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Ron Capshaw - page 5

Ron Capshaw has 238 articles published.

Ron Capshaw is a Senior Contributor to The Liberty Conservative from Midlothian, Va. His work has appeared in National Review, The Weekly Standard, and the American Spectator.
Posted on in Culture

Jack London: When Socialism Was Racist

It is difficult to recall in our era of Bernie Saunders that once upon a time socialism was macho, even racist. Writer Jack London, born 140 years ago this week, typified what would today be condemned by leftists as “political incorrectness.” Economically, London would have been more palatable to today’s left. He championed workers’ rights, even their right to overthrow what he saw as corruption powered by representative government. Instead, he favored “people power,” in which the worker class, having overthrown representative government, abolished such things as child labor, class exploitation, and war for profits. London made these hopes known… Keep Reading

Posted on in World

How Would Reagan Have Responded to Putin

There are many reasons to wish Ronald Reagan was still President. We would need him to combat government intrusion into every area of our life, including healthcare and our privacy; to steer us out of a mindless foreign policy and call to account a complacent media. Now we can add to our nostalgic wishes how he would’ve countered Vladmir Putin’s rebuke to America for considering itself “exceptional.” We are certainly not getting a principled rebuttal from our current President, who’s previous mention of American exceptionalism was that all countries consider themselves “exceptional,” which is the same as saying none of… Keep Reading

Posted on in Politics

The Anti-Semitism of Joe Sobran

When William F. Buckley launched National Review, he announced as his goal the purging of the Right from its anti-semitic elements. Indeed, before 1955, the conservative movement was marred by those who called themselves anticommunists but were in reality fascist sympathizers such as radio priest Father Coughlin and Huey Long protege and member of the Silver Shirts (an American movement modeled on the Nazis) Gerald L.K Smith. Buckley’s refusal to grant these elements a platform held fast until Joseph Sobran joined the magazine in 1972. Sobran, a former Shakespeare lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, would stay 21 years with the… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture

John Milius: Swashbuckling Conservative

John Milius is less well known today than his contemporaries Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. He’s only noticed when conservatives require a public face for the NRA or need an example of how right-wingers are blacklisted in Hollywood (Milius hasn’t worked steady since the 1990s). But once upon a time Milius was the hottest screenwriter in 1970s Hollywood. He penned the first two Dirty Harry films (1971 and 1974), and Apocalypse Now (1979), which earned him an Academy Award nomination. Moreover, he has created phrases that are part of our cultural history, such as Dirty Harry’s “Do you feel lucky,… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture

Trumbo Review

In conjunction with the release of Trumbo starring Bryan Cranston as the blacklisted screenwriter, Grand Central Publishing is re-releasing Bruce Cook’s 1977 biography of him. With this as the source material, it is understandable that the film was such a whitewash. Cook helpfully alerts the reader to his bias early on. He announces himself as an “advocate” for Trumbo. The set-up of the book, based on interviews from those who knew Trumbo, ranging from his wife to his comrades in the Party to such fellow travelers as Nation editor Cary McWilliams, is rigged for such advocacy. There are no opposite… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Politics

Congress of Cultural Freedom

Nearly 70 years ago, a breed of Democrat sadly lacking in today’s lineup with the quasi-socialist Barack Obama on one side and the admitted socialist Bernie Saunders on the other, formed an uncompromising anti-communist organization called The Congress of Cultural Freedom. Unlike today’s era of NSA intrusions into privacy, in which Nancy Pelosi declared that Americans supported the curtailing of civil liberties in exchange of being “protected” by government surveillance programs, this organization had a civil liberties, even libertarian bent. One of it founders, Arthur Schlesinger Jr, attacked Communism as a totalitarian government which made the individual “the creature of… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture

Philip K. Dick: Conservative?

Science Fiction writer Philip K. Dick is suddenly fashionable again. I say suddenly because in the past his works have been a favorite source material for filmmakers. In 1982, his short story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was the basis for the cult classic Blade Runner. At the turn of the century, Steven Spielberg adapted Minority Report (2003) into a film starring Tom Cruise. Both movies expressed a political theme; the world of Blade Runner was an environmentalist nightmare, with pollution literally clinging to citizens’ clothes. With Minority Report, Spielberg used the police unit tasked with jailing those who… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Politics

Warren Commission Revisited

Historians have argued that an event should be studied fifty years after the fact. Only then can it be looked at objectively, as all the evidence should have come in, and those with an axe to grind have died off. At fifty-two years, the Warren Commission looms less large today than it did in 1964. Much of this has to do with Sept. 11th supplanting the Kennedy assassination as the event that provokes among the populace the question “where were you when.” Those who have attacked the Warren Commission back when it was noticed have split into two camps. Both… Keep Reading

Posted on in Politics/World

Grenada Revisted

In the film Heartbreak Ridge (1985), Clint Eastwood’s grizzled Marine, a bloodied veteran of Korea and Vietnam, laments that the America’s scorecard has the former a “tie,” the latter “a loss.” He is determined to make the next one a “victory.” And he is soon provided the opportunity to fulfill this promise when his unit goes into Grenada and liberates the captive Americans there. Conservatives at the time celebrated the invasion, carried out thirty-three years ago this week, but eschewed any views that a victory was the rationale. But this was the standard liberal line. A good example was the… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Sell outs

Seventy one years ago, FDR bequeathed to presidency-hungry Republicans a campaign issue, courtesy of the Yalta conference. The conservative argument about this wartime meeting ranged from FDR being sick and taken advantage of by a robust, manipulative Stalin; or that FDR’s secession of Eastern Europe to the Soviet dictator was further proof of the president’s pro-communist sympathies. Liberals in the bourgeoning Cold War countered that there was little the Americans could do about Eastern Europe short of a war with the largest land army on earth. They also stated that it was the Russians who did not live up to… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Politics

William Colby: “Liberal” CIA Director

Since the 1974-75 Church Committee investigations into CIA illegality. the image of the Agency has wavered between inept bunglers or hyper-secretive fanatics operating as a shadow government. (Usually these perceptions are divisible by age. The former is attributed to the young who chastised the Agency for not preventing 9-11; the latter, composed of the 60s’ Left who blame the CIA for everything from the Kennedy assassination to the crisis in the Ukraine). Certainly there is some credence in both. The Agency’s assassination tools to kill Castro–exploding cigars, beard-destroying drugs, toxic wet suits–were the last word in musical comedy. At times,… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Orwell and Hitler

Throughout his life, George Orwell was labeled a fascist by the Communist Left. Reviewing 1984, Harry Politt, head of the British Communist Party, characterized Winston Smith as a Nazi, based on his willingness when asked by O’Brian, who was masquerading as a rebel against Big Brother, if he would murder a child for the revolution. Today, leftist critics have continued this accusation. Of particular importance to their indictment was Orwell”s “list,” which he gathered during the war privately as to who he believed would act as a quisling should the Soviets invade Great Britain. In 1949, he turned said list… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Politics

Loving Stalin

Next month, many in the former Soviet Union will follow a recent tradition of lauding Josef Stalin on his birthday–Dec. 18, 1878. Three years ago, the statue of the dictator was dismantled by the Russian government, an action supported by the current Georgian government. Now the Russian government has rebuilt the statue. Past celebrators of Stalin have indicated their lingering love of the dictator.. Georgian resident Phatima Patishvili said, ‘I came here because I love Stalin and I love my people. I remember when I was 12 how my grandmother was weeping when Stalin died.'” Stalin was also celebrated in… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Dasheill Hammtt and The Long View of History

In a scene the Left loves to replay as one of its heroic and clarifying moments, witness Dashiell Hammett replied to interrogator Joe McCarthy’s question over the matter of whether banning communist authors from overseas military libraries would be an effective way to fight communism: “If I were fighting communism, I wouldn’t allow people to read at all.” It’s easy to see why the Left drags this comment out in any retrospective remembrance of the witch hunt days. Implicit in Hammett’s comment is the notion that unpoliced reading leads inexorably to communist–read progressive–sympathies. One wonders if Hammett was being autobiographical… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Hollywood Anticommunists during the Golden Age

Once upon a time, Hollywood conservatives did not hide in the closet, recoiling at pro-Communist influence in Hollywood but keeping their criticisms private. Instead they organized and publicly proclaimed their allegiance to the Constitution. Their organization was called The Motion Picture Alliance for The Preservation of American Ideals, founded seventy years ago. The tide was against them, and was as formidable as the one today that drives conservatives underground. 1943 was the high tide of communist influence in Hollywood owing to the Soviet Union being an ally of the United States against Hitler. Films glorifying the Stalin regime such as… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Charlie Chaplin The Peace Monger

Charlie Chaplin is unique among Hollywood legends for being awarded both an honorary Oscar and the Communist International Peace Prize. The first award was given to him for being a pioneer of motion pictures, but he is no less the pioneer in his politics. His support for communist dictators while preaching free speech and tolerance was a forerunner of Left Coast Hollywood today. In his lifetime he repeatedly denied being a communist, stating that he was too wealthy to ever want to be one. Instead he labeled himself “a peace-monger” and supporter of individual rights. Whatever sympathies he had for… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

“Demanding a Recount” William F. Buckley’s 1965 Campaign for Mayor of New York

In the film Annie Hall, Woody Allen, a New York –actually Upper West Side–lover if there ever was one, complained of how the image of New York to the rest of the country was that of a “homosexual, left wing, communist” city. He followed up with, “even I live here and I sometimes think that.” And homosexuality aside, the far Left did dominate the city. When I lived there, I noticed that the political spectrum veered so far to the Left that my professors considered uber-Democrat and New Deal champion Arthur Schlesinger to be a “conservative.” To argue that these… Keep Reading

Posted on in Politics

Gun Control: A Class Element

George Orwell once wrote that the more complex the weapon for the working classes, the less power the State has over the individual. Orwell personally knew this. As a Loyalist soldier he saw that the working classes obtaining weapons during the early days of the Spanish Civil War was what repelled Franco’s attempted coup by three years. When Stalin wanted to stamp out his fabled Trotskyites in Spain and assume complete control over the Loyalists, he had the secret police confiscate weapons. Even a cursory look at the history of gun control shows that there is class — even at… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture/History

Errol Flynn: Hollywood Dupe

Today, those who have witnessed nearly 50 years of A-list stars such as Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, Ed Asner, and Danny Glover fall head over heels for Communist dictators, pine for the patriotic 1930s and 40s, where movie stars like Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable found something worthwhile in America to take up arms for. Those who did join or fellow-travel with the American Communist Party were hardly A-list actors, but either B-level stars like Lloyd Bridges, Larry Parks or character ones such as Lionel Stander, Gayle Sondergard, and Howard De Silva. Even the Party’s greatest recruits, the screenwriters, only… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture

The Independence of Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss has long been regarded by the Hollywood Left as one of their own. But Dreyfuss is far too independent and has too strong a background in history to toe any party line. At times, he has emerged as a decided foe of political correctness. Certainly, his background was leftist. Born in Queens in 1947, Dreyfuss, a Jew, called himself “a red diaper baby.” His parents were leftists and his neighbors were Communists who fought against Franco and admired the Soviet Union. Although he eventually saw this admiration as “misguided,” he still called them “American patriots.” He also attributed… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Politics

What Could Have Been

An unshakable tenet of those who still carry a torch for John F. Kennedy, elected 65 years ago today, is not what he did while in office, but what he would have done had Lee Harvey Oswald missed. According to those of the Grassy Knoll school of thought, chiefly but not exclusive to Oliver Stone, Kennedy would have ended the Cold War in his second term, and thus spared the country the civil war between the “Greatest Generation” and the “Baby Boomers” over Vietnam. But one doesn’t have to be of the paranoid school to embrace such extrapolated certainties. Arthur… Keep Reading

Posted on in Politics/World

The Death of Fidel Castro

Predictably, Oliver Stone and others on the Grassy Knoll left have lauded Fidel Castro in moist eulogies. For them, he brought a “glorious revolution” of literacy and impeccable health care to Cuba, and showed that communism could work if freed from the Russian model. On one hand, they assert that Castro never shied away from his Marxist intentions; on the other, they cannot transcend their “blame America first” mentality and assert that fanatical Cold Warriors such as Richard Nixon “pushed” Castro into the Soviet camp. Their theory asserts that far from being a communist, Castro was a democratic leader. Despite… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture/Politics

Tarzan – White Imperialist?

Although reviews of the new Tarzan film, The Legend of Tarzan, have been mixed, most have united around a single theme: that it is racist (one deemed it more racist than the infamous Birth of A Nation from 1915, which was sympathetic to the lynchings visited on blacks by the post Civil War Klan). Not to be outdone, Castro sympathizer Harry Belafonte has declared Tarzan to be the “most racist” character “in history.” Many have even questioned why anyone would make a film in the age of Obama about a character created in the “white man’s burden” atmosphere of 1912. The… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Still Cold

In a 1993 foreword to his classic, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963), Le Carree, who, in his role as an agent for the Secret Intelligence Service was stationed in Berlin when the Wall went up, declared it a symbol of “an ideology gone mad,” guarded by “brainwashed little thugs.” For those who knew of his works, this was startling, for his metier had always been the moral equivalence between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Manchuria Revisited

When Richard Condon, a former publicist for Walt Disney, sought a theme to unsettle late 50s America, arguably the calmest period of the Cold War, he didn’t resort to nuclear war. Instead, he backtracked to the early 1950s, when every headline showed the exposure of one more Soviet Spy in the halls of power. This formidable fear competed with brainwashing, a technique pioneered by the Chinese during the Korean War. While the communist-in-government theme disturbed America and led many to support the housecleaning Joseph McCarthy promised, it posed the same terror as brainwashing. The notion of working America that treachery… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

McCarthy and His Enemies

Even in 1954, it took quite a bit of courage to write a book supporting Senator Joe McCarthy’s investigations into communist infiltration of the American government. Although the common people (later called the “silent majority”) supported him, the intellectual class did not. Dwight MacDonald called him “the most dangerous demogague” in the United States. Former Presidential Candidate Adlai Stevenson called the Senator’s crusade a “reign of terror.” President Truman compared him to a politician doing the work of the Kremlin (this perception would help kick-start Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate). Even conservatives like Whittaker Chambers called the Senator “a raven… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

The Cohn-Schine Pratfalls

An oft-repeated phrase by liberal anticommunists about Joseph McCarthy, that he may as well have been a KGB agent for all the damage he did to the anticommunist cause, inspired Richard Condon to write his Cold War masterpiece, The Manchurian Candidate, a tale of a Soviet sleeper agent directing her brainless headline-grabbing senator husband to destroy Cold War alliances and thus allow a communist takeover of the country. But McCarthy, for all his inability to substantiate any of his charges–a factor that exasperated defenders like William F. Buckley and repelled conservative heavyweights like Whittaker Chambers from supporting him (Chambers would… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Politics

Ravens of Disaster

When mentioned today, Whittaker Chambers is known solely for his testimony outing former State Department Official Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy. Because this occurred during, arguably the height of the Cold War, 1948-1950, Chambers seems a dated figure, having little to tell us in an era where the enemy is not situated in one country. One could argue for his relevance in that he, in his reduction of the Cold War down to a contest between those who have “faith in Man” (communists) and those who possess “faith in God,” was one of the founding members of social conservatism.… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Exorcising Jefferson

When I was a graduate student at a New York university, Thomas Jefferson was detested by the faculty, while his bête noire Alexander Hamilton was not. Given their animus to anything Southern, and their heresy hunts for “racism,” I was not surprised. As expected, his slave-holding was a target. But what really rankled “conservative” professors were his attempts to stymie big government capitalism as represented by Alexander Hamilton. His insistence on individual liberty was attacked by said professors–“rhetorical finery” as one put it–as an obstacle to the establishment of a federal government organized for profit. This smoothly running operation was not… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture/History

A Skeptic in the Foxhole

It is said there are no atheists in foxholes. In the case of literary critic and bloodied World War II vet Paul Fussell, the politically correct don’t inhabit the trenches, either. For him, a lifelong skepticism and refusal of sloganeering was born the moment he, a 20 year old infantry soldier, engaged in combat and was subsequently wounded in France in 1944. From then on, he fought a new war, not one of bullets, but one of words against formula merchants who eschewed complexity and irony. Professor Fussell is perhaps best known for his National Book Award winning The Great… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Cold War Noir

On a mid-80s visit to East Germany via West Germany, conservative humorist P.J O’Rourke was disappointed when he passed through the infamous Checkpoint Charlie for its lack of noir. What he got instead was bored frisking and robotic stares. Walking around East Berlin didn’t fulfill his expectations either. Instead of wind-swept newspapers, dark alleys (where double and quadruple agents lurked), he found dorkishly-dressed citizens with the super-pale “Kremlin complexion” desperately waiting in line at the government store for toilet paper. Berlin, mere months away from its implosion, resembles the bombed-out city that is as much a character as the actual… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture

Protecting the Intellectual Atmosphere in Academia

Today it is a given that communists, even Stalinists, dominate faculties. The result has been a climate of political correctness that has stifled Socratic debate, and thus educational standards, and has in turn created a generation of those who assign more value to what one thinks rather than how one thinks. For those of this generation who have joined faculties the vicious cycle is assured. Fifty years ago, an academic warned that just such an occurrence would happen if liberals didn’t devise a way to fight it. In Heresy Yes–But Conspiracy, No (1953), Sidney Hook, that rare breed even then… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture

Debunking Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK’

Twenty-five years ago, Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK’ was released and was less a film than a Molotov cocktail thrown at the “establishment.” Stone called his film about the 20th century’s most infamous Presidential assassination “a history lesson” (a characterization he quickly withdrew) and hoped to be vindicated by the passage of time. Stone’s thesis in a film designed to appeal to middle America is as follows: the military-industrial complex, allowed free reign under Eisenhower, killed Kennedy because he was trying to end the Cold War, especially in Cuba and Vietnam (the latter extremely important to the obsessed Stone). Their point men… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

The Last Gasp of Anti-Communist Liberalism

When Historian John Patrick Diggins informed his role model, Arthur Schlesinger Jr, that he was undertaking a book on Ronald Reagan, Schlesinger asked him not to make the President “look good.” This quote perfectly encapsulates why the Left and the Right have regarded Schlesinger Jr as a knee-jerk liberal (a “Kennedy suck-up”–more on this later–as the late Christopher Hitchens labeled him, based on the historian’s Camelot preaching; while the Right has been slightly more lenient, while at the same time attacking him as a “Castro sympathizer” after his “glowing” reports after a trip to Cuba in the 1970s). As we… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Betraying England

Anthony Burgess, Cambridge graduate, talks producer at the BBC, MI-6 agent, and a Soviet mole code-named Madchen, has always been considered the prat-falling member of the Cambridge 5 (composed of Diplomat Donald McLean, Head of the anti-Soviet division of British Intelligence Kim Philby, art advisor to the Queen Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross). Unlike the others, Burgess’ drunken behavior, and relentless homosexual cruising for rough trade, made it possible for the British Left to treat his tenure as a Soviet spy, from his recruitment at Cambridge in 1934 to his flight behind the Iron Curtain in 1951, as more comical… Keep Reading

Posted on in Politics

Too Extreme for The Black Panthers?

Spurred by anger over cop shootings, a new group has formed, billing themselves as the New Black Panther Party. This group brought guns to Cleveland mere days before the Republican National Convention as a means of “self-protection.” Despite being based on the old group, NBP has been lauded by any radical chic as did the old one when celebrities like Marlon Brando and Paul Newman hosted meetings for them. The liberal Southern Poverty Law center, a non-profit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest, has stated about the NBP that they are a “viruently racist and anti-semitic… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture/History

The 60’s Through Rose-Colored Glasses

The myth of the 1950s as a simpler, sweeter, more stable time as compared to the turbulent 1960s, began during the turbulent 1960s with Nixon’s “Silent Majority.” Such was the appetite from mainstream America for this era’s zeitgeist that television producer Gary Marshall launched Happy Days in 1974, a conflict-free, patriotic comedy series whose sole “dissident” was a biker named Arthur “the Fonz” Fonzarelli. As conceived, the Fonz was merely Establishment America clad in a leather jacket. Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture/Politics

Robin Hood Communist Book Burning

In our age of political correctness in classrooms, where certain books (Whittaker Chambers’ Witness—which no one on my thesis committee sought to read despite my subject matter pertaining to the Alger Hiss trial), are verboten, it is hard to remember that once upon a time there was a right-wing variant of it. Sixty three years ago this week, Mrs. Thomas J. White of the Indiana Textbook Commission, demanded that the textbook references to the book Robin Hood be removed from state schools. The rationale for this was that this figure “who robbed from the rich to give to the poor”… Keep Reading

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