Greeks reject austerity

The economy of Greece has been a basket case, with a national debt that is more than the gross national product, leading to a European Union bailout that has imposed an “austerity” program of slashed government spending, higher taxes, and lower wages.  But now the Greeks have voted to end the austerity, going so far as to elect a communist as Prime Minister who is demanding that Germany forgive its debts. [Read more...]

The tea party of the left

According to Dana Milbank, a tea party of the left is emerging, with liberal purists turning against Democrats in Name Only. [Read more...]

LBJ is back in favor

How the left hated Lyndon Baines Johnson back when I was in college!  “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?”  A version of MacbethMacbird, I believe was the title–accused him of killing Kennedy among other vile deeds.   He was hated because he waged the Vietnam War.  And yet  LBJ was the most liberal president in the post-war era, having passed more social programs than just about anyone since FDR, including the Civil Rights Bill, the various measures that constituted the  War on Poverty, and the ambitious government initiatives designed to create the Great Society.

But now LBJ is back in fashion among Democrats and others on the left, nostalgic for the way he could pass social programs. [Read more...]

The new left’s doctrine of “repressive tolerance”

It has long been observed that advocates of tolerance can be quite  intolerant when it comes to those who do not share their beliefs.  But I stumbled upon these quotations from Herbert Marcuse, hailed as “the Father of the New Left,” who was the author of “Repressive Tolerance” (1965).  He teaches that the establishment of a “liberating tolerance” will require the repression of certain people and points of view. [Read more...]

Banning Dante

One of the greatest works of literature ever written, Dante’s Divine Comedy, is attracting the attention of censors:

The classic work should be removed from school curricula, according to Gherush 92, a human rights organisation which acts as a consultant to UN bodies on racism and discrimination.

Dante’s epic is “offensive and discriminatory” and has no place in a modern classroom, said Valentina Sereni, the group’s president. . . .

It represents Islam as a heresy and Mohammed as a schismatic and refers to Jews as greedy, scheming moneylenders and traitors, Miss Sereni told the Adnkronos news agency.

“The Prophet Mohammed was subjected to a horrific punishment – his body was split from end to end so that his entrails dangled out, an image that offends Islamic culture,” she said.

Homosexuals are damned by the work as being “against nature” and condemned to an eternal rain of fire in Hell.

“We do not advocate censorship or the burning of books, but we would like it acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Divine Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic content. Art cannot be above criticism,” Miss Sereni said.

Schoolchildren and university students who studied the work lacked “the filters” to appreciate its historical context and were being fed a poisonous diet of anti-Semitism and racism, the group said.

It called for the Divine Comedy to be removed from schools and universities or at least have its more offensive sections fully explained.

via Dante’s Divine Comedy ‘offensive and should be banned’ – Telegraph.

Dante has already disappeared from a number of college courses for these very reasons.  It’s odd that conservatives are often accused of censorship–for objecting to pornography and the like–but the ones who want to censor actual ideas and great works of literature are more often from the Left.  (See Gherush 92′s website.)  And, as Milton pointed out, the book that is most censored of them all–even today–is the Bible.

HT:  Shane Ayer

When leftists want civilians to be like the military

Civilian society is not supposed to be like the military, though making it that way is the leftist’s dream.  So says George Will:

Obama, an unfettered executive wielding a swollen state, began and ended his [State of the Union] address by celebrating the armed forces. They are not “consumed with personal ambition,” they “work together” and “focus on the mission at hand” and do not “obsess over their differences.” Americans should emulate troops “marching into battle,” who “rise or fall as one unit.”

Well. The armed services’ ethos, although noble, is not a template for civilian society, unless the aspiration is to extinguish politics. People marching in serried ranks, fused into a solid mass by the heat of martial ardor, proceeding in lock step, shoulder to shoulder, obedient to orders from a commanding officer — this is a recurring dream of progressives eager to dispense with tiresome persuasion and untidy dissension in a free, tumultuous society.

Progressive presidents use martial language as a way of encouraging Americans to confuse civilian politics with military exertions, thereby circumventing an impediment to progressive aspirations — the Constitution and the patience it demands. As a young professor, Woodrow Wilson had lamented that America’s political parties “are like armies without officers.” The most theoretically inclined of progressive politicians, Wilson was the first president to criticize America’s founding. This he did thoroughly, rejecting the Madisonian system of checks and balances — the separation of powers, a crucial component of limited government — because it makes a government that cannot be wielded efficiently by a strong executive. . . .

In his first inaugural address, FDR demanded “broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” He said Americans must “move as a trained and loyal army” with “a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.” The next day, addressing the American Legion, Roosevelt said it was “a mistake to assume that the virtues of war differ essentially from the virtues of peace.” In such a time, dissent is disloyalty.

via Obama follows the progressive president’s model of martial language – The Washington Post.


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