Recent links of note:
“Kingdom Come: Millenarianism’s Deadly Allure, from Lenin to ISIS”
Leon Aron, The New York Review of Books
ISIS and the Bolsheviks: the two fundamentalist groups (thankfully, now both consigned, more or less, to the dustbin of history) may have had more in common than their predilection for civilian terrorism and radical authoritarianism. As Leon Aron explains in a recent article in The New York Review of Books, Lenin’s party and the “Islamic State” shared a stringent belief in the apocalyptic significance of their respective causes. Whereas leaders of the “caliphate” proclaim an eschatology that foresees a final battle between Western infidels and the true believers of Islam, the Bolsheviks saw their anarchical overthrow of “prehistory” as an inevitable outcome prophesied by Marx and Engels. These apocalyptic propagandas proved to be extraordinarily powerful, propelling the unpopular Bolsheviks and ISIS leaders alike to absolute control over their respective territories. Aron, a resident scholar of the American Enterprise Institute and its Director of Russian Studies, outlines the millenarian beliefs of each group, and concludes, in grave warning, that “the millenarian thread will surely continue its infectious run through teetering or failed states.”
“The Hack Olympics”
Matthew Continentti, Commentary
Back in 2011, when South Korea won their bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in the mountainous county of Pyeongchang, attention to the impact that the Games might have on relations between South and North Korea was relatively limited. After North Korea escalated global tensions by significantly increasing nuclear missile testing in recent months, however, the geo-political significance of the Olympics seems to have escalated in kind. In a break from these heightened feelings, however, the pervading atmosphere of inter-Korean relations during the ongoing Games has been less “Thunderdome” and more “Kumbaya.” Capitalizing on the good nature that athletic competition can foster, North Korea has implemented what has been called a “charm offensive” propaganda campaign that has been unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, picked up by mainstream American media outlets. With headlines like “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics” [courtesy of CNN] it appears that many American journalists, eager to pounce on Mike Pence’s attendance at the Games, went for the North Korean politburo bait—hook, line, and sinker. Matthew Continentti discusses in a recent article for Commentary.
“Free Speech Gets Expensive”
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal
In what appears to be a new development in the suppression of heterodoxy in the academy, it seems that universities are now charging student groups prohibitive fees to cover the costs of security at their events—events that have become increasingly endangered by disruptive and violent protesters seeking to shut down any and all “illicit” conversation. Per a February 9 Wall Street Journal editorial board report, the University of Washington recently sent their own College Republicans a $17,000 security bill for a planned free-speech rally—a sum far greater than any college group could reasonably expect to raise—when the school received credible reports that “groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence.” By charging these fees to the College Republicans, the University has, in effect, laid blame at their feet rather than at the feet of those clearly responsible for the violence. Though a federal judge placed a temporary restraining order against the college after the student group successfully sued the school, that a number of other schools have already resorted to “pricing out” controversial speech in this manner is troubling indeed.
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Paul du Quenoy