Category Archives: Democracy and Western Civilization

Virginia Is Not California. Or New York.

by Kerry Dougherty 

By pro-Hamas standards, the protests at the University of Virginia were anemic.

Estimates placed the size of the “crowds” that began gathering on Grounds – as they say in Charlottesville – last week ranged from about 12 to perhaps as many as 50.

The Hamas fan club was clustered near the chapel and engaged in mostly peaceful demonstrations. According to news reports the demonstrators respected the orders of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who warned last week that Virginia would not tolerate tents or “encampments” on any campuses. Continue reading

A Hostile Environment for Jews

by James A. Bacon

Matan Goldstein is a rarity at the University of Virginia — a Jewish student unafraid to openly defend Israel in its war with Hamas and oppose Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a pro-Palestinian group that praised Hamas’ October 7 terror attacks on Israeli citizens. The Israeli student has appeared on local talk radio and published an op-ed in the local newspaper. He wears a kippah, openly identifying himself as a Jew, and he was one of the two students who waved an Israeli flag on the steps of the Rotunda during an SJP rally. 

Goldstein, who was drawn to UVa by its classics program, was surprised upon coming to Charlottesville by the prevalence of antisemitism and the impotent handwringing of the UVa administration in dealing with it. University officials have declined to criticize the eliminationist rhetoric of pro-Palestinian students and faculty. Instead, the University has created a religious diversity task force to investigate discrimination against Jews… and Muslims… and other religions. Two of the eleven task-force members had signed a faculty letter faulting Ryan for his failure to sufficiently acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinians.

Goldstein’s account is echoed by other members of UVa’s Jewish community contacted by The Jefferson Council, although he was the only one willing to speak on the record. A law school student spoke off the record, while parents, alumni, a professor and a rabbi conveyed the sentiments of many other Jewish students whom I was unable to contact for first-hand accounts. Jewish students are so reticent to speak publicly that the signatories to a letter in The Cavalier Daily identified themselves only as “a group of Jewish students.”

During his first-year orientation in September, Goldstein participated in a group discussion in which students told others about themselves. He mentioned that he was Israeli. A classmate, a student from Egypt, spoke up. He said he was angry at the Jewish state and the Israeli Defense Force. He thought Abdul Gamal Nasser, an Egyptian dictator who sought to destroy Israel in the Six Day War, was a hero. “He said we could never be friends.” Continue reading

Virginia Child Victims in the Left’s War on the Enlightenment and Science

Richard Bernstein, a founder of American critical theory.

by James C. Sherlock

Modern progressivism is religion, defined by Webster as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

The critical theory progressive, that is to say the modern American progressive, rejects proudly and publicly, root and branch, both the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolutions of the 16th through 18th centuries in Europe.

Critical Theory developed into a synthesis of Marx and Freud. The Frankfurt School which birthed it studied the sources of authoritarianism. Their followers, as in much of human experience, wound up as practitioners.

By contrast, the leading lights of Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution awakenings, bravely in their time, stressed the belief that science and logic give people more understanding. And with understanding came freedom and the rights of man.

Logic is the principles of reasoning; science provides the principles of investigation and proof.

They led much of Europe, and the American colonies, to develop more successful systems of governance, economics, mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and education than did tradition and religion.

One development, capitalism, has raised more people out of poverty than any economic system ever.

Some of the rest of the world followed. Some did not. Those that did, prospered, and improved the lives of billions of people.

But success in those twin intellectual revolutions came too slow for some.

To that table came two prominent 19th and 20th century experiments in rejecting the Enlightenment: communism and national socialism.

They proved the deadliest political movements in human history. Continue reading

Sorry, Senator. Zalenskyy is No George Washington

Sen. Tim Kaine

by Kerry Dougherty

Tim Kaine jumped the shark.

Get a load of the nonsense this United States Senator – from VIRGINIA – Tweeted on Tuesday:

President Zelenskyy spoke to the Senate today about the critical role of American support for Ukrainian democracy. He stood beneath a portrait of George Washington, who helped birth an America free from domination by a great power. A moving moment.

— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) December 12, 2023

Seriously, senator?

No member of Congress should ever compare America’s first president with this little corruptocrat.

This is the problem when Virginians vote for a Kansan to represent them in Washington. He missed fourth grade Virginia history and apparently they didn’t teach American history in the schools he attended either.

If they had, the senator would know that Washington was a humble man who fervently believed in freedom and the rights of man. He was an educated, measured leader who stepped down after two terms in office and refused to allow himself to be set up as anything more than a man of the people.

In his farewell address, Washington warned against foreign entanglements.

Presidents have been ignoring Washington’s admonitions for decades, unfortunately. Continue reading

Bari Weiss: “You are the Last Line of Defense”

by James C. Sherlock

Video courtesy of the Free Press.  See that link for a full transcript.  I recommend it to everyone.

Bari Weiss recently delivered a speech that will be long remembered.

She offered eloquence in the service of experience, sorrow and determination.  And defined the internal, and existential, threat to America.

I will share with you below short slices of the transcript.

She spoke to the Federalist Society about college radicalism turned antisemitism.  But not just antisemitism.

It is a radicalism that turns with threats, career assassinations and even violence on everything outside its very narrow, “intersectional” acceptance zone.  It is – proudly – a threat to America’s security and the western civilization it hates.

She would not have been welcome at some of Virginia’s most prestigious public IHEs.

And all of us know it. Continue reading

UVa’s “Community Crisis Resources” for Israel/Hamas War Tensions on Campus Has Strange Players

UVa’s Interfaith Student Center. Courtesy UVa.

by James C. Sherlock

The University of Virginia has not lost all sense of perspective. They know exactly what they have been doing.

For this they had to try to thread a needle. They missed.

From the University of Virginia Division of Student Affairs:

“Our Division’s focus remains on supporting and caring for our students and their well-being.

Our Division provides direct OUTREACH AND SUPPORT OF STUDENT LEADERS in the Jewish and Palestinian community, including the Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad at UVA, and Muslim Students Association.”

“The Division owns places and spaces across Grounds for students to meet in community:

• REFLECTION ROOMS AND WELLNESS SUITE: two spaces in Student Health and Wellness are open for students to drop-in and relax, meditate, pray, do yoga, and/or reflect.
• THE INTERFAITH STUDENT CENTER: maintained by Multicultural Student Services is available for daily prayers, and as a place for community connection.”

The effort is built on quicksand and hosted in an empty room.

Note no mention of the DEI Division as an honest broker. Good decision. Continue reading

Yes, Virginia, There is a TikTok, and It’s Chinese

Credit Tamara Beckwith, NY Post

by James C. Sherlock

From the NY Post:

“TikTok shredded as influencers promote Osama bin Laden’s ‘terrorist propaganda’ tirade dubbed ‘Letter to America’ after 9/11 attacks”

Virginia bans porno sites.

How did we miss our kids’ favorite (Chinese) app TikTok?

Virginia Must Investigate and Control the Relationships of Its State Institutions of Higher Learning With the Government of China

by James C. Sherlock

The title of this article seems at first glance axiomatic.

After all, the power “to conduct … all intercourse with other and foreign states” is granted in the state constitution to the Governor.

Yet that power has been assumed by some Virginia state institutions of higher education (IHEs) with the apparent approval of their state-appointed Counsels.

They need better lawyers.

Courtesy U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission

The story of Communist Chinese influence in America’s IHEs is the story of left-wing faculty. The same ones that march in Hamas rallies.

They divide the world into oppressed and oppressors, with no room for individuals. They offer a narrative, not discussions.

Somehow, in their admiration for Chinese Marxism, they have missed the fact that the Chinese government is one of the most oppressive regimes on earth.  Straight out of Animal Farm.

It does not bother them that Xi Jinping and his government wish America harm. Or that America is on the brink of war with that country over Taiwan.

The campus radical leftists, and many of the schools they dominate, have their own threat assessments and foreign policies that do not align with those of the United States. Continue reading

William and Mary and the Chinese Communist Party – Dangerous Allies – Part 2

Courtesy U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission

by James C. Sherlock

The College of William and Mary first contracted with the Chinese Ministry of Education’s Confucius Institute (CI) Program in 2012. Despite all of the public warnings about the dangers listed in Part 1, it extended that contract in 2016 and did not cease until 2020, when threatened with sanctions by the federal government.

W&M’s hosting of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) continues today.

This is Part 2 of a series that will explore those dangerous alliances and recommend changes in that college’s approach to what the United States considers the biggest foreign threat our nation faces, China.

The creation of the new William and Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI) was unfortunately timed.

In 2012 Xi Jinping took full control of both the Chinese Communist Party and the Peoples Revolutionary Army. The CI’s became part of Xi’s United Front Work Department.

The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community in 2012 never saw it coming. The intelligence community, seemingly always fighting the last war, was late to an understanding of the true China threat, at least publicly.

So it would be unfair to criticize William and Mary for not having done so.

But by 2016, when William and Mary signed the renewed contract with Hanban, there were plenty of warnings. See Part 1 for a list. The University of Chicago closed its CI in 2014.

WMCI. WMCI was not an informal arrangement, but a contractual one. The WMCI was under dual governance that gave the Chinese authority over the appointment and firing of the American director of that organization.

The director was Dr. Hanson, whose rosy view of Hanban and the Chinese government we watched on a YouTube video in Part 1. Continue reading

Some Virginia State Colleges and Universities Host Chinese Government Student Control Organizations

by James C. Sherlock

Courtesy U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission

Virginia Tech’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association

is the largest international student society at Virginia Tech, with more than 1,000 Chinese students and scholars and their families. It is also one of the largest Chinese student and scholars organizations in the United States. [Go to link and click “translate” in URL window.]

Good to know.

More than 350,000 students from mainland China out of about 1 million total international students are enrolled in America’s colleges and universities in 2023.

The financial incentives for the schools are huge.

All of those students pay full-sticker out-of-state tuition as well as room, board and student fees – $58,750 annually for undergraduates.  So Tech realizes about $60 million for its full-time Chinese Hokies.  That does not include summer students, another big program.

In associated programs, Chinese universities provide Mandarin language instructors to American faculties and accept U.S. students.

But the institutions who accept Chinese Student and Scholars Associations (CSSAs) know they monitor and control Chinese students and spread the official dogma of the Chinese state to their campuses.

The Chinese don’t even try to make it a secret.

CSSAs have closed at UVa, VCU, James Madison and George Mason without apparent effect on their Chinese student inputs.

Yet Virginia Tech, William and Mary, and ODU continue to host them.

It makes no sense. Continue reading

A Resolution Concerning the Safety and Rights of Jews at UVa


Jefferson Council President Tom Neale yesterday delivered the following resolution of the Council to University of Virginia president Jim Ryan and the Board of Visitors. — JAB


The Jefferson Council, by unanimous agreement of the Officers, Committee Chairs and Board of Advisors, hereby issues the following RESOLUTION supporting the rights of the Jewish students, faculty and staff at the University of Virginia to study, teach and work in safety and in an environment conducive to the free and civil exchange of ideas.

WHEREAS, the Jefferson Council was founded to promote an academic environment based on open dialogue throughout the University;

WHEREAS, on October 7, 2023, military units of Hamas, the de facto governing body of Gaza, invaded the sovereign state of Israel and intentionally targeted, murdered, tortured and/or captured approximately 1400 innocent civilians including but not limited to women, children and the elderly, all in violation of international law and the moral norms of every civilized country in the world; Continue reading

Never Again

Chinese-funded Code Pink’s co-founder Medea Benjamin at antisemitic rally in D.C. Nov. 4th. Courtesy Asra Nomani

by James C. Sherlock

At 78, I have been all over the world often and for long periods of time. I felt myself reasonably immune to cultural surprises.

But I had never seen anything like this.

It was the Maghrib prayer time about 5 p.m. on Saturday. On the southeast corner of 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. in D.C., a devout Muslim man was in the sujood prayer position on the sidewalk, forehead touching the ground.

That was not the surprise.

But a girl we took to be the praying man’s daughter was waiting a few feet away next to her mother and three young siblings. She looked to be, at the most, four years old.

There had been thousands like her at the festival on that beautiful afternoon. Families with toddlers and baby carriages were everywhere at the edges of the demonstrations. Watching. Learning.

Full of adrenaline from the hate that had been spewed out on a huge screen broadcasting anti-Israel rally speakers in the middle of shut-down Pennsylvania Avenue, that beautiful little girl was jumping up and down, tiny fists clenched, shouting in her small voice “Gaza,” “Gaza,” “Gaza.”

Three thousand years of hatred of Jews was being passed down to another generation.

It is never going to stop. Continue reading

Freedom, Consistency, and Tuesday’s Election

The capital city

by Shaun Kenney

One of the great things about being a conservative is that we are inherently an anti-ideology. As the late William F. Buckley Jr. once put it, the great task of the modern conservative movement is to stand athwart history yelling STOP!

Yet in a wider sense, it is far easier for conservatives to tack with the wind than our counterparts on the left. Liberals tend to wed themselves to institutions and then find themselves besieged by conservatives who continue to ask why and progressives who demand more on the what and how.

One of the particular demands on the conservative movement at present is whether or not we are a big tent or a fortress.

More particular is this: do we have to surrender what we believe in order to become more palatable to the wider public?

Or is there simply a better way of packaging what we believe and describing why it matters to working class families? In short, if what we believe has a kernel of truth to it, isn’t persuasion better than fighting?

The truth is that Republicans are far better at adapting what we believe to the times than our counterparts on the left precisely because we keep asking the same question over and over again: Does this expand the cause of human freedom — or not?

For Virginia Republicans, the sentiment is as old as there has been a Republican Party of Virginia — thank you General William Mahone. The maxim was best articulated by one Richard D. Obenshain, who by sheer force of will resurrected what we know as the present-day Virginia GOP from mere footnote to statewide conscience, serving as state party chairman in 1972 before his U.S. Senate bid in 1978. Continue reading

“Good old TikTok: Chinese spy engine and purveyor of virulent antisemitic lies.” Sen. Josh Hawley

San Francisco High School students enflamed by false report from the NYT (which later offered “nuance”) broadcast worldwide on TikTok #freepalestine that Israel bombed that hospital in Gaza.

by James C. Sherlock

Taylor Lorenz, the estimable young Tech and Online Culture columnist for The Washington Post, has been the author of some of the most important reports on the Hamas-Israel war.

Today, she published with Drew Harwell, a Post reporter covering artificial intelligence and the algorithms changing our lives, “Israel-Gaza war sparks debate over TikTok’s role in setting public opinion.

A pro-Palestinian hashtag, #freepalestine, had … 770 million views over the last 30 days in the United States, TikTok data show.

To longtime TikTok critics like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), that assertion offered further proof that the app, owned by the China-based tech firm ByteDance, is a secretive propaganda engine built to manipulate American teens for Chinese geopolitical goals — in this case, Rubio said, to “downplay … Hamas terrorism.”

The same Post article, attempting balance, reports both the Sen. Hawley quote in the title of this piece and that:

TikTok creators and social media experts say the reality (of reporting on the war) is more nuanced (than critics have asserted).

“Nuanced.” What would we do without “TikTok creators and social media experts”? Continue reading

Harvard History Professor to Lead Monticello

Jane Kamensky, new President of Monticello. Courtesy of Harvard Crimson. Photo credit Soumyaa Mazumder

by James C. Sherlock

She is certainly qualified.

On Oct. 17 the Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced that Jane Kamensky, Harvard history professor and director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, will be the next president of Monticello.

From an interview with Harvard Crimson.

  • “The combination of celebration, commemoration, and reckoning that takes place at Monticello in 2026 will not only do all those things, but will show America how to do it,” she said.
  • Kamensky said she looks forward to engaging the American public, especially young people, in a “shifted tone of conversation about American ideals and imperfections and possibilities,” she said.

“Show America how to do it” is an aggressive vision, but we wish her well.

There is evidence that there are mines in that field. She needs to try to carefully clear them, not set them off. Continue reading