Five of America’s most talented authors of political and social commentary discussed their works at a packed reception hosted by Accuracy in Media last month. Held as part of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Crystal City, Virginia, the January 22 reception featured several volumes that would make excellent additions to any right-leaning bookshelf.
Journalist Richard Poe began the event by commenting on his book The Seven Myths of Gun Control, which he said was written with both liberals and conservatives in mind. The anti-gun movement’s greatest victory, Poe contended, has been in convincing certain rightists that the Second Amendment is unimportant. He recalled participating in arguments in which some self-described conservatives mocked the importance of the amendment, calling it a constitutional relic that applied only to state militias.
Poe described how September 11 had vividly illustrated for him the importance of gun rights. The morning’s terrorist attacks had left New York City a disaster area, and as night approached, citizens feared a repeat of the wave of looting and arson that had afflicted the city during the 1977 blackout. The city’s strict gun laws had left New Yorkers unarmed, Poe explained, and their feelings of vulnerability and fear in the dark hours following the terrorist attacks would have made the city fertile ground for a dictator. Fortunately, the government in this case did not take advantage of its citizens’ defenselessness, Poe said, although other populations around the globe have not been so lucky.
Next, historian John Earl Haynes discussed In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage, which he co-authored with Harvey Klehr. Using newly available material from the Soviet archives, Haynes and Klehr document the astonishing extent to which Moscow coordinated with and subsidized American communists, including high-level officials within the U.S. government. They also examine the history profession’s willingness to downplay, distort, or ignore incontrovertible evidence of Soviet espionage on American soil.
Although one professor expressed an interest in assigning In Denial to his students, Haynes told the audience, the book generally has been met with silence by academics-perhaps in the belief that if they don’t notice the evidence, it doesn’t exist. One revisionist historian, Haynes reported, acknowledged the book’s existence but stated that she didn’t care about its findings because “the Cold War is over.”
In a similar vein, Dan Flynn, a former executive director of Accuracy in Academia, touched on his book Why the Left Hates America, in which he contends, among other things, that the academy has become a haven for those who support the enemies of the United States. The Borough of Manhattan Community College once offered a scholarship named after Ho Chi Minh, Flynn told the audience, and there is currently a professorial chair at Bard College titled “Alger Hiss Professor of Social Studies.”
Flynn also described his experiences speaking at more than 50 colleges and universities (mostly at the behest of students-only once was he invited by a college administrator). Although colleges never tire of talking about their commitment to free speech and “inclusion,” Flynn’s perspective was not received cordially, to say the least. At one campus, Flynn was mooned, while at another school he had to contend with a mohawked student who stood obstinately in front of the podium for the duration of Flynn’s speech.
Next, Jessica Gavora discussed her book Tilting the Playing Field, a critical examination of Title IX, which Gavora called “one of the most sweeping laws” on the books today. Gavora spoke of how an unelected “triumvirate” of judges, bureaucrats, and feminists has twisted a law meant to guarantee equal opportunity in education into the most far-reaching quota system in America.
Title IX, as it is currently enforced, requires that the percentage of a college’s athletes who are female be equal to the percentage of women in the student body, Gavora said, regardless of how many women actually want to be athletes. Since women rarely desire to participate in athletics at the same rate as men, schools are forced to cut successful men’s programs in order to satisfy the quota.
Such illogical regulations, Gavora opined, are symptoms of radical feminists’ inordinate influence over public policy. Although feminist groups do not represent the views of most women, they exercise tremendous power in the political arena, she said. It is a testament to this hegemony that Gavora’s is the only book yet published on Title IX that is actually critical of the legislation.
Joel Mowbray concluded the reception with a talk on Dangerous Diplomacy, his eye-opening expos? of the U.S. State Department. Mowbray detailed how Foggy Bottom props up terror-sponsoring regimes, withholds crucial information (such as reports on North Korea’s nuclear program) from the rest of the federal government, and arrogantly covers up its own misdeeds.
Despite its shortsighted policies, Mowbray said, the State Department escapes criticism because of its status as a “sacred cow” in Washington, especially among the media. Mowbray pointed out that while reporters often deluge Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with tough questions, they are usually much more deferential to officials from the State Department.
Mowbray attributes this phenomenon in large part to a shared “cultural ethos” between Foggy Bottom and the media. Since journalists often have the same Ivy League background and values as State Department officials, they often follow their lead when writing on foreign-policy issues. For instance, the media’s depiction of the Taliban in 1996 was heavily influenced by the State Department’s treatment of the regime, Mowbray said; later, when the department changed its stance, the press quickly followed suit.