The downfall of movie studio executive Harvey Weinstein following articles earlier this month in The New Yorker and the New York Times alleging sexual assault and harassment not only demonstrates Hollywood’s hypocrisy, though it certainly does that. What’s happened in the two weeks since the Weinstein claims first emerged has major, possibly ominous, implications for due process, free exercise of speech and the press, and moviemaking.
…Harvey Weinstein’s fast, epic downfall makes faster the fusion of the New Left’s and conservatives’ political agenda. The result is likely to be accelerated momentum toward a common, sinister goal: total government control of the arts, starting with movies.
In a statement, the Academy celebrated its expulsion of Oscar-winning Harvey Weinstein by boasting that he was rejected by a vote “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority.” The Academy, which has initiated no action against members accused of serial rape and sued for sexual assault (Cosby), convicted of drunk driving before lashing out against Jews, gays and women and pleaded no contest to a charge of battery against an ex-girlfriend (Gibson) and those who plead guilty to a sex crime involving a 13-year-old girl (Polanski, who fled the country), added that they expelled Weinstein “to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”
Cautioning against jumping to conclusions about Harvey Weinstein fell to film director Woody Allen — who, incidentally, has been offered membership in Hollywood’s academy and refused — who warned that Hollywood’s and New York’s purge “could lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either.”
Energy philosopher Alex Epstein, author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, challenges conventional wisdom about the fossil fuel industry and argues that if we look carefully at the positives and negatives of all our energy alternatives, we have a moral obligation to use more fossil fuels, not less.
…some of the [Alt-Right] groups that marched evince a hostility to neoliberal capitalism, which is equal to that of the most ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders, the leftwing populist who mounted a vigorous challenge to Hillary Clinton during last year’s Democratic primaries – although for the far right it comes inextricably linked to a virulent racism. Many also support the enhancement of the welfare state.
For example, those marching under the red and blue banners of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) have signed up to a manifesto that supports a living wage, sweeping improvements in healthcare, an end to sales taxes on “things of life’s necessity” and “land reform” for “affordable housing”.
An establishing principle in the document written by their leader, Jeff Schoep, is that the state “shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens”. It calls for “the nationalisation of all businesses which have been formed into corporations”.
The manifesto of Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party calls for “opportunities for workers to have jobs with justice”. And in a manifesto issued on the day of the Charlottesville march, the noted far-right figurehead Richard Spencer wrote that “the interests of businessmen and global merchants should never take precedence over the wellbeing of workers, families, and the natural world”.
Spencer has previously spoken out – including at the American Renaissance conference, a gathering of far-right activists in Nashville in July – in favour of “single payer” universal healthcare.
At the conference, Spencer gave Trump just three out of 10 when invited to rate him – because he was “too focused on the Republican agenda” of tax cuts and dismantling Obamacare.
These critiques of capitalism and mainstream conservatism are key to the socialist element of national socialism. Observers of the far right argue that understanding this is essential to demystifying the far right’s appeal, especially to the alienated millennial men currently swelling its ranks.
In Charlottesville, Antifa engaged in street violence with the alt-right racists. As in Weimar, Germany, fascists flying the swastika engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Antifa members flying the communist red. And yet, the media declared that any negative coverage granted to Antifa would detract from the obvious evils of the alt-right. Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times tweeted in the midst of the violence, “The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park.” After receiving blowback from the left, Stolberg then corrected herself. She said: “Rethinking this. Should have said violent, not hate-filled. They were standing up to hate.”
Or perhaps Antifa is a hateful group itself. But that wouldn’t fit the convenient narrative Antifa promotes and the media buy: that the sole threat to the republic comes from the racist right. Perhaps that’s why the media ignored the events in Sacramento and Berkeley and Seattle — to point out the evils of Antifa might detract from the evils of the alt-right. That sort of biased coverage only engenders more militancy from the alt-right, which feels it must demonstrate openly and repeatedly to “stand up to Antifa.” Which, of course, prompts Antifa to violence.
Here’s the moral solution, as always: Condemn violence and evil wherever it occurs. The racist philosophy of the alt-right is evil. The violence of the alt-right is evil. The communist philosophy of Antifa is evil. So is the violence of Antifa. If we are to survive as a republic, we must call out Nazis but not punch them; we must stop providing cover to anarchists and communists who seek to hide behind self-proclaimed righteousness to participate in violence.
Dr. Richard Salsman, visiting assistant professor at Duke University, discusses misperceptions about Alexander Hamilton’s political philosophy. Salsman offered these comments during an interview for Carolina Journal Radio Program No. 723.