December 10th, 2012

Two great articles by Jay Nordlinger

Read this one first (and by the way, this foundation that he mentions sounds like a very worthy cause, and should be more well-known).

Then take in this one.

So much to think about there. But the following quote had particular resonance for me, because I often find myself in this “emperor’s new clothes” position regarding performances:

At the Salzburg Festival, in particular, people will say to me, “Wasn’t that a wonderful production?” (This will refer to an opera production.) I’ll say, “No, actually. I thought it was abominable, a disgrace. It did violence to the score and the libretto. The director hijacked the opera. It made no artistic sense whatsoever.”

They’ll say, “Really? I think so too.”

You see, all they needed to know was that it was okay to stand up to the commissars — not even to stand up to them, merely to disagree with them, in private. They needed to know that it was okay to think what they actually thought. They needed someone to say, “Come on in, the water’s fine.”

People are terrified of being thought uncool, conservative, square, not with-it. Bold others can help them get over their terror.

A lot of people know it’s wrong that junior-high kids are screwing one another. They just need to know that it’s all right to think that — that they are not bad, repressive people.

I have a friend who works for a celebrity. The celebrity often mouths left-wing views. Has all the left-wing attitudes and poses. My friend says, “It’s not that he has come to these views on his own. They were not formed from years of study, thinking, and experience. He’s just impressionable. If it were cool in his circles to be right-wing, that’s what he’d be.”


Nordlinger goes on to talk about people coming out to him and to others as secret conservatives. I’ve had that happen to me many times, both in groups (especially of women) in which I’ve spoken out as the sole conservative voice, and in emails I’ve received from people in the arts and/or academia. People come up to me and tell me, in a voice no one else can hear (or in emails), that they agree with me but must keep it quiet because of fear of the consequences. As many times as it’s happened, it remains a shock to learn of the extent and reach of the thought police out there.

We all need to keep speaking out as conservatives, in order to show others that we don’t have horns and are quite intelligent and well-informed (I was once told by a liberal man I had just met, in tones of stunned disbelief, “I can’t believe it; you’re so intelligent, and yet you’re a conservative!”). This is especially true of those in academia and the arts. Their fear, of course, is job loss and/or lack of promotion as much as social ostracism. Both are, unfortunately, very real risks.

[NOTE: Sometimes people assume that in my private life my friends and family don’t know about my politics. I just want to make it clear that they do. I don’t always speak up in more public ways—such as, for example, at parties or in groups where I don’t know people all that well. It depends on the situation. But I often do, much to my social detriment. I’ve actually seen people who were previously cordial recoil in horror, even if all I’ve done is say I disagree with some viewpoint being expressed.]

20 Responses to “Two great articles by Jay Nordlinger”

  1. Michal Says:

    Most people hold “left” or “liberal” views because they believe to do so is to smart, intelligent, thoughtful.
    Even when they don’t walk the walk, they will talk the talk, so as not to be attacked for being stupid.
    My dear relative by marriage: thinks Obummbler walks on water, that Jews need to vote Democrat because it’s Tikkun Olam!, even if Israel gets screwed. And he picks up all the receipts when he’s in Israel, even if he didn’t pay! to give to his accountant to write off as business expenses…
    If he ran his business the way the gov’t is run, he wouldn’t make any money, would he? But when this is pointed out, he says, it’s legal. He’s entitled to his tax writeoffs. I don’t know what happened to him and the other 23% of voters that think like him. The family claims he was never dropped on his head as a baby, but I wonder.

  2. mizpants Says:

    Do you know the latkes joke? You don’t? I’ll tell it:
    A little (Jewish) boy has a morbid fear of latkes. Every Passover he takes one look at the potato pancakes and shrieks “Latkes!” and runs from the table.
    A therapist advises his mother that to help him get over his fear she should let him help her make the latkes. Let him see what goes into them, the therapist says, let him see the process.
    So she takes him into the kitchen. “See, Danny, now we’re grating the potatoes and the onions.” No problem. “And now we’re folding the potatoes and onions into the flour and water and egg,” and that’s fine, too. “And now we’re dropping the mixture by the spoonful into the hot oil. And now we’re turning them over. Want to try?”
    The little boy takes the spatula and carefully turns over the potato pancake. “And now we’re putting them on the paper towel to drain. And now we’re putting them on the plate to take to the table”
    Aaaahhh! screams the boy. “Latkes!”
    That joke sums up the reaction of so many of my liberal friends, who agree with me on just about every point until I point out that what we’ve agreed upon adds up to a conservative viewpoint.

  3. mizpants Says:

    I mean Hannukah, not Passover!

  4. holmes Says:

    It’s interesting, a lot of liberals I know in the South feel as Conservatives do in these areas (academia, entertainment, etc). But I’ve never seen the intentional repression of liberal thought and people the way the Left does it. I think they (the people I know) just felt uncomfortable speaking out against the majority, but it was nothing the majority did per se.

  5. Paul A'Barge Says:

    Too bad not enough closet conservatives didn’t come out of the closet and vote for Mitt Romney.

    Isn’t it?

  6. Susanamantha Says:

    As I am older, retired, unconcerned with getting “somewhere” and rubbing elbows with the right people, I am ready, willing and able to pick the right time to make my political feeling known. I also know the wrong times. Sometimes I speak up anyway. It usually isn’t pretty. I shut up quick and let the others blather on.

  7. M J R Says:

    holmes, 3:49 pm — but did they go with the cultural flow and vote for the cool candidate (my guess is “yes”)?

    In a large sense, it’s the zeitgeist, stupid.

  8. CV Says:

    Love Nordlinger. He’s always worth reading, especially his insights on the world of classical music, Cuba, etc.

    I work in higher ed and always feel like I am flying under the radar with my conservative views. Most of my co-workers assume I toe the “party line,” I am sure.

    Family dinners are no picnic either, so I rarely bring things up anymore, even though my family knows where I stand on most issues. Hey, they can’t fire me. I am not afraid of family debates and actually enjoy challenging my many liberal relatives, but it is exhausting and can put the damper on a family gathering.

  9. parker Says:

    When speaking with ‘progressives’ I speak softly, slowly, and stick to fiscal/economic issues. They never have a grasp of the numbers or understand what motivates people to work hard and develop a business. Inevitably they revert to dogma and become frustrated. When the conversation reaches this point I politely tell them that we can not have a conversation about fiscal/economic issues because they do not have the knowledge necessary to discuss these issues in a factual and cogent matter.

  10. Artfldgr Says:


    I’ve had that happen to me many times, both in groups (especially of women) in which I’ve spoken out as the sole conservative voice, and in emails I’ve received from people in the arts and/or academia.

    Its interesting you say “especially of women”, as most agree women when honest reveal they want lots of things that they are told to support opposition on. Their choice is to be part of women, or to be outside that, as there is no alternative organization or group, or place they can talk. Unlike men, women live in a monotheistic cult in which the only choice to be part of the tribe is to pretend your part of the cult.

    Men and Women are different, and one can play these differences to advantage or disadvantage, to oneself or to the possessor.


    As many times as it’s happened, it remains a shock to learn of the extent and reach of the thought police out there.


    where were you when young and they decided to attack things like manhole covers, and actors vs actresses (now all actors technically), chairperson replaced chairman, and so on… what about when personnel offices changed to human resources?

    this and other things are what one would call “crowbar issues”.

    the point of the issue is not the issue, but what it allows to happen.
    So in the case of the drug war, it allowed us to look the other way on constitutional rights and all kinds of things as the problem caused us to accept more and more restrictions from flying to tests as a condition of employment. in the case of pc speech, they first went after the bad speech of men and all that, but i dare you to figure out when it went from chairperson to what everyone thinks…

    its also interesting that you feel shock to realize that people have been dealing with the stress of things going where they dont like, by becoming islands. private islands who follow a script when they meet and talk because we live in a society in which a certain group got to review all speech, and declare reformations to it. they recaptured ‘slut’, neutralized bastard and illegitimate, negated every male protest as oppression (so he stopped trying to debate), and tons and tons of things.

    The Origins of Political Correctness (February 5, 2000)

    it opens with this..

    Where does all this stuff that you’ve heard about this morning – the victim feminism, the gay rights movement, the invented statistics, the rewritten history, the lies, the demands, all the rest of it – where does it come from? For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic.

    for all those votes, who do you think gets to tell the president what they really want? the average young person, or the leaders who advise political leaders as they represent that power (regardless of what those in the group would want).

    If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism.


    cultural Marxism of Political Correctness, like economic Marxism, has a single factor explanation of history. Economic Marxism says that all of history is determined by ownership of means of production. Cultural Marxism, or Political Correctness, says that all history is determined by power, by which groups defined in terms of race, sex, etc., have power over which other groups. Nothing else matters. All literature, indeed, is about that. Everything in the past is about that one thing.

    Third, just as in classical economic Marxism certain groups, i.e. workers and peasants, are a priori good, and other groups, i.e., the bourgeoisie and capital owners, are evil. In the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness certain groups are good – feminist women, (only feminist women, non-feminist women are deemed not to exist) blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals.

    These groups are determined to be “victims,” and therefore automatically good regardless of what any of them do.

    Similarly, white males are determined automatically to be evil, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.


    Fourth, both economic and cultural Marxism rely on expropriation. When the classical Marxists, the communists, took over a country like Russia, they expropriated the bourgeoisie, they took away their property.

    so your surprised how much the world around you was totalitarian?

    and that the life expectancy of one group who are automatically evil has dropped (and taken the women with them), and that from family court, through academia admissions (and several supreme court cases), to student loans, and SBA offerings… the impingement have an effect on outcomes ranging from births to companies, to health – and are public policy bringing up things like social justice which harkens back to the days of loading scapegoats into ovens.

    when the cultural Marxists take over a university campus, they expropriate through things like quotas for admissions. When a white student with superior qualifications is denied admittance to a college in favor of a black or Hispanic who isn’t as well qualified, the white student is expropriated. And indeed, affirmative action, in our whole society today, is a system of expropriation. White owned companies don’t get a contract because the contract is reserved for a company owned by, say, Hispanics or women. So expropriation is a principle tool for both forms of Marxism.

    So you can be sure what Obama means with his claim to expanding Title IX to STEM… he will penalize the men who go there and play favorites for the volk, and the end result is what?

    Obama May Impose New Title IX Quota on Math and Science Students

    STEM Title IX Before it Hits the Classroom
    Huff Post WOMEN

    before this is again way too long, i would highly recommend reading the article on the origins of all this and then think about how its governed most of your life, my life, and most peoples to some degree in the past 40 years and more so now than then..

    He saw the opportunity to take the work of the Frankfurt School and make it the theory of the New Left in the United States.


    One of Marcuse’s books was the key book. It virtually became the bible of the SDS and the student rebels of the 60s. That book was Eros and Civilization.


    We can envision a future, if we can only destroy this existing oppressive order, in which we liberate eros, we liberate libido, in which we have a world of “polymorphous perversity,” in which you can “do you own thing.” And by the way, in that world there will no longer be work, only play. What a wonderful message for the radicals of the mid-60s! They’re students, they’re baby-boomers, and they’ve grown up never having to worry about anything except eventually having to get a job. And here is a guy writing in a way they can easily follow. He doesn’t require them to read a lot of heavy Marxism and tells them everything they want to hear which is essentially, “Do your own thing,” “If it feels good do it,” and “You never have to go to work.” By the way, Marcuse is also the man who creates the phrase, “Make love, not war.” Coming back to the situation people face on campus, Marcuse defines “liberating tolerance” as intolerance for anything coming from the Right and tolerance for anything coming from the Left.

    they pretend they are what they aren’t because what they aren’t is more politically correct than what they are. they pay attention to women’s mags, and shows, and so on, not only to be entertained, but to know what position to take on things to insure acceptance. it sure explains a whole lot of the wacko fads, eh?

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: when I said “it remains a shock,” I meant emotionally rather than intellectually.

    At the very beginning it was a shock in both respects. But many years ago it ceased being a shock intellectually. But emotionally it is, because I’m standing there in a crowd of people (not online, but in person) who are pretty much, in many cases, suddenly very hostile to me and even on the attack, and I have to stand my ground.

    I keep thinking I’m prepared for it, but in certain ways it is still very stressful. That’s what I meant by “shock.”

  12. gcotharn Says:

    The latke story is hilarious metaphor. I recognize it, from my own conversations with leftists.

    Re speaking out in public
    When Breitbart died, I was at a dinner at which most of the table believed Breitbart a hater. I could not fail to honor Andrew Breitbart by failing to speak up. As graciously as I could, I made a 40 second case for the proposition that Andrew Breitbart was not a hater. I gave evidence. Everything came out very nicely. I was pleased. I looked at the table. Three dinner guests were physically repulsed that anyone would defend Andrew Breitbart. No one was comfortable, except me. I was very happy with the 40 second speech, and with the evidence proffered.

    re motivation
    In recent months, when I have spoken of politics in public, the leftists in the conversation have not been interested in solutions. Rather, they have mainly been interested in expressing their outrage, and in seemingly feeling virtuous over expression of outrage. Several consecutive leftists have stated some version of the following: “I am not a person who looks for solutions. I identify problems.”

    re effective conversation with lefties
    In last 18 months, have had success w/these ground rules:
    1. I am not trying to change your opinion. You choose your own opinion.
    2. I want to ensure that you understand what conservatives truly believe – as opposed to a caricature of what we believe. After all: you cannot truly criticize us .. unless you truly understand the opinions which need criticism!

  13. M J R Says:

    Forgive, if you can, the premature appearance of Godwin’s Law; have a look:

    ‘The Last of the Just’ in Belgium
    by Roger L Simon
    December 10th, 2012 – 12:00 am


    “When you look at the faces of the others in the room visible on the video, you don’t exactly see ‘profiles in courage.’ I would wager, however, that if you asked each of them individually whether they favored equal rights for women and homosexuals, as well as separation of church and state and liberal democracy and Enlightenment principles in general (all anathema to Shariah), they would uniformly say yes. Further I would imagine they would all be appalled at the idea of a global caliphate under Islam, and therefore the end of Belgium as a sovereign nation, the very intention of Shariah.

    “Still, political correctness — leavened, to be sure, with a modicum of cowardice — overwhelmed their good sense and allowed the decent and courageous man to leave by himself.

    “If you ever wondered how Hitler happened, you have part of your answer on this video.”

    Check it out . . . M J R

  14. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Nordlinger gets it. We cannot change anything by acting like dhimmis. The progs scream about a war on women. When have we made our voices heard on the war on conservatives? We are discriminated against in the faculty lounge, in newsrooms, in the workplace, in homeowner’s associations, on the network TV stations, on NPR, and on and on. We are being treated as aliens to our political system and society. Like I said in my comment on neo’s post about not knowing what to post these days, I’m doing what I can. I’m not leaving the field or keeping my head down.

    One of the mind games that progs play is that conservative ideas are as illegitimate as the expression that 2+2 = 7. In other words they have convinced themselves and the low information middle that only they have the correct answers. Silencing us is their only real strategy because the facts are not on their side. We can’t let them intimidate us or shout us down.

    I don’t know how many people have seen the ABC TV show, “Last Man Standing,” with Tim Allen. It mocks liberal ideas and a lot of our PC culture in a fun way. I hope a lot of people are watching. It’s a good-natured way of exposing people to conservative ideas. So far he hasn’t been shut down. I think he’s the money behind the show, so unless his ratings are low, I don’t see the network canceling. We need more people like Tim Allen who are pushing back in the MSM.

    I agree with Geoffrey Britain that we need to encourage conservative billionaires to start buying newspapers, funding TV shows, and getting more involved in mass communications. The narrative is where the battleground is. We’re behind, but we have to keep on keeping on.

  15. Richard Aubrey Says:

    With the exception of some hysterical and deliberately ignorant relations, I usually don’t bother trying to keep my head down. Family peace.
    Fortunately, for most of my life, I’ve been intellectually and physically capable of saying, in effect, “Do you really want to go there?”
    That leaves the libs gassing on about how wonderful they are, wanting nothing more than peace, wonderfulness and skittle-dumping unicorns for all.
    And I really don’t care what they think of me.
    Not sure I change any opinions in the process, but when I explain the facts and the sources, it’s possible they’ll be a bit more cautious dealing with somebody else who gives signs of knowing better.

    I have no idea how to change the mind of one of the free-stuff constituency. The long range prospect doesn’t bother them. They think there’ll always be somebody to give them free stuff. I’ve pointed out to a couple of the aforementioned relations that something or other hasn’t worked out and the response is either “Bush”, or, “they’re greedy”. I ask how calling, say, a doctor who retired early rather than work for Obamacare “greedy” brings him back to work. Apparently it isn’t necessary that the accusation bring him back to work. Making the accusation is, all by itself, just as good.
    It is difficult to see how trying to deal rationally with such people is ever going to work.

  16. Sam L. Says:

    Nordlinger is an excellent writer!

  17. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Jay Nordlinger is representative of the wisdom that flows from Ypsilanti MI.
    I was pleasantly surprised when he told me he was from my hometown.

  18. Ben David Says:

    1) The Left achieved the shift in culture by not caring about being offensive or labeled crazy.

    It is sad to hear conservatives who are not willing to bear a little social unpleasantness to establish cultural beachheads.

    I am a religious American Jew who moved to Israel – to the West Bank.

    I work in hi-tech – a bastion of ultra-secular Left wing Israelis.

    Over the Oslo era I have weathered huge amounts of left wing condescension and condemnation. As you may have heard, Israelis are not shy or polite in conversation….

    Lefties WILL fill any cultural void we leave them. And the pervasiveness of left-leaning media messages creates the assumption that unspoken opinions lean left.

    Sorry – time to speak up.

    2) Often the most important thing in these discussions is to “deconstruct” the framework of politically correct assumptions that queer the debate before it even starts .

    Beware of sentences that start with “surely you’ll agree that…”

    These are attempts by the leftie to deputize themselves as gatekeepers of acceptable opinion – and turn the discussion into a litmus-test.

    The point of the conversation is to grab these assumptions – about “tolerance” or “fairness” or “women’s rights” or “racism” – and drag them out in the open, and show how far they have been shifted from their plain, original meaning.

    Many non-political “low information” people are not aware of the subtle shifts in meaning that are used as levers of social change…. it just sounds *nicer* to talk about “single-parent families” instead of “bastards” and “broken homes.”

    Sticking to the facts is also a useful rhetorical device – but it often doesn’t work in casual conversation.

    What DOES work is getting people to see how their emotional buttons are being pushed to shift their opinions and sell them socialism.

    This approach has the great advantage of side-stepping the labeling that is used to blacklist conservatives – while focusing the discussion on how language is being misused:

    “I also value equal opportunities, but you still haven’t explained just what that means – and why an unqualified black student should be admitted before a qualified Asian student….”

    Number One Rule – waste NO time trying to “prove” that you are tolerant, nice, fair – if you find yourself doing this, you have let the leftie conduct the discussion within their PC frame, and appoint themselves judge over your opinions…. THAT is the very thing you should be discussing.

  19. liberty wolf Says:

    I’ve also had that reaction Neo of speaking out and expressing a conservative perspective and having someone say that they were shocked since I was “so educated”. I am a published author and someone known BTW, for having been in groundbreaking radical anthologies, back in the day. The “day” before I changed my mind about many things that is! It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the hardest things I have ever done, ever. Disagreeing with the vast majority of my otherwise wonderful friends on many (if not every) issue and being — in their eyes a turncoat. And, yes, I worry I will never be published again and that I most certainly will never teach at a university. I do not, BTW, have a degree, that’s another story, but people consider me “educated” and I have been on panels with professors and published alongside them. My work is taught. Any way, I probably wouldn’t get in any way, without a degree but this does not make me want to get one. I know how anyone in the academy who is not at least, at least a Democrat is seen. A good friend of mine who is an academic denied there was a bias, but then, admitted that he did not know any Republicans at the university and said, ‘Well, maybe they are too embarrassed to admit they are Republicans since Republicans are so ridiculous.” I said, “See, you have a bias, and it is so deep it is invisible to you.” He is just shocked at my change of heart and mind. I think he finds it hard to believe. Any way… I am not keen on academia for many reasons but sometimes, I admit, seeing my academic friends jetting off to Paris for the latest (often radical) academic conference makes me wonder what I’ve done wrong to not be in their shoes. But since I now often disagree with the premise of these radical conferences, there’s no point. So, there is a price to be paid.

    I agree that it is important we speak out any way. I have had a few people approach me kind of sideways to say that well, there are some left wing things they don’t agree with and maybe, someday we can talk… And, I know that I would never have been exposed to certain ideas if I had not had a friend or two online who was very open about their non-left wing beliefs. These were friends I had picked up not in real life, but simply online since they seemed interesting. It is important too that people see we don’t have horns, and yes, we are intelligent and well read and there are reasons we think as we do.

    But, I do have to pick my battles. For me, so many of my social crowd is very radical, and this is very hard. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what to do, but it is good to read you and see you have made it work. One also has to learn to laugh when people get that look on their face of shock.

    I am still in the process of “coming out”, and will be for some time.

    I’ll read these articles, very interesting…

  20. liberty wolf Says:

    Oh, and like gcotharn I have found myself sometimes telling curious lefties what certain conservatives actually think, and why some of them think that. I also let them know that certainly not all conservatives or libertarians think entirely alike but I do try and explain actual ideas to them so that they learn that there is more to conservative/libertarian/classic liberal beliefs than they imagine. And, that often, their caricature of our views are entirely wrong. And, that they don’t understand the REASONS. Now, unfortunately, most left wing people appear to have very little actual curiosity about right wing ideas, but I ignore that and tell them any way, as a way of talking about whatever it is they are (usually) upset about. I don’t know that it always gets through but a few have told me that I get them to think. That, can’t be a bad thing.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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