Welcome to The Bridgehead!

Jonathon Van Maren

A bridgehead is defined as “a strong position secured by an army inside enemy territory from which to advance or attack.” In today’s culture wars, a bridgehead of truth and common sense is exactly what we need. As Ronald Reagan once said, “When you’re outnumbered and surrounded and someone yells ‘charge,’ any way you’re facing you’ll find a target.”The Bridgehead Radio Program does just that, bringing you cutting edge news, interviews, and insights from the frontlines of the culture wars, and engaging in a sweeping discussion on human rights. Featuring renowned authors, commentators, politicians, intellectuals, historical figures, and more, The Bridgehead talks truth and common sense in a culture where it is badly needed. Featuring conversations with everyone from Peter Hitchens, Mark Steyn, Joel C. Rosenberg, and Gavin McInnes to Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Illibagiza, Holocaust survivor and Anne Frank’s step-sister Eva Schloss, and Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff, Bridgehead host Jonathon Van Maren takes a hard look at where our culture is and where we need to go.


Jonathon Van Maren is a popular speaker and writer who has been published in The National Post, The Times of Israel, The Jewish Independent, The Hamilton Spectator, LifeSiteNews and elsewhere, and has been quoted and interviewed by many prominent national publications as well as a wide variety of television and radio shows.

 

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In Russia: From the Mongol yoke to the Bolshevik barbarians

By Jonathon Van Maren

Author’s Note: My first essay in this series on Russian Orthodoxy, covering the legendary arrival of the Apostle Andrew in Kiev to the Mongol invasion, was published last week. You can read The Bloody Baptism of Russia here.

We arrived in Sergiyev Posad by train from Moscow, and snow was falling lightly as we exited the station. Our destination was the Trinity Lavra, a cluster of cathedrals and a monastery that were begun in the 15th century by Sergius of Radonezh–now considered to be one of the holiest sites in Russian Orthodoxy. The remains of Sergius, who is perhaps the most famous monk-saint in Russian Orthodox history, lies in an ornate glass-topped gold coffin presided over a priest who conducts a near-perpetual funeral service, humbly attended by crowds of pilgrims who come to pay their respects. We weren’t sure what we would find in Sergiyev Posad, but discovering that a funeral was underway for a man who died in 1392 was definitely not on the list.

Historians aren’t sure of Sergius’ precise birthdate—it could be 1314, 1319, or 1322. What they do know is that he was ordained to the priesthood and became a monk in 1337 along with his widowed older brother Stephen. The brothers then set off deep into the forests to build a small chapel and single-cell monastery—Stephen left after only a few years when the seclusion proved too much for him. For years, Sergius lived alone in the forest among the animals—packs of wolves came right up to his hut, but would depart without harming him. Legend has it that a bear came to share Sergius’ bread with him—one historian we spoke with referred to him as “the Bear Saint.” The Catholic Francis of Assisi had birds, and the Orthodox Sergius of Radonezh had a bear. How very Russian, we thought.

When people began to hear of Sergius, they traveled deep into the forest to seek spiritual guidance—and some began to stay. His single cell grew into a hermitage with first twelve monks, and then more. This was the beginning of Trinity Lavra. People still flock here to view the remains of Sergius, which rest beneath a brown cloth, and to view the gorgeous churches and ornate icons. My friend and I realized very quickly as we explored that we were virtually the only tourists—nearly everyone else was there as pilgrims. Even Sergius’ corpse is surrounded by legend: When the Bolsheviks attempted to expose his body to a crowd to prove that it was nothing more than rotten bones and that nothing would happen to the grave-robbers if they desecrated the remains, they were proven wrong. Something did happen—specifically, the Bolshevik commander in charge of the operation was jerked off his horse and beaten badly by a crowd of incensed believers.

It was in 1380 that the religious life of Sergius of Radonezh merged with the bloody national history of Russia. When we left off in our story, the Mongols had overrun Rus and laid waste to the people and the land, subjugating them under the iron yoke of the Golden Horde. Prince Dmitri Donskoy arrived at Trinity Lavra to visit Sergius before meeting the Tartars in battle, and received what he had come for: A blessing. “Go forth, my lord fearlessly!” Sergius told him. “The Lord will help you against the godless enemy.” To aid him on his way, Sergius sent two warrior-monks with Dmitri—one was Alexander Peresvet, the legendary horseman who killed his champion Tartar opponent and smashed him from his saddle in single combat at the opening of the Battle of Kulikovo before dying astride his steed.

As the Russian forces crashed into the Tartar warriors, Sergius and his monks gathered in the church to pray for victory. Victory was granted–the first step in the liberation of Rus from the Tatar occupation. What most historians consider to be the final liberation would occur almost exactly a century later in 1430 at the Great Stand on the Ugra River, where the Grand Prince Ivan III of Muscovy faced off with Akhmat, the khan of what was by then simply called the Great Horde. Grand Prince Ivan, like Prince Dmitri before him, also sought a blessing from the Orthodox Church before meeting the Mongols, and it was given—church leaders begged him to protect the Church from the infidels. (Ironically, the Mongol infidels had enormously strengthened the Orthodox Church by refusing to tax it, seeing it as a way of preventing infighting among Rus princes.) To everyone’s utter astonishment, the standoff at the Urgra River resulted in the Tatars deciding to turn heel and leave. Prince Ivan headed to church to thank God for his tremendous and nearly bloodless victory.

As is so often the case, the brutal Tatar occupation only increased the centrality and prominence of the churches. These ancient churches are everywhere in Russia, despite the fact that many of them are now in ruins after the rage-fuelled iconoclasm of the Bolshevik barbarians laid waste to people and buildings for death-filled decades. To walk in these churches is to breath in history that hangs in the air like the misty layers of incense—they are old, and have played host to Russia’s past. Exploring the cathedrals of the Kremlin’s Red Square alone gave us a taste of this history: The Dormition Cathedral with its glowing golden dome was consecrated in 1479, and replaced a wooden church that was purportedly erected there in the 1100s. It hosted the coronations of the Tsars from 1547 to 1896, and most of the Moscow Metropolitans were buried there—it is, after all, only separated from the Patriarch’s palace by a narrow alley. Ivan the Terrible himself was the first to be crowned here.

Nearby is the Annunciation Cathedral, consecrated in 1489 and once serving as a chapel for the Tsars. The Cathedral of the Archangel was built on the site of an earlier church from 1250, and the Tsars and Grand Princes were buried here until the reign of Peter the Great. The Ivan the Great Bell Tower was once part of the original Church of the Resurrection, which was blown up by Napoleon during his invasion of Moscow. To walk into these old churches is to enter the presence of a multitude of dead men, some of them monks, some of them murderers. The air feels heavy in these cavernous and candle-filled places, filled with murmuring, head-bobbing worshippers and their respectful spectators. In St. Basil’s Cathedral, the iconic cathedral shaped as the flame of a bonfire rising skyward, we heard the deep, rumbling voices of singers echoing their centuries of predecessors rising towards the steeple as women in colorful shawls and men with hats in their hands stopped respectfully to listen. St. Basil’s, which has served as the backdrop to nearly every Western media story on Russia for decades, was built in 1551-61 on the orders of Ian the Terrible to thank God for his victory over Kazan and Askrakhan.

Just as the Catholic Church would become central to the Polish struggle to preserve their culture and their nation in the face of Soviet Oppression in the 20th century, the Russian Orthodox Church was pivotal to the survival of the Russian peoples during the years where they groaned under the Mongol yoke. In the following centuries—despite sometimes brutal infighting over various heresies—Orthodox churches grew in both size and influence, rebuffing multiple attempts by Catholic ambassadors to woo the Russians into placing themselves under the authority of the pope. In the 1540s, while Western Europe descended into the maw of the religious wars, the Russian Orthodox convened synods that codified their hagiography and their ceremonies, consolidating their traditions and expanding their power. They used this power to remove themselves from government jurisdiction, and even to challenge the policies of the Tsar when the Orthodox hierarchy saw fit. This didn’t always go well—when Metropolitan Phillip refused to grant Ivan the Terrible communion and condemned his various massacres, Ivan had him arrested, deposed, and then strangled to death in 1569 two days before Christmas.

No monarch or government, of course, likes to be rebuked by men of the church—especially not when their bloody ways ensure that such denunciations are necessary. And so when Peter the Great (1682-1724) embarked on his quest to implement reforms across Russia, modernize the nation, and transform the Russian Empire into a spectacularly powerful political and military force, he decided to also bring the Orthodox Church back under state control. Cleverly, he replaced the Patriarch with a Holy Synod, and then seized the right to appoint all of the bishops—sycophants dependent on him for their prestigious positions were far preferable to prophets prone to condemn wickedness they saw in their Tsar. Peter himself had little use for the Church or Christianity, and so the religious orders suffered not only because the Tsar himself oversaw church affairs that had once been left to the clergy, but also because many men rejected religious vocations as one that would be accompanied by too much scorn and loss of prestige. As such, the clergy became increasingly poor and uneducated—a situation exacerbated later by Catherine the Great, who seized nearly all church lands and reduced the salary of priests even further.

Despite these setbacks—the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state have been alternatively intertwined or struggling for predominance for centuries, and that dance continues still—Russian Orthodoxy still continued to spread exponentially as missionary efforts as far away as Siberia and Alaska brought new converts into the fold. As the clock ticked towards the Bolshevik Revolution and the sand ran out of the Imperial hourglass, many of the Russian elites began to return to Orthodoxy or other forms of Christianity—Tolstoy writes eloquently in his final novel Resurrection of elite gatherings in assorted palaces where nobility gathered to hear preachers speak of the renewal of the soul. As rumblings of revolution lurked on the edges of Russian consciousness—Tsar Alexander II had been assassinated by a bomb-wielding terrorist revolutionary in March of 1881—there was a growing realization that answers to the existential questions filtering through Russian society were desperately needed.

In 1909, a group of liberal intellectuals including Sergei Bulgakov, an Orthodox theologian, philosopher, and economist, Peter Struve, a philosopher and editor, and a number of other prominent scholars (five of whom were former Marxists), attempted to address some of these fundamental questions in a volume of seven essays called Vekhi (Landmarks). Nikolai Berdyayev, an Orthodox philosopher, condemned the utilitarianism of the elites and explained that materialism had eliminated any interest in actually seeking truth. Bulgakov warned that the fight for socialism could not lose sight of individual rights. The essays in Vekhi also emphasized that the Marxist obsession with creating a utopia on earth was extraordinarily dangerous—especially because Marxists labeled those who disagreed with them as enemies, and he additionally noted the moral bankruptcy of atheism. One author even accused Russian students of a growing moral relativism. The book caused a sensation—the most controversial sentence being penned by the essayist Mikhail Gershenzon, who wrote that the dangers of Marxism were repellant to him and that “far from dreaming of union with the people we ought to fear the people and bless this government which, with its prisons and bayonets, still protects us from the people’s fury.”

History is littered with tragically ignored prophets who were forced to see the evils they warned of come to pass, but the valiant attempt by the authors of Vekhi to urge the Russian intelligentsia to alter course is particularly poignant considering the events that were to come less than a decade later. Men like Vladimir Lenin–whose bloodlust was driven by the execution of his older brother, a terrorist who attempted to assassinate Tsar Alexander III on the anniversary of the murder of Alexander II—led a Revolution that would unleash a deluge of blood unparalleled in Russia’s long, violent history. The clergy and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church would be among the very first victims—they were flung from cliffs, crucified, and butchered in their churches. Most of the Vekhi authors were forced to flee the carnage they had tried to warn of, with Bulgakov and Struve dying in Paris, Berdyayev dying in Clarmart, and only Gershenzon dying in Moscow.

For centuries, the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church had struggled for the souls and the loyalties of the Russian people. With the Tsar and his wife and children shot to death and then burned in a remote Siberian town on the edge of the Empire, the Bolsheviks turned to their primary rival for the affections of the people—and unleashed a persecution on a scale that has never been seen before or since. The Russian Orthodox Church had faced challenges before, but the systematic brutality of the godless Communists would make the murderous spasms of the demented Ivan the Terrible seem almost restrained in comparison.

Author’s Note: Part III of my Russia series, on the great Soviet persecutions, will appear next week.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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Trudeau Liberals punish MP who stood up for his constituents on Canada Summer Jobs attestation

By Jonathon Van Maren

In public, the Liberals are trying to blunt the fallout from their “abortion attestation” in the application requirements for the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Employment Minister Patty Hadju essentially admitted that the attestation, which she and Trudeau have defended in the face of nearly universal backlash, was problematic when she promised that the Liberals would review the next year—but as for this year, it would stay in place. In the meantime, organizations like the Southern Alberta Bible Camp are struggling to figure out how they’ll hire staff. They aren’t the only ones—the number of rejected applicants has leapt from 126 last year to 1,561 so far this year.

In private, however, the Liberals are doubling down even as many MPs privately express both dissent and dismay. Of those MPs, only one had the courage to stand up and vote for the Conservative motion to allow non-political and non-activist groups to access the Canada Summer Jobs Program without having to sign off on supporting a laundry list of progressive causes—and the Liberals recently made him pay for it:

A longtime Liberal MP who voted against the federal government’s controversial Canada Summer Jobs attestation has been removed from his job as a committee chair. Scott Simms was quietly ousted as chairman of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Monday — losing a $11,900 salary bump that comes with the job.

“Yes, they removed me from the committee because of my vote,” Simms confirmed to HuffPost Canada.

In March, Simms was the lone Liberal to vote in favour of a Conservative motion calling on the federal government to extend eligibility for the summer jobs program to groups that engage in non-political and non-activist work even if they do not check off an attestation that they support individual human rights, including abortion rights…

Simms raised alarm over the change back in January, after Christian groups in his riding said they were being asked to violate their beliefs in order to apply to the program.

“To me, that’s a lack of respect. If I was to say to someone, ‘Look, don’t worry about it, just tick the box or whatever’ — some people have a core fundamental belief that they don’t believe in this,” the Newfoundland MP told his local CBC radio station. “It … is not right.”

Unfortunately for Simms, having principles and respecting the principles and consciences of others comes with a cost in the Liberal caucus, and so he got a demotion and a pay cut. Simms says he knew he’d be punished, so he obviously thought that considering the backlash to the abortion attestation, taking a stand for his constituents who felt targeted by the Trudeau Government was worth it. As 2019 approaches, there may be other MPs who wish they’d done the same.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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The Progressive Pecking Order: Trans Activists Evict Drag Queens

By Jonathon Van Maren

One of the most fascinating—albeit ridiculous—components of the trans movement is the extent to which they’ve been able to sweep the movements that preceded it from their places of social prestige within the progressive hierarchy. The trans movement is, for example, at open war with the old guard feminist movement—after all, if men can become women, what’s so special about women, anyway? Trans activists have taken to calling those feminists who find the claims of gender fluidity to be dubious “TERFs,” or “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.” There are even instances of the confrontation between trans activists and radical feminists turning physical.

But I’ll bet that the drag queens never thought trans activists would come after them—but rather hilariously, that’s exactly what’s happening. From The Independent:

A Pride event in Glasgow has banned drag queens from performing, after committee members decided acts could offend trans people. Free Pride Glasgow, which bills itself as an anti-commercialist alternative to the Scottish city’s main Pride event, said trans and non-binary committee members were “uncomfortable with having drag performances“.

The organisation said in a statement that it hopes to create a safe space for all members of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual) community, and that while the decision may “disappoint” some people “the needs of the most marginalised groups within our community come first.”

Yeah, you read that right. The “most marginalized group” is the same group that apparently has the power to call all the shots—perceived victimhood is an incredibly powerful bully pulpit these days. And if people care to disagree with them, all they have to do is point out that their critics have no right to speak based on their position in the intersectional pecking order:

The decision has received a largely negative response, prompting the establishment of a Boycott Glasgow Free Pride Facebook page.

Michelle Visage, a judge on the hit cult TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race and an LGBT ally, urged people to attend Pride Glasgow and Pride Edinburgh instead. However, some questioned her right to comment as a non-trans, or cis gender, woman.

What a revealing little phrase: “some questioned her right to comment.” The LGBT movement has long disdained freedom of speech and religious liberty, and now some members of that community are finding themselves abruptly demoted by the arrival of ever-tinier sexual minorities with enormous clout, wielding their perceived victimhood like a billy club.

I’ll bet they never thought that their own tactics would be used within their own movement.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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Rep. Keith Ellison says Democrats need to win or women will die

By Jonathon Van Maren

Over the weekend, I noted the weird characterization of Chick-Fil-A by a columnist in the New Yorker as “creepy” because of its “pervasive Christian traditionalism.” This is how societies polarize and tear apart: When there is no longer any common ground to meet on, and the “other,” whoever that might be, has been so thoroughly demonized that it is no longer possible for many people to see the humanity in those they disagree with.

This is a game that the Democrats have been playing since before the election of Donald Trump—each new measure put forward by or supported by the Republicans is declared to be a murderous conveyer belt of carnage. People will die if this passes, the Democrats inform the American people each time the Republicans put forward legislation.

This is not ideological disagreement. This is no longer two different political parties posing different solutions to the same problem, while recognizing that the other does care about the problem. This is one political party essentially saying that the other hates many Americans—especially minorities—and does not care if they die. It is this type of rhetoric that led to many of the hysterical reactions on the night of Donald Trump’s election, where millennials wept hysterically and talked about how Trump would “put people like me in camps” and other bizarre scenarios: Because that is the message that the Democrats are sending to their base.

And that’s precisely the message that Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota delivered at a conference recently, talking about how “lives depended” on his work as a Democrat—and that the Democrats needed to win so that people didn’t perish miserably under Republican policies. “Women are dying because we are losing elections,” Ellison said, referring to maternal health in several states. “We don’t have the right to lose a damn election. We have to win. We have to win.”

Right. And why do the Democrats have to win? Because people will apparently die at the hands of Republican policymakers if they don’t—and please don’t mention the millions of pre-born babies in the womb that will die if they do. They prefer that you refer to feticide as “reproductive health” or something less unpleasant.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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The “gender-neutral” fad is one reason that people can’t take the West seriously

By Jonathon Van Maren

I was in Eastern Europe recently, and one thing that struck me is the extent to which many people do not see Westerners as sinister, but simply as silly. While we engage in “pronoun wars” and our student activists howl about various imagined injustices committed against ever smaller and newer sexual minorities, most people on Planet Earth are simply getting on with life, trying to make enough money to cover their bills, feed their children, and achieve something like stability for their families. The utter seriousness with which Western politicians, academics, and journalists treat the boutique issue of the moment here in the West stands in stark contrast to the eye-rolling scorn that such issues earn outside the West.

One example of this would be the “gender neutral” movement, which has actually taken to protesting the fact that stores generally segregate toys and clothing by gender, so that people shopping for boys or for girls while find the products they need conveniently grouped together. While every culture on earth recognizes that boys and girls are different, this wisdom has been lost to some gender activists here in the West—even though science indicates that their ideology (surprise, surprise!) is incoherent. From the Los Angeles Times:

In steadfast pursuit of gender equality and to promote nonconformity, it’s become popular in some social circles to start early, very early, by raising young children in a gender-neutral way: not revealing the baby’s sex at birth, dressing them and their bedroom in various shades of oatmeal, encouraging them to play with gender-neutral toys. There’s also pressure on corporations to help; parental complaints led Target to stop sex-segregating its toys, for instance.

Offering kids the opportunity to pursue what they’d like, freed from societal expectations, is an undeniably positive thing — whether it has to do with toys, clothing, or their future aspirations. But the scientific reality is that it’s futile to treat children as blank slates with no predetermined characteristics. Biology matters.

Consider that previous sentence for a moment, and the fact that it needed to be written and published—and that it is even considered controversial. The idea that boys and girls are different is, to some, such an ideological heresy that it has the power to trigger an enormous reaction. This is why so many people around the world struggle to take the West seriously. More:

A large and long-standing body of research literature shows that toy preferences, for example, are innate, not socially constructed or shaped by parental feedback. Most girls will gravitate toward socially interesting toys, like dolls, that help social and verbal abilities develop. Most boys will gravitate toward toys that are mechanically interesting, like cars and trucks, fostering visuo-spatial skills.

One recent study, published in Infant and Child Development, showed that these preferences emerge as early as nine months of age — before children are developmentally aware that gender differences exist, at around 18 months…

In the face of scientific data, the gender-neutral movement nevertheless continues to gain momentum. Indeed, its adherents took heart in a study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which touted the idea that the brains of women and men are identical. If so, that would offer support to the theory that gender is an artificially created, outdated concept.

However, an immense body of neuroimaging research has shown brain differences between the sexes. One meta-analysis of 126 studies found that men have larger total brain volumes than women. Men also show greater white matter connectivity running from the front to the back of the brain, while women have more of these connections running between the two hemispheres.

Additionally, when researchers reanalyzed the same brain data from the “no sex differences” study, they found that it was possible to correctly identify whether a given brain was male or female 73% of the time. But this discovery did not receive much attention from the media, and as a result, the initial study’s misinformation continues to spread.

I hear from many well-meaning parents who raised their children in gender-neutral homes and were surprised to find that they nevertheless gravitated toward stereotypical interests and toys. Little boys who were given pots and pans to play with turned them into makeshift toy cars, complete with self-generated engine sounds. Little girls turned to one another and started playing house.

Moving beyond the fact that the parents who embark on the gender-neutral experiment are actually surprised when it turns out that boys and girls are different, it is interesting to note that in gender ideology, as well as with many other issues (like abortion, for example), science rapidly becomes the enemy of progress. Activist academics and those that follow them have decided that the reality of gender must be done away with for some reason, and thus we suddenly no longer hear about the “science-based policy” that was given such vigorous lip service on other issues that they hold dear—instead, we hear that it is time we “transcend old attitudes” and other such nonsense.

And we wonder why most of the world finds it very difficult to take us seriously.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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Jordan Peterson, history, and why we’ve forgotten the Holocaust

By Jonathon Van Maren

On March 27, CNN reported that an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor named Mireille Knoll was stabbed to death in her Paris apartment, which was then set on fire—officials believe the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism. As a ten-year-old girl, Knoll evaded the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in 1942 that resulted in the Nazi-directed mass arrest of 13,000 French Jews by French police. The men, women and children were kept in brutal conditions in the Vel d’Hiv cycling track stadium in Paris—before thousands were forced into cattle cars and shipped off to an ugly death in Auschwitz. (The 2006 novel Sarah’s Key told the story of one of the 4,000 children that were also imprisoned in the stadium).

And on April 12, the Washington Post reported that a survey of 1,350 American adults revealed that 66% of Millenials didn’t know what Auschwitz was, and 22% either hadn’t heard of the Holocaust or “weren’t sure” what it was. These devastating numbers come just as the alt-right attempts to disseminate the same spurious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Jews that have been disseminated for centuries and reports show skyrocketing attacks on Jews across Europe, with many forced to either hide or leave the countries they have resided in for decades.

We underestimate the cost of losing historical knowledge at our peril. When we forget what happened only a generation ago—and as I’ve written before, these events are still for some living memory rather than history—we ensure that we will not recognize the conditions that allowed these things to happen in the first place. Suddenly, young men can march with Nazi flags in American streets, even though some probably had grandfathers who took up arms against the last bearers of that flag. Anti-Semitic crimes can be written off as isolated events rather than a dangerous indication of old demons stirring.

That is why Dr. Jordan Peterson is frequently moved to tears as he begs his listeners to realize that it was so-called “good” people and “normal” people and “nice” people that allowed the Holocaust to happen—and in many cases, even facilitated it. We must all realize, Peterson says with a passion that demands attention, that it was people like us who murdered the Jews, and it is essential that we understand why that happened, and how that happened. It is why he asks that his followers read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, and William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking.

“If only it were all so simple!” Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago, “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” And how are we to know what we need to destroy if we do not even know what people are capable of? If we do not even understand the magnitude of horror and evil that modern, civilized man committed within the realm of living memory?

I’ve been privileged, over the past decade, to interview many who survived the Holocaust, or bore witness to it, or knew those who saw with their own eyes the savagery that was inflicted on millions of innocents. I spoke with Pinchas Gutter, who survived six concentration camps, saw his family die, and witnessed the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I spoke to Mariette Rozen, who was separated from her family and hidden with strangers in the Netherlands. I listened as a Holocaust survivor named Eva Schloss told me her memories of a little girl named Anne Frank, who she once played with on the streets of Amsterdam. I even interviewed Hessy Taft about her extraordinary story, when as a little girl she once won a beauty contest for Aryan children in the Third Reich—even though she was Jewish.

And as these men and women and children suffered such unimaginable horrors at the hands of other men and women, millions of people calmly went about their lives, each secure in the fact that the evil that had seeped into their society was not their problem. In her last interview in 2016 before she died last year, the secretary of Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels dismissed the idea that she’d done anything wrong—and that others would have done anything different, had they been in her shoes. “Really,” she said. “I didn’t do anything other than type in Goebbels’ office. Those people nowadays who say they would have stood up against the Nazis—I believe they are sincere in meaning that, but believe me, most of them wouldn’t have.”

That is Jordan Peterson’s fundamental point—that most of us wouldn’t have done anything. History—which we no longer know—proves that he is right. Not knowing history allows us to delude ourselves into thinking that we are good people who might have done great and courageous things had we been given the chance, while often avoiding any opportunity to do anything good or self-sacrificial now. To forget history is to in a very real sense forget who we are and assume that we are morally superior to our ancestors. And it means that we can blithely ignore such things as they begin to happen again, perhaps to other groups of human beings this time.

I’ve also had the opportunity to interview exceptional people who show us what human beings can be capable of. I spoke with Barbara Winton, who wrote the biography of her father Sir Nicholas Winton, the man who organized “kinder transports” that saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazis. He was too deaf to speak on the phone himself as the time—he has since passed away—but his daughter described his legacy, and how he refused to succumb to what he called “passive goodness.” And I spoke with the daughter of Irene Gut Opdyke, who at the age of 20 saw a Nazi soldier murder an infant—and decided to do whatever she could to save as many as she could, smuggling food to the Jews imprisoned in the Polish Radom Ghetto and hiding twelve Jews in her basement, suffering horribly for her noble deeds.

We recognize these people as exceptional because they were the exception. It is essential that we remember that fact. Most people did nothing while millions were destroyed. Many collaborated in active ways. Even more collaborated in passive ways, making the murderous system work as it ground people into ash and dust. It would be easier to forget all of this. History is a mirror that shows us the savagery and evil that lives within the human heart. History reminds us that we are not good, and that we must constantly struggle to ensure that the demons which emerge in our cultures are rooted out—or they will destroy millions of innocents again. History serves as a collective conscience, breaking down our delusions and warning us of what lives within our hearts.

That is precisely why people prefer not to study history. And that is precisely why the survival of any civilization depends on the knowledge of the past.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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The New Yorker says Chick-Fil-A in NYC is “creepy” because of its “pervasive Christian traditionalism”

By Jonathon Van Maren

Every once in awhile, a column surfaces that starkly illustrates the Left’s contempt for those who disagree with them. Last month, it was a New York Times columnist writing that he couldn’t wait for his entire generation to die off so America could finally become the progressive paradise it was meant to be. This week, it was a bizarre, conspiratorial essay in the New Yorker titled “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City.” And why, do you ask, is a fast food business showing up in a major city “creepy”? Because the owners are Christian, of course:

New York has taken to Chick-fil-A. One of the Manhattan locations estimates that it sells a sandwich every six seconds, and the company has announced plans to open as many as a dozen more storefronts in the city. And yet the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism. Its headquarters, in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet. Its stores close on Sundays. Its C.E.O., Dan Cathy, has been accused of bigotry for using the company’s charitable wing to fund anti-gay causes, including groups that oppose same-sex marriage. “We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation,” he once said, “when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ ” The company has since reaffirmed its intention to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect,” but it has quietly continued to donate to anti-L.G.B.T. groups. When the first stand-alone New York location opened, in 2015, a throng of protesters appeared. When a location opened in a Queens mall, in 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a boycott. No such controversy greeted the opening of this newest outpost. Chick-fil-A’s success here is a marketing coup. Its expansion raises questions about what we expect from our fast food, and to what extent a corporation can join a community.

“The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words ‘to glorify God,’” the writer goes on darkly, “and that proselytism thrums below the surface of the Fulton Street restaurant.” In short: If you eat homophobic chicken, you may be ingesting homophobia as well. Plus your money might end up in the coffers of a man who still believes marriage is between a man and a woman. How’s that for a stomach ache?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The reason our society is being torn apart is because the Left is incessantly demonizing those who disagree with them as sinister, hateful people who deserve to be disenfranchised and ignored. They actually believe that to be true—Senator Cory Booker even grilled CIA Director Mike Pompeo on his views on gay marriage earlier this week during the confirmation hearings for secretary of state. And that is why it often seems as if there is no common ground left in the culture wars.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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The Globe and Mail highlights Vancouver abortionist as an assisted suicide pioneer

By Jonathon Van Maren

As Canada’s euthanasia regime takes shape, suicide activists are already pushing to expand the categories of eligibility for killing. Nothing highlights this fact more starkly than a recent essay published in the Globe and Mail titled “Fight to the death: Why Canada’s physician-assisted suicide dying debate has only just begin,” penned by Sandra Martin.

Martin ignores the genuine abuses that some are already experiencing under this regime, including this horror story published earlier this month in the Toronto Star:

On Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day) Foley’s lawyer, Ken Berger, filed suit in Ontario Supreme Court on his behalf. The suit charges that Foley’s Charter rights have been violated through official “failures to relieve the plaintiff’s intolerable suffering, [instead] providing the option of assisted suicide rather than assisted life.”

Foley’s condition is in his own words “grievous and irremediable,” the standard by which the Supreme Court judged medical assistance in dying is to be available to all. But while the condition is irremediable, as was Hawking’s, that does not mean his life quality is unsustainable. With proper and qualified home aides and support Foley could live a safe and full if restricted life.

That, his suit alleges, is what he has not received. After being fed food left out too long he was hospitalized for food poisoning; he was dragged on the floor by caregivers who did not know how to effectively transfer him from his bed. “Workers lacked the ability to assist with his exercises. He suffered injuries as a result.”

In short, Berger was offered suicide rather than actual care. This type of scenario is likely to play out increasingly often—Martin’s complaint, it turns out, is that physicians in Canada have been insufficiently eager to kill their patients upon request since the legalization of euthanasia:

The first giant step had been taken. Patients had scored a legal victory for choice at end of life. But that didn’t mean doctors were willing to help them die. “Let the vets do it,” an eminent practitioner told me dismissively. “Killing patients isn’t medicine.”

Which is precisely the case. But Martin dismisses the concerns of these physicians, and instead highlights Vancouver abortionist Ellen Wiebe, who also performs euthanasia, as an inspiration we should follow. In order to normalize assisted suicide, Martin says, suicide activists should work hard to tell compelling stories of suffering people. A recent column by TVO’s Steve Paikin on his friend’s decision to opt for suicide would be an example of that, and Hollywood has been building support for assisted suicide through films like Million Dollar Baby, Me Before You, and TV shows like House MD for years.

But these stories, while functioning as a powerful tool to build public support for assisted suicide, have still not been able to persuade many physicians to embrace the practice—in fact, an essay in Toronto Life last year revealed that doctors who initially said they would be willing have since asked that their names be removed from the list of those willing to provide the “service.” Martin bemoans the fact that palliative care practitioners are not willing to provide suicide services:

In October, 2015, the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians made it official. “Palliative care does not include physician-hastened death,” the group announced in a bald statement.

“Doctors are very conservative,” Dr. Gardam says. Whenever there is a big shift in how a specialty operates, there is an inherent reluctance to accept a new way of practising medicine. Palliative-care doctors “grew up in an era when physician-assisted death wasn’t possible,” Dr. Gardam notes, “so it is going to take a while for them to wrap their heads around it.”

Notice the shift in language here: Suicide, which has historically been seen as an ultimate tragedy, is now simply a “new way of practicing medicine.” It is not presented as an ethical concern so much as something doctors are going to have to “wrap their heads around.” The simple fact is that this debate, says Martin, is all about “choice”—the same language used to normalize abortion, although in this case it is suicide rather than the killing of another that is at stake:

That attitude, though, ignored the sensibilities of the boomer generation – and its insistence on making its own choices. After all, Ms. Rodriguez had had access to excellent palliative care in the early 1990s, but she didn’t want to succumb to the ministrations of others. She wanted to live until she decided it was time to die, and she wanted to do it quickly and while she was still lucid. Palliative care can dull the pain and sedate you into unconsciousness, but it can’t give you control or choice – and that is what Ms. Rodriguez wanted.

This choice, Martin believes, is far more important than the choice of doctors to decline killing as part of their work. Martin calls our flimsy restrictions on assisted suicide “regressive”—because they do not allow us to kill as many people as other nations, like Oregon and the Netherlands. Canadians should look to abortionist Ellen Wiebe, says Martin, who has already been pushing the boundaries of what is seen as acceptable killing:

None of that would have happened so quickly without Dr. Wiebe’s audacity as a provider. That’s why she is in the vanguard, a fearless doctor who is leading her reluctant medical colleagues to an ethical tipping point that is normalizing patient choice in death as it already is in life…Forget the floor. The Liberal government excavated the basement as a platform for its regressive MAID law. It excluded the option of assisted death for patients suffering primarily from a treatment-resistant mental illness; for terminally ill mature minors; and for people who had completed advance requests after being diagnosed with some form of dementia, but while they were still competent.

Interestingly, Martin presents the euthanasia regimes of places like Oregon and the Netherlands without mentioning a single incident of abuse—such as the case of an elderly woman with dementia being held down so the doctor could administer the lethal injection, or those with depression utilizing state-provided suicide, or people being offered suicide rather than the healthcare they seek, or increasing incidents of “involuntary euthanasia,” which we used to call “murder.” Wiebe, she says, is the suicide pioneer Canada needs:

While some critics accused Ms. Wilson-Raybould of ageism, Dr. Wiebe took the explanation at face value. As she explained to me, she consulted actuarial tables to calculate that Ms. Carter could have lived another five or six years, had she not travelled in secret to die in Switzerland in 2010. Consequently, Dr. Wiebe defined a “reasonably foreseeable death” as likely to happen within five or six years, a much more expansive interpretation than a prognosis of six months or less, which is the rule of thumb for most assisted-death providers in this country.

After studying the A.B. decision, Dr. Wiebe consulted her actuarial tables once again, and calculated that, at 77, A.B. could have lived with her condition for another 10 years. If she was eligible for an assisted death, perhaps there were other patients on Dr. Wiebe’s roster in similar situations who would also qualify – a conclusion that hadn’t yet occurred to most stakeholders in the assisted-dying world.

So there you have it. Our “regressive” laws can already be mangled beyond recognition to permit more and more people to kill themselves. This, says Martin sanctimoniously, is “our final human right.” She also provides a grotesque insight into Wiebe’s ethics—one of the hardest things she’s ever done, says Wiebe, was to initially turn down a suicide request from a patient with Parkinson’s—a patient she later killed anyway. This action, like the other boundary-smashing deaths facilitated by Ms. Wiebe, are presented as heroic actions by Martin, who concludes her essay by laying out where Canada needs to go next:

We need legislative change to make Bill C-14 compliant with the Charter and the Carter decision, especially in terms of the vague “reasonably foreseeable natural death” criteria, the exclusion of mental illness and bizarre faith-based institutional exemptions.

In Martin’s view, religious liberty, conscience rights, and the ethical concerns of physicians are “bizarre” and need to be dispensed with—doctors must be forced to kill or refer, and faith-based institutions must change their mandate to permit killing. Those suffering from mental illness must be offered suicide, and we need to be permitted to kill younger people, too. This brutally honest essay lays out exactly what Canada’s suicide activists want to bring to this country–and exactly what we must push back against.

In order for those of us who still believe that suicide is a tragedy and that killing is not healthcare to respond to these suicide activists and a culture that is increasingly embracing their agenda, we have to be able to articulate our responses. To that end, my colleague Blaise Alleyne and I wrote a little book last year, A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide, that explains how we can respond to their arguments—each of these responses was tested for effectiveness, and each of these arguments have been used to change minds on this issue. The book has already been recommended by many healthcare practitioners, and for any of you who are interested in equipping yourselves to respond to this growing culture of death, I humbly recommend it to you, as well.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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VICTORY: President Donald Trump deals sex traffickers another blow

By Jonathon Van Maren

On the heels of the FBI’s shutdown of Backpage.com, which has been a huge facilitator of human trafficking for years, President Donald Trump has struck another blow against the sex traffickers, signing an essential piece of legislation on April 11. From the Washington Post:

President Trump signed a bill Wednesday that gives federal and state prosecutors greater power to pursue websites that host sex-trafficking ads and enables victims and state attorneys general to file lawsuits against those sites.

Addressing the victims and family members in attendance, the president said, “I’m signing this bill in your honor. … You have endured what no person on Earth should ever have to endure.” Trump added, “This is a great piece of legislation, and it’s really going to make a difference.”

Standing next to Trump as he signed the legislation was Yvonne Ambrose of Chicago, whose 16-year-old daughter, Desiree Robinson, was slain after being prostituted on Backpage in 2016. “It means so much to our family,” Ambrose said of the bill. “Hopefully, there won’t be many more people who have to endure that pain.”

The bill, nicknamed “FOSTA” for its title, “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” goes into effect immediately, but its impact was already being seen around the Internet as sites shut down sex-related areas and stopped accepting sex-related advertising.

The signing comes just days after seven executives for Backpage.com were arrested on a 93-count indictment that alleges the website facilitated prostitution and laundered tens of millions of dollars in profits, and that teenage girls were sold for sex on the site. Some of those girls were killed. The government also shut down Backpage’s classified ad websites around the world, and moved to seize houses and bank accounts around the United States.

Although victims and anti-sex trafficking activists have been celebrating the shutdown of Backpage.com, I was stunned to see that the Women’s March, of all organizations, tweeted out their opposition to the move. “The shutting down of #Backpage is an absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients,” they wrote. “Sex workers rights are women’s rights.” The girls who were pimped, raped, and killed apparently are not important—the third wave feminists do not share the views of those who founded the modern feminist movement, women who recognized prostitution and pornography as fundamental exploitation.

Regardless, this new bill is another victory for opponents of sexual exploitation—and the third wave feminists have again revealed that they will put their ideology over the real bodies of real people every single time.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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An update from the front lines of the global abortion wars

By Jonathon Van Maren

Around the world, abortion activists are on the march, trying with all their might to push feticide as a fundamental right in countries that have long rejected the destruction of pre-born children. In Ireland, of course, pro-life activists are in a race against time before a referendum on May 25, when Irish voters will decide whether or not to preserve Ireland’s 8th amendment to the Constitution Act, which protects the pre-born child’s right to life. Ireland has long been a thorn in the side of abortion activists, and they are hoping that this time they will bring their bloody business to that country, as well.

Argentina, which bans abortion except in the case of rape or a risk to the mother’s life or health, has just begun public hearings on legalizing abortion further. President Mauricio Marci, who has said in the past that he is pro-life, has announced that there will be a free vote on the issue. The fate of pre-born children in Argentina now lies in the hands of lawmakers, who will be hearing testimony from both sides before deciding which way to vote. Argentina, too, has been under massive pressure to relax restrictions on abortion.

In El Salvador, one of six Latin American countries that bans abortion outright, the government’s health ministry has declared support for changing the current laws, and abortion activists have kicked into high gear to push the issue. Chile relaxed its abortion laws in August, and some El Salvadorian lawmakers are pointing to that nation as an example to follow. Many lawmakers are still very pro-life, so it is difficult to know at this point whether the abortion activists will be successful.

In Croatia, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is under fire simply for suggesting that abortion should be avoided at all costs, and refusing to say whether or not he supports legal abortion. The pro-life movement in Croatia has been growing—15,000 people turned up at the first March for Life in 2016, and pro-life activism has ramped up since the Croatian Supreme Court rejected demands to overturn the 1970s Communist-era law permitting abortion last year. The prime minister, for his part, says that while a total ban is unrealistic, Croatia should work towards reducing the abortion rate.

In the United States, pro-life legislation is passing in states right across the country, including Iowa, Arizona, South Dakota, Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, Kentucky, and Indiana. North of the border in Canada, the province of Ontario recently passed a law banning pro-life speech near abortion clinics, and the NDP government in Alberta has just tabled a bill to follow suit. Similar free speech restrictions have just been passed in the United Kingdom, as well.

Day in and day out, pro-life activists tirelessly seek to protect the lives of pre-born children, lives that are under threat by powerful, well-funded NGOs and global organizations. In many places, they are the only people standing against the abortion movement. Please remember them in your prayers.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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The bloody Baptism of Russia

By Jonathon Van Maren

In Russia, everything seems to have a violent backstory. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, for example, was built in Moscow in 1883, the largest church in the vast Russian Empire—until Joseph Stalin, in his iconoclastic fervor, blew it up to make way for a proletarian public swimming pool. Accompanied by a friend and the journalist I was working with, we were headed to see the magnificent reconstruction of the cathedral, which cost over $170 million and was formally consecrated in 2000 by Patriarch Alexy II. As we made our way down the street, an enormous black figure loomed in my peripheral vision.

Just yards from the Kremlin walls on Borovitsky Hill and rising sixty feet over Moscow traffic was an enormous statue of a helmeted warrior in long robes, supporting an ornate cross that soared high above him in his right hand and a sheathed sword in his left. He resembled a bearded warrior-monk, and he stared fixedly and with a furrowed brow towards the church we were going to visit. The flag that indicated Putin was in his office flapped from the Kremlin just above him. I asked the journalist who the man was. “St. Vladimir,” she replied. “He brought Christianity to Russia.”

I wanted to learn more—this was the second time I’d heard of Vladimir since I arrived in Russia. The first time, an elderly woman sitting next to me on the train from St. Petersburg to Moscow had peered at my book, recognized it as Tolstoy’s Resurrection, and then interrupted my reading and proceeded to narrate the history of Christianity in Russia in broken but decipherable English, beginning with Vladimir. “He made us Christian,” she told me with an approving nod.

St. Vladimir, it turned out, is also known to history as Vladimir the Great, arriving on the scene in 958 AD as the youngest son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev. His mother was a housekeeper named Malusha, who according to Norse legend was a pagan prophetess who had the power to predict the future and lived to see her hundredth birthday—a strange mother for a son who would eventually bring Christianity by force to the embryonic Russian state, then known as Rus. Vladimir’s birthplace is a matter of contention: it was in either modern-day Volyn Oblast, Ukraine, or Pskov Oblast, Russia—there is an enormous statue of Vladimir in Kiev, as well, and the erection of the competing Moscow statue was seen by some as a provocation of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.

The idea of Vladimir the Great becoming a saint would have appeared, early on, to be ridiculous. After the death of his father in 972, an internecine conflict broke out—Vladimir’s half-brother Yaropolk, ruler of Kiev, attacked a third brother, Oleg. Vladimir, who had been appointed the ruler of Novgorod the Great, was forced to flee to his relatives in Norway, but promptly returned with an army of Norse warriors. On his way to face Yaropolk in Kiev, Vladimir conquered the small city of Polotsk, forcing his brother’s fiancée Regneda to marry him against her will—a high-born princess, she had scorned him because his mother was a slave. Vladimir then lured Yaropolk out of Kiev with the promise of negotiations in 980, killed him, and thus became sole ruler of the Kievan Rus.

After establishing himself as the sole sovereign, Vladimir proved himself to be an exceptional military commander, taking territory from the Poles, the Latvians, the Volga Bulgars, and brutally suppressing all rebellions and insurgencies. As his power grew and he took new territory, Vladimir proved a strong supporter of paganism, building an enormous temple to six of the Slavic pagan gods, implementing human sacrifice, and setting up shrines and idols during his travels and military conquests. He had five wives and at least 800 concubines—one of whom was the imprisoned wife of his dead brother Yaropolk. Christianity was appearing in Russia slowly, but Vladimir showed not the slightest interest, far preferring the Norse gods of war and thunder to the sect of a crucified Jew.

It was Vladimir’s decision to unite the Kievan Rus into a territory under a single religion that changed everything. Initially, Christians were persecuted by those who took great offense to any perceived insult to the Slavic gods—the Orthodox Church considers the first Christian martyrs in Rus to be Theodore the Varangian and his son John. John was chosen by pagan priests for human sacrifice in what was apparently a rigged set of lots, and his father responded by scorning the gods of wood that “do not eat, nor drink, nor speak…I shall not give my son over to devils.” The exact details are lost to history, but the two were apparently murdered by an angry pagan crowd—and there is some indication that Vladimir was very impressed by their courage in the face of violent death.

The story of Vladimir’s decision to impose Christianity on the Rus is a bizarre one. According to some, he had decided on a monotheistic religion, which narrowed down the choices to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. If Christianity was chosen, then he also had to decide whether the Catholic tradition or the Eastern Orthodox tradition was better (the Reformation being, at that point, more than five centuries in the future). Ambassadors from surrounding nations arrived to convince Vladimir of the truth of their traditions, and he carefully heard each one out. He rejected the Islam of the Volga Bulgars as too prohibitive, and Judaism as too weak. Catholicism did not suit the Russians, and so Vladimir eventually decided on Eastern Orthodoxy.

Vladimir was baptized in 988 after a military campaign in Byzantine where he demanded the hand of the sister of Emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII in marriage in exchange for his promise not to attack Constantinople—and the emperors agreed on the condition that Vladimir be baptized, sending their sister Anna to Vladimir with an escort of priests to carry out the task. Vladimir accepted baptism with his warriors, and then married Anna in a Christian wedding ceremony—there is no record of the attendant bishop bringing up the awkward topic of Vladimir’s previous wives and harem of hundreds.

The newly-wed Grand Prince of Kiev, ever a decisive commander, promptly went to work to introduce his people to his new religion. He had the pagan temples razed and the idols destroyed, and then had the citizens gather on the banks of the Dnieper River on September 1, 988. There, his people followed Vladimir’s lead and were baptized—the event, in Orthodox ecclesiastical history, is known as the Baptism of Russia. Novgorod, the first city ruled by Vladimir, pushed back against this sudden conversion and rebelled. The newly-baptized Vladimir responded as he always had and crushed the uprising with troops, thus cementing his role in history as the bloody Constantine of the Russian peoples.

***

As I traveled Russia, one unavoidable fact was driven home to me time and time again: The history of the Russian Orthodox Church and the history of the Russian nation cannot be disentangled. They are one in every imaginable way. From tragedies where crowds of people huddled in cathedrals for safety and triumphs where clergymen prayed over soldiers as they rode to battle, to warrior-monks who simultaneously became Orthodox saints and nationalist heroes—to the statue of a man named Vladimir who demanded the baptism of his people, dead over 1,000 years, causing a controversy over the policies of another man named Vladimir towards the Ukraine today–it is impossible to understand the one without the other.

In 1988, one Russian journalist told me as we chatted in a little basement café, the celebration of a thousand years of Christianity—the millennial anniversary of the Baptism of Russia—was held in Moscow. In a move that stunned many, the USSR permitted the celebration to become a state-wide event rather than simply a church one, a huge shift in policy for the Soviet Union—and an indication that the hairline cracks in the Communist regime were spreading. The simple fact that the Russian people would be permitted to celebrate the arrival of that hated faith in Russia by a Communist government that had attempted to douse the flame of faith with gallons of martyr blood was enormously significant.

Interestingly, of course, Christianity arrived in what would become Russia sometime before Vladimir the Great’s somewhat dubiously motivated attempt to hasten the Christianization of the Rus. In the misty years where history and legend merge with one another, tradition tells a story of the Apostle Andrew arriving on the northern shores of the Black Sea, visiting Scythian and Greek colonies—and then moving on to the place that would one day be Kiev. A grand cathedral, St. Andrew’s, was built on the spot where he purportedly preached to commemorate the visit of the “Apostle of Rus.”

Centuries later, Byzantine Greek missionaries began to translate the Bible into Old Church Slavonic, and some sources indicate that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople in either 866 or 867. Thus, there were many Christians among the Russian peoples long before Vladimir the Great decided that it was a convenient way to unite his subjects—including, incidentally, his grandmother, Princess Olga of Kiev, who was one of the first major rulers to convert to Christianity. To commemorate these early beginnings, Prince Msytyslav of Halych built one of the original churches in 1215 that memorialized the visit of the Apostle Andrew, calling it the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Like so much of Russia, however, that little church did not survive the smoldering devastation wreaked by savage warriors who came pounding across the steppe like devils on horseback: The Mongols.

***

For several hundred years, the Orthodox Church grew steadily despite the persistence of paganism and the occasional uprising, including a spasm of pagan violence in Novgorod in 1071 which threatened the life of a bishop and ended when Prince Gleb Sviatoslavich dispersed the mob by chopping a pagan sorcerer, presumably an instigator, in half with an axe. Under the careful care of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Kievan church began to transform into a sprawling institution that would eventually become the very soul of the Russian people—just as Vladimir the Great had envisioned.

And then in the 1220s the Mongols came, an event of such utter destruction that it is almost unfathomable, even today. As Ted Byfield put it in volume seven of his history of the Christians, A Glorious Disaster: “In England…the herring business all but collapsed when most buyers from the Baltic just never showed up. Why? It seemed that there suddenly were fewer people left in the Slavic lands to buy the catch—wiped out, some reported, by hideous horsemen appearing like a whirlwind from lands to the east…They usually left nothing alive, and in any case the stench of corpses made whole cities uninhabitable. The princes of the Slavic people, then known as the Rus, reportedly had assembled the greatest army in their history, but in a single battle…had [been] wiped out.”

It was true. In 1223, a Mongol army annihilated a Slavic army of 80,000 men led by the prince of Kiev—and that was merely the beginning. Genghis Khan’s death in 1227 provided no relief. His sons and his grandsons returned to push further and further into Russia, butchering entire populations, enslaving the girls, women, and young boys, and burning cities and settlements so thoroughly they were turned into black, rotting deserts. The clergy of Russian Christendom were not spared—nuns were raped, priests were forced to watch, and then all were burned alive. Only a few were spared to gasp out tales of horror to the populations of other cities so that they would know what awaited them. This carnage culminated in December of 1240, when the magnificent city of Kiev was levelled, and its population reduced to human rubble. Years later, travelers passing through would only find ruined streets littered with skulls and scattered bones.

And centuries after the Mongol Golden Horde was finally driven from Russian lands, the evils they perpetrated with such callousness and relish still linger here, a scar cut deep into the Russian psyche. A Russian Orthodox nun, chatting with us about the history of her Church, managed to mention several times the mass kidnapping and enslavement of Christian girls by Mongol warriors, the beautiful flowers of the steppe brutally harvested by cruel nomads. During our evening in the compound of a Russian Orthodox motorcycle gang, the Night Wolves, the biker we were interviewing also mentioned the enslaving of girls and women by the Mongols as he talked about his inspiration, a warrior-monk named Alexander Peresvet, who died in single combat with a Tatar champion.

In Russia, these things seem to be almost recent despite the long centuries that separate us from the plight of terrified girls torn from their homes, of young wives pulled sobbing from the corpses of their slain husbands by rough horsemen who carried them off into lands unknown, never to be seen again. It seems that when some men today (like the Russian biker who gruffly talked to us about the “duty to protect” from outside evils) see the pretty red-cheeked girls nearly entirely encased in fur walking about Moscow, they still see the Christian girls who were stolen from their homelands all those ages ago. Considering the fact that they are a people who are still upset about the Sacking of Constantinople in 1204, this shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Here, “the past is present” is not a cliché. It is the way people live.

Author’s note: Part II of my Russia series will appear next week.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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Have you ever wondered where your “sexts” will end up?

By Jonathon Van Maren

So the latest politician to get taken down over allegations of sexual misconduct is Michael Harris, a Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario. Harris, who was promptly turfed as a candidate by the Progressive Conservatives, had apparently been sexting with a young intern. According to the PC caucus chair:

The evidence presented to us included a written complaint from 2013 by a former intern about how she had been passed over for employment. There was also a series of text messages from the same time period, between the young intern and the MPP. These text messages were of a sexual nature. They included a discussion of potential part-time employment, as well as a request for her to send him photos, an invitation for her to meet with him late that evening, and reference to something that may have previously taken place in his legislative office.

This story highlights a question that I believe everyone in our society should be asking: What are the potential consequences of sexting?

Sexting, which generally refers to the exchange of nude photographs, is now nearly ubiquitous in high schools and on campuses everywhere. Vanity Fair journalist Nancy Jo Sales found that nearly every high school in America had a “slut page” where boys aggregated all the photos they had received from high school girls. These pictures have frequently been used as blackmail, giving rise to the phenomenon of “revenge porn,” and have even caused suicides. I know of instances where these photos were used to blackmail girls into sex. Famously, of course, these photos often get hacked and spread around—not even celebrities are safe.

But beyond that, these photos are often permanent. Once taken and sent, those in the photos have relinquished control of these images—images which may one day come back to haunt them. Today’s generation of young people have tens of millions of amateur porn photographs of themselves floating around the Internet, waiting to wreak havoc on their lives later on. In many cases, boys (and men like Michael Harris, it turns out) ask for these photos, and even badger the girls until they relent and finally send them. I have talked to many high school students who caved to these demands under pressure, and now live in fear of where those images might crop up.

Never has there been so much opportunity for adolescents and teens to make permanent decisions with the potential to destroy the rest of their lives at such a young age. MPP Michael Harris got rightfully booted from the PC Party over revelations that he requested photos from a young intern as part of what appears to be a very sexually inappropriate relationship. What minefields are today’s young people planting in their future? What sexually explicit texts, social media messages, and photos exist, waiting to ruin a career or a relationship? How many people will live in the fear that messages and photos they sent in a moment of weakness, or passion, or stupidity, will one day materialize to ruin something they have worked so hard to build?

Michael Harris is not the first man to be toppled by such allegations, and he won’t be the last. This social media sexting experiment our culture has embarked on is far bigger than anyone realizes, and the consequences of this experiment are just barely beginning to be felt.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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HUGE VICTORY: Backpage.com shut down by the feds

By Jonathon Van Maren

To start your Monday off with some good news, here’s the story that had friends from across the continent messaging me in excitement this weekend. From the New York Post:

Sleazy classified site Backpage.com was shut down Friday after the FBI raided the home of its co-founder, according to new reports.

Agents raided ex-owner Michael Lacey’s home, according to a local CBS affiliate — while users are sharing screenshots of a message saying it has been “seized” by the feds.

“backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division,” says the message shared by numerous sex workers across the US and Canada.

“Backpage has just been seized by the federal government and taken down. This is terrifying,” tweeted porn star Taste the Moon alongside the screengrab.

Others worried they won’t get money back from ads they’ve placed on the site, a popular marketplace for sex.

“So how much money do you think #backpage just stole from us? Thank you for getting rich off of us then kicking us while we’re down by changing the way we pay for ads, and pocketing our current balance,” wrote Miss Marla Moon.

Backpage has long been in the crosshairs of lawmakers, law enforcement and activist groups, who say its listings enable sex trafficking. The Department of Justice and FBI didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Several of my friends were at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s annual conference in Washington, DC over the weekend, and one of them said that the atmosphere when the news broke was roughly equivalent to that of a surprise Superbowl win. It’s not hard to understand why: Backpage.com has been a hub for human trafficking for a long time. Activists have been trying to shut it down for years. Consider this anecdote, related by a heartbroken mother in The Guardian last year:

The first time Kubiiki Pride used Backpage, America’s largest classified website, was to buy a fridge. The second time she sold some clothes. The third time she was looking for her 13-year-old daughter.

The family had spent nine frantic months looking for MA, posting flyers, launching public appeals and scouring the streets. It took Kubiiki less than five minutes to find her on Backpage. “We were so desperate we were trying everything, but when my husband said check Backpage I was confused because I thought it was a site where you sold stuff you didn’t want any more. It never occurred to me that children were being bought and sold, too.”

Kubiiki found the site and clicked on the adult section. “It took a minute for the page to load, but immediately the third link down from the top just caught my eye,” she says. “It was covered in hearts and these little flower pictures. It looked like something a kid would like, so I clicked on it and there was my baby.”

Initially Kubiiki was so flooded with relief at finding her daughter that she didn’t register what she was seeing. “At first I didn’t see the nakedness or what she was wearing or the poses she was in, but then it began to sink in, what the ad was for, and everything just fell apart.”

The Prides’ journey into the darkness of America’s domestic sex-trafficking industry had started the previous summer with an everyday act of teenage defiance. Kubiiki had told her daughter MA she was too young to attend an end-of-school party. Later that night MA sneaked out to join her friends, but found herself alone and without a ride home. A woman passing by offered help. “And that,” says Kubiiki, “was the start of my baby’s descent into hell.”

MA never made it home. Instead she was taken to a house, raped, beaten and fed drugs. “My 13-year-old was starved, had her head shaved, was abused and then, when her spirit was broken and she was addicted to the drugs she’d been given, they sold her on Backpage like she was a used car,” says Kubiiki, her voice cracking down the phone line from her home in Atlanta, Georgia. “When we got her home, a piece of her soul had gone forever.”

The trafficker was caught and given five years in jail, but the explicit photos of MA remained online. “I called Backpage dozens of times asking them to take down those photos, that my daughter was just a child and that what had been done to her was a crime,” says Kubiiki. “They refused and said if I didn’t pay for it, they couldn’t take it down. In the end they just stopped returning my calls”…

Nobody has a clear idea of how many children have been sold on Backpage but, currently, 73% of child sex trafficking reports NCMEC receives from the public relate to Backpage ads. NCMEC’s early collaborative relationship with Backpage soured when, Souras said, it became clear the site was using NCMEC as good PR but failing to implement adequate checks and balances that the centre believed needed to be put in place to protect vulnerable children.

Backpage.com facilitated the selling of children, sex trafficking, illegal prostitution, and the destruction of young lives. The fact that it is now shut down is an enormous victory for those who sought to protect and rescue the victims of human trafficking. It cannot repair the damage that has already been done, but hopefully it can protect countless others.

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For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here

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Is Rachel Notley trying to reward her big donors in the abortion industry?

By Jonathon Van Maren

If you’ve been wondering how Rachel Notley’s NDP is going to try cling to power and fend off the steamrolling Jason Kenney, here’s your answer, posted to the Alberta’s NDP Facebook page on March 28:

One year later, as the UCP prepares for its policy convention, where does Jason Kenney stand? Here are some of the questions he has not yet answered:

– Does he stand by his comments that parents should be notified if their children join a GSA?
– Why did he say GSAs taught curriculum when they are, in fact, clubs?
– What did he mean when he said teachers do not support GSAs? Has he met with the ATA?
– Kenney has repeatedly stated he wants to repeal all NDP legislation if he had the chance to govern Alberta. After whipping his caucus to vote against Bill 24, would he repeal Bill 24?

I’ve explained before how unbelievably offensive this actually is: Rachel Notley is in effect claiming that the state is better-equipped to care for children than parents are, and as such it is her duty to put legislation in place that protects children from their parents. If you vote for Jason Kenney, Notley warns Albertans darkly, he will support the right of parents to know what their children are up to at school.

This is always the final tactic of flailing progressive politicians: The “Hidden Agenda” card. Justin Trudeau is still shocked that in the case of the Canada Summer Jobs Program’s new “abortion attestation,” he went after the pro-lifers (something that men like him have been doing with impunity for over a decade), and instead of getting the usual praise, he got a bloody nose—and the issue still won’t go away. And now Notley has been musing that Albertan abortion clinics need bubble zones.

I was at first tempted to think that Notley was simply doing exactly what Kathleen Wynne was doing when she ramrodded the Ontario bubble zone legislation through—using a false premise (it is pro-lifers who face violence in Canada, not abortion activists) in order to divide the opposing party. But then, I was alerted to a very interesting fact: The NDP’s third largest corporate donor and largest business corporate donor in the year they won government was the Anne Marie Long Professional Corporation.

Why is that significant? Because Anne Marie Long is one of the three directors at the Women’s Health Options Clinic, an Edmonton abortion facility. The Anne Marie Long Professional Corporation is a shareholder in this abortion clinic—and a very quick survey of the news coverage of Notley’s suggestion that abortion clinic bubble zones should be legislated in Alberta shows that the organization lobbying for this legislation is—you guessed it—the Women’s Health Options abortion clinic.

So what is going on here? Is Rachel Notley just trying to desperately smear Jason Kenney and demonize socially conservative Albertans, as per usual? Or has she perhaps seen the writing on the wall, and is suggesting this legislation now as a kickback to an important NDP donor? Albertan abortion activists, in all probability, suspect that Notley’s time as leader is probably up—and that this may be their last chance to get the legislation that they want. Perhaps they are telling Notley that it’s time she returned their favors?

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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Trudeau government says that environmental impact assessments must now include gender identity

By Jonathon Van Maren

Perhaps you thought that after Trudeau was widely mocked for his “peoplekind” comment, and the Liberal gender budget flopped, and Canadians collectively groaned at the news that their government was going gender-neutral, that perhaps the Liberals realized it was time to lay low on the subject of gender for awhile. If so, you thought wrong. Consider this latest news update from Trudeau-land, in the National Post:

Over the years, federal environmental assessments have measured everything from the number of endangered lynx near a proposed New Brunswick mine to the presence of dragonflies and butterflies at a British Columbia hydro site. But under new federal legislation tabled in February, the scope of impact assessments is being broadened well beyond fauna, requiring project proponents to take into account “the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors.”

What does that mean, you ask? It turns out that nobody has any idea:

Part of the Liberal government’s embrace of gender-based analysis, the new provision has left environmental lawyers puzzled over how the provision will work if the bill becomes law.

“If you’re asking, ‘What does that mean?’ I’m going to have to say I don’t really know,” said Richard Lindgren, a staff lawyer at the Canadian Environmental Law Association. “I’ll wait for the guidance and direction from the government on this one.”

In a report on the legislation, the law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP said the new gender provision makes “the role of an impact assessment more of a policy-setting exercise than focused on the merits of a specific project, which is likely to increase the scope of studies the proponents will need to engage in and contribute to overall project uncertainty.”

Roughly translated, “contributes to overall project uncertainty” means “this is extremely stupid, counter-productive, and impossible to implement without compromising the work we are actually supposed to do.” The Liberals, it seems, are happy to forcibly insert gender into every imaginable field, regardless of how inconvenient or ridiculous that is. More:

Jessica Kennedy, a lawyer at Osler’s Calgary office and co-author of the report, called the initiative “novel.” Gender impacts have been considered in the past, for example when looking at employment rates on work sites. But Bill C-69 seems to be suggesting something much larger.

“What is more concerning is if you take the issue of gender and gender identity more broadly and start examining, for example, a company’s policies and practices regarding gender, their hiring practices, their bathroom policies, their codes of ethics around treatment of people based on gender or other identity factors — race religion, those kinds of things,” Kennedy said. “That’s where it starts to get more into a policy question, where you’re really looking at the social setting within the company.”

The law firm Dentons similarly flagged the gender language as a source of uncertainty, “since it is not clear how these factors, which are subjective and difficult to assess, will be applied.”

Bernie Roth, a lawyer in Dentons’ Calgary office, said the meaning of the new language on gender remains unclear, but he speculated it could be a tool to increase gender diversity in male-dominated trades. Patrick McDonald, director of climate and innovation at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said his industry is awaiting further clarification from the government on the meaning of the change. “There is going to be some learning and some adaptation,” he said.

The preamble to the bill, the Impact Assessment Act, declares that the government “is committed to assessing how groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and projects and to taking actions that contribute to an inclusive and democratic society.”

And here you thought this was about environmental protections and ensuring the survival of endangered species. Not anymore—it’s about how a gender-diverse non-binary person experiences Canadian environmental programs—or perhaps how to increase trans representation in “male-dominated trades.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars at work.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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Liberal MPs break rank with Trudeau over Canada Summer Jobs “abortion attestation”

By Jonathon Van Maren

Behind the scenes, Liberal Members of Parliament have been panicking about Trudeau’s insertion of an “abortion attestation” into the application requirements for the Canada Summer Jobs Program for months already. One Liberal MP, Scott Simms, broke rank and voted with the Conservatives on their motion protesting the attestation—the NDP’s David Christopherson did, as well. Now, a second Liberal MP, John McKay, has also condemned the attestation in a letter to a constituent on March 21. McKay’s letter reads in full:

Dear [name redacted],

Thank you for contacting me to express your concern regarding the Canada Summer Jobs employer application process.

When the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was first conceived in the 1980s by its authors, it contained two critical components:

  1. It was designed to protect the citizen from the state.
  2. It provided a mechanism to balance competing rights claims.

The converse of these two critical components is therefore that the Charter was not designed for the state to claim protection from the citizen and that it was not designed to promote one right over any other right. It is my view that the current government has inadvertently fallen into the trap of preferencing one right over another and of using the Charter to protect itself from perceived abuse by citizens.

The attestation clause is a regrettable example of that error. It is my view that applications for government grants that engage in non-political non-activist work should be free of ideological bias and political preference.

Unfortunately, this has led to some applicants being unable, in conscience, to sign an attestation that they do not believe, and may indeed have absolutely nothing to do with their proposal to employ students.  This in turn has led to the disqualification of a number of otherwise very well qualified programs; the effect of which will reduce employment opportunities for students.

In my riding of Scarborough-Guildwood, I am personally aware of a number of organizations negatively impacted. I consider this to be a lamentable state of affairs, and have expressed my views both inside and outside of caucus in the strongest possible. I intentionally absented myself from the vote on Monday after much discussion with the Whip’s office. This entire process, in my judgement, is a regrettable error, and I hope it will not be repeated.

Sincerely,

Hon. John McKay, P.C., M.P.

Scarborough-Guildwood

John McKay, some of you might remember, was one of a handful of pro-life Liberals caught off-guard by Justin Trudeau’s announcement that pro-lifers would not be allowed to run for his Liberal Party, telling one newspaper that it was a “bozo eruption.” Since then, he’s been firmly muzzled—until now. It is telling that the Canada Summer Jobs Program attestation was the final straw for McKay. There may be more defectors as 2019 draws closer.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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Why nobody cares about the Stormy Daniels allegations against Donald Trump

By Jonathon Van Maren

Those of you who follow politics will have been exposed, in all likelihood, to the latest distasteful news about President Donald Trump’s pre-presidency personal life. Stephane Clifford, a porn performer who went by the name Stormy Daniels, has accused the president of having an affair with her shortly after his marriage to his current wife Melania. She also claims that she took a $130,000 hush payment from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and recounted the details of the alleged affair in a CBS’ 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper.

Since the story broke, liberals have been triumphantly accusing Trump supporters—and most notably evangelicals, who turned out for Trump in enormous numbers—of blatant and unforgivable hypocrisy. They seem to be shocked that the Stormy Daniels interview does not appear to have budged Trump’s approval ratings, which stood at 44% prior to the interview and dropped by a mere 2% after the interview, a dip well within the margin of error. Nearly 22 million people watched the interview, and it seems that most responded with a collective shrug. How is it possible, progressives are demanding, that the same people who claim to care so much about morality and the sanctity of marriage can be so unaffected by these revelations?

The answer is a simple and obvious one: The issue of Trump’s scummy personal life and string of adulteries was already litigated ad nauseum in the past election, and voters decided that these things were not enough to push them into the Clinton camp. The reason nobody is surprised by these allegations—which Trump denies, but the public appears to believe—is that it is entirely consistent with what voters heard before the election. Melania, after all, is his third wife, and Trump cheated on her two predecessors, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples. He bragged about his affairs in his books. The Billy Bush tapes caught him boasting, after his marriage to Melania, of making aggressive moves on women. The Stormy Daniels revelations, in that context, are barely “revelations”: They are simply another, albeit repulsive and graphic, confirmation of what everyone knew before they voted.

The story of why evangelical and conservative voters cast their ballot for Trump despite his long and public history of blatant and unrepentant adultery has already been told, over and over again. Stephen Mansfield wrote an entire book, Choosing Trump, on precisely that topic. I wrote a long essay over at LifeSiteNews shortly after the election, explaining why social conservatives preferred a man like Donald Trump to the radically pro-abortion opponent of religious liberty Hillary Clinton. Nobody voted for Donald Trump because they thought he was a virtuous man. They voted for him to keep Clinton out of the White House, and because he promised that he would be an ally when it came to policy and judicial appointments—a promise he has thus far largely kept.

Of course, there are a few sycophants that do seem to confirm the progressive narrative, with Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University being the most egregious example. There is nothing that Trump can do, it seems, that will dissuade Falwell from ceasing his full-throated defence of Trump’s actions and his character. Falwell has embarrassed himself on public television numerous times throughout Trump’s short presidency, and one gets the distinct feeling that he wants to be a political player like his father was. But aside from a few cringeworthy outliers, most evangelicals have no desire to defend Trump’s actions—they simply defend their choice to vote for him over Hillary Clinton.

Don’t get me wrong here. I think that moral character is extremely important, and I wrote a barrage of unpopular columns on that subject during the election. But the Left does not seem to realize that their belated virtue-signalling on marital fidelity does absolutely nothing to convince voters that they should have voted for a woman who cynically intimidated and discredited her own predatory husband’s conquests, and that their communities would be better off with Clinton in the White House. It wouldn’t’ surprise me in the slightest if there are more allegations or revelations in the future. And if they do, they will again come and go with barely a blip. Decade-old allegations of another Trump affair is simply not new, and to almost everyone, it is certainly not news.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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