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The Family Sex Show: Grooming Comes to Britain

I knew Bristol was liberal; the city is famous for it. Me? I have traditional values, I am involved with the Conservative party, and I have been a Christian my whole life. But when I got an unconditional offer to study a course at the University of Bristol which ranked third in that subject, I accepted it without hesitation. Nine months into living here and I have seen advertisements for climate-crisis bake sales, intersectional feminist poetry slams, and students “occupying” the Wills Memorial Building (and subsequently whinging that their vegan Deliveroo wasn’t able to reach them) in solidarity with striking lecturers. However, having nonchalantly followed Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres on Twitter to see if any shows piqued my interest, I saw something that one couldn’t just dismiss as liberal lefty nonsense – this was something truly horrifying.

Tobacco Factory Theatres retweets ThisEgg (a theatre company) promoting their new show, The Family Sex Show (also promoted by The Guardian) The title is possibly alluding to incest, to Red Light District sex shows, and is definitely intended to shock. Already feeling slightly disturbed, I read on. The age recommendation is 5+ and the show description reveals it is intended as “an alternative to porn”. I read on to learn that “there is nakedness, yes. At one point in the show, everyone on stage takes their clothes off…” This is ringing every alarm bell possible.

Posing as “sex education”, the adults involved (who were hastily cast via Twitter only a month ago) don’t seem to know the first thing about safe, age-appropriate sex education. What five-year-old needs an alternative to pornography? Exposure to pornography is often used as a desensitising tactic when grooming children. In defence of this horror show, the website claims that “sexual development and behaviour in children starts from birth”. This is an argument which I have only previously heard from a documentary about PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange) to justify removing the age of consent.

Speaking of consent, which this show claims to teach us all about, I have to question why the “actors” get to choose their level of comfort when stripping. A five-year-old child, however, cannot consent to seeing naked strangers. The only guidance for parents is that they can leave if they feel uncomfortable, yet the theatre manager has written extensively on how the actors will be supported if there was negative feedback. How, I ask, are the “actors” the victims in this situation? This show seems to be all about what the adults want to do in front of the children, convinced that they know best. Cyber-flashing has just become a crime, and yet the cast of The Family Sex Show feel it is their right to flash infant-school-aged children. Many Twitter commenters reminisced over days when “dirty flashers” would be chased off by police. Now, liberal parents pay them ten pounds a ticket to bare all on stage. These people do not deserve to be parents.

My sex education at school took place in Year Six. We were ten and eleven years old and were taught about sex and puberty in an age-appropriate, sensitive, non-embarrassing way. The teachers, surprisingly, didn’t find it necessary to strip naked and point to their genitals to get the message across. Most of my generation will have had a similar experience and don’t feel we have gaps in our knowledge. Of course, we have all witnessed the odd person getting changed at the beach rather indiscreetly – but this is contextual, and hopefully accidental. If children are taught that it is normal for strangers to want to show their genitals to them, then this completely undermines the preventative measures that parents, and trusted adults, take against grooming. And as for the argument that “children will encounter porn anyway, so why not teach them about it now?” I worked in Early Years education for four years and I didn’t meet a single five-year-old who could read, write or type well enough to access pornography. And if parents leave it accessible to children, someone needs to call CPS.

I am just thankful that the live show and tour was all suspended during the multiple lockdowns, or we could be two years into child-traumatising theatrical sex shows. The Twitter outrage has been huge, and the account, Libs of TikTok, made famous by Joe Rogan’s podcast, shared the story, at my request, to an audience of 591.3k angry followers. We also have riled up over 800 Bristolian mothers on Mumsnet who have taken this story to the Daily Mail, started a petition, and are boycotting the theatre. Grown adults are being paid to strip in front of little children, in UK theatres, funded by the National Lottery and Arts Council England. Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres want your money! In return, you and your five-year-old can watch simulated sex acts followed by a stage full of strange adults exposing their genitals. I have never been more horrified.


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Little Dark Age and Murdering the Author

Roland Barthes’ essay Death of the Author is required reading for many students who wish to study the humanities, such as English Literature. The general thesis of the essay is that narrative intent from the author cannot be discovered as it is impossible to know what the author’s thoughts were at the time of writing. Thus, Death of the Author can be understood to mean “art without the artist” – by the reader is the only true reading. The authority of the author, and therefore the author himself, perishes.

It is an interesting and incredibly influential essay that has played a large part in the development of critical theory over the course of the 20th century. Using this as a basis, it is my belief that we can take the theory further.

Rather than experience the art in a passive way, accepting what the author produces as is, and making our own interpretations from that point, I propose that we instead take an active participation in taking art from the artist and use it to our own ends. This is much easier to do thanks to the internet, and the emergence of meme culture.

It is from meme culture that murdering the author rises. 2016 can be seen as the black swan moment for this with the election of Donald Trump and the reignition of right-wing populism. In this moment, a new breed of meme was born, and it is one of these memes that I think best exemplifies how effective murdering the author can be.

In 2017 MGMT released their song “Little Dark Age”, a protest song lamenting the election of Trump. As the title suggests, the zeitgeist as the artist saw it was regressing back into a period of ignorance, ultimately taking the past 70 years of Progress with it. As recent as 2021 however, the meme remixes of this song have become increasingly popular. The song is used as a backdrop over footage designed to ignite reactionary pride – praise of Christianity and the heroic spirit are commonplace within this. My personal favourites are the ones that glorify the British Empire.

The popularity of the meme is an example of the remix culture unique to the internet, an issue with 21st century creations in general. 21st century art is stunted, and we can only find creative outlets in what has come before. This is a problem with all art and culture in the West, but has been commented on before so I will not belabour the point, except to say that our obsession with nostalgia seems to have left us bereft of creating our own cultural milieu and we are forced to stand blindly on the shoulders of giants.

We are indeed in a little dark age, and MGMT clearly felt that. It just isn’t the dark age they think it is. For a generation of people brought up in countries whose hour of greatness was over, and on whom all the world’s ills could be blamed, it is little surprise that a song like Little Dark Age could be used in the way it did. With lyrics like “Forgiving who you are for what you stand to gain/Just know that if you hide it doesn’t go away”, the song seems to be calling out to those who are trodden on by the current regime, such as political dissidents, delivering the Evolian message of riding the tiger. In the remix culture that epitomises internet trends, this is an example of destroying the meaning of a talented, well intended but misinformed artist and rewiring it for a different purpose.

No matter how MGMT feels about the current political and cultural climate, the fact remains that Little Dark Age is reactionary. It speaks of cultural degradation, inauthenticity – the sense of something being lost. MGMT have put their finger on the pulse, and their diagnosis seems apt – but the wrong patient has died.

Their anger is correct but misdirected, which is why we on the right see the song as something to be hijacked. We are not witnessing the death of the author here – instead, we are the author’s murderers. We are Lenin storming the Tsar’s palace in 1917. We take what is theirs and subvert it to our own ends.

The fact is that reactionary media, be it music, film, literature or television, is entirely hegemonic to the left’s favour. Reactionary discourse is repeatedly shut out of the Overton window, which is panned by boomeresque false idols on one side and comical Marxist villains on the other. In order to make a point, we must use the tools of the enemy. We must be the Vietcong stealing M16s from a US military base. We take from the author what is theirs, deconstruct their arms and create something entirely new using the skeleton of their works.

We are the murderers of the author and this is our strongest weapon.


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Why We Won’t Publish the Word ‘Woke.’

As of today, the Mallard is no longer publishing articles that include the word ‘woke’, in either print or online. 

Too many submissions, not just to the Mallard, but other publications – have become reliant on this word to explain away current trends that people find unappealing, yet cannot articulate why beyond anything other than this word. It is the responsibility of all outlets to contribute to the public discourse, and when a word, concept, idea, or individual, fails to contribute to the discourse – they have to be removed.

When pundits of the right use ‘woke’, they are using a word spawned by the online Left to denote their being ‘awake’ to the ‘injustices’ of the world, which are usually spawned from an ideological conviction rather than an actual understanding of the complex issues of the world. It suggests these people – the ‘woke’ left – are awake to the things that we are not, as if they have some deep insight that surpasses the average person. It is simply the latest expression of ‘real consciousness’ derived from Marxism.

Of course, we all know that the word is used sarcastically – but to use it at all is to make the eternal mistake of the Right, and to fight the Left on their own terms. We have been making this mistake for seventy years, and to reverse this trend, we need to stop appealing to their language, their values, their goals. 

But even when the word is used derisively, it adds virtually nothing. Issues around pronouns and bathrooms pale in comparison to the economic, cultural, and demographic changes brought about by the respective trends of globalism, liberalism, and immigration. There is nothing substantively different in the current cultural trends than in the previous cultural trends. What is happening today should not be described with a new word, because what is happening today is not new. That is the reality of where we are now – ‘woke’ is not sufficiently different from what came before it to really merit a separate topic of discussion. It is just an extension of the logic of the sexual revolution, the Civil Rights era, and the great liberalisation of the last sixty years.

One of our assistant editors, William Yarwood, last year recorded a short podcast begging us to stop calling groups like Antifa ‘fascists’ or the Left ‘the real racists’, and recognise that they are just communists. Stop calling the Left ‘woke’ as shorthand for a broad range of things you just ‘don’t like’. 

It is useless to say ‘look, I agree with what they stand for, I just don’t like how they’re going about it’. Then your disagreement is technical, it is not fundamental, so really you’re just the ones putting the brakes on their movement. They will come for you eventually, so you might as well recognise that now. 

Calling something ‘woke’ is a lazy caricature that lets (what passes for) the right wing commentariat get away with murder; the liberals of yesteryear are allowed to displace conservative voices in media, politics,  and culture. They pretend, in their sarcastic overtones, that leftists are weak and hypersensitive, when in reality they want to put children on hormone blockers, let men into womens’ changing rooms, open our borders to people who hate us, and teach the next generation that they have nothing to gain from the civilisation that birthed them. 

These individuals are not weak. These people are not hypersensitive. Instead, they pass laws to put people in prison if they so much as joke about them. The notion these people are weak is a reflection of decades of failure of conservatives to actually do anything about them. If these individuals were weak, they would not find it so easy to break down the barriers that protect the most vulnerable in society: women and children.

These are not just simple activists, by the way. They are in our institutions, running our universities, pioneering our civil service, ‘decolonising’ our curricula, all the while entrenching their culture by building parallel careers that have no real world purpose or function. The massive, tumorous growth of the ‘human resources’ machine has seen to it that busy body unemployable humanities graduates have a reason to exist once more, only now it is self-perpetuating cancer that simultaneously cannot abide the existence of leftist heresy whilst relying on it like a parasite.

And as we see continuously, the online right is just as bad. If there are necessary discussions about poverty, living crises, genuine injustices that actually harm peoples’ lives, the right shrieks ‘woke!’ in such a hypersensitive way that the actual discussion disappears behind parody and caricature. TalkRadio’s infamous Mike Graham recently told an Extinction Rebellion member that we can ‘grow concrete’ in an effort to ‘own the lib’ – to which the XR member, who is stupid for different reasons, was left speechless. By consequence, Mike Graham made XR look reasonable – an own-goal, if ever there was one. 

When war broke out in Ukraine, it was necessary for the right to attempt to make sense of it. This was done well in some circles – with people drawing attention to the Realist school Regardless of your thoughts on the Realist school, it was undoubtedly an intellectual contribution to the discourse. If you looked at the mainstream discourse however, you would know nothing of this contribution. Instead, it became another flashpoint to discuss this word, those they associate with it, and how these people were ‘weak’, ‘hypersensitive’ and made it so we were incapable of fighting a war against Putin.

It couldn’t possibly be that nuclear war is a possibility, or even – as the neoconservative lobby implicitly recognises but refuses to admit – that we have nothing to gain from getting involved in the war. No, it must be the woke. We end up in some perverse eternal Spy vs Spy scenario, where ‘woke warriors’ seek out racism/sexism/whateverism in any place they can find it, while the ‘common sense rightists’  only try to define what they consider ‘woke’ to make it work, rather than criticise it on its own grounds.

So we are not publishing the word any longer. Here is a list of publications that are likely interested: The Sun; TalkRadio; The Critic; Compact; Breitbart; GB News. I am sure they will find your work fascinating. We won’t. 

Post-liberal politics and why we should reaffirm a uniquely British way of life

Post-Liberalism is a term that is often used in our discourse with far-reaching implications for the future of British politics. It refers to a vision of society opposed to Francis Fukuyama’s claim of the ‘End of History’, and the inexorable expansion of liberalism. A post-liberal society is therefore one where liberal ideas such as individual freedom and treating people with equal respect, as well as government and juridical neutrality, are left behind. The decline of such principles has clear risks for the nature and quality of political discourse, such as occurred in the vituperative nature of interactions between some ‘Remainers’ and ‘Brexiteers’ post- 2016 referendum.

Political polarisation is, however, most noticeable in the formation of the woke left and the populist right, which have filled the vacuum left by the weakening of liberalism in Britain. How can Britain avoid a dichotomous post-liberal future? I argue that an important alternative is still available, one that entails a reaffirmation of the British way of life guided by the institutions, values, traditions and history that have made Britain a free society.

The first ideological force seeking to divide Britain is ‘wokeism,’ a neologism that has come to the forefront of political debate during the past decade. The woke left in Britain aims to create a moral identity for Britons, predicated on specific characteristics such as race, gender and sexuality. The widespread application of this ideological force would render the individual almost servile to woke culture.

Thus, individuals are told to think, say and write only narratives that are branded as ‘correct’. The latest example was the hounding out of Kathleen Stock from the University of Sussex for having ‘incorrect’ views about gender. This shows that wokeness seeks to paint British values such as free expression as something wholly ‘bad’. Such a reductionist approach totally neglects the positive, inclusive and forward-looking nature of much of British society.

         Furthermore, wokeism also led to a rise of the second divisive trend in post-liberal politics – the ascension of the p and social coopulist right. Populism is a stance and rhetoric of politics that claims to speak for the silent majority or ‘the common person’ against the liberal, and increasingly ‘woke’ establishment. Right-wing populism builds on these themes by leaning on rhetoric and policies that foreground at least one of the following: economic nationalism, ethnic nationalism, and conservatism. Through these, right-wing populists claim to give voice to the people neglected by the modern liberal society. Giving voice to the people has amounted to unrestrained authoritarianism, with the populist right presenting itself as the messianic solution to all the problems of society. 

         Although the woke left and the populist right have different political objectives, they possess remarkable similarities. Namely, both see the ballot box as the sole legitimiser of their actions, and their populist rhetoric constructs a battle between ‘oppressors’, the establishment, and the ‘oppressed’ masses. Finally, both seek to hijack the power of the state in order to achieve their political aims, in the name of some intangible promise of a better future, for specific social groupings, whether that is specific ethnic minorities or the white working classes. These political aims are summed up in slogans such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Take Back Control”. Consequently, post-liberal Britain is presented with ideological forces which seek to undermine the very freedoms that have made this country great.

         In this reality of two ideological extremes, we must pursue ‘a middle way’. This approach is called the British way of life, centred on the moral life of the individual. This moral life is demonstrated through the ability of individuals to choose and act in accordance with often unwritten norms and traditions. This helps to mitigate the effects of cumbersome bureaucracy as symbolised by Whitehall and Holyrood, which squeeze the freedoms, lifestyles and preferences of the individual. The British way of life should, therefore, centre on a view of freedom, where individuals have the autonomous power to choose their own conception of the good life. However, this view does not mean advocacy for a licentious free-for-all society. The moral life requires individuals to appeal to social institutions such as the community, religion, and the family. Only this approach to politics will be able to temper the excesses of wokeism and right-wing populism.

In short, the British way of life centres on the importance of choice, rights and duties, fundamental to a free society. This nurtures a healthy society, where people’s individuality is shaped by our community, values, history, traditions, and their own choices. Therefore, Britain should be fearful of attempts to change our religious, historical, habitual practices in favour of ideological preferences over the role of the state, speech, statues etc…

To conclude, wokeism and right-wing populism seek the concentration and preservation of power they approve of, by either appealing to social justice and identity politics, or to populist rhetoric. In face of this, politics should affirm the moral identity of the individual. A uniquely British way of life, therefore, remains the best defence against the divisive forces of post-liberalism.


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Ojel L. Rodriguez Burgos is a Policy Fellow of The Pinsker Centre, a campus-based think tank which facilitates discussion on global affairs and free speech. The views in this article are the author’s own.

The Moment of Decision

In the throes of the culture wars, it’s easy to get acclimated to the situation after some time has passed. It feels like a lifetime ago that the battlefield that has become of the issue of transgenderism was little more than a few videos on YouTube imploring viewers to cringe at ‘Die Cis Scum’, and if anything demonstrates the futility of the adage ‘twitter is not real life’, it would be the recent admission from Jamie Wallis that he considers himself a woman.

There is almost certainly some kind of meaning to the fact that Jamie’s desire to be a woman emerged after he was raped, as though he psychologically associates a lack of autonomy to womanhood. But I am not a psychologist, and Jamie’s warped feelings about his identity are irrelevant in and of themselves. What this turn of events creates however, is a moment of Decision for the Conservatives.

For a long time, the Conservatives have enjoyed playing both sides of the culture wars. At conference, they can laud Maggie Thatcher as the first female Prime Minister and reap the benefits of appearing to be progressive – knowing that opposition can be quickly labelled sexist, and something that even the Conservative party has outgrown. Simultaneously, they can point to the Labour party and remind us of what happens if we abandon them. A few cringeworthy remarks about supporting women into politics is certainly a preferable alternative to those same “women in politics” sporting a five-o’clock shadow and suspiciously broad shoulders.

Governments, political parties, and states, like individuals, can hold simultaneously contradictory beliefs. Those who do not act are fortunate enough to never have to confront these contradictions – for they never implement them. But it is through existential participation in life that these contradictions make themselves plain, and a moment of Decision must occur. Constitutional monarchies justified themselves with recourse to the people – but what happens when the monarch and the people (or at least, the institutions representing the people) are at odds over a decision? Who decides? The logic of constitutional monarchy legitimises the king with recourse to the people, and so those institutions closer to the people in the mind of the populace ultimately set the laws. It’s these moments of Decision that move history – a constitutional monarchy may retain the state form of monarchy but rest atop the principle of democracy, but the moment of Decision reveals the incoherence of this state form and opens up a state of exception to alter it.

Equally, the Conservatives present themselves as being opposed to wokeism, but like the constitutional monarch – justify themselves on the principles of equality, and the moment of Decision reveals the incoherence of their rule. Whilst the party had no skin in the game, and whilst it had no existential participation, it could ignore the incoherence because it never actually had to make any decision based on these two contradictory principles. But the moment of Decision has arrived, and what is in store for us as members of the party?

Jamie Wallis has been supported by Boris and Oliver Dowden, the CEO of the party. It is clear the Conservatives have no intention of removing this person from the party or even coming close to asserting that transgenderism is in no way conservative. Jamie Wallis will most certainly be in attendance at Conference and all Conservative events in the future. The Conservative party will now have to decide:

  • How will it refer to Jamie, should he ask to be referred to by female pronouns?
  • What will they do if Jamie Wallis decides he wants to use the female bathrooms?
  • If they wish to affirm Jamie’s wishes, how will they then define what a woman is, since it clearly no longer conforms to a simple definition?

Once again, the failure of Conservatives to engage in philosophy rears its ugly head. When you don’t attempt to delve into your beliefs, when you rest everything on ‘Common Sense’, you actually rest your political order upon the principles of those who do wish to assert and articulate their beliefs. Then, when you inevitably go to implement your beliefs: you’re struck with the inability to implement them in accordance with the principles you’ve justified your beliefs on. It’s simply not enough to have a political philosophy which resolves political (read: economic, technical, bureaucratic, etc.) problems. Your political philosophy must blend, gel, mesh, and harmonise with your ontological beliefs about the very essence of what it means to be anything at all. The idea that culture, economics, and philosophy are distinct and separate spheres is an optical illusion brought about by extended periods of peace. Any of these things, driven to a sufficient extreme become political, and our only tool to navigate these new political realities is philosophy. Those who don’t use it will find themselves lost, both politically and spiritually.


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The Family Sex Show: Grooming Comes to Britain

I knew Bristol was liberal; the city is famous for it. Me? I have traditional values, I am involved with the Conservative party, and I have been a Christian my whole life. But when I got an unconditional offer to study a course at the University of Bristol which ranked third in that subject, I accepted it without hesitation. Nine months into living here and I have seen advertisements for climate-crisis bake sales, intersectional feminist poetry slams, and students “occupying” the Wills Memorial Building (and subsequently whinging that their vegan Deliveroo wasn’t able to reach them) in solidarity with striking lecturers. However, having nonchalantly followed Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres on Twitter to see if any shows piqued my interest, I saw something that one couldn’t just dismiss as liberal lefty nonsense – this was something truly horrifying.

Tobacco Factory Theatres retweets ThisEgg (a theatre company) promoting their new show, The Family Sex Show (also promoted by The Guardian) The title is possibly alluding to incest, to Red Light District sex shows, and is definitely intended to shock. Already feeling slightly disturbed, I read on. The age recommendation is 5+ and the show description reveals it is intended as “an alternative to porn”. I read on to learn that “there is nakedness, yes. At one point in the show, everyone on stage takes their clothes off…” This is ringing every alarm bell possible.

Posing as “sex education”, the adults involved (who were hastily cast via Twitter only a month ago) don’t seem to know the first thing about safe, age-appropriate sex education. What five-year-old needs an alternative to pornography? Exposure to pornography is often used as a desensitising tactic when grooming children. In defence of this horror show, the website claims that “sexual development and behaviour in children starts from birth”. This is an argument which I have only previously heard from a documentary about PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange) to justify removing the age of consent.

Speaking of consent, which this show claims to teach us all about, I have to question why the “actors” get to choose their level of comfort when stripping. A five-year-old child, however, cannot consent to seeing naked strangers. The only guidance for parents is that they can leave if they feel uncomfortable, yet the theatre manager has written extensively on how the actors will be supported if there was negative feedback. How, I ask, are the “actors” the victims in this situation? This show seems to be all about what the adults want to do in front of the children, convinced that they know best. Cyber-flashing has just become a crime, and yet the cast of The Family Sex Show feel it is their right to flash infant-school-aged children. Many Twitter commenters reminisced over days when “dirty flashers” would be chased off by police. Now, liberal parents pay them ten pounds a ticket to bare all on stage. These people do not deserve to be parents.

My sex education at school took place in Year Six. We were ten and eleven years old and were taught about sex and puberty in an age-appropriate, sensitive, non-embarrassing way. The teachers, surprisingly, didn’t find it necessary to strip naked and point to their genitals to get the message across. Most of my generation will have had a similar experience and don’t feel we have gaps in our knowledge. Of course, we have all witnessed the odd person getting changed at the beach rather indiscreetly – but this is contextual, and hopefully accidental. If children are taught that it is normal for strangers to want to show their genitals to them, then this completely undermines the preventative measures that parents, and trusted adults, take against grooming. And as for the argument that “children will encounter porn anyway, so why not teach them about it now?” I worked in Early Years education for four years and I didn’t meet a single five-year-old who could read, write or type well enough to access pornography. And if parents leave it accessible to children, someone needs to call CPS.

I am just thankful that the live show and tour was all suspended during the multiple lockdowns, or we could be two years into child-traumatising theatrical sex shows. The Twitter outrage has been huge, and the account, Libs of TikTok, made famous by Joe Rogan’s podcast, shared the story, at my request, to an audience of 591.3k angry followers. We also have riled up over 800 Bristolian mothers on Mumsnet who have taken this story to the Daily Mail, started a petition, and are boycotting the theatre. Grown adults are being paid to strip in front of little children, in UK theatres, funded by the National Lottery and Arts Council England. Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres want your money! In return, you and your five-year-old can watch simulated sex acts followed by a stage full of strange adults exposing their genitals. I have never been more horrified.


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Why We Won’t Publish the Word ‘Woke’

As of today, the Mallard is no longer publishing articles that include the word ‘woke’, in either print or online. 

Too many submissions, not just to the Mallard, but other publications – have become reliant on this word to explain away current trends that people find unappealing, yet cannot articulate why beyond anything other than this word. It is the responsibility of all outlets to contribute to the public discourse, and when a word, concept, idea, or individual, fails to contribute to the discourse – they have to be removed.

When pundits of the right use ‘woke’, they are using a word spawned by the online Left to denote their being ‘awake’ to the ‘injustices’ of the world, which are usually spawned from an ideological conviction rather than an actual understanding of the complex issues of the world. It suggests these people – the ‘woke’ left – are awake to the things that we are not, as if they have some deep insight that surpasses the average person. It is simply the latest expression of ‘real consciousness’ derived from Marxism.

Of course, we all know that the word is used sarcastically – but to use it at all is to make the eternal mistake of the Right, and to fight the Left on their own terms. We have been making this mistake for seventy years, and to reverse this trend, we need to stop appealing to their language, their values, their goals. 

But even when the word is used derisively, it adds virtually nothing. Issues around pronouns and bathrooms pale in comparison to the economic, cultural, and demographic changes brought about by the respective trends of globalism, liberalism, and immigration. There is nothing substantively different in the current cultural trends than in the previous cultural trends. What is happening today should not be described with a new word, because what is happening today is not new. That is the reality of where we are now – ‘woke’ is not sufficiently different from what came before it to really merit a separate topic of discussion. It is just an extension of the logic of the sexual revolution, the Civil Rights era, and the great liberalisation of the last sixty years.

One of our assistant editors, William Yarwood, last year recorded a short podcast begging us to stop calling groups like Antifa ‘fascists’ or the Left ‘the real racists’, and recognise that they are just communists. Stop calling the Left ‘woke’ as shorthand for a broad range of things you just ‘don’t like’. 

It is useless to say ‘look, I agree with what they stand for, I just don’t like how they’re going about it’. Then your disagreement is technical, it is not fundamental, so really you’re just the ones putting the brakes on their movement. They will come for you eventually, so you might as well recognise that now. 

Calling something ‘woke’ is a lazy caricature that lets (what passes for) the right wing commentariat get away with murder; the liberals of yesteryear are allowed to displace conservative voices in media, politics,  and culture. They pretend, in their sarcastic overtones, that leftists are weak and hypersensitive, when in reality they want to put children on hormone blockers, let men into womens’ changing rooms, open our borders to people who hate us, and teach the next generation that they have nothing to gain from the civilisation that birthed them. 

These individuals are not weak. These people are not hypersensitive. Instead, they pass laws to put people in prison if they so much as joke about them. The notion these people are weak is a reflection of decades of failure of conservatives to actually do anything about them. If these individuals were weak, they would not find it so easy to break down the barriers that protect the most vulnerable in society: women and children.

These are not just simple activists, by the way. They are in our institutions, running our universities, pioneering our civil service, ‘decolonising’ our curricula, all the while entrenching their culture by building parallel careers that have no real world purpose or function. The massive, tumorous growth of the ‘human resources’ machine has seen to it that busy body unemployable humanities graduates have a reason to exist once more, only now it is self-perpetuating cancer that simultaneously cannot abide the existence of leftist heresy whilst relying on it like a parasite.

And as we see continuously, the online right is just as bad. If there are necessary discussions about poverty, living crises, genuine injustices that actually harm peoples’ lives, the right shrieks ‘woke!’ in such a hypersensitive way that the actual discussion disappears behind parody and caricature. TalkRadio’s infamous Mike Graham recently told an Extinction Rebellion member that we can ‘grow concrete’ in an effort to ‘own the lib’ – to which the XR member, who is stupid for different reasons, was left speechless. By consequence, Mike Graham made XR look reasonable – an own-goal, if ever there was one. 

When war broke out in Ukraine, it was necessary for the right to attempt to make sense of it. This was done well in some circles – with people drawing attention to the Realist school Regardless of your thoughts on the Realist school, it was undoubtedly an intellectual contribution to the discourse. If you looked at the mainstream discourse however, you would know nothing of this contribution. Instead, it became another flashpoint to discuss this word, those they associate with it, and how these people were ‘weak’, ‘hypersensitive’ and made it so we were incapable of fighting a war against Putin.

It couldn’t possibly be that nuclear war is a possibility, or even – as the neoconservative lobby implicitly recognises but refuses to admit – that we have nothing to gain from getting involved in the war. No, it must be the woke. We end up in some perverse eternal Spy vs Spy scenario, where ‘woke warriors’ seek out racism/sexism/whateverism in any place they can find it, while the ‘common sense rightists’  only try to define what they consider ‘woke’ to make it work, rather than criticise it on its own grounds.

So we are not publishing the word any longer. Here is a list of publications that are likely interested: The Sun; TalkRadio; The Critic; Compact; Breitbart; GB News. I am sure they will find your work fascinating. We won’t. 


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Book Review: Ten Year Anniversary, The Demon in Democracy

A rarely remarked upon effect of Covid-19 has been the neglect of works that would have ordinarily garnered broader acclaim. Thus, as we’ve been distracted by the medical events, an assortment of commendable offerings have largely escaped public attention. One such work is ‘The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies’ by Polish academic and European Parliament member, Ryszard Legutko. Originally published in 2012 as Triumf Człowieka Pospolitego (Triumph of the Common Man), then edited and first appearing in English in 2016, Legutko’s book is a rare recent work of real import. A decade on from its original publication, Legutko’s book is still one of the best indictments yet of our liberal age

In a similar vein to the works of Christopher Lasch and John Gray, Legutko’s is an account that is tepid towards the Thatcherite consensus that has come to define the right whilst resisting the easy overtures of our dominant left-liberalism. It’s a book that illuminates the errors of the age as it rejects the pieties that our epoch demands.

Like Ed West, Michael Anton and Christopher Caldwell, Legutko is one of few contemporary writers willing to provide an honest account of the liberal status quo. By not succumbing to our assorted unrealities, Legutko is able to articulate the inadequacies of liberal democracy without the pusillanimous equivocation that’s sadly all too prevalent. The book is thus a welcome addition to what is an otherwise bleak scene for the conservatively inclined, entrapped as we are in the all-pervasive mould of liberalism.

Such commendations aren’t restricted to this reviewer, however. Figures such as Harvard’s Adrian Vermeule and Notre Dame’s Patrick Deneen have been equally effusive. For as Vermeule wrote:

Legutko has written the indispensable book about the current crisis of liberalism and the relationship of liberalism to democracy”, while for Deneen the book is a “work of scintillating brilliance. [With] every page…brimming with insights.” 

High praise, undoubtedly, yet it’s well vindicated upon reading. The central thesis is that despite an outward appearance of difference, communism and liberal democracy share a range of similarities. An observation that appears prima facie preposterous, yet after 180-odd pages of tightly-packed prose the reader is unable to avoid this unsettling insight. 

The rationale for this claim is as such: both are inorganic systems that involve unnatural impositions and coercive zeal in their pursuit of illusory utopias. Utopias that are to be achieved practically through technology and ‘modernisation’ and buttressed theoretically by the purported fact of human equality. The two are thus historicist projects, seeking to ground human affairs in delusions of ‘progress’ in lieu of any underlying nature.

Both platforms are thus mere dogma. They are, as Legutko states:

Nourished by the belief that the world cannot be tolerated as it is and that it should be changed: that the old should be replaced with the new. Both systems strongly and – so to speak – impatiently intrude into the social fabric and both justify their intrusion with the argument that it leads to the improvement of the state of affairs by ‘modernizing’ it.”  

The two systems are hence unable to accept human beings and political affairs as they actually are: man and the polis must be remoulded along the lines of each respective ideology. For the communists, this involves the denial of man’s natural egotism and the subordination of his individual efforts towards an ostensible communal good. That this requires extreme coercion in implementation, unfathomable violence in practice, and has been deemed a delusion since at least Plato’s Republic, is a tragedy that’s all too commonly known.

So far, nothing new. Yet it’s the author’s elucidation of the unsavoury aspects of liberal democracy that is of particular note, especially for us here at the so-called ‘end of history’ and in light of the easy-going liberalism that permeates our societies, even as they slip further and further into evident decay. As Legutko suggests, liberal democracy shares a proselytising urge akin to that of Leninist communism, yet it’s as equally blind to its theoretical errors and its evangelical impulses as was its communist forebear.

As Legutko sees it, a liberal-democratic man can’t rest until the world has been vouched safe for liberal democracy. Never mind that this liberal-democratic delusion requires a tyranny over the individual soul – we’re neither wholly liberal nor democratic – and entire groups of people. An emblematic example is the recent US-led failure to impose either democracy or liberalism (terms that Legutko fuses and distinguishes, as appropriate) on the largely tribal peoples of Afghanistan.

The justification for this liberal-democratic ‘imperialism’ is, of course, its final and glorious end. Once there’s a left-liberal telos insight, then all means to its achievement are henceforth valid. For the communists, their failures are now common lore. Yet for our liberal-democrats, their – still largely unacknowledged – fantasies continue apace, aided as they are by their patina of ‘enlightened improvement’ and by the imperial patron that enables them.

That the effects of all this liberalising are unnatural, usually unwanted and often utterly repulsive to the recipients tends not to matter. Like all movements of ‘true believers’, there is no room for the heretic: forever onward one must plough.

The ideological spell cast by liberalism is thus as strong as any other. As Legutko observes:

The liberal-democratic mind, just as the mind of a true communist, feels as inner compulsion to manifest its pious loyalty to the doctrine. Public life is [thus] full of mandatory rituals…[in which all] must prove that their liberal-democratic creed springs spontaneously from the depth of their hearts.”

With the afflicted “expected to give one’s approving opinion about the rights of homosexuals and women and to condemn the usual villains such as domestic violence, racism, xenophobia, or discrimination, or to find some other means of kowtowing to the ideological gods.”

A stance that is not only evident in our rhetoric, but by material phenomena as well. One need only think of the now-ubiquitous rainbow flags, the cosmopolitan billboards and adverts, the ‘opt-in’ birth certificates, the gender-neutral bathrooms, the Pride parades, the gender-transition surgeries, the biological males in female events and so on to confirm the legitimacy of Legutko’s claims and our outright denial of physiological reality.

Indeed, here’s Legutko again: [the above] “has practically monopolized the public space and invaded schools, popular culture, academic life and advertising. Today it is no longer enough simply to advertise a product; the companies feel an irresistible need to attach it to a message that is ideologically correct. Even if this message does not have any commercial function – and it hardly ever does – any occasion is good to prove oneself to be a proponent of the brotherhood of races, a critic of the Church, and a supporter of homosexual marriage.”

This sycophantic wheedling is practised by journalists, TV morons, pornographers, athletes, professors, artists, professional groups, and young people already infected with the ideological mass culture. Today’s ideology is so powerful that almost everyone desires to join the great camp of progress”.  

Thus whilst the tenets of liberal democracy clearly differ from those of 20th Century communism, both systems are akin in their propagandistic essence, as he writes:

To be sure, there are different actors in both cases, and yet they perform similar roles: a proletarian was replaced by a homosexual, a capitalist by a fundamentalist, exploitation by discrimination, a communist revolutionary by a feminist, and a red flag by a vagina”.

Variations on this theme inform the entirety of the book and are developed throughout its five chapters: History, Utopia, Politics, Ideology, and Religion. Whilst there is some overlap, the book is written with a philosophical depth reflective of Legutko’s status and which only a few contemporary writers can muster. As Deenen remarks:

I underlined most of the book upon first reading, and have underlined nearly all the rest during several re-readings. It is the most insightful work of political philosophy during this still young, but troubled century”.

Yet the book isn’t exclusively an arcane tome. Aside from Legutko’s evident learnings, what further enhances the work is the author’s ability to draw upon his own experience. Born in the wake of the Second World War, raised in the ambit of Soviet communism, and employed in the European Parliament in adulthood, Legutko’s is a life that has witnessed the workings of both regimes at first hand.

The author recalls that the transition from communism to liberal democracy was greeted with an early enthusiasm that soon devolved into disenchantment.  As he states, any initial exuberance steadily subsided, with Legutko sensing early on that “liberal democracy significantly narrowed the area of what was permissible – [with the] sense of having many doors open and many possibilities to pursue [soon evaporating], subdued by the new rhetoric of necessity that the liberal democratic system brought with itself.”

An insight which deepened the longer he worked within that most emblematic of our institutions of modern-day liberalism: the European Parliament. He writes:

Whilst there, I saw up close what…escapes the attention of many observers. If the European Parliament is supposed to be the emanation of the spirit of today’s liberal democracy, then this spirit is certainly neither good nor beautiful: it has many bad and ugly features, some of which, unfortunately, it shares with communism.”

Even a preliminary contact…allows one to feel a stifling atmosphere typical of a political monopoly, to see the destruction of language turning into a new form of Newspeak, to observe the creation of a surreality, mostly ideological, that obfuscates the real world, to witness an uncompromising hostility against all dissidents, and to perceive many other things only too familiar to anyone who remembers the world governed by the Communist Party”.

And it is this tyrannical aspect of liberal democracy to which Legutko ultimately inveighs. After some brief remarks on the eclipse of the old religion (Christianity) at the hands of the new, Legutko’s parting words are an understandable lament that liberal-democratic man – “more stubborn, more narrow-minded, and…less willing to learn from others” – has vanquished all-comers. As he adds:

With Christianity being driven out of the main tract, the liberal-democratic man – unchallenged and totally secure in his rule – will become a sole master of today’s imagination, apodictically determining the boundaries of human nature and, at the very outset, disavowing everything that dares to reach beyond his narrow perspective.” A sad state whereby “the liberal democrat will reign over human aspirations like a tyrant”.

In this regard, Legutko’s remarks echo the German proto-fascist-democratic-dissident, Ernst Junger, who ‘hated democracy like the plague’ and saw the triumph of America-led liberalism as an utter catastrophe. A posture which is also evident in Junger’s compatriot and near contemporary, Martin Heidegger, and in his notion of the ‘darkening of the world.’

Yet it’s perhaps the most famous German theorist of all, Friedrich Nietzsche, to whom we should finally turn and in whose light Legutko ends the book. Largely accepting the popularised Hegelianism of Fukuyama – that there’s no alternative to liberal democracy – Legutko nevertheless muses over whether our current status as Zaruthustrian ‘Last Men’ is a concession we must make to live in this best of all possible worlds or an indictment of our political and spiritual poverty.

As he concludes, the perpetuation of liberal democracy “would be, for some, a comforting testimony that man finally learned to live in sustainable harmony with his nature. For others, it will be a final confirmation that his mediocrity is inveterate.”

A more accurate precis of our current situation I’ve yet to see, and one of many such reasons to read this most wonderful of books.   


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On the Invention of British ‘Values’

Contender for the Conservative Party leadership and Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has declared that he would widen the scope of our PREVENT programme to include those with “anti-British” attitudes. He didn’t bother to define those attitudes but no doubt they include equality, diversity and inclusion to the extent that I will be sent to the Sensitivity Hub in the Leveled Up North for saying I don’t think young girls should cut their breasts off and that a wider cuisine base is the price worth paying for a million immigrant.

British values have had to be invented in the 21st century because they never existed. I’m sorry, but it’s true – otherwise David Cameron wouldn’t have had to try so hard to either define them or legislate for their respect. I still remember that cringe Google advert from circa 2014 that asked “what are British values” and delighted in showing us a picture of two men wearing kilts getting married. But culture, like air, is only felt in its absence. What’s worse, the definitions that have been foisted upon us of “British values” are only British in the sense that they can be found in Britain, but they are not uniquely British. Is it wrong to say that most of Europe respects the values of “equality, diversity and inclusion”? 

Diversity built Britain, claims a fifty pence piece with a smug Rishi Sunak behind it. This is only true if you buy the Blairite lie that Britain was born in 1997 and actively chose to depart from its millennium-long history thereafter. Yet, these invented values are clearly not powerful enough to inspire the one thing that keeps a country together – loyalty. The chairman of this publication asked the question “what is a nation if it cannot inspire loyalty?” but neglected to interrogate the cultural dimension of that question, focusing on the legal questions of identity. This is like describing a human in terms of their body only, and making no distinction between living or dead bodies; a body needs a soul to be a person. If you don’t believe me, try and sit in the presence of the corpse of someone you know. 

It does not have to be this way; and, when you climb out of the political rabbit hole built for us, you realise it actually is not this way. “Britain” is stamped across everything and pushed into your face at every opportunity – and I’ll tell you what Britishness is shortly. Instead, there is a richer dust beneath that impoverished earth that can be found, if only you look for it: Englishness. 

The left fears Englishness because it is real. It does not fear Englishness because it does what the left wants to do, and better – it does not offer “an inclusive and diverse” society – but they fear it because it inspires so much loyalty and with so much ease. And as with oxygen, you only find it when you’ve been denied it for so long; but this actually makes finding it easier since we are so starved of it already. You can find it in a country pub, at a church fête, at a garden party, at a Christmas church service, in the architecture of Buckingham palace, in the music of Herder and Elgar, in the tailors of Saville Row – in short, in all the places you would not find anywhere else in the world. You don’t find it in a cup of tea, or in a queue, or the other twee nonsense that is so important to the 21st century project of multiculturalism.  

You have to find these things, though. They are hidden, and consciously so – otherwise they threaten the damp, empty and meaningless focus of loyalty you’re supposed to feel, “British”. And Englishness threatens Britishness because it’s so much more powerful. I don’t blame the SNP or Plaid Cymru or Sinn Fein for being so successful. I blame our gutless, cowardly elites. 

It wasn’t always like this. Britain and “Britishness” was only ever a legal identity supported by an English hegemony. There’s a reason that, for so long, writers would use the words interchangeably – it’s because they were. Englishness was unique and different to Scottishness (Welshness doesn’t exist), and quite clearly the animating spirit, the soul of Britishness. Scottish and Irish people might complain today that their culture was “erased” by the British state under an English hegemony, but to the victor, the spoils. England and Scotland had the same population sizes for centuries, and went to war so very often, it’s hardly surprising that one of them would eventually triumph.

English people were aware of this. It’s no surprise that Enoch Powell spoke about this – typically eloquently and with deeper understanding than any living politician – and urged that “Britain” concede its diminished place in the world, surrendering the Empire (and its step-child, the Commonwealth), instead accepting that England is the only real entity worth loyalty. Powell thought that clinging on to a vaguely defined “Britain” at a time when her seapower was basically gone, the massive waves of immigration were becoming the norm, and the European Economic Community was expanding, meant the hegemonic English identity would be turned in on itself, swallowed up, and hollowed out by the desire to make “Britain” as palatable as possible. As with everything else, on this issue Time has proved to be Enoch’s greatest ally, to the extent that David Lammy – who has no cultural or ethnic connection to Englishness – can call himself English. The only reason he can, is because Englishness and Britishness are still mistaken for one another. We have made the mistake of letting an English hegemony be captured by those who hate England.

But this hegemony is almost dead: whilst the last bits of “Englishness” that have dominated “Britishness” are swallowed up, it became the project of the Left in the post-Thatcher years to become even more aggressive in simultaneously undoing that hegemony whilst also turning it in on itself. That first part, of undoing this hegemony, was fuelled by Leftist desires for “equality” between Scotland and Wales, and England, and the farcical idea of Britain as a “nation of nations”, culminating in the devolution programmes that created the fake nation of Wales (still a principality of England, really) and threw the rabid dog of Scotland a steak as if that would satisfy its hunger. You don’t feed the strays. 

Peter Hitchens’ Abolition of Britain catalogues that second arm of the Leftists strategy, of taking the ‘kind and gentle’ civilisation of Britain and weaponising it against the England upon which it was built. Another article published by the Mallard, written by Eino Rantanen, put this point well – “British friendliness has created not only complacency, but rather powerlessness in the face of people and ideologies that have no qualms asserting themselves, often violently”. 

One violent ideology of this kind is the hated enemy of Blairism. Blairism was the final legal victory of the Leftist assault on English hegemony: again, the Blairite elements of the British state have been rightly identified before, but I will list them for the sake of explaining my point: the Supreme Court (which is a nonsense name, the Monarch in Parliament is still supreme); devolution, as I say above; the eradication of our educational heritage by devaluing university; and so on. 

But, this publication has made it its job to be more optimistic, or so I’m told. The situation may look bleak, and I doubt I’ve helped, and this next point might make me sound even more blackpilled: the British project is nearly exhausted. The values that had to be invented in the sundering of the English hegemony of Britain were a sort of proto-globalism – that triumvirate of mediocrity, “equality, diversity and inclusion” have proven to be as empty as the French Revolution’s “liberte, egalite et fraternite” – but some kind of pseudo-cultural identity was needed to keep Britain going. In a way, the Left has dug its own grave, because it took away the only real substance that gave Britain an identity, and replaced it with a set of contradictory inventions. 

And you can see this new public culture everywhere. Indeed, it is stamped across everything, in such a way that you cannot avoid it: for example, despite the fact that June has (somehow, unquestioningly) become “pride month”, there are still “pride parades” everywhere and all the time, and in such public spaces that you need to actively try to avoid them – an inconvenience that they are counting on, of course. And “pride parades” are not even about being gay anymore, or LGBT, or whatever, they’re just an excuse to get drunk and be promiscuous in the street, and you can take part – provided you wear the dress and make up and face paint necessary to mark you out as “one of us”, whoever the “us” is. 

Contrast this, quite literally, with the fact that Eid is celebrated by thousands of Muslims on the streets of London, a religion that is less tolerant of homosexuality than Christianity. And again, you don’t even really need to be Muslim to take part in the celebration of Eid. The fact that these contrasting belief systems are publicly supported and worshipped is the sign of the absence of a communal identity, not its existence; deep and contradictory belief systems cannot be present in the same collective identity. It is just proof that different collectives live in the same space now; and the simultaneous celebration and sublimation of each is the only way their contradiction can be held in check. In the same way that Patrick Deneen wrote in Why Liberalism Failed that the expansion of atomistic individualism required a stronger state, so too does multiculturalism (another invented British “value”). 

Then there’s the fact that every advert – every advert – is full of black people (or, if you want to see intersectional London’s one-step-further form of this, spot the Tube advert with an interracial lesbian couple in which both are wearing face masks). To such an extent that British people think the British population is 20% black (it’s 3%, by the way); and never mind the fact that black people are not Britian’s biggest ethnic minority, we now have a “Black history month”, apparently. You would be forgiven for thinking we lived in America – but maybe that’s the point. 

Where is the room for Englishness in all of this? That’s just the point: there isn’t any, and by design. The desire to strip the England out of Britain by the Left meant that Englishness has to be sublimated in order to for “Britishness” to be viable. But here is the optimistic point of this article: the twin facts that the British project is fraying, and that English culture has to be suppressed, points to a single, irresistible conclusion. Englishness is both too powerful for the new British “identity” to counter, and that it is ripe for rediscovery. 


The final point here is that, the word “rediscovery” is intentional – Englishness has to be found, partly because it is so smothered by that new British pseudo-culture I lay out above, but also because real culture is physical and tangible. You can find English culture hiding in an Anglican church, in a garden party, in the squat village pubs – basically, in all the places that are unique to England and around which a recognisable pattern of behaviour has been built. Englishness can be found once again – you just need to look for it.


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Joe Biden and the Ghost of Ronald Reagan

In an appearance on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line back in 1980, newly inaugurated President Reagan was asked his thoughts on a number of key issues. His responses, despite now being 42 years old, remain all too relevant.

He argued for long-term investment in expanding the oil economy in the face of rising energy costs, an argument that Republicans are making once again as Joe Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline has driven gas prices up to eye-watering levels, compounded further by sanctions on Russian oil. On the issue of inflation, he pointed out that “since government causes inflation, government’s the only one that can stop inflation,” in stark contrast with Biden who prefers to leap from calling inflation “transitory” to celebrating it to blaming Trump to blaming Russia.

Perhaps Reagan’s most pertinent words of advice were on dealing with aggressors:

“The United States cannot recklessly put itself in the position where the confrontation does take place. The United States… should make it plain that [the Soviet Union] can run that risk of having such a confrontation, if they continue with their imperialism and this kind of expansion.”

He followed this by stating:

“I think one of the foolish things we’ve done going clear back to the Vietnamese war is telling potential enemies the things we would not do. For example, when President Johnson repeated over and over again that, of course, we would never use nuclear weapons there. I don’t think we should’ve use nuclear weapons there. But I think the North Vietnamese should have gone to sleep every night worrying about whether we would. We shouldn’t tell them the things that we wouldn’t do.”

Reagan faced a Russian state spreading its imperial tentacles, acting through its various satellites as well as through its own troops – a situation that is playing out once again.

Biden’s tendency to rule out action represents a major stumbling block in dealing with Putin, who knows all too well that the West is simply not ready, militarily or otherwise, for a major conflict of any kind. At his meeting in Brussels, when asked if his clear unwillingness to go beyond a proxy war had “emboldened” Putin, Biden replied, “No and no,” as if saying it twice would make it any less untrue. Obama made a similar mistake by talking big with his “red line” threat but failing to follow up with any action. One can hardly blame Putin for expecting the same from Biden as he effectively acts out Obama’s third term.

When Biden does propose any action, as he did when he mistakenly suggested that use of chemical weapons would be met with a response “in kind,” the White House quickly performed damage control. The net result was an embarrassed Biden, a bemused Putin and a slightly nervous free world.

Whatever one may say about Trump, his unpredictability lent him a Reaganesque quality, with his talk of consequences for America’s enemies being followed through with appropriate, often severe, action, as was the case with his targeted assassination of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani.

What is most alarming is that Reagan’s advice, given in 1980, has not been heeded by Biden and his team despite his being in politics since 1976. If he had paid attention, he may not have been called “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades” by Obama’s defense secretary Robert Gates. Although he had numerous failings, from Iran-Contra to his response to the AIDs crisis, Reagan was the man who helped end the Soviet Union. If history is to repeat itself, as it seems to be doing, perhaps following in Reagan’s example is the ideal course of action.


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