Sobran's -- The Real News of the Month January 2000 Volume 7, No. 1 Editor: Joe Sobran Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications) Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff Subscription Rates (print version): $59.95 per year; $100 for 2 years. Trial subscription available for $19.95 (5 issues). E-mail subscriptions: $75 per year. Payment should be made to The Vere Company. Address: Sobran's, P.O. Box 183, Vienna, VA 22183-1383 Fax: 703-281-6617 Publisher's Office: 703-255-2211 Foreign Subscriptions: Add $1.25 per issue for Canada and Mexico; all other foreign countries, add $1.75 per issue). Credit Card Orders: Call 1-800-493-3348. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of your first issue. The columns on pages 7-12 are reprinted with permission of the Griffin Internet Syndicate THE MOVING PICTURE (pages 1-2) George Double-U Bush remains the front-runner among the countless (they are as the sands of the seashore) Republican presidential candidates, despite several signs that he has inherited a good deal of George H.W. Bush's slight goofiness. Needless to say, he appears never to have heard of the U.S. Constitution. Not that this separates him from the rest of the pack. * * * In the first Republican "debate" in New Hampshire, Steve Forbes accused Bush of planning to raise the age requirement for Social Security benefits. In reply, Bush quoted Forbes's own statement that the age requirement should be raised. Forbes retorted that he'd written that proposal more than 20 years ago. Neither mentioned that the Social Security program is not only unsound but unconstitutional. The best Republican, as it appears, is he who would most vigorously preserve entitlement programs passed by the Democrats of yore. And the competition is fierce. * * * The media prefer the blunt, "straight-shooting" John McCain to Bush. Why? Because McCain has given even stronger signals than Bush that he won't oppose legal abortion. And because he favors campaign finance "reform," meaning limits on the amount of money candidates may spend reaching the voters -- a "reform" which, by curbing the equalizing power of money, would not only strengthen incumbents against their challengers, but magnify the unlimited power of the media as a factor in elections. * * * I recall a news item about an indignant middle- class Frenchwoman some years ago, during the presidency of the Socialist Francois Mitterand. "Mitterand told us he was going to tax the rich," she complained. "Now he tells us that we are the rich!" It's called the "slippery slope," madame. If you set fire to your neighbor's house, the flames may spread to your own home. And once you support violations of your neighbor's rights, your own rights may become the next target. * * * Odd that those who see a "slippery slope" in censorship ("If we ban pornography, we may wind up banning ULYSSES!") rarely foresee any danger in giving the state the power to take our income. Considering the way the average taxpayer is now looted at rates originally aimed at "the rich," the wonder is that the Sixteenth Amendment hasn't gone the way of the Eighteenth. Of course Prohibition was repealed in large part so that the states could tax liquor along with everything else; the Twenty-First Amendment was by no means an unambiguous victory for liberty. * * * Allow me to remind you that the first priority of the Constitution Party would be the abolition of the personal income tax. The Phillips-Sobran administration won't settle for "supply-side" half-measures, which have only enabled the federal government to increase its revenues and more than double its spending since 1982. The feds could finance their legitimate constitutional powers with a small fraction of their current booty. * * * The first federal budget was about $4 million; in the 1830s, it reached $35 million (and ran surpluses!). It didn't reach $1 billion until World War I; today, in peacetime, it approaches $2 *trillion,* with a debt more than double that amount. A child born this morning will pay $100,000 in taxes (i.e., one- fortieth of the first budget for the entire country!) just on the interest on the federal debt, even if every federal budget is balanced from now on. In what sense is a child who comes into the world owing $100,000 born "free"? * * * Hillary Clinton continues to flounder in New York. She has announced her *intention* to run for the U.S. Senate, but she hasn't yet announced that she is *actually* running, thus leaving herself a Clintonian loophole if she drops out. In the meantime she's campaigning on the weariest sort of liberal boilerplate, attacking her likely opponent, New York City's Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for ordering the arrests of "homeless people" after a street thug put a young woman in a coma with a brick to the skull. Said Hillary: "Our political leaders must be judged on how they treat everyone, including the least fortunate." In Hillary's compassionate reckoning, the homeless, not the girl with the smashed skull, are "the least fortunate." * * * Hillary also noted that Christmas celebrated "the birth of a homeless child." Wrong again. Joseph and Mary had a home in Nazareth, but had to go to Bethlehem (where the rooms were all taken) at the order of Caesar Augustus, who was taxing the entire Roman Empire. Hillary and her hubby have more in common with Augustus than with the Holy Family, but at least she has the guts to refer to the New Testament in New York. * * * A Jewish columnist in the DETROIT NEWS complains that at Hillsdale College, most students are "white and Christian." It's okay for Jews to say a little college is disproportionately Christian; but it would be anti-Semitic for a Christian to suggest that the media, Hollywood, the law schools, and the medical profession are disproportionately Jewish. * * * I'm so weary of hearing Jesse Jackson referred to as a "civil rights leader." He is in fact a racial partisan (not that there's anything wrong with racial partisans -- unless, of course, they are white) who wants to abridge white people's freedoms, chiefly the freedom of association. The more he succeeds, the fewer civil rights we actually retain. * * * In abnormal times, normal things have to be given invidious new names. We now have a special term for the shrinking breed of normal human beings: "Clinton- haters." * * * (THE FOLLOWING MOVING PICTURE ITEMS ARE EXCLUSIVE TO THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF SOBRAN'S MOVING PICTURE) Maryland's indictment of Linda Tripp for illegally taping her girl-chats with Monica Lewinsky shows the need for a new federal program: a witness protection plan for those who supply evidence of Bill Clinton's crimes. * * * Speaking of which, Al Gore was asked in New Hampshire whether he believed Clinton had raped Juanita Broaddrick. Any previous vice president (supposing the question could have arisen about any previous president) would have bellowed an indignant denial. Gore, however, stammered a long, noncommittal answer and spoke of "mistakes [Clinton] made in his personal life." Get that: if your state's attorney general rapes a woman, he's just making a mistake in his personal life. Created Equal (pages 3-6) The United States was founded in the republican conviction that heredity shouldn't be destiny. This doctrine has many ramifications, not all of them strictly logical or mutually consistent. The Declaration of Independence declares that all men are created equal; the Constitution forbids titles of nobility; it eventually outlawed chattel slavery; "civil rights" has come to mean that even private employers must not hire according to ethnic criteria; racial prejudice, "racism," has become a social taboo; and even generalizations about ethnic groups are frowned on (unless they flatter the "contributions" of this or that group). The only trait it's now safe to ascribe to whole races is victimhood. And yet common sense tells us that groups and nations do have distinct characters, with characteristic vices as well as virtues. When we aren't on our guard against the thought police, we may discuss such things freely. American individualism is balanced by the earthy sociology of stereotypes, which, as the great sociologist John Murray Cuddihy assures us, "are more or less accurate." Obviously what is true of the group may not apply to this or that member, but the group still has its own habits and ways, maybe even its own culture (or "subculture," to use a word my generation learned in college). The individual may show the group's traits for the same reason he speaks in the accents of his native place: from early childhood he imitates those around him, often without even realizing it. How does a group get a reputation that lasts over centuries? Is any such reputation a "prejudice"? A "prejudice" need not be a prejudgment; it may be the settled conclusion of long experience. In Europe Jews and gypsies were unpopular for centuries. Many Jews blame this fact, which they call "anti-Semitism," on Christianity, which they consider superstition, thereby denying any empirical foundation to the gentiles' distrust. The word "anti-Semitism" itself implies that all frictions between Jews and gentiles must be blamed on the gentiles. Hence the campaign to tar Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church as "anti-Semitic." But the slang words "jew" and "gyp" tell another story: the bad reputations of both groups have less to do with religion than with practical experience and word-of-mouth tradition. Notice that the unpopularity of such groups has more to do with distrust than with simple hatred. The verbs "jew" and "gyp" imply sharp dealing and low ethics. The Middle East bears witness that the Jews may be unpopular even where most of the population is non-Christian. They haven't endeared themselves to Muslim Arabs; just as they were unpopular in the ancient pagan world. As a matter of fact, most of the world's Jews have chosen to live in Christian countries. Would they have done so if Christians were always hostile to Jews? Majority populations sometimes explode in violence against these minorities, but that has always been the exception. And of course our ethnic etiquette forbids us to ask the obvious question: Have the minorities ever done anything to exasperate the majority? A government can launch a hate campaign and excite the population to violence; this sort of top-down hatred has been a frequent feature of modern states. But most prejudices aren't created by official doctrines; they result from popular experience and the slow spreading of a group's reputation. The first gypsy I ever met -- on a street in Rome -- grabbed a wad of money out of my hand. I'd been too naive to be wary of her, though my companions had warned me against her. Hilaire Belloc's book THE JEWS, published in 1922, should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand what used to be frankly called (even by Jews) "the Jewish problem." Belloc addressed the problem from the Christian point of view, but he did it in an even- handed way, acknowledging that the vices of the Jews are often the obverse of their virtues. He wrote at a time when "Jewish Bolshevism," based in Russia, menaced Christendom. The Jewish Communists in every country seemed to embody, in extreme form, every bad trait ascribed to the Jews: hatred of the majority and its religion, duplicity, materialism, lust for power. The Jews' long survival is often called "miraculous." It would seem so -- literally. Judaism is based on divine revelation, and the highly tribal and patriarchal Mosaic law, so contrary to every precept of modern liberalism, has created a race of people who have refused assimilation to their surrounding populations over many centuries. Moreover, the Jews have preserved as their holy books (which Christians call the "Old Testament") writings which portray them in a very unfavorable light. They repeatedly stray from the Law and God has to keep rebuking the "stiff-necked people" and punishing them with terrible severity, even allowing their enemies to conquer them. In all this the Jews are in striking contrast to the ancient Romans, for example, who glorified themselves and developed a self-congratulatory mythology (as in Virgil's AENEID). Today the mighty Roman Empire is long gone; the Jews are still here, thanks in large part to their capacity for spiritual self-criticism. "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." The Jews, to their glory, took his chastenings to heart. Jews who adhere to their religion also believe that moral laws are as objective as physical laws. Their moral sense is stern, vigorous, and realistic, without the sentimental Christian tendency to turn morality into mush, with every sinner getting an infinite number of second chances. In that respect, early Christianity was much closer to Judaism than to modern watered-down Christianity. Of course most Jews no longer believe in Judaism; many are hostile to any religion, including their own. In substituting Zionism for Judaism they have adopted a self-exalting modern nationalism, rejecting all criticism as "anti-Semitism." The state of Israel practices every form of discrimination against non-Jews that secularized Jews reject when they are a minority anywhere else in the world. But this obvious fact is mentioned publicly at one's own risk. The idea of the Chosen People is separated both from the Mosaic Law and from any sense of a transcendent mission to the goyim -- "the nations." And Zionist jingoism, forever casting Jews as innocent victims, has taken its toll on the ancient Jewish capacity for rigorous self-criticism. Just as gentile criticism of Jews has become "anti-Semitism," Jewish self-criticism has become "self-hatred." Modern Jewry violently resented the 1975 United Nations declaration (later rescinded) that Zionism is "a form of racism and racial discrimination," but that is what Jews would rightly call any state based on similar laws consigning Jews to inferior status. Israeli laws on intermarriage and residence (92 per cent of the land of Israel is for Jewish residence only) recall Southern Jim Crow laws and Germany's Nuremberg laws. But only a few bold critics have pointed out this double standard. Actually, it goes beyond normal double standards: it's the application of standards that are directly *opposite* to those the modern, more or less "liberal" Jews insist on elsewhere. "Israel's right to exist" really means the right of Jews to dominate non-Jews. That is the foundation -- the virtual constitution -- of the Jewish state, and Jewish courts have ruled that non-Jews may not claim the same rights as Jews. Under the "right of return," any Jew in the world may "return" to Israel (even if none of his ancestors ever lived there) and immediately claim rights denied to Palestinians whose ancestors have lived there for untold centuries. Such facts, along with Israel's heavy dependence on American aid, confirm the very stereotypes Jews constantly protest: of Jews as duplicitous "parasites" who recognize no moral obligations of Jews toward gentiles. So do Israeli espionage and technology theft against this country. The convicted spy Jonathan Pollard is widely celebrated as a national hero in Israel. And yet we are told, not only by Jews but by our own native prostitute politicians, that Israel is our "reliable ally" as well as a model of "democracy." Before Zionism seemed to have any prospect of success, many Jews thought Communism was "good for the Jews." Of course they also insisted that Communism was good for "the proletariat." Russia under the tsars didn't have much of a proletariat, but when it became the Soviet Union it was transformed into "the workers' paradise." Until the heroic Alexander Solzhenitsyn published his great trilogy, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, in the 1970s (excerpts of which, be it noted, were carried in the NEW YORK TIMES under its Zionist editor Abe Rosenthal), the heavily-Jewish U.S. liberal media still maintained that the Russian people were far better off under Communism than under the despotic tsars. In Germany, especially after Jewish-led Communist insurrections there and in Hungary and Romania, Hitler could argue plausibly that Soviet Communism showed what the Jews meant to do to other countries. Traditional suspicion was easily raised to a hysteria that found persecution not only permissible, but prudent. In America, Father Charles Coughlin, the radio priest, warned of Jewish Bolshevism too, cataloguing the real Jewish names of the Soviet ruling circles and accusing the Soviet regime of murdering 20 million Christians (a figure that later turned out to be far too low, according to Solzhenitsyn and others). Nevertheless, Stalin enjoyed widespread support from Jews around the world, even after his bloody purge of most Jewish members of the Soviet hierarchy. Is there a "Jewish problem" in the United States today? In the media age, Jews prevail in the media -- in television news, punditry, major newspapers, and Hollywood entertainment. They also constitute a powerful lobby, devoted to a range of liberal causes: feminism, "civil rights," legal abortion, banning religion from public places -- whatever seems to irritate the Christian population. Many ethnic Jews (as well as many nominal but effectively apostate Christians) still carry what might be called the Bolshevik gene code. But Jews are so powerful in this country that any mention of the Jewish angle in liberalism is taboo, whereas the interests of "the Christian Right" are freely reported, often with scornful overtones. As I have reason to know, a journalist may endanger his career by discussing Jewish interests in any light except a highly favorable one. An especially vivid illustration is provided by the media's concerted hate campaign against Pat Buchanan. Jewish power is such that even Jews in the media are themselves afraid of it. To some extent this is merely the result of the Jews' success in a free society. They have enormous wealth and power, but they also have enormous talent and determination. They are "overachievers" from the cradle, and if there is one trait they surely have, it's the ability to focus on a long-term purpose. Despite an occasional Sandy Koufax, Jews are notoriously unathletic; but not necessarily because they lack physical ability. The chief reason is that they are serious. As the great Jewish polemicist Maurice Samuel explained, Jews have a general contempt for sports and games and don't waste their time on these gentile frivolities. Try to imagine a Jewish couch potato sitting in front of the television with a six-pack watching three football games in a row! It's hard to picture. But their seriousness also shows in their vindictiveness. People who don't hate the Jews are nevertheless afraid of them, afraid of crossing them. Believing the mythology of their own eternal victimhood, the Jews (by and large) feel that criticism of them means persecution, and they are quick to paint swastikas on their critics. Given their inordinate power in the media, this means that the general public hears very little criticism of them, even when they deserve it. It amounts to private censorship. Jewish power inhibits free speech even when the press is absolutely free from government control. Of course the Jews are only exercising their rights as property owners when they bar their critics from their networks and newspapers, but the result is still a severe curtailment of full public discussion. The news media not only inform, but "disinform" the public by suppressing both facts themselves and comment on those facts. The general public has become accustomed to judging everything from a Jewish point of view. This is most striking -- to me, anyway -- in the constant harping on World War II, which has long since ceased revolving around Pearl Harbor and Japan and now centers obsessively on the "Holocaust" -- a word never used during the war itself. We are taught that it is good that the United States won, because Hitler was destroyed. In fact, the real victor was Stalin, who quickly took ten Christian countries under Communist rule; but since Communism enjoyed a good deal of Jewish support and most of its victims were Christians, its role in the war is barely acknowledged. Even Jewish anti-Communists (of whom there are now many) say next to nothing about the savage Communist persecution of Christians. In contrast to the endless hunt for old Nazis, there has been no campaign to find and punish aging Communist criminals, or to exact reparations for the cruelty and suffering they inflicted. Until recently, Jews passionately supported (and, to a large extent, controlled) the "civil rights movement," which was really a socialist campaign to extend the power of centralized government over private individuals and institutions. The unadmitted premise of the movement, ironically enough, was white supremacy and black inferiority. It was assumed that black children couldn't get a proper education in segregated schools; only if they sat in classrooms with whites could they become achievers. But public schools, once integrated, didn't remain integrated long; whites fled as soon as they could. Again, the alleged reason was "prejudice" -- or what Bill Clinton would homiletically call "fear of those who are different," as in "the color of their skin." But whites weren't afraid of skin pigment; they were afraid of violence. They went to great lengths and great expense to escape it. Even liberals notoriously put their children in safe, i.e., mostly white, schools. If sheer, irrational racial prejudice motivated "white flight" from black-dominated cities, it should also have made whites equally fearful of Orientals and other nonwhites. There is an obvious difference between defensive and aggressive prejudices -- a distinction liberalism doesn't acknowledge. When one group sees another group as threatening and is actually willing to pay a high price to avoid close contact with it, the prejudice would seem to have at least some foundation. The liberal response to this market judgment is to outlaw the market, making contact compulsory, without asking why such a policy is necessary. When such policies fail, liberals conclude that even more drastic policies must be imposed. Even today, black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson appear to be white supremacists. Jackson admits that blacks pose a certain crime problem; he once confessed that when he hears footsteps behind him on a dark street, he is relieved if he turns and sees a white man. The huge disparity between interracial crime committed by blacks and that committed by whites -- the ratio is about 50 to 1 -- causes no comment; a violent crime committed by a white against a black makes national headlines. The forbidden prejudice against blacks makes its appearance indirectly, in the low expectations everyone has of blacks (contrast the high expectations of Jews). Jackson and others, in making demands on whites, always imply that blacks are incapable of achievement on their own, outside the areas of sports, entertainment, and the performing arts; they can't even envision blacks as creators, inventors, innovators. They can see them only as recipients of white largess, cogs in the white man's economic machinery. Though they complain about the injustice of casting the black man in menial roles in the white man's world, they seem unable to conceive him as a builder of civilizations. Jackson and his ilk may not realize it, but they constantly reinforce the idea that blacks aren't even capable of moral responsibility. By blaming the white man for everything, they teach that only the white man is morally autonomous, and that blacks can be only what the white man chooses to make them. The white man becomes the Superman -- the black man's excuse for failure. Whatever Jackson's words say, this is what his actions mean. Nor do many others seem to disagree. As Bernard Shaw remarked, a man's deepest beliefs are to be inferred not from the creed he professes, but from the assumptions on which he habitually acts. Outside of sports -- where the black man is as secure in his domain as the Jew in his -- most of the blacks who are celebrated for their "achievements" are political. That is what black "leaders" do: they fight to enlarge the power of the state, narrowing the white man's freedom and taking his money for racial purposes. The state is of course a coercive and parasitic institution, creating and producing nothing, dispensing to some only what it takes from others -- "organized plunder," as Bastiat called it. Success in politics is nothing to be proud of. Demands for "reparations" for blacks, for the "lingering effects" of slavery, overlook the fact that slavery is the one institution this country ever imported from Africa. Moreover, when slavery came here it was far more humane than the African kind: American slaves weren't mutilated or castrated as in the African "homeland." Since black leaders sentimentalize Africa (they now want to be called "African-Americans"), no reparations are demanded of the descendants of African slave merchants, while American whites are assigned total responsibility for the problems of today's blacks. Nobody should be surprised if disreputable "stereotypes" continue to persist, since they often have the unintended but implicit sanction of the very people who deplore them. But a stereotype of any group is by its nature based on an external and usually unsympathetic view of that group. Despite liberal denials, the stereotype has some empirical validity; but it overlooks the internal life of the group -- the variety, divisions, and arguments that make it impossible for the group to be monolithic. Every group bound by a set of traditions is also riven by bitterly conflicting interpretations of its traditions. Its members, keenly conscious of this, may justifiably feel that its critics don't really understand the complications that underlie the behavior that outsiders find objectionable. By the same token, minorities have their own prejudices and stereotypes, also with some basis in experience of majority behavior. The success of so many black and Jewish comedians is largely due to their perspective as members of outnumbered and culturally overwhelmed races who have kept their ability to see the absurdities of which members of the majority are unconscious. It's a happy comment on human nature that the majority itself often finds such caricatures of itself hilarious. Of course stereotypes can also be favorable, respectful, and even affectionate. Jews are universally respected for their intelligence, and Jewish celebrities are often loved precisely for the qualities that make them seem "Jewish." Blacks in movies were often portrayed as earthy, warm, dignified, and wise, at least until fashion decided that benevolence toward whites was Uncle Tommish, with "black pride" prescribing an attitude of rancor and menace. Most whites still see Orientals as polite and industrious. The Irish and Italians, formerly typed as drunks and mafiosi, are now the subjects of benign stereotypes. Yet in their day, the old stereotypes probably had their measure of truth and utility. According to Bill Clinton's mantra, "Diversity is our greatest strength." Though Clinton has made a career of pandering to minorities (including sexual deviants), it is still true that we should delight in human variety. But there are limits; society also needs unity and an orthodoxy more solid than liberal bromides. Boxed Copy HONEST AL: Recognizing my limitations, I usually refrain from attempting art criticism; but when some innocent billionaire shells out $49.5 million for a Picasso, it's time for common sense to roll up its sleeves and assert itself. To say that Picasso remains one of the greatest frauds of the century (especially now that Freud is fading) is not so much art criticism as sartorial criticism of the emperor. A far superior artist, to name only one, is the peerless caricaturist Al Hirschfeld of the NEW YORK TIMES, better than ever in his nineties, who can capture a face with the simplest and strongest of lines. In fact, he can make you feel you recognize a face even if you've never seen it before. That's genius. How ironic that Hirschfeld should be featured in the Picasso-worshipping TIMES! (page 9) WELL? A year ago the Democrats admitted that Clinton had committed crimes but denied that these "rose to the level of impeachable offenses." They also denied that they were putting him above the law; after he left office, they pointed out, he could -- and should! -- answer for his deeds in a criminal court. Anyone want to bet he'll be tried? (page 10) MISSING PERSONS: The anti-Communist but Zionist columnist Charles Krauthammer praises "heroic dissidents like Natan Sharansky and Vaclev Havel and Lech Walesa" for their brave protests against Communism. He's right, but note that he begins his list with Sharansky, now a right-wing Zionist in Israel, and somehow omits the greatest of Christian dissidents: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose trilogy, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, written at great personal risk, was the literary earthquake of the century. Was this omission accidental? Or does Krauthammer resent the fact that the Russian Christian -- who estimated that the Soviets had murdered 50 million people -- knocked the Holocaust off the front page of history? (page 11) Reprinted columns (pages 7-12) * Score One for Jesse (October 28, 1999) http://www.sobran.com/columns/991028.shtml * In Defense of Microsoft (November 9, 1999) http://www.sobran.com/columns/991109.shtml * Tragedy in Paradise (November 11, 1999) http://www.sobran.com/columns/991111.shtml * Hillsdale: The Moral (November 16, 1999) http://www.sobran.com/columns/991116.shtml * The "General Welfare" (November 23, 1999) http://www.sobran.com/columns/991123.shtml * Giving Away the Game (November 25, 1999) http://www.sobran.com/columns/991125.shtml All articles are written by Joe Sobran This publication is for private use only. Copyright (c) 2000 by The Vere Company. All rights reserved. Distributed with permission by the Griffin Internet Syndicate (firstname.lastname@example.org).