Category Archives: Our Contributors

Make the ISIS Caliphate a Jihadist Kill Zone

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

President Obama’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS comes at a time when Iran and ISIS are fomenting disorder and destruction throughout the Middle East. Despite the enmity between these two species of jihadism, both pose serious threats to our interests and security and those of our allies in the region. The president’s stubborn refusal to strengthen his dubious negotiations with Iran by approving Congress’s more punishing sanctions, along with his pledge not to use force against the mullahs, is guaranteed to make Iran a nuclear power that will dominate the region. And nothing in the AUMF will achieve his alleged “core objective” to destroy ISIS. Quite the contrary–– it will squander an opportunity to concentrate and eliminate tens of thousands of jihadists.

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Are We Smart Enough for Democracy?

Photo credit: peacemartin33

Photo credit: peacemartin33

By Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas

In December, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, had to explain to Congress several remarks he had made about the “stupidity of the American voter,” as he put it in one speech. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh frequently uses the more diplomatic phrase “low-information voter” to explain why bad policies or incompetent politicians succeed. And numerous polls of respondents’ knowledge of history and current events repeatedly imply the same conclusion––that the American people are not informed or smart enough for democracy.

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More Delusional Apologetics for Islam

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

It’s pretty embarrassing when the on-line comments about an article are more logical and knowledgeable than the article. Such is the case with a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that argued Muslim violence does not reflect traditional Islamic doctrine, but is merely a case of arrested historical development. The whole argument is a tissue of logical fallacies and historical ignorance.

The author, a professor of history at Harvard, starts by explaining that Christianity was once violent and intolerant, but changed over time, and thus can provide an example for “modernizing Islam.” But most of his catalogue of Christian violence and persecution is little more than the tu quoque fallacy. It ignores the fact that Christian violence was typical of the whole pre-modern world, a sad banality of human existence like plagues, war, torture, and famine. The comparison of premodern Christian violence to today’s Islamic terror is as irrelevant as rationalizing modern torture and executions, like the mutilation and beheading regularly practiced in Saudi Arabia, by bringing up the hanging, disemboweling, beheading, and quartering the English used to punish traitors in the 14th century.

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The Dangers of Obama’s Cognitive Dissonance

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

There are many moments from the past 6 years that demonstrate the criminal incompetence of this president and his administration. But for me, Obama’s interview with GloZell––whose claim to YouTube fame comes from eating Cheerios in a bathtub filled with milk––represents best the essential emptiness, triviality, and sheer dumbness of this president. Imagine Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 being interviewed by a carnival geek, and you can gauge just how low the most consequential political office in the world has sunk.

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Western Sleepwalkers and the Paris Massacre

After all the brave words and feel-good marches, what significant action will be taken? 

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

paris_francois-450x280The jihadist murderers are dead, after killing five more Parisians, but many Westerners, long drugged by bad ideas and received wisdom, continue to sleepwalk through the war against jihadism. This means that after all the brave words and feel-good marches, little significant action will be taken to prevent such atrocities from happening again.

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The Real Scandals of the Paris March

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

French President Francois Hollande welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march in the streets of ParisCommentators on both the left and the right are slamming President Obama for missing the march in Paris last Sunday. Even a stalwart courtier like CNN’s Jake Tapper sniffed that he was “ashamed” that the U.S. was represented by an ambassador––one, by the way, who got her appointment by bundling money for the president’s political campaigns. But who’s surprised at this latest display of diplomatic incompetence? This is the same president who gave the queen of England an I-Pod loaded with his speeches, banished a bust of Churchill from the White House, bowed low to the Saudi King, blew off Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, and insulted on an open mike the prime minister of Israel, our most important ally in the Middle East. Missing the march is just Obama being Obama. Read more →

Book Review: Prime Directive- Check Out Sci Phi Journal

Prime Directive: Check Out Sci Phi Journal

by Craig Bernthal

The shelves of drugstores and news stands used to be crowded with “pulp” science fiction magazines: Fantastic Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Fantasy and Science Fiction, all of which sold for very little and provided a lot of entertainment. Many of them started in the 1920s and featured wonderfully lurid covers of giant flies attacking battleships or luscious blonds being carted away or molested by robots, green aliens, or perhaps just posing in front of a rocket ship. They shared shelf-space with a similar array of detective, mystery, western, and romance publications. In the twenties or thirties, at the height of their popularity, some of these magazines sold up to a million copies per issue. America and Britain had some great writers who got their start in pulp fiction or wrote it: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Rudyard Kipling, Elmore Leonard and H. G. Wells, to name a few. Pulp fiction was a national writing workshop, providing an enormous market for new writers, and the product was not just formulaic. A great editor, like John W. Campbell of Astounding Science Fiction provoked wonderful, imaginative stories. This scene has now been replaced by the insipid university MFA writing program, which aims to produce sensitive stories for liberal professors, and pulp has given way to innumerable English Dept. journals. What a bad trade! We no longer see the successors to Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, or even Updike and Roth. American fiction has become the Oprah book club.

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The Progressive Racial Narrative and Its Beneficiaries

Debunking the lies about race in America.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

al_sharpton_speaking_reuters-450x337A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reveals that nearly 6 in 10 people believe race relations are bad, with 23% saying they are “very bad.” The causes of these perceptions are many, including nationally publicized police killings of two black men, disorderly and violent demonstrators ignoring the facts of the cases to brand the police “racist,” a lazy media neglecting to dig up and then publicize those facts, and a president, Attorney General, and mayor of New York willing to exploit and widen racial division and consort with hustlers like Al Sharpton.

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Sloppy Thinking About ‘Torture’

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

photo via FrontPage Magazine

photo via FrontPage Magazine

Torture is one of those topics that often overwhelm sober reason with lurid emotion. Even people who usually are clear-eyed and rational sink into sloppy thinking and incoherent argument when it comes to torture. Peggy Noonan’s recentWall Street Journal column about the Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation techniques illustrates this phenomenon perfectly.

Noonan is usually an astute analyst, but her column on the report is riddled with received wisdom and unexamined assumptions. For Noonan, the “important lesson” of the report is not that progressives, as usual, are shameful hypocrites and partisan hacks who will damage their country’s interests for ideological or political advantage. It is not that when fighting a brutal enemy who obeys no laws of war, things are done we’d rather not do in order to save lives. No, her “lesson” is that the enhanced interrogation techniques, “torture” in her view, are “not like us” or “part of the American DNA,” and that, quoting John McCain, such techniques damage “our reputation as a force for good in the world.” These assertions, however, are based on simplistic psychology and flawed reasoning.

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Hillary’s Bad Politics and Worse Ideas

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Once again Hillary Clinton has given the Republicans some suicidal soundbites they should stash away for 2016 in the likely event she is the Democratic candidate for president. A review of some of her recent statements reveals that Clinton is not just entitled, money-grubbing, unlikeable, unpleasant, and unaccomplished. Nor do they just show that she is a political dunce who has obviously learned nothing from her politically brilliant husband. More seriously, they expose her commitment to failed ideas and dangerous delusions.

First there was the “What difference at this point does it make!” she practically shrieked to Senator Ron Johnson during a January 2013 hearing on the Benghazi debacle that unfolded on September 11, 2012. Clinton had told the grieving parents of the victims during the transfer of remains ceremony at Andrews Air Force base that they died because of “an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.” Four Americans, including an ambassador, had been murdered on her watch, but she refused to explain to the Senate why she blamed the hapless maker of a YouTube video, who spent a year in jail.

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