Andrew’s New Blog At PJ Xpress!

I hope you’ll come by my Klavan on the Culture blog at Pajamas XPress.  I’ll continue to post articles and career news on this site.

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  • John Sheldon

    The legendary Jean Shepherd use to broadcast out of WOR radio in New York.  Do you know of whom I speak?  If so, do you have any Jean Shepherd stories to share?  

  • Dbundy

    I just watched a couple of your blogs on you-tube..( why are conservatives so mean?) And all I could see is propaganda written all over it . In favor of a conservative ideology of course. Starting out light and friendly . With a twist of logic here and there. (baiting the hook trying to reel in the right wing ideology) that is so biased and slanted. And totally inaccurate about what liberals are really about. Sorry But I can see right through the smoke screens and not buying into any of this self serving right wing rhetoric . Read most dictionaries and you’ll see how Liberal is defined, by comparison to conservative. .  Type in “narrow minded” in and the first word on the synonym side is conservative. And the further one searches bigotry .racism, prejudice, etc. all seems to go with what conservatives past and present has to offer.. Not so on the Liberal side. Because all definitions of a true liberal is just the opposite and would be contradictory. Most every die hard conservative I’ve ever met in my life have mostly been cocky arrogant, mean spirited, not to mention judgmental and unwilling to see or grasp another point of view.It’s their way or no way..So  conservatives are a mean lot. That’s all.   Cheers1!  Dominick

  • Alan

    I’m sorry to hear this. I won’t give page views to Simon. I hope you’ll consider mirroring your posts here as I really enjoy your work. Otherwise, thanks for everything.

  • Anonymous

    Pot calling the kettle black.  Oh, lets call criminals victims and lets call the victims criminals. 
    How do you tell the liberals in a movie theater?  They’re the ones rooting for the bad guys. 

  • Anonymous

    The last time  Republicans were on the right side of a moral issue was 1865.  Then Lincoln got shot…and the Republican Party lost its conscience, backbone, wit, humor, and morality, forever and ever.

  • Sohnman

     I think you mean 1965, you know while the Democrats were fighting equal rights. Keep believing he lie.

  • Sohnman

     I think you mean 1965, you know while the Democrats were fighting equal rights. Keep believing he lie.

  • Anonymous

    You display your ignorance, sir. Southern Democrats were reconstituted Confederates, who despised the Northern Republicans who had freed the slaves. 1968 saw the launch of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, which has resulted in a modern Republican Party, home to bigots, ignoramuses, and unrepentant Confederates.

  • JLanceCombs

    So, prior to 1968, the Republicans were a bunch of Northern Liberals and the Democrats were a bunch of Southern conservatives? You mean like Calvin Coolidge? Like Franklin D Roosevelt? Eisenhower was liberal? Kennedy was conservative?

    Besides…there was no “southern strategy”. Myth debunked:

    Republicans in American have always been on the right side of history and Democrats have always attempted to take credit for it, by rewriting history.

  • JLanceCombs
  • JLanceCombs

    The dictionary definition of conservative does not necessarily correspond to the political definition. A “conservative” stance in America, by the dictionary definition of the term, would be for more of the same, which has been a trend toward progressivism since the early 1900s. By that logic, progressives would be conservative and vice versa. Once upon a time, the center-right in America referred to themselves as liberal. The center-left mostly referred to themselves as progressive. The right picked up the term conservative in reaction to the left attempting to redefine the term “liberal”.

    Furthermore…”narrow-minded” must be a different dictionary. Mirriam-Webster says “tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions”. But even Webster separates into a political definition, though their definition is imperfect as the American status quo is toward greater government involvement and a robust welfare state, rather than “a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)”.

    Further information:

  • shagspur

    Oh, I see, you’re a liberal. That’s wonderful. And there is no white supremacy in America, nor misogyny. And all of those ignorant hateful racist rants that keep leaking out of Republican precincts is just a hallucination.
    As to the Southern Strategy, it has always been a wink and a nod to all of those imaginary white supremacists

    (I’ll never forget an old man telling me that no black quarterback could ever really succeed in the NFL).

  • JLanceCombs

    Did I say there were NO racists or bigots on the right? No, but you sure as hell implied that it was the secret to their success, while attempting to defend the claims of another who claimed that conservatives were ONLY a bunch of haters.

    I’m sorry if the facts and analysis doesn’t fit your preconceived narrative or your little anecdotes (here’s anecdotal evidence for my side, literally EVERY openly racist person I’ve ever met in my life has been a working-class pro union Democrat who complains about “n*ggers” taking their jobs.)

    Here’re the simple facts: Both parties promoted policies now considered moderately conservative. Dems used to be anti-bank but gold standard. Reps used to be pro-industry, but pro-federal reserve. Over the centuries a rift began to open between the two sides with one side being a little more pro-business and the other being a little more pro-government.

    This began with Andrew Jackson and his attempts to rule by executive order. In fact, Jackson’s administration paved the way for a president to be considered a “leader”, instead of a spokesman. His hatred of the banks began to lead the Dems down an anti-private-interest path, while a conservative movement by people like Daniel Webster began to oppose him.

    Later, the progressive movement took off in both parties, with Teddy Roosevelt being the first progressive president. Factions within both parties warred against the progressive upstarts. In the Republican party, the conservatives won and Roosevelt was the last progressive Republican president, with La Follette hanging on to the Republican mantle a little too long. In the Democrat party, Wilson ran as a conservative and then governed as a progressive, which clinched the Democrat party for the progressives, hence FDR later.

    During this FDR period, conservatism was gaining strength with the Republican party through the leadership of Robert Taft. This was the final battle between conservative Republicans and the moderate “Eastern” Republicans, led by Thomas Dewey. Thomas Dewey won this little battle, but it damaged the moderate/liberal movement within the party permanently and Taft’s faction won the soul of the Party.

    At this point, the Republican party become firmly conservative, but the Democratic party was still mostly moderate progressives (early progressivism would look like conservatism compared to today’s liberalism) until the Berkley student protests, inspired by professors imported from the “Frankfurt School”, which is just another name for Marxists. It was then that the young Democrats began to protest their own leaders, like super-statist LBJ, for being too “chauvinist” and too conservative. The Democrats began to court those protesting radicals and eventually assimilated them into their ranks.

    Since then, the ideologies of people like Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg has been branded as mainstream, while the ideologies of Daniel Webster and Robert Taft has been branded as extremism.

  • shagspur

    Thanks for the lecture. You left out that Wilson was a virulent white supremacist who hosted a showing of Birth of the Nation in the White House (The KKK were the heroes, you probably know).
    I don’t disagree with your list of historical currents…Look, Lord Cochrane entered Parliament as a reformer in 1806 and was crushed. He returned to Parliament 40 years later and said that all the liberal reforms he had fought for earlier were no being defended by the same conservatives who had fought him tooth and nail! (This from the man who was the model for both Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey. I assume you know your naval lit….these guys are very popular among most conservative men and a handful of liberals, too).
    The liberal progressive wing of the Republican Party was strong until 1968. Everett Dirkson, Hugh Scott, and Edward Brooks were three powerful liberal Republicans (and Brooks was a black man). For heavens sake, Martin Luther King was a registered Republican! But when Johnson signed civil rights into law in 1965 he knew the South was gone. And that was the direct antecedent to the southern strategy of 1968. I don’t care if some fact junky makes a case that it was a myth….t….the white supremacist Southern voting block is dead solid reality. Just check out both the polls, and the process of change that gave Virginia and North Carolina to Obama in 2008.
    By the way, I consider Barrack Obama to be the epitome of a truly conservative political thinker and Mitt Romney to be nothing at all.

  • JLanceCombs

    That’s a drastic change in tone from your earlier posts. In many ways, I can see Barack Obama as “conservative” if you mean that he promotes the status quo. If you mean, however, that he promotes ideologies that are often seen as aligned with the “conservative” political movement, you are mistaken. Conservatism, as it is today, has grown into what could be explained as a cocktail of the ideas of William F. Buckley Jr, Edmund Burke, and Milton Friedman. Granted, that is huge oversimplification, but the true scope of it would make a book. The same would be true of liberalism. But, simplifying that side, I could call it a mix of Sorel, Rousseau, John Dewey, and John Maynard Keynes.

    There is nothing like Burke, Buckley, or Friedman in Obama’s governance. Granted, there’s very little of them in Romney either, but Obama has plenty of Keynes in him. Never mind the Rousseau (hope and change), Dewey (his wife’s push for strict school lunch standards), Sorel (his claims that he did things he didn’t do, like call the Libya attacks terrorism).

    Romney, unfortunately (but much better than a Keynesian), is a pure pragmatist. There’s more William James in him than much else.

    This group that you keep referring to, though, as “conservative” that you think is all important for the Southern vote, is typically only conservative with regards to social policy and is more than willing to support Democrats in local elections when promised more government benefits. The true conservative political movement is much more complex than that.

    The same, however, can be said of the Democrat side. Many “liberal” voters aren’t truly liberal, but are simply blue collar workers who don’t really understand the issues any better than the under-educated Republican.

    Here are more facts regarding racism by political ideology.

    The study shows that neither party is overrun by racists and that both parties are represented by essentially the same amount (within margins of error). But, let me reiterate, the important data is that neither side is dominated by racists. Neither ideology is intrinsically racist, but I am of the personal opinion that such “hand-holding” policies as affirmative action ought to be seen as an insult to the minorities, whom are being treated as if they have to have someone else prop them up before they can succeed. But, then, understand that people on the left believe that my opposition to affirmative action (which I believe will only sow more division) is evidence that I don’t want minorities to succeed. The term, racism, has become so subjective over time that it has been rendered nearly meaningless.

    I would rather frame something like affirmative action in a practical sense. It may help some minorities in the short term, but not the minority group as a whole. It does not move the minorities out of the slums that have begun to dominate the life of many minorities.

    The only things that can do that is to treat all people like adults, reform anti-poverty programs to support upward mobility rather than the current practice of simply making poverty more comfortable, and reform education to engage minorities and encourage them to succeed (many fail simply from the belief that applying themselves would be a waste of time, believing the narrative that others give them that a) they aren’t smart enough or b) society won’t let them succeed anyway.)

  • shagspur

    You are very sensitive about racism. With good reason. White supremacy (Aryan supremacy) was a major element of Theodore Roosevelt’s political creed, and senators like Alfred Beveridge believed strongly in America’s Aryan destiny. That belief in Aryan supremacy fueled the takeover of the Philippines and Cuba, creating rage against Americans that still exists on both islands.Talk of Aryan supremacy permeated American political discourse like a plague at the turn of the 20th century. “Take up the white man’s burden…”
    You cannot have a serious discussion of American racism without facing our slave heritage head on, and sorry….that heritage is rooted in the South. You obviously take pride in your intellectual…ism….but I am unimpressed. Current American conservatism has nothing to do with Burke’s political philosophy, reasons which you must know and understand.
    The French Revolution followed by Bonaparte’s mania for world conquest led to English conservatism, designed to produce slow change just so that the British “Noble classes” wouldn’t follow their French brothers and sisters to the guillotine. It sort of reminds me of white plantation owners quaking in fear of Nat Turner and his slave rebellion.
    Obama is a proponent of slow change designed to reform a system which would otherwise collapse. If you think Obamacare is rapid change you are dreaming; it has been building since 1965 and it’s about time. Please consider: the American health insurance industry has been dependent on government support for fifty years. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA are government programs designed to protect the neediest, sickest and most helpless among us. If private health insurance had to take on the elderly without these supports, it would have collapsed of its own weight long ago. Why? Because radiation, chemotherapy, transplants, and designer drugs are expensive. How did this mess happen? By accident, mostly….because during WWII private insurance was a perk to attract rare trained workers in a full employment economy. But things were different in 1942. Why? Because in 1942 doctors still couldn’t cure anything except for malaria and appendicitis! We’re back to horses and bayonets, you see.
    Romney is not a pragmatist. He’s nothing because he’s everything even though he has never actually been anything but a poor little rich boy with delusions of grandeur. I knew too many boys like him during my undergrad Ivy experience, ten lifetimes ago. He is nothing but a tool of corporatists who have no more moral standing than any other general. What do I mean? Generals care NOTHING about the individual lives of their soldiers. Napoleon told the Austrians that he could spend 30,000 men a month. Robert E Lee destroyed his own army in a series of inept, insane frontal assaults, combined with unnecessary battles, just because he couldn’t resist a fight and had no strategic political sense whatsoever. (That’s a subject for a book and I could discuss it at great length, but not now).

    To tie all this together, Barrack Obama recognizes that the common people, the soldiers, have always hated and despised their generals. (In WWII, American soldiers hated Patton the most, because he spent their lives most recklessly indeed!) One essential problem in a modern society is that every new technology, though it may help many millions, will also kill many thousands in new and horrible ways.There is always a lag of twenty to a hundred years between the creation of the technology (cars) and the counter technology and laws to minimize loss of life (seat belts, seat belt laws, improved traffic exchanges, etc.) This is the war between regulation and safety on one side, and greedy CEOs on the other. I am not naive about the reality of how the elites really think. And I’m not paranoid, either. I know a woman was injured in a collision turning onto a local road. Within a month, the town had reengineered the turn and put in a traffic light, all at great expense, but in the financially responsible belief that $50,000 of street work is worth the potential of a million dollars of medical bills combined with a million dollars of lost income.

    I have never met an American “conservative” who can comprehend any of these arguments.Truly, I haven’t. But Barrack Obama is a true conservative pragmatist, absolutely in the Jamesian sense, and that’s why you should vote for him. *When a man sees a bear, does he run because he’s scared, or is he scared because he’s running? William James said it was because he was running. And that’s the way it is, I’m afraid.

  • 1WomanThinkTank

    Read Empire of Lies last summer. A Christian with his toes in the dirt of his origin just might reach other earthlings. It could happen.

  • 1WomanThinkTank

    Just saw you on Glenn Beck. About your unsanctified fiction: ya can’t desciple ‘em unless ya convert ‘em. Ya can’t convert ‘em unless you find ‘em. Ya cant fine’em until you go where they are. There are those who give up territory. There are those who defend territory. And there are those who TAKE IT BACK. You and I are called to take it back. Never stop.

  • Thundercleese

    You must be a conservative then.. that was pretty mean what you said about them. Besides the fact that your wrong and Andrew is spot on. Of course you don’t agree with him. Libs never understand facts when presented with them.