The passing of Nelson Mandela has been attended with the usual global encomia we have come
to expect from those political leaders who have become international celebrities. Sometimes these extravagant praises and out-sized mourning surpass any real achievement. It is hard to find any justification in Princess Diana’s life for the hyperbolic praise and hysteria that saturated her funeral rites. Many another “leader of his people” or “liberator” has after his death been bestowed with dubious qualities and achievements, while his crimes and flaws are airbrushed from the narrative. That’s why George Orwell famously counseled, “Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.”
Future historians may temper the current exalted judgment of Mandela, and there is much to remember as the world rushes to beatify him. His endorsement of communists and support for terrorists he made part of the struggle against apartheid should not be forgotten. Nor should be the victims of machete attacks and “necklacing,” the gruesome practice of putting around the victim’s neck a tire filled with gasoline and then igniting it, This form of lynching was a favorite of the African National Congress, of which Mandela was a member.
But after spending 27 years in prison, Mandela recognized on his release in 1990 the pragmatic reality that the dismantling of apartheid and the inclusion of the black majority in governing South Africa meant that the revolutionary justice of the sort that has ruined Zimbabwe, and the command economy beloved by Marxists, both were the road to just another form of injustice and ultimately failure. Continue reading “Nelson Mandela, Western Saint”→
What will history make so far of our five-year voyage with Barack Obama? What will it make of hope
and change — other than a sort of hysteria of 2008 that was a political version of the Pet Rock or the Cabbage Patch Doll derangement? Did we really experience faux-Greek columns and Latin mottoes (vero possumus) as Obama props to usher in the new order of the ages?
Adding straws of scandal — Fast and Furious, the Associated Press monitoring, the IRS fiasco, and the NSA spying — on any presidential back except Barack Obama’s would have long ago broken it. Watergate ruined Richard Nixon. Iran-Contra earned a special prosecutor and nearly destroyed the Reagan second term. Katrina’s incompetent local and state reactions, coupled with a tardy federal effort — and the insurgency in postwar Iraq — ended the viability of George W. Bush in his second term. Continue reading “Obama and the Suspension of Disbelief”→
A classical liberal was characteristically guided by disinterested logic and reason. He was open to gradual changes in society that were frowned upon by traditionalists in lockstep adherence to custom and protocol. The eight-hour work day, civil rights, and food- and drug-safety laws all grew out of classically liberal views. Government could press for moderate changes in the way society worked, within a conservative framework of revering the past, in order to pave the way for equality of opportunity in a safe and sane environment. Continue reading “Medieval Liberals”→
“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” — Barack
Obama, October 30, 2008
“We are going to have to change our conversation; we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history; we’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation.” — Michelle Obama, May 14, 2008
There certainly is no question that Barack Obama wants to change the United States. And there clearly is no doubt that such fundamental transformation is difficult, given our tripartite system of government — even though Obama entered office with large Democratic majorities in Continue reading “Obama: Transforming America”→
In the globally connected and affluent world of the 21st century, we thankfully have evolved a long way from the elemental poverty, hunger, and ethnic, religious, and racial hatred that were mostly the norm of the world until the last century.
Yet who would know of such progress — and the great sacrifices made to achieve it — from the howls of our postmodern oppressed? In fact, the better life has become, the more victimized modern affluent Westerners seem to act. Continue reading “Our Postmodern Angst”→
“Hey Victor well i cant say that im honored to write you this piece of which im sure youll not respond to it.
I was taken aback and rather disturbed by the puny little brain you have that thinks youre a credible scholar of history but i digress to say otherwise more like a child with a child like mentality of which people of your persuasion suffer mightily delusions of grandeur. Continue reading “Angry Reader #8 — “Angriest Reader””→
The trial of George Zimmerman is over, but the persecution of him by the race industry isn’t. The Department of Justice is currently combing through the case to find some pretext, no matter how specious, for charging Zimmerman with a violation of civil-rights laws. No matter that the FBI investigation has eliminated race as a factor in Zimmerman’s actions, or that the prosecutors in Florida studiously ignored race as a motive. Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the DOJ has become the Luca Brasi of the race industry, enforcing the self-serving, racialist narrative that in part propelled Holder’s boss into the White House. So don’t be surprised if the DOJ seizes the opportunity.