Bernard-Henri Lévy’s latest book examines ‘America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World

From The Jewish News Syndicate:

In America, you have the most stupid and dangerous right you’ve ever had. And you have the growing left—the worst and most stupid and most virulent left we’ve had. For example, the extent of the BDS campaign in America, you can see the stupid left in front of the stupid right.

By Jackson Richman
March 28, 2019

From fighting for human rights to advocating for the Kurds and their desire for a homeland, Bernard-Henri Lévy, 70, has sounded the alarm on contemporary issues and issued warnings about the decline on the left to uphold liberal values.

A French public intellectual, media personality and author, he was one of the leaders of the Nouveaux Philosophes (“New Philosophers”) movement in 1976.

Q: You said recently, “There is no correlation between education and wisdom. You can teach remembrance of the Holocaust all you want, but that’s not going to protect us against the return of the Beast.” Does that imply that George Santayana was wrong when he said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it?”

A: Of course, it is important to teach, but it is not enough. Those populists, those neo-fascists, those anti-Semites who raise their head again, they are beyond knowledge and truth. They cannot be taught. They will not change their minds. They say that the truth has been made up; that the truth has been doctored. They live in a parallel world full of conspiracy theories. And the more we say the truth, the more they say that it is fake. We live in a strange world where the very idea of the truth is threatened and under attack. That’s why I say that it is not enough to say the truth.

People who engage themselves in this new populist trend are driven by something else. They don’t seek the truth. They’re searching for something else. There is a terrible, frightening pleasure in hating, in going to crazy and simple identity politics. [British Labour Party] Jeremy Corbyn knows well what he says about the Jews and Israel is bulls***, but he does not care. He cares about inflaming the spirits of his supporters by spreading fake information about the Jews and Israel. This is the real deficit. This is what I say in my book.

Q: If Brexit were to fail, could we see Jeremy Corbyn elected prime minister?

A: Jeremy Corbyn can become prime minister. And Jeremy Corbyn is becoming the leader of the left all over the world. There is the Jeremy Corbyn-ization of the left everywhere, including in America.

Q: Is the bigger threat in Europe and America the Corbyn-ization of the left or the populism of the right?

A: In America, you have the most stupid and dangerous right you’ve ever had. And you have also on the other side, the growing left, which is Jeremy Corbyn-ized, and which is the worst and the most stupid and the most virulent left we’ve had. For example, the extent of the BDS campaign that you have in America, you can see the stupid left in front of the stupid right. In America, the true liberals have to face these two dungeons.

This is one of the last conversations I had with [the late Arizona Sen.] John McCain a few months before he died. He told me, “Beware. Be careful. You will have to confront and you will have to fight against the worst right and the worst left. And they will feed each other.”

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Brunei introduces death by stoning as punishment for gay sex

From The Guardian UK:

People in the tiny south-east Asian kingdom face draconian penal code based on sharia law

Thu 28 Mar 2019

Brunei is to begin imposing death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex and adultery from next week, as part of the country’s highly criticised implementation of sharia law.

From 3 April, people in the tiny south-east Asian kingdom will be subjected to a draconian new penal code, which also includes the amputation of a hand and a foot for the crime of theft. To be convicted, the crimes must be “witnessed by a group of Muslims”.

Brunei, which has adopted a more conservative form of Islam in recent years, first announced in 2013 its intention to introduce sharia law, the Islamic legal system that imposes strict corporal punishments.

It was a directive of the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who is one of the world’s richest leaders with a personal wealth of about $20bn (£15bn) and has held the throne since 1967. He described the implementation of the new penal code as “a great achievement”.

Alcohol is already banned in Brunei, as are showy Christmas celebrations, and there are fines and jail sentences for having children out of wedlock and failing to pray on a Friday. However, a heavy international backlash against Brunei imposing some of the more brutal sharia punishments has slowed their full implementation over the past five years.

In 2014, Brunei’s promises to implement sharia law prompted protests in Los Angeles, outside the famed Beverley Hills hotel and Hotel Bel Air, both of which were owned by the oil-rich nation. The hotels were accused of the “height of hypocrisy” for offering packages to LGBT couples, while being bankrolled by a country that has condemned homosexuals to death.

Brunei was a British colony until 1984 and the two countries still enjoy strong ties. Homosexuality has been illegal in Brunei since British colonial rule but under the new laws it is now punishable by whipping or death by stoning rather than a prison sentence. Capital punishment will also apply to adultery and rape.

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See Also:

New York Times: Brunei to Punish Adultery and Gay Sex With Death by Stoning

Reuters: Brunei defends tough new Islamic laws against growing backlash

The Dallas Voice: Perez Hilton outs Sultan of Brunei’s son

LGBTQ News: Omar Sharif Jr. challenges Sultan of Brunei to execute his son if gays should be stoned to death

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Go Home to Your ‘Dying’ Hometown

Or out, away form San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York where the cost of living reduces the quality of life.

From The New York Times:

I did, and it isn’t what I expected. I am more involved in social and racial justice, economic development and feminism than I ever was in a big city.

By Michele Anderson
March 8, 2019

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — My husband and I bought a new home last fall — a 1910 Colonial Revival on the edge of this central Minnesota town of 14,000 people. Down the hill from our place is downtown, which includes the library and a medical clinic. Go a quarter-mile in the opposite direction, and the houses end. You’re surrounded by wide-open prairie, and beyond that is Interstate 94, which gets you to the Twin Cities in about three hours.

We’re still unpacking boxes as we get ready for our first baby, due in late March. A few weeks ago, searching for ideas for what to name our son, I looked through a family genealogy book. The last 30 pages are a transcription of my great-great-great grandfather Walter’s diary from 1883 to 1907. He came to Minnesota via Canada and England and lived with his wife, Eleanor, and their nine children on a homestead in Clay County, about 40 miles north of where I live now.

I read excerpts from his diary out loud to my husband, and we soaked in the rhythm of his life:

Thurs. June 1, finished planting onion seed, planted potatoes. Went to J. Lamb’s dance. Fri. 2, rain. Finished planting potatoes. Father went to Sabin. Sat. 3. took cattle to herd. Helped Chas. Lamb haul manure. Sun. 4, went over to church. All McEvers S.S. were there. Mon. 5, cleaned out stable. Ploughed for beans and corn. Tues. 6, went to mill. Wed. 7, father called. I planted beets around house. Sat. 10, ploughed for turnips.

It was a humble sort of poetry, a reference book for the land he chose to commit himself to. He was a farmer, and he helped establish the area’s first Presbyterian church. And yet it’s strange to know every detail of what he planted, but not what he hoped or feared for his family or his community.

The Interstate splits the original homestead, so I drive through that farmland often. I catch myself romanticizing my family’s “legacy,” feeling both pride for what they built and regret that the land that defines my family was stolen from the Dakota people.

I feel conflicted about my role here. Rural places like this one are facing countless questions about the economy, about identity and about the environment. It’s hard to know what we need to be stewards of and sustain, and what we need to let go or confront, to build a strong future.

I am what you might call a “homecomer.” Wendell Berry, the Kentucky writer and farmer, uses that word to describe people who have spent some time away, usually to pursue better opportunities in cities, and then choose to return to their rural roots.

In a 2009 commencement address at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Berry encouraged students to consider whether they might be better and more responsible citizens if they embraced the concept of homecoming rather than the desire for upward mobility, which lures them to places to which they have little connection, to participate in a destructive and extractive economy.

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Corbynism Comes to America

From The Tablet:

Wondering about the future of the Democratic Party? Just look at Britain’s Labour.

By James Kirchick
March 13, 2019

Less than four years ago, Jeremy Corbyn was an obscure backbencher in the British Parliament. In his 30 years as a member of the Labour Party, his greatest legislative accomplishment was paradoxically the lack of any: From 1997 to 2010, when Labour was last in government, Corbyn was the MP who voted against his own party more than any other. Despite his perpetual insubordinations, successive Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown declined to expel Corbyn from their party. “There was no threat,” a deputy Labour chief whip told the Financial Times about Corbyn and his small band of hard-left rebels in 2016. “These people were tolerated because no one had ever heard of them.”

Today, everyone in British politics has heard of Jeremy Corbyn, who, as leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition, has utterly transformed the Labour Party. Once a broad-based movement that could command large parliamentary majorities, today it is a sectarian personality cult, offering meager resistance to a shambolic Conservative government. Once the party whose leaders created NATO and stood stalwart against the threat of international communism, today Labour is led by people who sing the praises of anti-Western despots and terrorists. And once the natural political home of British Jewry, Labour today is mired in an anti-Semitic morass, to the point where 40 percent of Jews say they would “seriously consider” leaving the country were Corbyn to become prime minister. Indeed, Labour has become so toxic that, last month, nine MPs quit the party, calling it “sickeningly, institutionally racist,” “a threat to national security” and “a danger to the cohesion of our society, the safety of our citizens, and the health of our democracy.”

How Labour reached this deplorable condition is one that should seriously concern liberals in the United States, where a similar dynamic is playing out in the Democratic Party. An insurgent progressivism favorably disposed to socialism, hostile to Jews and openly admiring of Jeremy Corbyn and all that he represents is steadily making inroads against an aging, centrist Democratic establishment. Here, a constellation of elected officials, media personalities, and activists are mimicking the tactics of their ideological comrades in Britain to take over and transform the Democratic Party into a vehicle for their extreme agenda.

The devotees of American Corbynism congregate around Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the “democratic socialist” who, like the British Labour leader, has a long record of overlooking the depredations of left-wing authoritarians abroad. A recently discovered video from 1988 shows the future presidential candidate regaling an American audience with the highlights of a recent trip he and his wife Jane made to the Soviet Union, where he rode on the “very, very effective” transportation system and was wowed by train station “chandeliers that were beautiful.” Just a year before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, these two political pilgrims sounded like Beatrice and Sidney Webb, British socialists who ventured to Josef Stalin’s Russia only to report back smiling peasants and abundant harvests. Sanders, who initially had positive things to say about the late Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution, today stubbornly refuses to call his successor, the brutal Nicolas Maduro, a dictator.

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