GETTING IT RIGHT
Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist (Random Walks)
and author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and
Identity and Hear, O Israel! (Mantua Books). His
editorials appear regularly in PJ
Media. His monograph, Global Warning: The Trials of
an Unsettled Science (Freedom Press Canada) was launched
at the National Archives in Ottawa in September, 2012. His debut
Guitar, is now available, as is his latest
on Music, Poetry and Politics.
my university degrees as mere alphabetical excrescences.
like to joke that I am never wrong, then correct myself: oops,
yes I was wrong once, that was on March 25, 2008, around ten
in the morning. Nonsense, of course. But I do want to say, however
arrogant it may appear, that I have been generally right in
my political predictions. The point is not to assume a peculiar
form of dispensation, but to show that being right requires
only a little practice.
Here are just three examples.
1. Terror. Returning to London from a literary symposium at
the University of East Anglia in Norwich in mid-June 2005, I
entered the Tube station at King’s Cross on the Piccadilly
Line and immediately saw that this would be an ideal place for
Islamic terrorists to strike. Considering the growing Islamization
of the U.K., the atmosphere of threat, the wariness of authorities
to move against Islamic supremacism or even to name it, the
proliferation of terror preaching imams at radical mosques,
and the fact that a heavily trafficked, unsecured public transport
site is a perfect venue for urban mayhem, King’s Cross
seemed an obvious target. I wrote as much in the then-in-progress
manuscript of The Big Lie. The attack occurred shortly
afterward, on July 7, 2005. My editor Malcolm Lester had me
cancel the passage prior to publication lest readers assume
I had inserted it retroactively to surreptitiously affirm my
2. Obama. I wrote to my Jewish friends -- some of them prominent
figures in literature and journalism who were ecstatic over
candidate Obama’s comforting July 23, 2008 Sderot address
to the Israeli people -- that the man was not to be trusted
and would assuredly go back on his word. Although he was riding
a wave of popularity and goodwill, I predicted that despite
his syrupy phrases and consoling manner he would eventually
show his true colors as Israel’s devoted enemy and would
do everything he possibly could to harm the Jewish state. All
that was needed to arrive at this conclusion was a modicum of
research into Obama’s history, his mentorship by Marxists
and Muslims reflexively sympathetic to the Palestinian victimhood
narrative, and a close reading of body language and exaggerated
inflection. My colleagues were amused and not a few disturbed
by my evident cynicism. “Israel has a true friend in Obama,”
one well-known commentator opined. To another I wrote: “Nothing
this fellow says can be believed, not a single syllable. He
is a liar from the womb. How can you not see that?” His
reply was to accuse me of advanced paranoia.
debate with Alan Dershowitz, hosted on FrontPage Magazine a
few years later, followed the same pattern. Proud of his president
for having visited the embattled Israeli town of Sderot and
for having Israel’s back, he fell for every lie that escaped
Obama’s lips. (As I write this, Obama has perfidiously
refused to use the once-reliable American veto in the December
23, 2016 U.N. Security Council resolution against Israeli so-called
“settlements,” doing major damage to the Jewish
state.) As with many of my Jewish friends, Dershowitz could
not admit he was wrong, but merely kept repeating a series of
flabby clichés and fixed talking points, never once addressing
my arguments showing that Obama was a hypocrite and an enemy-in-friend’s-clothing.
It is only quite recently that the redoubtable Dersh has reversed
himself, but that is always easier after the fact. “Experts”
like Dershowitz, shackled to belief and convinced of superior
insight, are people who learn late what was obvious early --
assuming they learn at all. Thinking is harder than rethinking,
which is why they are almost never right.
Trump. More recently, we lived through the virulent national
controversy over Donald Trump’s candidacy, with practically
the entire mainstream media, the academic phalanx of administrators,
professors and students, the entertainment industry and the
political class with scarcely an exception convinced that Trump
would go down to inglorious defeat -- and doing everything in
their power to bring that humiliation about. Even my wife and
son, though pro-Trump, were certain that Hillary could not be
beaten. I predicted that Trump would win, despite, as I wrote
(in part) in a previous article for PJM,
“the rigged vote machines, the legions of the voting dead,
the sycophancy of the millennials and entitleds, the rancor
of racial and ethnic minorities, women, and public ignorance
seemed clear to me that change was in the air, as, I discovered
later, it was plain to Ann Coulter in In Trump We Trust:
E Pluribus Awesome, America’s premier buffoon Michael
Moore (who wished it were otherwise), Mike Cernovich in MAGA
MINDSET, Ilana Mercer in The Trump Revolution, and
one or two others.
at the time I seemed alone -- apart from a few prognosticating
wizards like economist James Dale Davidson, History professor
Allan J. Lichtman in his May, 2016 edition of Predicting
the Next President and that panoptic savant Geda the Chinese
Monkey -- in my belief that Trump would assuredly win through.
I felt that flyover country was now actually touchdown country,
that working class America had risen from its slumber and was
about to reassert itself, that the exposure of Hillary’s
sleazy activities and serial failures would cut into her own
demographic, that the fake news, pro-Hillary media were in a
self-imposed tailspin, and that Trump’s massive rallies
were a sign that a surge of popular resentment of the status
quo would be sufficient to overcome the odds against him. Backbone
America had grown tired of being swindled, derided, deceived
and talked down to by establishment pols and pundits, whatever
side of the aisle they inhabited.
the night of the election, while my wife -- and everyone I knew
-- stayed up late glued to the TV screen, I went early to bed,
confident in the outcome, and enjoyed a refreshing sleep. In
the morning, when I came downstairs for coffee, my red-eyed
wife said, “He won!” I replied, “Of course.”
“How could you be so sure?” she asked. “Obvious,”
I said, unable to refrain from gloating a little.
the media, not for a nanosecond; the Fourth Estate is America’s
fifth column, working to undermine the Constitution and the
republic. “In the old days, men had the rack. Now we
have the Press…We are dominated by journalism,”
wrote Oscar Wilde in The Soul of Man Under Socialism.
Maintain a vigorous
skepticism of those who profess to know, no matter how touted
as eminences in their field -- talking heads, pollsters, editorialists,
academics; you are not to be intimidated by another person’s
nimbus of superior authority.
surround sound obliterate your inner voice, that is, resist
the temptation to subject your solitary judgment to the environing
swell of contrary opinion.
the fear of expected ridicule to obstruct your thinking.
Avoid the slavish
position that Czeslaw Milosz in The
Captive Mind, drawing from other sources,
characterized as ketman, the desire to be “at one with
others, in order not to be alone.” Go your own way,
regardless of consequences.
Do your own research, to the best of your ability without prior
assumptions and rely on instinct and common sense, irrespective
of hopes, desires and previous convictions.