Cardbox Coffins: That’s What Venezuelans Can Afford to Bury Their Dead

According to report by several news sources, in Venezuela, the poor can no longer afford wooden coffins and are burying their dead in card box coffins.

Nicolas Maduro’s nephews have admitted to drug-trafficking in partnership with the FARC

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s nephews have admitted to drug-trafficking in partnership with the FARC, according to news report by El Nuevo Herald: http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/venezuela-es/article91491757.html

 

 

A Good Fight: The Political Journey of David Horowitz

David Horowitz is a political thinker and cultural critic who enjoys challenging leftist shibboleths. His main contribution to contemporary political discourse is a passionate commitment to an outspoken, unabashed, myth-breaking version of conservatism. If communism was the triumph of mendaciousness, he argues in this poignant collection of writings, conservatism cannot accept the proliferation of self-serving legends and half-truths.

This makes his public interventions refreshingly unpredictable, iconoclastic, and engaging. He is a former insider, and his views have the veracity of the firsthand witness. Horowitz knows better than anybody else the hypocrisies of the left, the unacknowledged skeletons in its closet, and its fear to come to terms with past ignominies. He is an apostate who sees no reason to mince his words to please the religion of political and historical correctness. His masters are other critics of totalitarian delusions, from George Orwell to Leszek Kolakowski; in fact, Horowitz’s awakening from his leftist dreams was decisively catalyzed by the illuminating effect of Kolakowski’s devastating critique of socialist ideas. Unlike his former comrades, however, Horowitz believes in the healing value of second thoughts.

Vilified by enemies as a right-wing crusader, Horowitz is, in fact, a lucid thinker for whom ideas matter and words have consequences. His break with the left in the late 1970s was a response to what he perceived to be its rampant sense of self-righteousness, combined with its readiness to endorse obsolete and pernicious utopian ideals. Born to a Communist family in Queens, Horowitz flirted with the Leninist creed as a teenager but found out early that the Communist sect was insufferably obtuse and irretrievably sclerotic. He attended Columbia, where he discovered Western Marxism and other non-Bolshevik revolutionary doctrines. From the very beginning, he had an appetite for heresy.

He joined the emerging New Left and went to England, where he became a disciple and close associate of the socialist historian Isaac Deutscher, author of once-celebrated biographies of Stalin and Trotsky. Thanks to Deutscher, Horowitz met other British leftists, including the sociologist Ralph Miliband (father of the current leader of the Labour party). Consumed by revolutionary pathos, he wrote books, pamphlets, and manifestoes, denounced Western imperialism, and condemned the Vietnam war.

Once back in the United States, he became the editor, with Peter Collier, of Ramparts, the New Left’s most influential publication. In later books, Horowitz engages in soul-searching analyses of his attraction to the extreme radicalism of the Black Panthers and other far-left groups. Under tragic circumstances—a friend of his was murdered by the Panthers—he discovered that these celebrated antiestablishment fighters were fundamentally sociopaths. What followed was an itinerary of self-scrutiny, self-understanding, and moral epiphany. He reinvented himself as an anti-Marxist, antitotalitarian, anti-utopian thinker.

Obviously, David Horowitz is not the first to have deplored the spellbinding effects of what Raymond Aron called the opium of the intellectuals. Before him, social and cultural critics (Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Nathan Glazer, to name only the most famous ones) took the same path; Bertolt Brecht’s Marxist mentor, Karl Korsch, broke with his revolutionary past in the 1950s. Even Max Horkheimer, one of the Frankfurt School’s luminaries, ended as a conservative thinker. As Ignazio Silone, himself a former Leninist, put it: The ultimate struggle would be between Communists and ex-Communists.

In Horowitz’s case, however, it is a struggle waged by an ex-leftist ideologue against political mythologies that have made whole generations run amok. Like Kolakowski and Václav Havel, Horowitz identifies ideological blindness as the source of radical zealotry. He knows that ideologies are coercive structures with immense enthralling effects—indeed, what Kenneth Minogue called “alien powers.” Putting together his fervid writings is, for him, a duty of conscience. He does not claim to be nonpartisan and proudly recognizes his attachment to a conservative vision of politics. But he is a pluralist: He refuses the idea of infallible ideological revelation, admits that human beings can err, and invites his readers to exercise their critical faculties. He does not pontificate.

Judith Shklar once wrote about a liberalism of fear, a philosophy rooted in the awareness that the onslaught against liberal values in totalitarian experiments inevitably results in catastrophe. Horowitz’s conservatism is inspired by the conviction that utopian hubris is always conducive to moral, social, and political disaster. It is not an optimistic conservatism, but a tragic one. Horowitz confesses that he is an agnostic, yet he realizes that liberty, as a nonnegotiable human value, has a transcendent legitimation in religion. In the absence of a moral ground, individuals are suspended in a moral no-man’s land: Rebels become revolutionaries and exert their logical fallacies to eliminate deviation from a sacralized ideology.

For Horowitz, the main battle is now related to cultural hegemony. He understands that political rivalries are directly linked to clashes of values. Refusing to be pigeonholed into a formula, he combines themes belonging to classical liberalism, Burkean conservatism, and neoconservatism. His social criticism is a response to what he perceives to be the collapse of the center in American politics and the takeover of the liberal mainstream by proponents of refurbished leftist fallacies. He regards anticapitalism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Zionism as ideological mantras meant to camouflage a deep contempt for human rights.

The Black Book of the American Left is an illuminating contribution to our understanding of what Hannah Arendt once called the ideological storms of the 20th century. It shows how American radicals partook of the same romantic passions and redemptive fantasies as their European peers. The philosophical languages were different, of course, but the electrifying desire to negate the existing order, no matter the human costs, was the same.

Vladimir Tismaneanu is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was originally published on TheWeeklyStandard.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

“Natural” vs. “Novel” Sexuality — Part 1

A Brief “Family” Anthropological Backgrounder: Fear and Yale’s Stinging Ants

For thousands of years, across cultures, the most prosperous civil societies emerged from a working “family” structure of one faithful woman wed to one (faithful) man who, secure in his  bloodline, provided for and protected his family and tried to leave some legacy for his progeny.

All three major world religions –  Judaism, Christianity, Islam –  do share a belief in a state of future rewards and punishments. All profess a belief that families are protected by preserving childhood sexual innocence versus children’s exposure to sexually explicit talk, images, knowledge and activity. Despite common violation of these beliefs, (of which “child brides” are the most obvious) most religious systems tend to hold to the moral premise that the solvency of family and society is endangered when children engage in sex with, other children or adults. Indeed “fear” of children’s sexual exposure may be seen as an intuitive, biological imperative.

Modern assaults on traditional religions and culture claim to stand on “scientific” data, on proofs that traditional rules for sexual taboos are “fear” based and thus irrational. Absent hard evidence of a prosperous culture that historically normalized novel sexual conduct, modern sexual/gender revolutionary advocates have cut their dystopian human sexuality canon out of whole cloth. Despite the overwhelming statistical proof of sexual freedom failures, sex/gender revolutionaries implicitly suggest they possess a higher intelligence than that of our ancestors and our nation’s founders. Sexologists cite “enlightened” cultures from history that have normalized dis-orientations, pointing to the failed hedonistic culture of ancient Greece but more often to anthropologists like Margaret Mead and the Ford and Beach, Yale Human Relations Area Files.

These cross cultural studies point to the sex lives of obscure tribes in remote areas to support their modern advocacy of “free” sex uninhibited by fear . A critical reading of these Malinowski, Mead, Yale, etc., reports tell a different story. For example, Yale’s Ford and Beach editors report the “tolerant” “sexually positive” Ponapean people as models for western emulation without question or contradiction.

[Ponapeans’] are given careful instruction in sexual intercourse from the 4th or the 5th year…. Before puberty, girls on Ponape undergo treatment designed to lengthen the labia minora and to enlarge the clitoris. Old impotent men pull, beat, and suck the labia to lengthen them. Black ants are put in the vulva; their stinging causes the labia and clitoris to swell…. repeated until the desired results are obtained.

Desired  by whom? Such modern ‘scholars’  ignore the fact that cultures practicing “sexual freedom” have not progressed (if one believes in Darwinian evolution) or who, as above, commonly still engage in savage child sex abuse practices. Lloyd DeMause writes in The  Journal of Psychohistory that incest was “universal for most people in most places at most times… [T]he earlier in history one searches, the more evidence there is of universal incest, just as there is more evidence of other forms of child abuse.”

Just as we do not advocate cannibalism or eating our enemies’ brains because the South Fore  people of New Guinea did so, we don’t advocate early child sexual experiences because Ponapean and other tribes do so. These studies cannot be endorsed to promote the overthrow of our nation’s reasoned ancestral morals; they should be an example of what not to do. The current “gender” family experiments follow a long history of failed dystopias built on unconventional special interests and deviant adult desires.

The following ‘good and bad’ forms of family and marriage data briefly note some critical key events that erupted in thousands of legal expositions and cases from 1948-to today  in which local and federal courts have debated what is “family,” “marriage,” “human sexuality,” “gender,” and “sexual orientation.”  Arguably, the law’s early reliance on  fraudulent  social science sexuality data have inevitably  produced legal cases, journal articles,  agencies, institutions and hidden interests that tragically overload the judicial system and that regularly yield bad legal and social decisions. Unless the fraudulent historical events that shaped our current sexual anarchy are exposed and excised, our legal system will next be facing claims for the right to sex with children, multiple people of any age, animals, other species, flora and fauna.

The following information is presented in the hopes of stirring an interest in revisiting our fraudulent sex foundations with an aim to correct our growing sexual anarchy. No extant scientific, anthropological, religious or evolutionary data support normalizing any form of novel dis-orientation and/or novel early sex “education.” On the contrary, the hard data presented below fully support a return to traditional treatment of sexual morality in our schools, laws, media, religious institutions and culture.

To be continued.

 

6Dr. Judith Reisman is a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Study of Social Trends, Human Rights, and Media Forensics.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published on DrJudithReisman.com. You can buy Dr. Reisman’s book Sexual Sabotage on her website.

What is a Dollar?

Dr. Edwin Vieira, IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Jurisprudence and Constitutional and Monetary Law, lectures on the nature of currency.

35,000 Venezuelans Cross the Border With Colombia Escaping Economic Crisis

Last Sunday, July 10, 2016, Nicolás Maduro opened the borders and the result was a mass exodus to Colombia. Venezuelans crossed the border to buy food and supplies in order to escape Venezuela’s Socialist Paradise crisis.  See reports by Al-Jazeera and PanamPost.

 

 

Jeffrey Nyquist, Olavo de Carvalho, and Diana West Talk About Communist Subversion in Latin America

Diana West, author of American Betrayal Jeffrey Nyquist, author of Origins of the Fourth World War, and Olavo de Carvalho, Brazilian philosopher who authored a dozen books in Brazil and debated Russian geopolitical strategist Aleksandr Dugin, join Allan dos Santos, host of Update Brazil, to talk about the Communist Subversion in Latin America.

Dilmish 101: Crash Course on the Brazilian President’s Dilma Rousseff’s Speech Style

Note: The quotes from President Dilma’s speeches were carefully translated from the Portuguese. What you are going to read is, unfortunately, an accurate rendition of her words and meaning (or lack thereof).

In a speech delivered last April, former Brazilian President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011), manifesting his support for his successor, President Dilma Rousseff (2011-present), promised she would make the Brazilian people smile again. Most Brazilians would probably agree with that, but not for the same reasons he might have had in mind when he said it.

The truth is that President Rousseff has demonstrated her ability to produce mirth among the audience on the many occasions when she decided to speak her mind publicly without preparation. In almost every impromptu speech she has delivered, it is possible to find moments in which a rare combination of words, ideas, and images makes her audience think in astonishment: “No, she did not say that.” Thanks to her repeatedly disastrous and unintentionally comic speeches, she has become known as the queen of nonsense, and her peculiar oratorical style has been dubbed “Dilmês,” which can be roughly translated into English as “Dilmish.”

Her memorable lines in Dilmish have given rise to a new comedy genre on the Brazilian web, which essentially consists in simply compiling and exhibiting her gems of thought in articles, videos, memes, and songs. In her almost five years as president, she has said so many things, so badly put, and so often, that there is a true treasury of Dilmish wisdom available on the internet.

For example, last week, in a speech delivered at the ceremony that launched the First World Games of Indigenous Peoples to be held in Brazil in October this year, President Dilma Rousseff made her audience smile over and over again by offering them a remarkable series of sentences so badly crafted that they immediately became brilliant jewels of unintentional humor and major internet hits.

After ten minutes of standard welcome and praise to national and international guests, Rousseff finally decided to improvise and make some laudatory remarks about the indigenous peoples of Brazil, but with the Dilmish mode already fully on, what ended up coming out of her mouth was this:

“I believe that we need to be proud about the historical formation of this country, and going beyond the fact that each indigenous people represents a specific culture, we need to be immensely proud of being a mixture of many ethnicities in the make-up of the Brazilian nation. And here today, we hail one of them: we salute the indigenous ethnicity, which gave us, as the vice-governor of this state, here representing the governor, mentioned before, the flavor of the names that are present in all of our cities. True, but I also would like to hail something else, since no civilization was born without some form of staple food. And we have one here, as the American Indians and indigenous peoples have theirs, we have yuca. And here we are sharing yucca with corn. And certainly, we will have a whole series of other products that were essential for the development of all human civilization throughout the centuries. So, here, today, I salute yuca. I think it is one of the greatest conquests of Brazil.

 

It is hard to find a real rational explanation for why she suddenly decided to go from praising Brazilian Indians to talking about yuca (AKA cassava) and why she uttered those last three sentences of her yuca- cheering speech. The whole thing becomes even more comical when you are informed that the word yuca is a vulgar synonym for the male sexual organ in Brazilian Portuguese (because of the suggestive shape of the yuca root).

But that was not all for the day.

During her speech President Rousseff kept under one of her arms a hand-made leaf ball that, according to her, was a gift from participant from New Zealand, and just after her yuca salutation, she proceeded to attempt a quite risky mental maneuver for a thinker of her class: to use the leaf ball as a symbol for the practice of sports as a characteristically human activity. Speaking her mind like there was no tomorrow, Rousseff, in a theoretical flight of fancy, managed to concoct the following narrative:

“I am sure about this, and here I would like to show our long-established relation with sports. Here is a ball that I have been testing all the time. It is ball that was given to me by Terena and that I will take with me—and it will last as long as it takes. This ball comes from far away, from New Zealand. And it is a ball that I think it is an example, it is extremely light. I have already tried it, and it bounces. I tried it myself, I did one kick-up, no, I lie, half a kick-up. Well, but I think that the importance of a ball is precisely this: it is a symbol of the capacity that makes us different as . . . we belong to the human genus, to the sapiens species. We are those that have the capacity to play games. For this is what playing is about: the important thing is not to win, but to celebrate. That is the human, ludic, capacity of taking part in an activity whose end is itself, the activity itself.

So, sports have this characteristic, this blessing. Sports are an end to themselves, and that’s why they are not about winning, but about celebrating, about participating in the World Games of Indigenous Peoples. It is to participate celebrating the meaning of this activity that first characterizes children. The ludic activity of playing, the ludic activity of being able of playing.

So, to me, this ball is a symbol of our evolution. When we created a ball like this, we became homo sapiens or women sapiens.”

 It did not take long, of course, for the yuca and “women sapiens” sections of her speech to take over the web in Brazil in the form of a variety of jokes. Perhaps one of the most delightfully creative comic pieces created was this songified version of President Rousseff’s statements (see an English translation for the lyrics below):

 

 

“I salute yuca.

I salute yuca.

We are sharing yuca with corn.

We are sharing yuca with corn.

And certainly, we will have a whole series of other products that were essential for the development of all human civilization.

I salute yuca.

I salute yuca.

I think it is one of the greatest conquests of Brazil.

I salute yuca.

I salute yuca.

When we created a ball like this, we became homo sapiens or women sapiens.

So, to me, this ball is a symbol of our evolution.

Yuca.

We are sharing yuca with corn.

We are sharing yuca with corn.

I salute yuca.

I salute yuca.”

 

Once again I must remind my readers that those quotations from President Rousseff are actually representative samples of her speech style. They are not simply a non-habitual poor choice of words that was made in a really bad day the President had, nor are they a selection of sentences carefully put together to misrepresent her meaning. There are literally dozens of other speeches that could be quoted here to bear out the existence of the Dilmish language, and some of them are as good (or bad) as the ones above. In short, make no mistake: the woman really talks like that.

As another example, consider an excerpt from the speech she delivered on Children’s Day (celebrated on October 12 in Brazil) in 2013. She was in an important capital city, Porto Alegre, of an important southern State, Rio Grande do Sul, and the bulk of her speech was really about the Federal Administration’s new public transportation program and the opening of that city’s first subway. However, since it was also Children’s Day, a date devoted to celebrate the rights of children, President Rousseff thought it would be nice to say some words about it. So, again, after the standard introduction of greetings and praises, she activated the Dilmish mode and fired away:

“And, in particular, since I am here in this city that is so dear to me, Porto Alegre, I would like to greet Mayor Fortunati and his wife, First-Lady Regina Becker. If today is Children’s Day, yesterday I sad that a child . . . (pause) Children’s Day is Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Teachers’ Day as well, but it is also Animals’ Day. Whenever you look at a child, there is always a hidden figure, which is a dog behind the child, which is something really important. So, Regina also praise you for your dedication to that cause.”

 That was literally it. She did not further elaborate upon it, nor did it become somewhat clear later on in her speech why she chose those words. That was all of it. And this is a perfect example of another important kind of Dilmish: the one in which she suddenly veers off-topic, and you have a slight hope she will eventually come back, put all pieces together, and make her point; but she never does. She just goes off-topic for no reason.

Another fantastic species of Dilmish is that in which she actually tries to make a point by stretching the resources of language to the outer limits of human logic, and the result is usually the verbal correspondent of a surrealist painting. A good example of that is the answer she gave in a TV interview in September 2010 when asked to give her opinion about the competition between opposing parties on a referendum to decide about the legalization of abortion in Brazil. According to her:

“I don’t think that whoever wins or loses, neither whoever wins, nor whoever loses, will win or will lose. Everybody will lose.”

That is also a good example of one of the beauties of Dilmish: you can make your own interpretation of the President’s words. Since you cannot really take what she says literally, you are free to exercise your hermeneutical skills and come up with the meaning you think she had in mind. It is not a game deprived of fun, if you have the time to spare, and there are many Brazilian websites and YouTube videos in which collection of sentences like that are grouped under the head “What the heck was President Dilma trying to say?” Here are some of my all-time favorites:

“All of us know that each of us choose—and life makes us choose—some of the days in which we will never forget that day.”

“The environment is, no doubt, a threat to sustainable development. And that means that it is a threat to the future of our planet.”

“It is interesting that in Brazil you are oftentimes, as Brazilians usually say, criticized for having a dog and sometimes for not having a dog. That is an interesting criticism that takes place in Brazil.”

“And we have created a program that I would like to speak with you about, which is the Science Without Borders program. Why would I like to speak about Science Without Borders to you? It is because in all others . . . because we are going to launch Science Without Borders 2. The number 1 is 100,000, but it will have to continue to do Science without Borders in Brazil.”

“By the way, once I was told by a friend that this issue of men and women was no problem at all because women are the majority, but the other part. . . the other part of the majority is made up of men, all of them being born of a woman, and that’s why everything was all right: women together with women. Because men can have boys and girls and wives, but they necessarily have—and that’s not just a possibility, it is a necessity—a mother.”

“Paes [Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor] is the happiest mayor in the world, who runs the most important city in the world and in the whole galaxy. Why the whole galaxy? Because our galaxy is Rio de Janeiro. The Milky Way is nothing compared to the galaxy of which our dear Paes has the honor of being the mayor.”

As I think my readers can see it clearly now, something is rotten in the state of Brazil, and the stench is coming from the top.

 

This post was written by Alessandro Cota, philosophy and political science researcher at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.