In Praise of The American Spectator

I’ve always been attracted to the Samizdat.

Before the internet existed, before anything such as the internet was in the future dreams of anyone, The American Spectator was a Samizdat* monthly (or was it weekly, I forget) printed in black and white tabloid format on newsprint and available mostly by mail. The paper was founded in 1924 by people with ties to H.L. Mencken and his magazine, The American Mercury.

If you know a little about H.L. Mencken and his irreverent humor, you’ll understand that from its humble beginning The American Spectator has played the role of what Dubliner Edmund Burke (1729-1797) truly meant when he characterized journalism as the Fourth Estate. Journalism serves its best role as a watchdog on government power. And old cliché holds that journalism should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The American Spectator has always played that role, exposing government corruption and overreach, and deflating the puffed  chests of sycophants.

Most of the rest of the media has never been interested in playing the role of a Fourth Estate.

It was by reading The American Spectator in tabloid format that I got to know authors such as Thomas Sowell, Tom Wolfe, P.J. O’Rourke, George F. Will, Malcolm Gladwell, Patrick J. Buchanan, and Malcolm Muggeridge.

Since at least the 1930s, and probably long before, the “free press” in America had never lived up to the ideal of being the Fourth Estate. Instead, the press, media or whatever we call it, has always chosen sides on the political front. Not surprisingly, that side has always been the Left side. Press bias in favor of Democrats and against Republicans in not new. In the 1930s New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief Walter Duranty never mentioned in any of his writing for the NYT the Russian famine that was killing millions, nor Stalin’s role in orchestrating it. Duranty was well aware of Stalin’s show trials in 1938 that led to the death of thousands guilty of nothing but disloyalty to Stalin. Duranty never reported on any of it. NYT’s motto, supposedly encapsulating its beliefs and ideals was and still is, “All the news that’s fit to print.” Of course, that’s as phony as a three-dollar bill. The real goal at the NYT and most other news outlets in America is “All the news that won’t hurt the Democrat party.”

Today’s liberal news reporters are little different from a state-run news institution. The First Amendment gives them freedom of the press, but they have no use for that. They don’t feel they need it now that they have become bootlickers for powerful Democrats. I used to call The Denver Post Pravda and The Rocky Mountain News (before it collapsed) Izvestia. Today’s liberal newscasters are every bit the official organ of government under Democrats as Pravda and Izvestia were in the Soviet Union under the Bolsheviks.

The irreverent humor and mission to expose government corruption and the pompously arrogant virtue-signaling of Democrats (and some Republicans as well) is carried on today by The American Spectator. We have a wonderful example of that sort of journalism in today’s internet post of The American Spectator.

The Mueller probe, with its indictments of Trump associates for offenses unrelated to its ostensible mandate, combined with mendacious media coverage of President Trump, is an obvious attempt to restore the old order that the electorate rejected in 2016. It seeks to annul the will of the voters and return us to the incipient authoritarianism that germinated during the Obama era, and which the ruling class expected to blossom under Clinton. The bureaucrats who support the restoration of Beltway despotism call themselves public servants, yet despise the public. The politicians who support it call themselves Democrats, yet despise democracy.

The most important fact to absorb about all this is counterintuitive: The primary target isn’t really the President. Mueller and his apologists know Trump is the voice of a nationwide rebellion against their authority, and realize that the threat can’t be neutralized until he is silenced. The end game is to crush what they see as a peasant’s revolt. Mueller’s function is to provide a legal pretext for removing the President from office. The role of the media is to misrepresent everything he does in order to trick independent voters into giving the Democrats a majority in the House. This will prevent Trump from continuing to act on his 2016 mandate.

All of which brings us back to the point of the collusion between Mueller, the Media, and the Democrats. They are out to get Trump only because they want to crush the populist revolt and restore the Ancien Régime. They have no respect for democracy and even less for the voters. They want to disenfranchise 63 million “deplorable” Trump supporters and go back to business as usual — fundamentally transforming the U.S. into a Venezuela. There’s only one way to stop these creeps from impeaching the President and ruining the country. Every Trump voter who came out in 2016 must to go to the polls on November 6 and drown the Democrats in a red wave.

When I was reading the black and while tabloid version of The American Spectator in the 1960s and 1970s it was a lonesome cry in the darkness. That’s how it seemed to me at least. I also subscribed to the Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, The New Republic and Commentary.  Only the latter, Commentary, came anywhere near the editorial stance of The American Spectator. At that time Commentary was edited by the great Norman Podhoretz, and that’s what made it so good. Today, under Podhoretz’s son John Podhoretz, it’s little better than the mainstream drivel. I cancelled my subscription a couple of years ago

I thought I was a liberal back in the 60s and 70s. I was confusing modern liberalism with classical liberalism. I was a liberal allright, just not the same kind as the ones running the government and reporting the news. Today classical liberals are called Republicans, but we have to be wary. A GOP button is not enough for anyone to know what your political philosophy really is because so many Republicans, especially when holding elective office, are little different from Democrats.

John O’Sullivan’s first law of politics is that any institution that is not purposely conservative will become lefty liberal over time.  Most of what I used to read has proven O’Sullivan correct. The American Spectator is the exception that proves the rule. Fortunately, the internet has given us the many new voices on the right side of the political spectrum. The Left no longer has a monopoly on shaping public opinion.

I’ve always been attracted to the Samizdat. However, We don’t have to depend on the Samizdat any more to find out what is really going on. That’s a good thing for which we all must be grateful.

*If you’re not familiar with the word “Samizdat” it refers to the clandestine copying and distribution of literature banned by the state, especially formerly in the communist countries of Eastern Europe.

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