Identity Politics and Mob Madness

When controversy erupted last weekend over President Trump’s incendiary tweets, the ensuing furor focused on the issue of racism. This has been unfortunate since it has obscured the real elephant in the room, which is identity politics. The Left cannot offer a substantive critique of Trump’s use of identity politics, seeing that identity politics forms such an integral part of their own ideology. Hence, all they can do is just keep repeating the charge of racism.

But it doesn’t really work. After all, if the president had told a white person of Russian ancestry to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” few would imagine that this revealed an incipient racism against whites. However, because the congresswomen that Trump singled out happened to be non-whites, everyone is ready to assume that he must have been motivated by racist impulses.

This is not to excuse the President. Something far more sinister and subtle than racism is happening here. Trump’s use of identity politics is truly demonic and threatens the integrity of our nation.

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The Robin & Boom Show #11 – Mueller Report and EU Elections

Jason asks Robin about Trump; Robin asks Jason about the EU. Robin suggests that the full impact of the Mueller Report has been eclipsed by left-wing overreach. President Trump is neither Jesus nor Hitler, but he has been creating new norms by pushing the envelope. This episode also features a discussion of the European Union in light of the May 2019 elections. In this show you will learn about the changing climate of European politics, as well as the difference between Europe, the EU, and the Euro.

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The Robin & Boom Show #10 – C. Derick Varn on Higher Education and Cheating

Jason Van Boom interviews author and educator, C. Derick Varn, about the with the college admissions bribery scandal, and what this tells us about trends in higher education today. How does modern education compare to the medieval university? Is there value in elite education? What is a meritocracy? What does it mean for a student to teach himself? How has our system of university degrees developed since the Middle Ages, and is it still viable? These are some of the many questions addressed in this episode.

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The Robin & Boom Show #09 – Conversation with Steven Schloeder on Ecclesiastical and Civic Architecture

What do recent developments in the rebuilding of Notre Dame cathedral tell us about trends in ecclesiastical and civic architecture? How does the sacramental understanding of architecture compare with modern architectural designs, including the proposal to rebuild the spire of Notre Dame cathedral along postmodernist lines? Jason Van Boom discusses these questions with architect and theologian Steven Schloeder. In this conversation they compared contemporary attitudes towards design with medieval understandings, looking at how these competing attitudes reveal a clash in what it means to be human. Van Boom and Schloeder also explored some of the symbolism of Catholic and Orthodox church structures, and what this tells us about God’s relationship to mankind.

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The Robin & Boom Show #07 – Interview with Dr. David Wang on Notre-Dame Cathedral (Part 2)

In this second interview with Dr. David Wang, we continue to learn about Notre-Dame Cathedral and the significance of the recent fire. Dr. Wang explains how Notre-Dame cathedral is an incarnation of a sacramental ordering of the world, a way of looking at creation in which “the small human being is in the embrace of an immensely larger immaterial reality, such that the small human being receives benefit.” Drawing on his experience as former head of the architectural department at Washington State, Dr. Wang contrasts this ancient sacramental understanding of buildings with postmodern architecture. The conversation steered into the implications of living in an increasingly machine-driven culture, in which our reliance on cyberspace and “disembodied communities” (i,e., communities bereft of any organic relationship to the immediate vicinity around where we live) are orienting human beings to new ways of negotiating embodiment.

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Snowden on Double Standard at DOJ

Edward Snowden makes some insightful observations about the double standard of justice that is occurring with the indictment against Julian Assange vs. the DOJ’s decision not to charge President Trump. Read carefully what Snowden says and reflect on the implications.
 
“The special counsel says they find 10 separate instances, I think, where it appears that Trump or people in his administration are basically conspiring to obstruct justice. But the special counsel does not conclude, again, to pin this to Trump as breaking the law, in a very interesting way, given the context of what we’re talking about. They go, ‘Look, Trump absolutely ordered all these people in his periphery to shut it down. He tried to fire Mueller, he tried to get rid of, and all these other people, I can’t remember if it was Sessions or whatever. But he tried and he told his White House counsel, he told all these guys, ‘Stop this. Get it done. Protect me. Shut this thing down.’ Which is obvious obstruction, right? Or at least, a conspiracy to commit obstruction.
 
But Mueller says, it didn’t actually result in obstruction, because the people that Trump ordered to do this simply ignored him. They went off and told their buddies, ‘Trump is telling me to do crazy things, I’m preparing my resignation letter, all of these other things,’ and so, they say, ‘Donald Trump didn’t actually commit obstruction. And so we’re not going to charge him. Maybe there’s something in here that congress wants to bring or whatever, but we’re not going to bring it.’
 
And the Attorney General, immediately when he saw this, who’s really carrying water for Trump all day long on this issue … he’s spinning the reports, doing all these things, says, ‘We see this and you know Mueller didn’t charges this, we’re not going to charge this, no obstruction, no collusion, whatever. Let’s move on.’
 
But so, isn’t that interesting? The DOJ’s defense of not charging Trump in this case is they say he tried to commit a crime [obstruction] but he was too hapless and he failed to actually do this. And we’re not going to charge him with conspiracy for doing it. And at the same time, they’re charging Julian Assange under precisely the opposite theory. They go, ‘Look, Julian may not have actually cracked a password, we don’t have any evidence that he did, we’re not going to try to prove that he did, we’re going to simply say the agreement to try was enough.’
 
“So this is a real question of a two-tiered system of justice. Why do we have this double standard here, where if you’re the president and try to commit a crime, you can skate, but if you’re a journalist, if you’re a publisher, particularly who’s vulnerable because you’ve gone too far out on a limb and now you’ve lost public support and popularity, everybody’s against you… but no one, no one can argue that the work you’ve done in the past hasn’t been of real public interest – it may not have been — to the party’s benefit, it’s very controversial, no doubt about that. But the newspapers are all running these stories, saying these are important stories, these are about real centers of power in the world.
 
Why is it that journalists are being held to a higher standard of behavior than the President of the United States?”

Interview With Dr. David Wang about Notre-Dame

Last Friday morning, Jason Van Boom and I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. David Wang about the Notre-Dame Cathedral and its recent fire. Dr. Wang is a widely published expert on architecture who recently retired as head of the architectural department at Washington State University. In this discussion, Dr. Wang explained about the origins of Notre-Dame and what its Gothic style tells us about the people who built it and about us as human beings. The spiritual ideas behind the cathedral stand in sharp contrast with the design of modern buildings and cities, which are based on what Dr. Wang calls “the sacramentality of the machine.” Understanding the sacramentality of buildings points to an important limitation in the process of rebuilding Notre-Dame, Dr. Wang suggested. This is because our culture has lost more than the spire and roof of this historic cathedral: we have lost continuity with the sacramental worldview that this cathedral embodies. These are just some of the fascinating observations Dr. Wang made in this first of our two-part series on Notre-Dame. (If you are receiving this post by email and the embedded video is removed, just click HERE).

The Robin & Boom Show #06 – Interview with Dr. David Wang on Notre-Dame Cathedral

Jason and Robin interview Dr. David Wang about Notre-Dame Cathedral and its recent fire. Dr. Wang is a widely published expert on architecture who recently retired as head of the architectural department at Washington State University. In this discussion, Dr. Wang explains the origins of Notre-Dame and what its Gothic style tells us about the people who built it and about us as human beings. The spiritual ideas behind the cathedral stand in sharp contrast with the design of modern buildings and cities, which are based on what Dr. Wang calls “the sacramentality of the machine.” Understanding the sacramentality of buildings points to an important limitation in the process of rebuilding Notre-Dame, Dr. Wang suggested. This is because our culture has lost more than the spire and roof of this historic cathedral: we have lost continuity with the sacramental worldview that this cathedral embodies.

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Conservatism in Historical Perspectives

In looking again at my earlier post, “The Non-Conservative Mind of Donald Trump”, it occurred to me that the article lacked some of the important historical perspectives necessary for appreciating how someone as liberal as President Trump can pass as a conservative. If I can be forgiven in advance for painting with a very broad brush, I would like to survey the evolution of conservatism from Burke to Trump, as a supplement to the comments I made previously in my articles “The Republican Retreat to Identity Politics” and “Trump and the Eclipse of Conservatism” and “The Non-Conservative Mind of Donald Trump.”

WWI put an end to the remaining vestiges of the old order, a bloody climax to the French Revolution.

The origin of conservative politics goes back to Edmund Burke’s response to the French Revolution. Nothing describes the French Revolution better than the adage “When Paris sneezes, the rest of Europe catches a cold.” As the revolutionary spirit gradually spread through all of Europe during the nineteenth-century, the result was that monarchy after monarchy collapsed. Ancient systems, structures and norms were not reformed but wiped away, usually replaced by tyrannies far more destructive than the ones that had preceded them. Finally, WWI put an end to the remaining vestiges of the old order.

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The Truth About the Border Wall

The day after I published my earlier post on how the President can respond to the shutdown by calling Nancy Pelosi’s bluff, he took my advice. The Democrats’ response lends credence to my theory that a prolongation of the shutdown is politically advantageous to the Democrats as long as the public generally blames the President.

I am not a fan of Trump, as a cursory browse of my “Donald Trump archives” will show. But in this battle, I support the President. In an article that recently appeared in The Hill, Ford O’Connell clarified exactly what President Trump is and is not asking Congress to do. Specifically, O’Connell pointed out, the President is not asking for a continuous border wall across all 2,000 miles of America’s border with Mexico. Rather, he is asking for money to improve and expand the highly effective fences that already exist along more than 650 miles of the border. Prominent Democrats (Schumer, Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, to name a few) all voted to support these fences.

The border wall in Yuma Arizona resulted in a 90 percent drop in illegal traffic in that area and was supported by Democrats like Obama.

Why did so many Democrats support the existing 650 miles of fencing and barriers in the most dangerous parts of the border (for example, in Yuma Arizona)? This question isn’t hard to answer when we reflect that these barriers resulted in a 90 percent drop in illegal traffic in that area. Before the Yuma wall was erected, the area was averaging around 800 illegals a day. Contrary to right-wing caricatures, Democrats do actually favor border security. The current opposition to Trump’s plan to expand and improve existing barrier structures is purely political, having been fueled by the President’s incendiary rhetoric and angst about his alleged racist motivations.

From O’Connell’s article:

“Of course what Pelosi and Schumer won’t tell you is that the U.S. currently has more than 650 miles of physical barriers and fencing on its southern border. They also won’t tell you that several prominent Democrats including Schumer, Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden voted for it as senators in the name of better border security….

If the Democrats were to come to the table right now and talk comprehensive immigration reform and DACA, so long as it contains additional physical barriers along the southern border, the White House has signaled a willingness to move forward on that front, provided that it enhances border security.

The White House is ready to deal. And even though federal government workers will eventually receive back pay, the White House doesn’t want to see them suffer. The questions for congressional Democrats are simple: Do they really hate President Trump more than they love border security? Do they care more about illegal immigrants than American citizens? Only time will tell.

Of course nothing is impenetrable or foolproof, but the fencing in Yuma, Arizona, is a great example of what works. Since its construction in 2005, it has yielded better than a 90 percent drop in illegal traffic. Similar numbers have been registered at other physical barriers in San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona, since their construction.

Even former Obama Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan, who was removed by Trump, concedes that physical barriers work and that more need to be constructed to make the southern border stronger.

Contrary to the media hype, President Trump is not advocating that one continuous wall should be built on the nearly two-thousand mile U.S. southern border, but that the current barriers be extended by a few hundred more miles. He is also asking for more immigration judges, law enforcement officers, detention beds and additional border technology, among other items — common sense stuff when it comes to stronger border security.”