well to remind themselves that if they don’t want to alienate half their audience and exacerbate our differences, they can allow us room to breathe. The Super Bowl did that this year. For that, we should be just a little grateful, even if it didn’t solve any true underlying problems. Those will require a bit more time and a bit more space.
So much for that rosy notion. The NFL has become ground zero for the culture wars. Which means that we can’t see movies anymore, watch TV shows anymore, or even watch sports anymore without feeling that we’re being judged. That means our common spaces are disappearing. And we have so little political common space already that cultural common space was our last relic of togetherness.
The NFL Will Lose Most From This Nonsense. They Deserve To.The NFL will be destroyed by this. Thousands of Americans were already tuning out due to concussion coverage and domestic abuse issues. Now that will accelerate. That’s due in large measure to the NFL’s utterly inconsistent stance with regard to political posturing. When St. Louis Rams players engaged in “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protests in 2014, the league did nothing; when Dallas Cowboys players wanted to wear Dallas police decals to honor the department after a massacre of officers by a black radical, the NFL turned them down flat. When Kaepernick knelt for the Anthem, and other players followed, the NFL did nothing; when some players wanted to wear cleats on September 11, 2016 honoring the fallen, the NFL threatened fines. Is it any wonder that fans feel like the NFL took a side here?
Here’s the bottom line: this conflict isn’t good for the country. We need our shared symbols, and we need our shared spaces. Both of those elements are being destroyed for political and ratings gain. If that doesn’t stop, we’re not going to have anything at all in common anymore.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has in recent years taken to labeling an array of legitimate Christian and other organizations as “hate groups.”
These targets now have an unlikely ally in anti-Islamist British politician Maajid Nawaz. He has been added to group’s hate lists and is suing for defamation, reports Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media.
Indeed, given the way Nawaz angers Muslim extremists and the way the SPLC riles up left-wing nuts (a man who shot up the Family Research Council, a Christian group, in 2012 said he did so because he was following the SPLC’s hate map), it’s an issue of personal safety as well: “From the murder of Theo van Gogh, to the Scalise shooting, to the terror committed against the FRC, it is no hyperbole for Nawaz to say that the SPLC’s list is putting his very life in danger.”
“keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feebleminded, idiots, morons, Insane, syphilitic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class barred by the immigration laws of 1924.” —“A Plan for Peace,” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108
Will Progressives erase the history of their racist heroes, or only their racist enemies?
Much of the country has demanded the elimination of references to, and images of, people of the past — from Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee — who do not meet our evolving standards of probity.
In some cases, such damnation may be understandable if done calmly and peacefully — and democratically, by a majority vote of elected representatives.
Few probably wish to see a statue in a public park honoring Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the founding members of the Ku Klux Klan, or Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in the racist Dred Scott decision that set the stage for the Civil War four years later.
But cleansing the past is a dangerous business. The wide liberal search for more enemies of the past may soon take progressives down hypocritical pathways they would prefer not to walk.
In the present climate of auditing the past, it is inevitable that Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood will have to be disassociated from its founder. Sanger was an unapologetic racist and eugenicist who pushed abortion to reduce the nonwhite population.
Should we ask that Ruth Bader Ginsburg resign from the Supreme Court? Even with the benefit of 21st-century moral sensitivity, Ginsburg still managed to echo Sanger in a racist reference to abortion (“growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of”).Why did we ever mint a Susan B. Anthony dollar? The progressive suffragist once said, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.”
Liberal icon and Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren pushed for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II while he was California’s attorney general.
President Woodrow Wilson ensured that the Armed Forces were not integrated. He also segregated civil-service agencies. Why, then, does Princeton University still cling to its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs? To honor a progressive who did a great deal of harm to African-American causes?
Wilson’s progressive racism, dressed up in pseudoscientific theories, was perhaps more pernicious than that of the old tribal racists of the South, given that it was not regionally centered and was professed to be fact-based and ecumenical, with the power of the presidency behind it.
In the current logic, Klan membership certainly should be a disqualifier of public commemoration. Why are there public buildings and roads still dedicated to the late Democratic senator Robert Byrd, former “exalted cyclops” of his local Klan affiliate, who reportedly never shook his disgusting lifelong habit of using the N-word?Why is Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, once a Klansman, in the 20th century, still honored as a progressive hero?
So, what are the proper rules of exemption for progressives when waging war against the dead?
Do they tally up the dead’s good and bad behaviors to see if someone makes the 51 percent “good progressive” cutoff that exempts him? Or do some reactionary sins cancel out all the progressive good — at least in the eyes of self-styled moral superiors to those hapless Neanderthals who came before us?
Are the supposedly oppressed exempt from charges of oppression?
Farm-labor icon Cesar Chavez once sent union thugs to the border to physically bar U.S. entry to undocumented Mexican immigrants, whom he derided as “wetbacks” in a fashion that would today surely earn Chavez ostracism by progressives as a xenophobe.
Kendrick Lamar, one of the favorite rappers of former president Barack Obama, had an album cover featuring a presumably dead white judge with both of his eyes X’d out, surrounded by black men celebrating on the White House lawn. Should such a divisive racialist have been honored with a White House invitation?
What is the ultimate purpose of progressives condemning the past? Does toppling the statue of a Confederate general — without a referendum or a majority vote of an elected council — improve racial relations?
Does renaming a bridge or building reduce unemployment in the inner city?
Do progressives have their own logical set of selective rules and extenuating circumstances that damn or exempt particular historical figures? If so, what are they?
Does selectively warring against the illiberal past make us feel better about doing something symbolic when we cannot do something substantive? Or is it a sign of raw power and ego when activists force authorities to cave to their threats and remove images and names in the dead of night?
Does damning the dead send a flashy signal of our superior virtue?
And will toppling statues and erasing names only cease when modern progressives are forced to blot out the memories of racist progressive heroes?
It seems communism is back in vogue at The New York Times.
A sad but common issue in the modern West is that progressives have created a fanciful and distorted picture of socialism to make it seem like an intriguing alternative to American-style capitalism.
Ikea socialism—with Sweden as the model—is an utterly distorted, but at least understandable, example for leftists to trot out as a demonstration of success.
And it’s even a bit amusing how they try to dance around the fact that Venezuela—which is utterly collapsing and egregiously abusing human rights—is a socialist country they praised just 10 years ago.
But The New York Times now has actually found a way to create fanciful notions of Soviet-style authoritarianism—and whimsical tales of its influence in America—in a new section dedicated to the “Red Century,” which explores “the history and legacy of communism, 100 years after the Russian Revolution.”
While some of the pieces explore the horrors and failures of communist rule, others delve into topics that would seem funny if the subject matter weren’t so horrifying.
For instance, the Times ran what can aptly be described as a “puff piece” on Vladimir Lenin, the man who led the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and is linked to the death and murder of millions of people.
The article, titled “Lenin’s Eco-Warriors,” paints the man as some kind of Siberian John Muir, and incredibly concludes that leaving “landscapes on this planet where humans do not tread” was the Soviet dictator’s “legacy.”
As absurd as that piece was, the Times managed to outdo itself with another article on, no joke, “Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism.”
This piece is an idealized account of how life under an absolutist government could be liberating and possibly a better model for the feminist movement.
The author wrote:
Those comrades’ insistence on government intervention may seem heavy-handed to our postmodern sensibilities, but sometimes necessary social change—which soon comes to be seen as the natural order of things—needs an emancipation proclamation from above.
The absurdly romanticized account of life under tyrannical government explains little of the hopelessness of a system where an individual has no hope and no future.
These examples certainly weren’t the first, or the worst, instances of the Times engaging in communist revisionism. One of the most egregious examples of “fake news” in the mid-20th century was conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter Duranty in the 1930s.
Duranty, who was the Times’ Moscow bureau chief, wrote a series of glowing pieces about the USSR’s policies under General Secretary Josef Stalin in 1931.
While millions of people were starving in Ukraine, Duranty reported back that things were going swimmingly under the communist regime despite a few bumps in the road.
“Enemies and foreign critics can say what they please,” Duranty wrote. “Weaklings and despondents at home may groan under the burden, but the youth and strength of the Russian people is essentially at one with the Kremlin’s program, believes it worthwhile and supports it, however hard be the sledding.”
He attacked reports that portrayed the Soviet policies in a negative light as “malignant propaganda.”
Though the total number of deaths due to forced starvation in the Holodomor is unknown, estimates are generally around 3 million from 1932 to 1933.
It would be good on The New York Times if it ran a piece about Duranty’s egregious reporting and disinformation campaign that gave Americans a distorted picture of communist reality, but, alas, that hasn’t happened amid the various fables about socialist “successes.”
It may seem easy to dismiss The New York Times accounts as eyerolling fantasies of the left trying to defend a broken ideology, but the danger of this historical revisionism is real.
Dangerous Historical Fantasy
A worrying study sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that millennials are generally clueless about communism.
“Just 37 percent of millennials had a ‘very unfavorable’ view of communism, compared to 57 percent of Americans overall,” according to a Daily Signal report.
Perhaps even worse, a full third of millennials say they think that more people were killed under former President George W. Bush than under Stalin.
Historical ignorance of communism’s crimes is ultimately dangerous.
As The New York Times joins with others to peddle a warped image of what communism is really about, generations that have never witnessed its horror may be lulled into buying the clichéd line that “real communism has never been tried.”
As historian Sean McMeekin wrote in his book, “The Russian Revolution,” after communism’s “century of well-catalogued disasters … no one should have the excuse of ignorance.”
Communist revival is growing in Western countries even as it is nearly extinct in places it was tried. This is folly fueled by historical blindness.
“Today’s Western socialists, dreaming of a world where private property and inequality are outlawed, where rational economic development is planned by far-seeing intellectuals, should be careful what they wish for,” McMeekin wrote. “They may just get it.”
Amid the chaos of Charlottesville, two specters from the previous century’s darkest hours have re-emerged. Alongside the well-publicized Nazi symbols on full display during the “Unite the Right” rally, so too were Communist hammers and sickles brandished by the opposing anti-fascist or “Antifa” protesters. Many have rightfully condemned the neo-Nazis and their Ku Klux Klan allies leading Riefenstahl-esque, torchlit processions through our streets, but there has been virtual silence about the neo-Marxists and anarchist comrades hurling bricks and incendiary bombs, all the while refusing to acknowledge communism’s long record of totalitarianism, racism and death.
Lining up against one another in public, clubs and bats in hand, those on the far right and the far left are horrifying replications of our nation’s greatest historical foes. At their respective beginnings in the 1910s and 1930s, both the communists in Russia and the national socialists in Germany comprised tiny minority factions in their countries. But they became the loudest, the best organized and the most violent.
Indeed, 78 years ago this week, Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and Joseph Stalin’s USSR co-launched World War II by signing a nonaggression pact. Negotiated by Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, their regimes agreed to conquer Europe by dividing it in half. Fascism and communism ignited a conflict that would consume millions of lives by marching shoulder-to-shoulder into battle.
Within days of signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Hitler’s armies invaded Poland. Over the next several months, Stalin invaded Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the other half of beleaguered Poland. For nearly two years, the Nazi SS and Soviet NKVD (predecessor to the equally-dreaded KGB) intimately collaborated. Soviet secret police, for instance, rounded up German Jews who had escaped to the Soviet Union and handed them over to the SS.
Then in 1941, Hitler broke the pact and attacked the Soviet Union. When the war ended, the Nazi regime was finished, but the Soviet empire lived on — sustained by its domination of Eastern Europe. Partisans in the Baltic forests who had fought occupying Nazi forces promptly repositioned their rifles toward the Red Army. And pro-fascist collaborators slotted seamlessly into the Eastern Bloc’s nascent state security apparatuses.
Even as late as the 1980s, most in the West expected that the Soviet Union — despite its obvious weaknesses — would persist indefinitely. However, refugees from Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and other “captive nations” began organizing protests on Aug. 23, the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, calling it “Black Ribbon Day.” They stressed to the world that Stalin — who was made over by fellow travelers in the West as “Uncle Joe” — was actually an enemy of peace in World War II. They further urged Americans to oppose the Soviet Union, which still controlled much of Central and Eastern Europe.
On Aug. 23, 1989, in the midst of revolutions throughout the Soviet empire, approximately 2 million people joined hands in a human chain that stretched over 370 miles across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to protest communist influence. The event, known as the Baltic Way, was a powerful symbol of peaceful popular resistance to totalitarianism. A little over two years later, on Sept. 6, 1991, the Baltic states reclaimed their independence, and on Dec. 25, 1991, the Soviet Union finally ceased to exist.
Unfortunately, over the past two decades, the evils of Soviet communism and Stalin’s critical role in the Axis have been largely forgotten. Within Russia, Stalin is increasingly viewed as a national hero, an opinion that has grown along with the size of Russia’s Communist Party in the Duma, and has been additionally fostered by Vladimir Putin’s own party, United Russia.
Black Ribbon Day remains important because it lays bare the fact that fascists and communists continue to use the same tactics to demonize, isolate and crush their adversaries. Historical amnesia, grievance culture and political violence make for a toxic cocktail. It is the responsibility of every American to study the past — to seriously study it — and to grasp what is necessary to guarantee “liberty and justice for all.”
The dearth of basic historical education in public schools — combined with the substitution of civics for divisive identity politics — has bred cynicism, turning the millennial generation cynical and away from the democratic project. This explains, in part, why those under the age of 30 are far more likely to engage in protests than to vote, participating in peaceful revolutions, as our country’s Founders had wished, at the ballot box. For this reason, it is critical to remember that Nazism and Soviet communism are two sides of the same totalitarian coin.
Marion Smith is executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
In their ongoing attempt to paint everyone on the Right in the darkest hues, some mainstream Leftists have decided that anyone who slams Antifa must be a Nazi sympathizer. This started almost immediately after the Charlottesville white supremacist terrorist attack, when President Trump suggested there was blame on “many sides.”
The problem with Trump’s statement was its vagary: it was unclear whether Trump was blaming ideology of “many sides” or violence of “many sides” or both. But Trump’s vagueness led The New York Times to this pronouncement:
But the tragedy in Charlottesville — specifically, the death of a young woman at the hands of a Nazi sympathizer who the authorities said ran her down with his car — undercut the notion that the black-masked radical leftists who smash windows and hurl firebombs are an equal menace.
That’s a rather incredible statement, since Antifa has been radically violent over the past couple of years. They’ve initiated riots in Sacramento, Berkeley, and Seattle; they’ve threatened violence in Portland, Chicago, and Dallas. They just spent the weekend attacking police officers.
But the “don’t condemn Antifa or you’re a Nazi sympathizer” talking point has become quite popular. Jeet Heer of The Atlantic put it this way:
Imagine being so addicted to glib both-sides-ism that that you don’t understand unique dangers Nazis pose to humanity. https://twitter.com/josh_hammer/status/899113866596057088 …
5:59 PM – Aug 20, 2017
So, is it downplaying the threat of Nazis to point out the threat of Antifa?
There are two measures we must examine in terms of any moral comparison between Antifa and neo-Nazis. First, there’s the ideological. Then, there’s behavior.
Let’s begin with the ideological. Antifa has no clear-cut ideology, but they seem to be a mashup of communists and anarchists. Neo-Nazis are white supremacists who believe in the innate inferiority of non-Caucasians, and therefore believe that they have the right to oppress other groups. It’s fair to say that Nazism is a uniquely evil philosophy, more evil than the communist philosophy, even though the communist philosophy of Antifa was responsible for tens of millions of deaths globally. So if we were to say that communism is as evil as Nazism, we’d be wrong. By the same token, if we were to whitewash communism, we’d be even more wrong.
Then there’s the question of violence. When conservatives condemn Antifa, they’re pointing out that use of violence in response to peaceful protest by evil people is more dangerous than peaceful protest by evil people. Those who initiate violence in a free society are a bigger problem than those who preach evil; the whole point of civilization, as Max Weber stated, was to give the state a monopoly on the legitimate use of force other than in self-defense. Breaking that compact and equating speech with violence is a serious threat to a civilized country. Condemning Antifa for their violent tactics in Boston, for example, should be required of all decent citizens in the same way that condemning Nazi ideology should be.
But this whole argument is a fraud anyway. Very few Americans stand in favor of Nazism, and the Left’s game of broadening out the label “Nazi sympathizer” is merely a political ploy. Antifa is evil. So is Nazism. Two things can be evil at the same time. Anyone who doesn’t believe that should do a little historical research on Stalin and Hitler.
But there are far more Americans condemning Nazism in the last two weeks than Americans who seem willing to condemn the breakdown of law and order. In fact, many mainstream Leftists are now defending Antifa. And that may make Antifa and its attendant violence a serious threat to the social fabric.