Thursday, March 31, 2011

Michael Moore Says America is Not Broke: Is He Right?

Iowahawk is the best political satire site on the net, in my opinion. Even if you deduct marks for profanity, he still gets an A+ for wit, factual accuracy and an ironic, dry sense of humor that I find hilarious.

Bill Whittle has "guzzied up," as they say, one of Iowahawk's recent posts in this video. Watch, be entertained and learn.

Pawlenty-Rubio in 2012: The Strongest Pro-life Ticket in History and One that Can Beat Obama

Tim Pawlenty is looking more and more like the candidate for the Republican nomination who can best unite the Tea Party and more traditional wings of the Republican Party, which will be necessary in order to defeat Barack Obama in 2012.

Pawlenty has good credentials on all three traditional pillars of the conservative coalition: foreign policy, social policy and fiscal policy. He has executive experience as Governor of a mid-West battleground state, he has made no mistakes and, although his name recognition currently is low, he could rectify that in a hurry by winning Iowa. And he has great appeal to Evangelical voters who just happen to be dominant in Iowa. He attends Leith Anderson's church and his wife is a strong Evangelical Christian.

On top of everything else, he quite likely has the strongest actual record of achievement as a pro-life politician. Steve Ertelt at The Corner summarizes his record:

During his first year as governor in 2003, Pawlenty signed into law the Woman’s Right to Know Act, giving women information about abortion risks and alternatives as well as information on fetal development. The law became a model for other states. Minnesota was also the first to give women information on fetal pain — coming well in advance of the new trend of banning abortions based on that scientific concept, which Nebraska started last year. The former governor followed up that bill by signing the Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act in 2005 to give women even more information on the pain their babies feel during an abortion.

Pawlenty didn’t stop there. In 2005 he signed the Positive Alternatives to Abortion Act to make Minnesota one of just a handful of states that send public funds to pregnancy centers providing tangible support for pregnant women and abortion alternatives. Since then, it has helped more than 18,000 pregnant women and their families.

Again proving his commitment to women and his understanding of the myriad medical and mental-health problems women face following an abortion, Governor Pawlenty issued a proclamation in 2010 designating the month of April as “Abortion Recovery Month” and urging agencies in the state to help women who are suffering problems following their abortions. Recognizing the massive national post-abortion movement, which features millions of women who regret their abortions, Pawlenty again led the way by acknowledging this post-abortion pain in a way most other states have not.

Governor Pawlenty’s pro-life record includes everything from promoting perinatal hospices as alternatives to abortion in cases when a baby is diagnosed with a severe medical condition, to declaring pro-life days recognizing the tragedy of Roe v. Wade, to speaking at rallies and events for key pro-life groups like Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

But two other aspects of the pro-life debate show Pawlenty is a cut above the average pro-life elected official.

In a time when some pro-life advocates abandoned the pro-life movement on bioethics issues, Pawlenty stood fast. He vetoed a cloning bill that would have legalized human cloning and forced taxpayers to pay for the destruction of human life, saying destroying human embryos crossed “core ethical and moral boundaries.” The governor also signed into law a ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning, because he rightfully acknowledges that adult stem-cell research is not only more ethical but more effective in helping patients. A President Pawlenty would assuredly overturn Pres. Barack Obama’s executive order forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem-cell research that destroys human lives and has never helped a single patient.

For pro-life voters, however, the biggest issue in the upcoming presidential election is judges. The current Supreme Court has a teetering 5–4 pro-abortion majority and the next few nominations will likely determine the future of the high court on abortion for decades.

In 2008, Governor Pawlenty appointed a pro-life advocate to lead the Minnesota Supreme Court. Eric Magnuson, who was named chief justice, had written an amicus brief for a pro-life group in a case arguing that taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortions with their tax money.

Governor Pawlenty also felt so strongly about appointing Jamie Anderson to the 4th Judicial District Court that he bypassed the state’s Commission on Judicial Selection to ensure the respected pro-life attorney had a seat.

Pawlenty’s strength on judges also comes by way of his wife Mary, who is a former judge herself. Although pro-life voters appreciated the pro-life actions of presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush, their wives did not share their pro-life perspective. Mary Pawlenty, an evangelical who attended Bethel College, is a heartfelt pro-life advocate who combines a passion for the unborn with an acute political and legal mind.

The Pawlenty pro-life track record has produced proven results: The Minnesota health department indicated last year that abortions have dropped 14 percent and hit a 35-year low.

Wow! Will this play in Iowa or what? Read it all here.

How nice would it be to see the Mexico City policy reversed and pro-life judges appointed to the Supreme Court! I have been watching Tim Pawlenty for a while now and I think he is the one to take on Obama.

I now hope that Palin and Huckabee don't run. They don't need to. Gingrich is in the race to sell books and attack Obama. Good for him; he can't win but he can help the cause. Romney can't shake his record on healthcare legislation in Massachusetts. Can Republicans really trust a man who used to be pro-abortion to appoint pro-life judges and a man who implemented the forerunner of Obamacare to repeal Obamacare? His nomination would split the party. Haley Barbour is not going to have much appeal outside the South. Governors Perry, Christie and Walker probably aren't going to run. Paul Ryan show no signs of jumping in. Michelle Bachman will run to lift up the Tea Party banner.

But the one who can unite them all without losing moderate, establishment Republicans is Tim Pawlenty. I can see Karl Rove and Sarah Palin both endorsing him. The perfect running mate would be Marco Rubio. Rubio is popular in Florida, where the election may well be decided and he is a terrific speaker, a true conservative and has a compelling life story. In many ways he is the anti-Biden and, I predict, will stir as much enthusiasm among the fiscal and social conservative base as Palin did last time.

Pawlenty and Rubio in 2012. Now that is hope and change we can believe in!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

British Muslims for Israel

Well, this is heartening. Melanie Philips calls attention to a new group of Muslims in Britain who call themselves "British Muslims for Israel."
A warm welcome to a new and very brave kid on the block – British Muslims for Israel. As I have often said, where someone stands on Israel is for me the litmus test of whether they are a decent and rational human being or pose a threat not merely to Jewish interests but to civilised values. Unfortunately, even among those many Muslims who are opposed to the jihad and support western democracy, animosity towards Israel often runs horrifyingly deep. Any Muslim who speaks up in defence of Israel runs significant personal risks. So those behind British Muslims for Israel, which has emerged from the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, merit a huge amount of praise and support. They also offer a ray of hope for the future. They show that there are Muslims who pass that key civilisational litmus test with flying colours.
You can see an interview with the leader of this new group below. Hasan Afzal is a committee member at the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy. (It starts out in Hebrew but it switches to English for the interview.)

Is this not the voice of reason and sanity? I wish him well. Muslims who do not wish to be associated with the barbaric violence of those who push themselves forward as spokesmen for all Muslims now have a flag to rally around.

Melanie Philips is absolutely right that tolerance of the existence of Israel is the absolute minimum standard for Muslims who want to be perceived as peaceful and civilized. Anti-Semitism is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to human rights and freedom.

Andrew C. McCarthy sharpens the issue of how to make critical distinctions in his new little booklet entitled: "How Obama Embraces Islam's Sharia Agenda" (Encounter Books Broadsides No. 18, 2011). In this pamphlet, he argues that the US government and the Western ruling elite is making a crucial mistake in where they are drawing the line between Muslims we can live with as neighbors and those Muslims who constitute a threat to our civilization.

McCarthy notes that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, insists that Islam is a religion of peace and that the US and the West is not at war with the entire Muslim world. We can all agree on the latter at least. But we all know that there is a certain minority of fanatical, theocratic Muslims who seek world domination, the fall of the West and the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. They attacked us on 9/11.

Obama contends that we are only at war with the actual terrorists - a tiny group of fanatics. In fact, the Obama administration actually thinks that terrorists are nothing more than individual crazies who do not represent anything other than themselves. McCarthy argues that treating the terrorists as isolated, fanatical madmen prevents us from studying Islam, understanding Islam and getting to a comprehension of who they really are, where they come from and what their motivations and beliefs are.

McCarthy wants to draw a line between those Muslims - and there are many such Muslims in the West - who accept the Western legal/political heritage and desire to live under it in peace, on the one hand, and those Muslims who may live in the West or in Muslim countries who reject the West as an idea and want to conquer it.

Mulisms of the first sort often fled political oppression just so they could have the privilege of raising their families in a liberal democracy. Muslims of the second sort, however, especially second generation ones who get radicalized, often see their role as to create enclaves in which Sharia law can be established and then gradually extended to the society as a whole. In Europe, with the lack of assimilation and the low native European birthright plus the high Muslim birth rate and immigration rate, this strategy is extremely realistic and has a high chance of success. Already the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his capacity of spokesman for the Religious Left, has opened the door to Sharia as a parallel legal system in Britain.

McCarthy's point is that the danger to the West is not merely from terrorists, who want to conquer the West and impose Sharia law, but from all those Muslims who want to accomplish the same goals by means other than outright violence. This failure to recognize that many Muslim groups, which do not engage in terrorism themselves, are in sympathy with the goals and aims of the terrorists. The crucial issue is not whether they are committed to pursuing their goals peacefully or violently, but which goals they have. To want to overturn Western principles of law, politics and human rights in order to transform the West into conquered Islamic territory is to make oneself an enemy of the West.

University of California - Irvine Stands Up for Free Speech

The following video is long but you can get the main point by watching just the first few minutes. The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was invited to speak by the Political Science Department. This is one of over a thousand such academic events held every year in the university. But it was disrupted systematically by Muslim students shouting and trying to prevent the speech from going ahead.

This kind of hateful attack on free speech takes place routinely on American and Canadian university campuses. It is carried out by Muslim student organizations such as the Muslim Student Association and the tactics are those of the hard Left. These Muslims are aided and abetted by left-wing professors, students and administrators, who are not liberal and not committed to free speech or the concept of the university as a place for the civil exchange of ideas.

What this video shows, however, is the university exhibiting (for a change) a bit of spine and standing up to the barbarians. Watch for yourself and compare the civilized and principled deportment of the organizers, the representatives of the university and the ambassador to the wild, fanatical, irrational and hate-fueled strong-arm tactics of the protesters.

These young students were born in the United States. Their anti-Semitism and hard-left attacks on free speech come as much from the American Left as from their Muslim culture. Both the Leftist ideology and the Islamist ideology constitute a clear and present danger to freedom, democracy, the rule of law, the protection of minority rights and freedom of speech. We must stand against those who would undermine our political system and our culture of freedom. We must understand who they are and what they stand for and we must not allow them to portray themselves as liberal for they are illiberal and fascistic.

If fascism comes to the US, it will not come from the Tea Party or Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, but from people like these doing things like this. Remember, universities are where we are supposed to debate opposing ideas. When this is no longer possible, then universities no longer exist and a significant bulwark against barbarism has fallen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let's Be Honest: Barack Obama Makes George Bush Look Good

The speech Barack Obama gave on Lybia last night was pure Obama: brazen and utter hypocrisy. Look at how the Left crucified George Bush whose greatest crime in the eyes of the Left was that he did what he thought he had to do after 9/11 without being crippled by political correctness. (Mind you, the Bush administration had its own failures of nerve with regard to the "religion of peace.")

One lesson future GOP candidates for president should learn from George Bush's experience is that trying to be moderate and leaning to the center does nothing to moderate criticism from the Left. Bush's compassionate conservatism, high spending on education and the prescription drug plan should have endeared him to centrists but it did not. All it did was depress his core Republican constituency and prevent them from rallying to his defense. The way an American president has his approval ratings fall into the 30s is not by antagonizing the other party alone, but by losing both independents and also the enthusiasm of his own supporters. There is no way for a Republican ever to succeed as a centrist because the Democratic Party has become so extremely leftist.

The hypocrisy of the Left in giving tacit approval to Obama after savaging Bush is highlighted in this column in Politico by Joe Scarborough entitled: "The hypocrisy of the left."

Self-righteousness is a dangerous vice. It breeds arrogance and moral blind spots for those who come to believe they are superior to those who share different worldviews.

Televangelists have fallen prey to this feeling of superiority, until the time they are caught crawling on the ground outside a hooker’s hotel room. Politicians have also wallowed in the grandiosity of their moralistic worldview, until they too fall prey to the hypocrisy that eventually snags all self-righteous moralizers.

For a decade now, we have been told of George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s moral failings. They have been regularly compared to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini and every other tyrant of the past century. Bush has been damned by the ministers of the far left as a war criminal, a fascist and a Nazi when labeling his policies as overly ideological and deeply flawed would have sufficed.

But that was never enough for the carnival barkers on cable news or the blogosphere. For the American left, Bush had to be condemned as an immoral beast who killed women and children to get his bloody hands on Iraqi oil.

That extremism required that the Bush years be filled with images of CODEPINK protesting on Capitol Hill, anti-war activists clogging the streets of New York City and left-wing commentators beating their chests with the self-righteous indignation of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

But in the morally murky afterglow of the Obama years, the certainty of these secular saints has melted away.

President Barack Obama bowed to his generals’ demands by tripling troops in an unending war. CODEPINK did nothing.

Obama backed down on Guantanamo Bay. Anti-war protesters stayed at home.

America invaded its third Muslim country in a decade. The American left meekly went along. Without the slightest hint of irony, liberals defended the president’s indefensible position by returning again to a pose of moral certainty.

Democrats streamed to the floors of the House and Senate to praise the president for invading Libya. It was, after all, a moral mission that would stop the slaughter of innocent civilians. Whether protesting for peace or calling for war, these liberals once again convinced themselves of the moral superiority of their positions.

I love it - comparing Code Pink to Jim and Tammy Faye. Perfect!

In the second part of the column Scarborough compares the invasion of Iraq to the bombing of Lybia. Iraq was far more justified, far more beneficial to the entire Middle East and far more well-considered. Even if the execution was not perfect, the general goal was clear and the purpose was far more noble. Scarborough writes:
How can the left call for the ouster of Muammar Qadhafi for the sin of killing hundreds of Libyans when it opposed the war waged against Saddam Hussein? During Saddam’s two decades in Iraq, he killed more Muslims than anyone in history and used chemical weapons against his own people and neighboring states.
With the help of his equally despicable sons, Uday and Qusay, Saddam devastated Iraq, terrorized his people and destroyed that country’s environment. By the time American troops deposed him in 2003, Saddam had killed at least 300,000 of his own people — and human rights groups say that tally does not even include the million-plus casualties his invasion of Iran caused.
No, George W. Bush was not perfect. But he was not Hitler either. I think an awful lot of Americans felt safer when he was in the White House than they do now. I know that as a Canadian I think the world is a more dangerous place with the current occupant of the White House. The Left does not recognize that and by not recognizing it they are demonstrating that they are hypocritical and their criticism of Bush should be dismissed as partisanship and sophistry.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Anarchy and Communism

Ed West has some thoughts on the recent (highly organized) "anarchist" activities in central London over the weekend. He asks the questions inquiring minds want to have answered: "Shouldn't anarchists be in favour of cutting the size of the State?"

The irony is that here are self-proclaimed “anarchists” protesting against a reduction in the size of the state. Aren’t anarchists supposed to be in favour of smashing it?

Well, to an extent. According to the Whitechapel Anarchist Group, the most prominent of the various organisations: “Anarchy is a highly organised form of society that is clearly the only morally sensible way to run the world where everybody is the master of their own destiny.”

“The Anarchist solution… would be a society where there is no State, all wealth is owned in common by the people, relationships are non-exploitative, work is shared and decisions made in the knowledge of all.”

Or in other words, they wish to create all the conditions for Communism, while hoping that a Communist dictatorship won’t emerge, despite overwhelming evidence that it would.

Read the rest here.

My only quibble with West's analysis is that I think he is a bit generous in taking seriously the protestations of the anarchists that they don't want Communism. Classic Marxist theory requires chaotic conditions leading to revolution before the classless society can come to be, so anarchism is just stage one Marxism. You need anarchy in order to get Communist dictatorship.

Granted, there may be some "useful idiots" among the anarchists (and there certainly are many in the labor movement) who still swallow the line that the goal of all this anti-Capitalist protest is a nice, egalitarian, social justice Utopia. But they are being played like a fiddle by the real core of hard leftists who are guiding the movement toward violence and chaos.

Anarchists come in two varieties: Communist Anarchists and Stupid Anarchists.

Manchester Cathredral Baptizes New Age Quackery

From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" department comes this report via Virtue Online of a New Age spirituality conference to be held at Manchester Cathedral (Anglican) in England.
Manchester Cathedral is to host a 'new age' festival featuring tarot card readers, crystal healers and 'dream interpretation'.

Local Anglican leaders have agreed to throw open the doors of the historic cathedral in a bid to embrace alternative forms of Christianity.

Fortune tellers, meditation experts and traditional healers will fill the pews during the day-long festival in May. The Bishop of Manchester, Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said he wanted to celebrate 'all forms of spirituality'.

The Spirit of Life festival on May 2 will also feature stalls and workshops on angels, prayer bead-making and massage.

Fire-breathing vicar Rev Andy Salmon, of Sacred Trinity Church and St Philip with St Stephen in Salford, will also perform.

Bishop Nigel said the unconventional activities were not incompatible with Christian belief.

He said: "The event is a chance to discover and explore old and new Christian spiritual traditions from living in a community to praying with icons, from healing to bead-making, from Franciscan spirituality to contemporary music and movement.

"Practitioners from all over the country will be on hand to offer their experience of how God speaks to us today through the cultural language and practices so common in mind, body, spirit fairs."
Wonderful: Anglican bishops promoting Tarot cards and crystal in church. This sounds like something straight out of an end-times novel about the coming of the Anti-Christ. It makes the job of those who would parody the Church of England harder and harder. You really need a lot of imagination to exaggerate the insanity that passes for normal these days in the Anglican Church.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Michael Moore: One Smart Capitalist

Jerry Zandstra of the Detroit Daily News is fed up with Michael Moore's hypocrisy. Every time he gets a chance to proclaim loudly his support for Marxism Moore manages to deflect attention from his own anti-working class actions as a wealthy capitalist. Zandstra writes:

What would you say to someone who made $50 million in an industry in which 90 percent of his fellow union members made less than $5,000 per year?

How about someone whose last project grossed over $220 million but who hired nonunion workers to save money? Unions should be up in arms. People across the country should be protesting outside this guy's house. Commentators like Rachel Maddow should be raining condemnation on his head in disgust over the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor in America.

He should be the left's poster boy for all that is wrong with our country. But what if the person who does such things is Michigan's own Michael Moore?

Moore has made himself infamous by making outrageous documentaries and ridiculous statements. In his latest tirades, he told GritTV that the wealthy's income should be nationalized. All property, income and wealth should be thought of as belonging to "the people," he said, rather than any one person. . . .

The state of Wisconsin, for example, isn't broke, Moore says. The wealth is just congealed in the hands of a few and the state needs to take it from them on behalf of the people.

Of course, this is nothing new. Karl Marx believed the same and so have other purveyors of communism for decades.

What's new about Moore is the sheer hypocrisy of his statements.

Having just completed renovations on a multimillion-dollar vacation home in Torch Lake, Moore showed up in Wisconsin telling union workers he stands in solidarity with them. He then appeared on Maddow's show spewing trumped-up anger against rich people, saying that they need to be handcuffed and taken to jail. He even brought handcuffs as a prop, in case we weren't getting the message. . . .

We could argue the economics and constitutionality of his demands if not for this simple fact: Moore's personal wealth puts him at the top of the heap in the United States. What's worse is that he has made his $50 million by taking advantage of tragedies. In his 1989 documentary, "Roger and Me," he describes the economic pain felt by 30,000 General Motors employees who lost their jobs, positioning himself as the champion of the little guy. In theatrical box office alone, the film earned $7.7 million, with millions more from DVD and other sales. Not a blockbuster, but a decent enough start.

In his 2002 documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," Moore focused on the devastating violence unleashed in a Colorado school in 1999 as a means of examining violence in general in the United States. It brought him international attention and won numerous awards. His star began to rise, as did the balance in his checkbook. "Bowling for Columbine" made $58 million in theaters and tens of millions more in ancillary sales.

Moore's ship really came in with the terrorist attacks on 9/11. His 2004 film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," took a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush and the war on terrorism. It turns out that rich people were behind it all. Big surprise. The movie became the highest-grossing documentary of all time, earning more than $220 million.

Read it all here. Moore is a capitalist but likes to pretend that he is a working class stiff who is only concerned about the little guy. He wants the government to take away your money but he isn't giving his up voluntarily. If you want to know why he really is so anti George Bush, the reason is as simple as plain old greed. As the greedy socialist, he is the poster boy for hypocrisy. In reality, he is just a cunning capitalist playing the suckers for all their worth.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mobs Ransack London as the Socialists Protest Fiscal Sanity

The Daily Telegraph reports on mob violence in supposedly civilized London today by anti-capitalists and anarchists (which is how Communists describe themselves these days):

Police fought mobs of masked thugs who pelted officers with ammonia and fireworks loaded with coins.

The anti-capitalists started fires and smashed their way into banks, hotels and shops, bringing chaos to Britain’s busiest shopping street.

The violence began as Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, addressed a TUC rally of at least 250,000 peaceful protesters in Hyde Park who had marched from Westminster to demonstrate against government spending cuts.

As he spoke, an apparently co-ordinated attack began on shops and police in Oxford Street as a mob tried to storm into shops including Topshop, BHS and John Lewis.

MPs and retailers said the scenes damaged Britain’s reputation around the world.

The move was the first of a string of actions by anarchists in which:

• There was violence last night in Trafalgar Square, with protesters setting banners ablaze and throwing missiles including broken bottles at police officers. As police contained protesters around Nelson’s Column, there were running battles in Strand. Close to Charing Cross railway station, a fire was started near shops;

• Fortnum and Mason, the department store, was occupied by 200 “anti-cuts” protesters who smashed windows and knocked over displays;

• A huge fire was started in the centre of Jermyn Street, the Ritz hotel was attacked with dustbins and a “Trojan horse” set on fire in Oxford Circus;

• Banks were broken into, their windows smashed and daubed with graffiti reading “smash the bank”;

• Windows were smashed in New Bond Street and running scuffles took place on Piccadilly, where a Porsche car showroom was attacked.

Let's be clear: these people are the enemy of humanity. They hate our prosperity and they hate liberty. They are spoiled children of an overly-generous welfare state and they do not fear the police, the judicial system or any authority whatsoever. If they are not put down they will bring poverty, chaos, killing, oppression and finally totalitarianism.

Liberals think these people can be reasoned with and charmed into being nice. They can't. Not everyone wants to be civil, argue reasonably and participate in democracy. Some just want to smash things up because of their own inner rage and emotional problems. They need to be jailed so ordinary people can be safe.

The Brits should be concerned; they haven't even started with the pain that will be necessary to avoid bankruptcy because of decades of overspending and deficits. And they have hitched their wagon to the failing European Union and will suffer for the sins of others as well as their own. The future looks rather bleak for broken Britain. Having brought so much enlightenment, prosperity, peace and order to the world, it is sad beyond words to see Britain on her collective knees being beaten up by thugs.

The Immorality of "Moral Equivalence"

Jeff Dunetz has a good summary of the sequence of events leading up to President Barack Obama's shameful and despicable statement equating Israeli self-defense with Arab barbarism last week at NewsRealBlog:
Wednesday’s terrorist bombing outside the main bus terminal in Jerusalem was not an isolated incident, it was part of a ramp-up of terrorist acts by the Palestinians during the month of March:
  • March 6: A sanitation worker from the Jerusalem Municipality lost his hand on Sunday when a garbage bag he was lifting exploded, in what police believe was the first terrorist attack in the capital in more than a year. The garbage bag was on a traffic island in the middle of Derech Hebron, next to the Mar Elias Monastery, in south Jerusalem, almost in the Gilo neighborhood. Another sanitation worker who was working alongside the first victim was lightly injured by the explosion. Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated both men to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
  • March 11: Terrorists Sneak into Jewish Town of Itamar, killing 5 members of the Fogel Family three of which were young children, all of which were brutally massacred.
  • March 18-March 23 (the day of the Jerusalem Bombing) : During that six day period 80 “projectiles” were fired into Israel from Gaza–70 Mortars, 3 Grad Missiles, 7 Qassams (3/18 10 Mortars; 3/19 50 Mortars; 3/20 2 Qassam Missiles, 1 Grad Missile, 1 Mortar; 3/21 1 Qassam Missile; 3/22 4 Qassam Missiles, 4 Mortar; 3/23 2 Grad Missiles, 5 Mortars) The attacks on Israel from Gaza continue through today/

On March 22 (the day before the Jerusalem bombing) Israel struck back against the projectiles being fired from Gaza into Israel:

On Tuesday, IDF forces responded to projectiles fired at Israeli territory from the northern Gaza Strip. The attack took place in the afternoon when projectiles were fired toward the area of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. In response, IDF forces fired mortars to the point from which rockets were launched resulting in the injury of uninvolved civilians. Among them was the boy taken for medical treatment in Israel today.

The IDF regrets harming any uninvolved civilians but stresses that it is the Hamas terror organization which chooses to operate from the heart of civilian activity and uses people as a human shield. The event is currently being investigated.

The day after the Jerusalem bombing the president of the United States could not very well diplomatically avoid issuing a statement, so this is the reprehensible piece of moral equivalence he managed to come up with:
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing in Jerusalem today, as well as the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza in recent days. Together with the American people, I offer my deepest condolences for those injured or killed. There is never any possible justification for terrorism. The United States calls on the groups responsible to end these attacks at once and we underscore that Israel, like all nations, has a right to self-defense. We also express our deepest condolences for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza yesterday. We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian casualties."
So what am I so upset about? He did condemn the bombing didn't he? He said the minimum of what had to be said? Isn't that sufficient?

No, it is not for the following reasons:

1. He did not blame the Arabs (Palestinians) for this act of terrorism. He left it open that maybe it was just a random occurrence or maybe a Sarah Palin tea-partier or maybe somebody mad at the bus company over a billing mistake or whatever. I don't know what you call this kind of deliberate obfuscation but I call it covering up for one's pals. Bill Ayers isn't the only terrorist Obama is pals with.

2. He did not condemn Hamas for using civilians as human shield in violation of the rules of war and of all civilized humanity. This is another clear message to the Palestinians that their tactics are working and the US can be fooled (or is letting itself be fooled on purpose) into criticizing Israel for what Hams is doing wrong. This statement helps ensure that more innocent children and women will be killed in the future as Hamas continues to make fools out of Western politicians and the media.

3. If you take the last part of the statement literally you can't help notice that there is something Israel can do to prevent "further violence and civilian casualties." It could remain "calm" and refrain from defending itself even though it has the right to do so. Is that what Obama wants? Or is that how he wants his Muslim friends to interpret his words as he plays both sides of the street? Does he want Israel to just surrender? Sometimes you have to wonder what he really does want.

4. Worst of all - by far - is the way he linked the bully punching the kid in the face and the kid trying to defend himself as if they were both the exact same thing: moral equivalence. The Left is fond of this immoral idea that all violence is morally equivalent including the killing of Jews by Hitler in Auschwitz and the killing of German soldiers on D-Day. Killing is killing, they say. Jews trying to defend themselves from unprovoked attacks is no different than aggressive acts of terrorism. Israel does not kill civilians intentionally. They have no rational reason to do so. Killing civilians unintentionally when the whole world is watching and you know you will be pounced on immediately is counter-productive. But when measured self-defense is equated with deliberately decapitating a baby and knifing a family to death in their sleep, we have passed the bounds of the rational.

Let us be clear: this is a morally depraved attitude and a sign of deep corruption and blindness. It is the result of spouting lies about moral relativism for so long that one actually comes to believe them. It is the process described in Rom. 1:18-32 working out in action. Moral equivalence is immoral.

Geert Wilders Speech in Rome: Facing the Potential Fall of the West Without Giving Up Hope

Andrew G. Bostom at American Thinker Blog reports on a speech given yesterday by Geert Wilders entitled: "The Failure of Multiculturalism and How to Turn the Tide." Bostom writes:
Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders made a seminal address yesterday evening (March 25, 2011) at the Annual Lecture of the Magna Carta Foundation in Rome, Italy.

As is his wont, Wilders presentation moved far beyond the timorous platitudes about the most obvious (and dangerous) failures of cultural relativism belatedly echoed by Western European leaders Angela Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy, and David Cameron. Wilders demands that the West acknowledge the jihad-both cultural and military-being waged against it openly and incessantly by institutional Islam, Muslim nations, and the global umma. The Ducth Parlaimentarian concludes his eloquent and informative speech by insisting that four concrete measures must be taken immediately, quoting Ronald Reagan, so we can "...act today to preserve tomorrow."
When was the last time you actually heard somebody defending Western civilization as the highest and most advanced civilizaton in history? Yet, as a matter of objective fact, it is. We are throwing away a glorious heritage for a mess of multicultural pottage. Here is the beginning of the speech:

Signore e signori, ladies and gentlemen, dear friendsof the Magna Carta Foundation, molte grazie. Thank you forinviting me to Rome. It is great to be here in this beautiful city which for manycenturies was the capital and the centre of Europe’s Judeo-Christian culture.

Together with Jerusalem and Athens, Rome is the cradle of our Western civilization – the most advanced and superior civilization the world has ever known.

As Westerners, we share the same Judeo-Christian culture. I am from the Netherlands and you are from Italy. Our national cultures are branches of the same tree. We do not belong to multiple cultures, but to different branches of one single culture. This is why when we come to Rome, we all come home in a sense. We belong here, as we also belong in Athens and in Jerusalem.

It is important that we know where our roots are. If we lose them we become deracinated. We become men and women without a culture.

I am here today to talk about multiculturalism. This term has a number of different meanings. I use the term to refer to a specific political ideology. It advocates that all cultures are equal. If they are equal it follows that the state is not allowed to promote any specific cultural values as central and dominant. In other words: multiculturalism holds that the state should not promote a leitkultur, which immigrants have to accept if they want to live in our midst.

It is this ideology of cultural relativism which the German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently referred to when she said that multiculturalism has proved “an absolute failure.”

My friends, I dare say that we have known this all along. Indeed, the premise of the multiculturalist ideology is wrong. Cultures are not equal. They are different, because their roots are different. That is why the multiculturalists try to destroy our roots.

He compares the situation in Europe today to the fifth century when Rome fell to the Germanic barbarian invaders:

In the 5th century, the Roman Empire fell to the Germanic Barbarians. There is no doubt that the Roman civilization was far superior to that of the Barbarians. And yet, Rome fell. Rome fell because it had suffered a loss of belief in its own civilization. It had lost the will to stand up and fight for survival.

Rome did not fall overnight. Rome fell gradually. The Romans scarcely noticed what was happening. They did not perceive the immigration of the Barbarians as a threat until it was too late. For decades, Germanic Barbarians, attracted by the prosperity of the Empire, had been crossing the border.

At first, the attraction of the Empire on newcomers could be seen as a sign of the cultural, political and economic superiority of Rome. People came to find a better life which their own culture could not provide. But then, on December 31st in the year 406, the Rhine froze and tens of thousands of Germanic Barbarians, crossed the river, flooded the Empire and went on a rampage, destroying every city they passed. In 410, Rome was sacked.

The fall of Rome was a traumatic experience. Numerous books have been written about the cataclysmal event and Europeans were warned not to make the same mistake again. In 1899, in his book ‘The River War,’ Winston Churchill warned that Islam is threatening Europe in the same way as the Barbarians once threatened Rome. “Mohammedanism,” Churchill wrote – I quote – “is a militant and proselytizing faith. No stronger retrograde force exists in the World. […] The civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.” End of quote.

Churchill is right. However, if Europe falls, it will fall because, like ancient Rome, it no longer believes in the superiority of its own civilization. It will fall because it foolishly believes that all cultures are equal and that, consequently, there is no reason why we should fight for our own culture in order to preserve it.

This failure to defend our own culture has turned immigration into the most dangerous threat that can be used against the West. Multiculturalism has made us so tolerant that we tolerate the intolerant.

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake: Our opponents are keenly aware of our weakness. They realize that the pattern which led to the fall of Rome, is at play today in the West. They are keenly aware of the importance of Rome as a symbol of the West. Over and over again they hint at the fall of Rome. Rome is constantly on their minds.

But he argues that the threat today is much worse than in the fifth century. Whereas the barbarians envied and assimilated to the culture of Rome, Islam seeks to destroy and supplant it.

Having destroyed Rome, the Germanic tribes eventually tried to rebuild it. In 800, the Frankish leader Charlemagne had himself crowned Roman Emperor. Three hundred years later, the Franks and the other Europeans would go on the Crusades in defence of their Christian culture. The Crusades were as Oriana Fallaci wrote – I quote – a “counter-offensive designed to stem Islamic expansionism in Europe.” Rome had fallen, but like a phoenix it had risen again.

Contrary to the Barbarians which confronted Rome, the followers of Muhammad are driven by an ideology which they want to impose on us.

Islam is a totalitarian ideology. Islamic Shariah law supervises every detail of life. Islam is not compatible with our Western way of life. Islam is a threat to our values. Respect for people who think otherwise, the equality of men and women, the equality of homosexuals and heterosexuals, respect for Christians, Jews, unbelievers and apostates, the separation of church and state, freedom of speech, they are all under pressure because of islamization.

Europe is islamizing at a rapid pace. Many European cities have large islamic concentrations. In some neighbourhoods, Islamic regulations are already being enforced. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honour-killings. “In each one of our cities” says Oriana Fallaci, “there is a second city, a state within the state, a government within the government. A Muslim city, a city ruled by the Koran.” – End of quote.

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake: The multiculturalist Left is facilitating islamization. Leftist multiculturalists are cheering for every new shariah bank, for every new islamic school, for every new mosque. Multiculturalists consider Islam as being equal to our own culture. Shariah law or democracy? Islam or freedom? It doesn’t really matter to them. But it does matter to us. The entire leftist elite is guilty of practising cultural relativism. Universities, churches, trade unions, the media, politicians. They are all betraying our hard-won liberties.

He quotes Merkel, Cameron and Sarkozy, who all have recognized the failure of multiculturalism and rightly points out that they have no answers, no program, no alternative. They are caught in the trap of relativism out of which multiculturalism springs. So he offers his own program of action:

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for change. We must make haste. Time is running out. Ronald Reagan said: “We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow”. That is why I propose the following measures in order to preserve our freedom:

First, we will have to defend freedom of speech. It is the most important of our liberties. If we are free to speak, we will be able to tell people the truth and they will realize what is at stake.

Second, we will have to end cultural relativism. To the multiculturalists, we must proudly proclaim: Our Western culture is far superior to the Islamic culture. Only when we are convinced of that, we will be willing to fight for our own identity.

Third, we will have to stop Islamization. Because more Islam means less freedom. We must stop immigration from Islamic countries, we must expel criminal immigrants, we must forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in Europe already. Immigrants must assimilate and adapt to our values: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Fourth, we must restore the supremacy and sovereignty of the nation-state. Because we are citizens of these states, we can take pride in them. We love our nation because they are our home, because they are the legacy which our fathers bestowed on us and which we want to bestow on our children. We are not multiculturalists, we are patriots. And because we are patriots, we are willing to fight for freedom.

Let me end with a final – and a positive – remark: Though the situation is bad and multiculturalism is still predominant, we are in better shape than the Roman Empire was before its fall.

The Roman Empire was not a democracy. The Romans did not have freedom of speech. We are the free men of the West. We do not fight for an Empire, we fight for ourselves. We fight for our national republics. You fight for Italy, I fight for the Netherlands, others fight for France, Germany, Britain, Denmark or Spain. Together we stand. Together we represent the nations of Europe.

I am confident that if we can safeguard freedom of speech and democracy, our civilization will be able to survive. Europe will not fall. We, Europe’s patriots, will not allow it.

I do not know of anyone else who sees the danger to the West in such a clear way, yet does not despair but declares that there is hope for the West. Wildeers is the Churchill of the 21st century. The question is: "Will Britain follow him?" because if even Britain will turn around and take a stand, Europe could be saved.

Read it all here, at Wildeers' website.

Why Obama's Foreign Policy is Such a Mess

Iran is on the brink of getting nuclear weapons and its declared goal is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Islamists are seizing power throughout the Middle East. Turkey has turned away from the West to rediscover its inner Islamofascism. Israel is increasingly isolated. China owns more and more of the debt of the US as the US drowns in ever-increasing deficits. Obama announces a withdrawal date from Afghanistan, which encourages the Taliban to hold on. Pakistan is in chaos as usual. North Korea is restless. Nobody fears the US, especially the radical Islamists, who have sized Obama up and concluded that he is a paper tiger. The UK descends into relativism and anti-Christian cultural Marxism while the US gives its former main ally the back of its hand. Obama bows to dictators and then acts in such a way as to make sure we know it wasn't just symbolic. The French are more decisive in Libya than the US. - the French, for heaven's sake!

What an unbelievable mess: Barack Obama makes George Bush look like George Washington!

George Weigel has a wonderful post at National Review Online explaining the worldview of the currently dominant wing of the Democratic Party. It is entitled: "How Democrats View the World." He writes:
"Those ideas have a precise and definable origin: They first emerged when the New Left challenged the Truman/Acheson/Kennedy/(Scoop) Jackson Democratic consensus during the Vietnam War. In softer forms, they then became the new orthodoxy among Democratic foreign-policy mandarins like Cyrus Vance and Warren Christopher. Despite the fiascos to which these ideas led during the Carter and Clinton administrations (cf. the Iran hostage crisis and the American inability to prevent genocide in the Balkans), and despite the efforts of some in the old Democratic Leadership Council to change the intellectual template of Democratic foreign-policy thinking, these bad ideas have shown a remarkable resilience. They remain operative at all levels of the Obama foreign-policy team; they explain a great deal of what otherwise seems inexplicably stupid over the past several weeks; and they must be challenged by any 2012 Republican presidential candidate serious about American leadership in the world."
He then lists eight ideas:
1. Conflict is not the normal political phenomenon that it was assumed to be for millennia. Conflict is an aberration, and if there is conflict between nations or blocks of nations, or within nations, it must be because of some palpable injustice, the remedying of which will assuage the conflict in question and restore the natural order, which is peace.

2. Peace is not a matter of a rightly ordered and law-governed political community; rather, “peace” is a state of mind that can be willed into being.

3. The notion that the United States should actively seek to shape world politics is pernicious, not for the old isolationist reason that it’s bad for us, but because we tend to be bad for the world. Thus the United States should withdraw from the leadership role it has played in world affairs since 1941, scale down its military commitments, eventually end its work as global sheriff . . .

4. The use of armed force is almost always a bad idea and reflects, not the intractability of certain situations to other forms of conflict-resolution, but a failure of imagination and will on the part of U.S. policymakers. Moreover, if a combination of pressures compels the occasional use of force, the prime strategic imperative is to devise an exit strategy that will end the use of force at the earliest possible moment.

5. The present state system should be replaced by some form of international governance, in which multilateral and international bodies play the leading role.

6. The primary responsibility of U.S. policymakers is to advance the construction of a multilaterally organized and run international order, not to defend and advance the interests of the United States.

7. With the Cold War (which was in no small part Harry Truman’s fault) now over, there is no power, group of powers, or ideology that poses any grave threat to the United States.

8. We are not the indispensable nation. There is nothing morally or politically distinctive, much less special, about the American democratic experiment in ordered liberty. So there is no distinctively American approach to world politics, and the United States ought not seek any distinctive role in 21st-century world affairs.
He expand on each one briefly. Read it all here.

It is obvious that the intellectual father of these ideas is not Augustine, but the modern anti-Augustine: J. J. Rousseau. It is also obvious that these ideas are incompatible with a Christian worldview, in which evil is real, original sin is universal and peace is an elusive goal in this present age. The roots of these ideas are Utopianism and Pelagianism.

No wonder Obama's foreign policy is such a disaster. It is not because he is inexperienced or because the world is particularly bad right now, it is because his beliefs are wrong and his worldview does not correspond to reality. Bad ideas lead to death, destruction, tyranny, injustice and war.

Obama Imitates Bush and According to His Supporters it is Totally Different

Some people are having trouble understanding how Obama going to war in Libya is different from Bush going to war in Iraq. Never fear; it is all explained here.

The bottom line is that what Obama is doing in Libya is indeed different from what Bush did in Iraq; it is worse.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Canada Gets a Spring Election: Is a Conservative Majority in Sight?

For the fourth time in seven years, Canadians will go to the polls this May. The Conservative minority government fell this afternoon in Ottawa. The National Post reports:
The Harper government has been defeated in the House of Commons on a non-confidence motion supported by the opposition, setting the stage for a federal election in early May.

The Liberal motion declared that the government is in contempt of Parliament and has lost the confidence of the Commons. The motion passed by a vote of 156 to 145. . . .

The Conservatives hold 143 of the 308 seats in the Commons. The Liberals hold 77, the Bloc Quebecois 47, and the NDP 36. There are two independent MPs, Helena Guergis and Andre Arthur. There are three vacant seats. . . .
So it begins. The Conservatives need to gain 12 seats to get a majority. Can they reasonably hope to pick up 12-15 seats?
A new poll suggests the Conservatives hold a commanding lead in public support heading into the campaign. The Conservatives command 43 per cent support among decided voters, putting them well within reach of a majority, according to an Ipsos Reid commissioned by Postmedia News and Global National. The Liberals registered 24% support, the NDP are at 16%, the Bloc at 10%, and the Green Party at 6%.
The decision of the Liberals to trigger an election at this point, given these numbers, makes no sense if their goal is to win the election outright. But if their goal is to create a coalition of losers with the Separatists holding the coalition ransom as they loot the Federal treasury and transfer even more wealth from Alberta and Ontario to Quebec than ever, then it makes perfect sense.

I predict that coalition will be the dominant issue of the election. The Liberals will refuse to deny that this is their intention and they will be made to look shifty and untrustworthy, not to mention power-hungry and desperate. All the Conservative need is to make a modest breakthrough into the northern part of Toronto and to be dominant in the 905 belt around Toronto in order to win. The next five weeks should be very interesting.

Preserving the Good in an Age of Cultural Decline

Lydia McGrew, at What's Wrong With the World, has a post on my all-time favorite novel (except for The Lord of the Rings, which is in its own category): A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. She is correct to say that although there is darkness in the book: "At the same time, Canticle is an intensely Christian book and never succumbs to despair."

After introducing the novel, she talks about how it is about preserving good things in the midst of destruction, decline and decadence.

If you know the novel, read this. If not, go to her post here and read her brief introduction to it first. Then continue reading below.
At the moment, none of us expects all of human civilization to be wiped out by nuclear weapons. But there are plenty of destructive cultural forces to go around. In the end, what will be preserved will be preserved only by those who have a powerful creative impulse, an impulse not only towards saying what is wrong with the world but also towards saying what is good, what is great, what is beautiful and important, and what therefore must be preserved, however we are able to keep it.

If you are to be a preserver, you must know not only what you oppose, what you fight against (though you do need to know that) but also what you love, what you guard, what you uphold. It may be the truths of theology, of philosophy, or of science. It may be dance, literature, mathematics, music, or the beauty of visual art. It may be the lives, minds, and hearts of children. It may be the order and peace of a home or the love between man and wife. All these things can be served and nurtured. There are always good things, great things, things worth knowing and worth doing, to the greater glory of God. How blessed we are that, unlike the earliest monks of the Order of Leibowitz, we are able to understand what we preserve, to know not only that it is valuable but why it is valuable.

Everyone who loves the permanent things is invited to join the Order of St. Liebowitz.

The War of Obliteration against Israel May Have Already Begun

Wednesday's bombing of a bus stop in Jerusalem marks a new and ominous stage in the Arab war against Israel. Caroline Glick has some depressing but possibly accurate analysis in The Jerusalem Post in a column entitled: "Understanding the Third Terror War."
What are we to make of the fact that no one has taken credit for Wednesday's bombing in Jerusalem?

Wednesday's bombing was not a stand-alone event. It was part and parcel of the new Palestinian terror war that is just coming into view. As Israel considers how to contend with the emerging onslaught, it is important to notice how it differs from its predecessors. . .

Like its two predecessors which began in 1987 and 2000, the new terror war's primary purpose is not to murder Jews. Killing is just an added perk. The new war's primary purpose is to weaken Israel politically in order to bring about its eventual collapse. . .

Fatah is in the midst of a global campaign to build international support for a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence in September. From Israel's perspective, the campaign is threatening for two reasons. First, a unilaterally declared Palestinian state will be in a de facto state of war with Israel. Second, if the Palestinians secure international recognition for their "state" in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the move will place 500,000 Jews who live in these areas in the international crosshairs.

Much of the discussion about this goal has centered on whether or not US President Barack Obama will veto a UN Security Council resolution endorsing such a declaration. And based on Obama's behavior to date, the Palestinians have good reason to believe that he may support their move. But in truth, the discussion about how the US will respond to the planned Palestinian declaration is largely beside the point. The point of the threatened declaration is not to get a UN Security Council resolution supporting it. The point is to get the EU to enact further sanctions against Israel.

And this brings us back to the new policy of not taking credit for attacks on Israel, and to the decision to launch a new terror war in general. On the face of it, at such a sensitive time for the Palestinians diplomatically, it would seem that they would want to keep their traditional good cop-Fatah, bad cop-Hamas routine going and have Hamas take the credit for the recent attacks. Indeed, it would seem that the Palestinians would want to hold off on attacks altogether until after they declare independence.

The fact that Fatah and Hamas have neither waited until after September to attack nor sought to differentiate themselves from one another as the attacks coalesce into a new terror campaign indicates strongly that the Palestinians no longer feel they need to pretend to oppose terror to maintain European support for their war against Israel.

The Palestinians assess that Europe is swiftly moving towards the point where it no longer needs to pretend to be fair to Israel. The British, French and German votes in favor of the Palestinians' anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution last month were the latest sign that the key European governments have adopted openly hostile policies towards Israel.

More importantly, these policies are not the consequence of Palestinian lobbying efforts and so Israel cannot hope to change them through counter-lobbying efforts. Europe's abandonment of even the guise of fairness towards Israel is the product of domestic political realities in Europe itself. Between the rapidly expanding political power of Europe's Muslim communities and the virulently anti-Israel positions nearly universally adopted by the European media, European governments are compelled to adopt ever more hostile positions towards Israel to appease their Israel-hating publics and Muslim communities.

Take British Prime Minister David Cameron for example. When Cameron called Gaza "an open air prison" last year, it wasn't because he had just spoken to Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. And he certainly wasn't acting out of conviction. Cameron surely knew that his statement was an utter lie. And he also surely knew that Hamas is a jihadist terror group that shares the ideology of its fellow Muslim Brotherhood spin-off al Qaida.

But for Cameron, far more important than Gaza's relative prosperity and Hamas's genocidal goals was the fact that in the last British elections, the UK's Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC-UK) successfully ousted six members of parliament who expressed support for Israel.

The Palestinians recognize that they don't need to pretend to be good to get Europe to support them. After the people of Europe have been brainwashed by their media and intimidated by the Muslim communities, they have developed a Pavlovian response regarding Israel whereby every mention of Israel makes them hate it more. It doesn't matter if the story is about the massacre of Israeli children or the bombing of synagogues and nursery schools. They know that Israel is the guilty party and expect their governments to punish it.

What the Palestinian silence on who committed what atrocity tells us is that in this new terror war, the Palestinians believe they cannot lose. With Europe in tow, Fatah and Hamas feel free to combine their forces and advance both militarily and politically."
If Glick is right it means that we have reached a tipping point in a process that has been going on since the oil crisis of the 1970s when the Arab nations began to pressure Europe to bow to their demand to de-legitimize Israel. Europe has lived in fear of the Arab oil powers ever since and the left-wing intellectual elite has chosen the path of appeasement in apparent ignorance of the fact that this path has no end.

Obama will likely be defeated in 2012, so there is a window for a decisive war to destroy Israel in the next two years before a Republican, pro-Israel president is sworn in. From the Muslin perspective, both Arab and Persian, other key factors include the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran and the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The US is not cultivating new friends or defending old ones in the Middle East right now and this self-imposed weakness is increasing the chances of all-out war to destroy Israel. If Europe sides with Muslims, Israeli nuclear is balanced by Iranian nuclear weapons and the US is slow, dithering and indecisive, then Israel will stand alone in this fight.

And if Israel falls, God help Europe.

Environmentalism: The God That Failed

This article in Der Spiegel Online is a real eyeopener. It is written in calm, factual journalistic prose, but the implications of what is being said are staggering, especially for a country like Germany with its almost fanatical commitment to Environmentalism as a religion. The title is "Is Environmentalism Really Working?" and the summary says:
"Germany is among the world leaders when it comes to taking steps to save the environment. But many of the measures are not delivering the promised results. Biofuels have led to the clear-cutting of rainforests, plastics are being burned rather than recycled and new generation lightbulbs have led to a resurgence of mercury production. A SPIEGEL survey."
Here is how the article begins. Can you detect just a faint whiff of sarcasm and bitterness?

"As usual, ordinary Germans were to blame. Everything had been prepared for the green revolution: fresh supplies and new signs at the gas stations, and the refinery depots were full to the brim with the new wonderfuel. But then drivers turned their backs on the new era. They didn't want to buy E10, a blend of ethanol and gasoline, even through it cost almost 10 cents less per liter than conventional gas.

"It's annoying but there's no question of stopping the sale of E10," said Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen. E10, Röttgen said with a hint of threat in his voice, was a milestone of German climate control policy.

When it comes to the environment these days, all other interests must take a back seat, including possible engine damage from E10. After all, the United Nations has proclaimed that ensuring environmental sustainability is one of its "millennium goals," and greater importance is assigned to climate negotiations among the big industrial nations than to economic summits these days."

Having been "liberated" from that terrible old Judeo-Christian God of the Bible who is so severe and demanding, Germans are now beginning to realize that Mother Gaia is no pushover either. On the pressing political issue of the colony of great crested newts in Hesse, the writer dryly comments:
"And no price seems too high. Germany even spends tens of millions of euros on redirecting roads or building tunnels to protect animal species. Last August, for example, a four kilometer long, €50 million tunnel was approved for a highway in the state of Hesse. The reason? A colony of great crested newts had to be protected."

Is Der Spiegel questioning the importance of protecting that particular colony of great crested newts? At any cost? Is it somehow implying that 50 million euros is too high a price to pay again and again ad infinitum? This is borderline heresy.

But it gets even worse:

"Germans only rarely question environmental policies. The light bulb ban was one example. Most didn't see the need to scrap conventional bulbs when the simplest way to save electricity was just to turn off the light. And Germans have been unusually stubborn about the biofuel E10 -- the name refers to the 10 percent ethanol admixture. They would prefer to pay a few more cents fpr a liter of gas than put their car engines at risk.

Many haven't yet fully realized that E10 is an ecological swindle. People who want to help the environment shouldn't use it. Nine large European environmental associations recently conducted a joint study which concluded that the bottom line impact of the fuel on the environment is negative. Rainforests are being clear-cut in Brazil and Borneo to make room for sugarcane and oil palm cultivation. At the same time there's a shortage of arable land for food production, which is leading to the threat of famine in parts of the world. Last year, the price of grain rose sharply in the global market.

A single full tank of bio-ethanol uses up as much grain as an adult can eat in a whole year. In order to cover the German requirement for biofuel, an arable area of around one million hectares would be needed. That is four times the size of the south-western German state of Saarland, which would need to be fertilized, treated with pesticides and intensively farmed. Environmental groups say that across Europe, farming for biofuels would create up to 56 million tons of additional greenhouse gases -- an environmental crime they say must be stopped immediately.

E10 is an "ecological swindle?" Say it ain't so, Joe! I guess there are a few cocktail parties to which the writer of this article isn't going to be invited next month. Really, such language! Sounds like a redneck American Senator or something.

The article goes on for seven more pages asking such shocking questions as "Does German garbage really get recycled?" and hinting darkly at "Bottle deposits and the grim truth." My favorite part (I have this weakness for irony, you see) is the section on water conservation:
"The Germans are obsessed with saving water. You won't find many countries north of the Sahara that are as water-conscious as Germany. They save water while washing dishes (a modern dishwashing machine uses only six liters per cycle), while going to the toilet (many toilets have a setting that allows only a brief flush), and even when washing their cars.

The Environment Ministry recommends that people turn off the tap while they're brushing their teeth. Saving water, the ministry's web page strongly hints, helps poor countries to irrigate their paddy fields. EU authorities are considering setting water flow-through limits in shower heads.

Yet Germany is one of the world's most water-rich countries -- it could theoretically consume five times more water than it does now. Furthermore, it's impossible to transport tap water over thousands of kilometers, so German thrift don't help Vietnamese rice farmers on bit.

And water conservation in Germany can be harmful -- particularly when it comes to the sewage systems beneath German cities. The lack of waste water flowing through the canalization means that fat, faeces and discarded food aren't getting flushed out enough, and are corroding the walls. To compensate, utilities are forced to pump hundreds of thousands of liters of fresh water through the system to keep it operable.

The result, not surprisingly, are higher water bills. And consumers respond to those higher bills by saving even more water. Paradoxically, the vicious cycle can only be broken if consumer start using more water."
The law of unintended consequences that plagues all social engineering seems to be almost perfect in its karma-like rebound effect in this case. Wouldn't it be easier to surrender to common sense and admit that Germany has no shortage of water so conservation is not important? Just let people take long showers and use all they want washing dishes and the problem solves itself?

But no, there is the ideology and propaganda to consider. No crack in the solidarity can be permitted. This sounds suspiciously like another country that famously went bust in the late 20th century. The hint to which one I have in mind is in the title.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pessimism, Paranoia and Other Blessings

Continuing with my recent theme of what it means to be conservative, I want to speak about the tragic nature of life from a conservative perspective.

It is dangerous to think of life as a comedy because it leads to all sorts of Utopian schemes that typically result in bloodshed and destruction. So the "happy pagans," who glibly brush aside the Pauline/Augustinian teaching on original sin, and the wild-eyed fanatics, who are determined to "build the kingdom" here and now, are extremely dangerous. Those modern believers in technology and education and in the power of the State to solve all problem and meet all human needs, who go under the label of "Progressives," are also the unwitting architects of death and destruction. Life is not a comedy; it is a tragedy.

Oddly enough, however, those who appreciate and accept the tragic character of life are less dangerous than the believers in human potential, science and progress. Those who know that life is tragic are less likely to be swayed by Utopian schemes and grand plans to reform everything at one blow. Expecting less, they accomplish more. The conservative, who thinks from within a tragic perspective, expects things to get worse and change occurs because the pull of original sin is always downward. This gives the conservative a greater appreciation for tradition, common-sense and the opinions of ordinary people from shrewd peasants to hard-working member of the middle class.

A Christian conservative, however, knows that life is a tragedy wrapped up in a comedy. Life in this world is tragic. There will be no big breakthrough - no change in fallen human nature. But when the life to come is taken into account and one allows for God, the immortal soul and the day of judgment, then life in that grand perspective is ultimately a comedy in which God has the last laugh and all the redeemed laugh with Him.

Christianity sees life in the world as a "long defeat" (Tolkien) because this is the world dominated by death. Death comes to all because all sin and death makes a mockery of all our schemes, plans and projects. Even if we could make everything perfect - if we had health, family, security, wealth, and all good things - we would still not find real happiness because we would enjoy all our blessings knowing that they cannot last forever. Augustine concludes from this fact that true happiness can only be found outside this world and that, therefore, we must live by faith.

Although not all conservatives are Christians, it is nevertheless the case that Christians make the best conservatives because without the Christian Hope only exceptionally strong individuals can face the tragic nature of life without giving into the temptation to despair. But the Christian knows that this world is not our final home and that, although things are bound to get worse in this world, this world does not get the final word.

Pessimism is warranted by the reality of sin and paranoia is not without foundation for the Evil Powers (Sin, Death, Hell, the Devil) really are out to get us. But we can face reality without flinching as long as we remember that Jesus has risen from the dead and promised us eternal life with Him. So the pessimism and paranoia that arise from a conservative worldview are actually blessings that prevent us from accepting this world as either a malleable mass to which we can give the form of perfection or as the final defeat for those who seek goodness, truth and beauty. Pessimism and paranoia reflect a tragic view of this world that drive us to seek a "better country" in the land where Jesus is Lord. For this reason, even pessimism and paranoia become blessings.

Is an Election Brewing in Canada?

Ottawa is buzzing with election talk. John Ivison thinks that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc are plotting to create a coalition government if the election result gives the Conservatives the most seats but not a majority.

I cannot believe Ignatieff and Layton would be so dumb as to pull the plug on Parliament and force an election while openly plotting to form a government which would be dependent on support from a separatist party. In the election campaign they are going to have to deny it (and then turn themselves into liars) or else own up to it and face the fallout.

If they think Ontario will put up with letting separatists hold a gun to the head of the Federal treasury like that, they are wrong - disastrously wrong.

Toronto just elected a conservative mayor and the sky has not fallen yet. The northern half of Toronto and the 905 belt have a lot of seats and voters there may need only an excuse like that provided by the prospect of a coalition of losers and separatists to convince them to vote Conservative.

I predicted a Tory majority in 2010 but no election happened. I predicted one again in 2011. Never has that prediction looked as good as it does today. Go ahead, Layton! Make me a prophet!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Does It Mean to Be Conservative?

What is conservatism? It is a series of moral, political, economic, cultural and intellectual ideals.

Moral Ideals
Sanctity of Human Life - this is the ideal you get when you apply the doctrine that people are created in the image of God

Sexual Restraint and Marriage - this is the ideal you get when you take the Ten Commandments seriously as a society

Concern for the Poor, the Weak, the Sick and the Elderly - this is the ideal you get when you take the Christian love ethic seriously

Political Ideals
Limited Government - when God is recognized as God the government can not become divinized and there are limits placed on its authority

The Rule of Law - to be ruled by law means the law applies to everyone alike and is made by bodies that operate with the consent of the governed so as to make understandable rules which are made known widely and applied without favoritism

Natural Law as the Basis of Positive Law - when human government makes law it defers to the society's best understanding of the natural law and does not try to go against the natural law

Economic Ideals
Free Enterprise - government regulation should be kept to a minimum so that many people can easily start small businesses and anti-monopoly laws should prevent the formation of monopolies so that competition can flourish

Free Markets - the markets are allowed to set prices, which eliminates "crony capitalism" and benefits everyone by ensuring that the goods and services people want are produced

Low Taxation - governments tax only for the purpose of funding the legitimate functions of government, not every Utopian project that comes along

Cultural Ideals
Family - the traditional family is seen as the pre-political basis of society and is supported by laws and government policies

Morality - objective right and wrong is acknowledged and the fallenness of humanity is taken into consideration as a fact of life

Freedom of Religion - society encourages religion and recognizes the fundamental importance of Christianity to the shaping of our culture, but draws the line at having a state church or coercing anyone to belong to a particular denomination

I think the word "conservative" is a great word and we should not let cultural Marxists take it away from us. The essence of Christianity in the Late Modern West is not to somehow "balanced" between being too liberal and too conservative. It is to be conservative rather than liberal.

Is it Cultural Captivity to be Conservative Today?

It is not often that you hear of Al Mohler and Brian McLaren agreeing on something, so it deserves to be noted when it happens. Here is Mohler responding to McLaren's critique of Mohler's critique of McLaren:

Finally, McLaren agrees with me at “home plate,” though with a very different application:

Finally Dr. Mohler strides across home plate with a point I actually agree with: “At the end of the day, a secular society feels no need to attend or support secularized churches with a secularized theology.”

True enough (if by “secular” you mean “without any reference to God”), but the rub for many who identify as conservatives, I think, is that for them, secularism only comes in one flavor: liberal.

To more and more of us these days, conservative Evangelical/fundamentalist theology looks and sounds more and more like secular conservatism - economic and political - simply dressed up in religious language. If that’s the case, even if Dr. Mohler is right in every detail of his critique, he’d still be wise to apply the flip side of his warning to his own beloved community.

And, in return, I must say that McLaren lands a firm punch with this statement. He is profoundly right in seeing much of presumably conservative Christianity as a sell-out to the idols of the day and a new form of Culture Christianity. He is right to challenge us to call this what it is and to root it out.

I think that Mohler is on shaky ground if he is agreeing with McLaren that much of conservative Christianity is a "sell-out to the idols of the day and a new form of Culture Christianity." Now, in Mohler's defense, he may simply be saying that conservative Christianity is selling out precisely by becoming less conservative and words in the previous line "much of presumably conservative Christianity" would seem to bear out this interpretation.

However, the general tenor of the paragraph, read quickly, seems to imply that there are two ways the church can "sell-out:" a liberal way and a conservative way, which are morally equivalent. I would argue that the liberal way leads right out of Christianity altogether. J. G. Machen, in his Christianity and Liberalism, argued this case and I think he is right. Look at the Episcopal Church today: only by excessive generosity and by ignoring reality can one call this organization a Christian Church. The fact that it has some genuine Christians in it does not affect the reality that it is firmly controlled by people who do not believe in the Biblical Gospel and who themselves need to be converted to Christ. Liberalism is an alternative to Christianity.

But conservatism is not an alternative to Christianity: it is the cultural expression of Christianity. It is Biblical discipleship in the non-religious areas of life. It was Christian influence that helped create some of the great ideals of Western civilization from limited government to freedom of religion to free markets to parliamentary democracy. Western Christendom is not beyond criticism but most of the legitimate criticism involves showing how it failed to live up to its own ideals. To seek to conserve those ideals is the essence of conservatism and it is a Biblical calling.

[In my next post, I will offer a definition of what I mean by conservatism.]

Catholics, Evangelicals and Philosophy

One of the most attractive things about the Roman Catholic Church is its openness to reason and its long-standing resistance to anti-intellectualism, obscurantism, relativism and shallow thinking. The Enlightenment movement tried to portray itself as the voice of reason over against the superstition and ignorance of Christianity, but the Church was battling sophists and irrational mystics long before anybody ever thought of the Enlightenment and now continues to champion reason as Enlightenment-inspired scientism spirals down into nihilistic solipsism.

Here is an encouraging little note from Rome about adjustments to the curriculum for priestly formation. Evangelical colleges, seminaries and universities should take note.
"With the human ability to think under fire from relativism, priests and theologians need to study more philosophy, the Vatican says.This was one of the main points of the "Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy," which Benedict XVI approved Jan. 28 (the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas), and Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presented Tuesday.

The cardinal explained that the Church is always adapting to respond to the needs of changing historical-cultural circumstances, and that many ecclesial institutions today are lacking in philosophical formation.

This absence is particularly noteworthy at a time "in which reason itself is menaced by utilitarianism, skepticism, relativism and distrust of reason's ability to know the truth regarding the fundamental problems of life," he reflected.

New guidelines are in accordance with Pope John Paul II's "Fides et Ratio," the cardinal added, which notes that "theology has always had and continues to have need of a philosophical contribution."

Cardinal Grocholewski said the Church intends to recover metaphysics, namely a philosophy that will again pose the most profound questions of the human being.

The Vatican official stressed that technology and science cannot "satiate man's thirst in regard to the ultimate questions: What does happiness consist of? Who am I? Is the world the fruit of chance? What is my destiny? etc. Today, more than ever, the sciences are in need of wisdom."

He said that the "original vocation" of philosophy needs to be recovered: "the search for truth and its sapiential and metaphysical dimension."

The cardinal also emphasized the importance of logic, calling it a discipline that structures reason and that has disappeared because of the present crisis of Christian culture.

The rector of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Dominican Father Charles Morerod, added that there is no contradiction between philosophy and faith.

"Christianity presupposes a harmony between God and human reason," he said.

"The importance of philosophy is linked directly with the human desire to know the truth and to organize it," the rector explained. "Experience shows that knowledge of philosophy helps us to better organize, in cooperation with other disciplines, the study of any science."

"Metaphysics seeks to know the whole of reality -- culminating in knowledge of the First Cause of everything -- and to show the mutual relationship between the different fields of learning, avoiding any closing in on themselves of the individual sciences," he added.

Ecclesiastical philosophy degrees will thus increase to 180 credits, going from two-year programs to three-year. There will also be more stringent requirements for professors, with greater demands for doctors in philosophy, preferably with degrees earned from an ecclesiastical institution. Theology degree programs will not be longer, but will have more philosophy credits during the first years."

A couple of statements in particular stood out to me as important. First, "With the human ability to think under fire from relativism, priests and theologians need to study more philosophy." This statement, it seems to me, goes deep down toward the heart of our cultural crisis. The problems with relativism go far beyond ethics to matters of epistemology, logic and truth.

A second statement, from Cardinal Grocholewski, that stood out was: "the 'original vocation' of philosophy needs to be recovered: 'the search for truth and its sapiential and metaphysical dimension.'" Our culture is in dire need of philosophy, but most of the philosophy done in universities has made itself irrelevant and uninteresting because it has abandoned its "big picture" search for truth about reality and how the different aspects of will, passions, and intellect relate to each other. Theology could pursue this task but it is almost entirely marginalized. Philosophy is desperately needed, but is apparently not up to the task. This leads me to think that the most important philosophy in the decades ahead will be done outside the secularized universities of the West.

Evangelicals need to recover philosophy if they are to bear a witness to Christianity as a worldview with culture-renewing power and inspirational vision. The Roman Catholic Church is resisting the spirit of age. Why can't we?