Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Justice is Swifter in the Internet Era!

You got to love American politics. Well, OK, maybe you don't but I do. Where else on earth could a scumbag like Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson unleash the following attack ad on his Republican opponent, a decent, upstanding man named Daniel Webster and within days receive his just reward?

Here is the speech Daniel Webster gave from which the quote "Submit to me" was taken; this is the quote in context.

OK, now you feel like you need to take a shower. This is really, really low. In fact, it was so low that even MSNBC - yes, even MSNBC, Obama's favorite network - couldn't stomach it. Here is an interview/indictment of Grayson by MSNBC's Contessa Brewer.

But the next fact is the best. A few days after the "Taliban Dan" ad a poll found that:
In one of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the nation, Republican Daniel Webster now holds a 7-point lead over Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson in Central Florida's 8th Congressional District, according to a new Sunshine State News Poll.
Sweet. Now for the mocking. First up, the NRCC simply reminds voters of Alan Grayson's words and calls him a "national embarassment."

But this one is even funnier. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. From Townhall.com comes "Alan Grayson hates children, hates seniors, loves Satan."

Alan Grayson: down in the gutter, down in the polls. My faith in mankind is on the verge of being restored!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Tea Parties: the New Mainstream

Further to my last post on the Tea Party phenomenon, this editorial from the Washington Examiner entitled: "Tea Partiers are getting the last laugh" has some interesting facts in it:
And the movement is anything but racially segregated. Thirty-five percent of black likely voters identify with the Tea Party, including 17 percent who strongly identify with it, according to Vic Rubenfeld, director of polling for Pajamas Media TV. As for the liberal Democrats who have attacked it, the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll finds "likely voters say they are considerably more likely to vote for a candidate the president opposes than one he supports. On the other hand, 50 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a Tea Party-backed candidate while a third of Americans said Tea Party support would dissuade their vote for a candidate." [my bolding]
Read it all here.

At some point, probably right after the November elections, we are going to see a sea change in the way the Tea Party is perceived. It is going to become the new mainstream of conservative political philosophy in the US and the true opposition to a Democratic Party, which is now firmly in the hands of Leftists. For better or worse, American politics is in the process of polarizing as socialism becomes stronger and provokes a more determined opposition.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Tea Party is Moving the Center of American Poltics Rightward

For my Canadian readers, this story may seem like "inside baseball" but my American friends will know exactly what I am talking about. Where the center of America politics is is very important to Canadians because it has a great deal to do with how our political spectrum is constructed.

For months now the Democratic Party and its allies in the mainstream media have done their best to mock, berate and run down the Tea Party movement. First they said it was "astroturf": i.e. just actors hired by the GOP to protest. But the polls soon showed that it was too widespread to be explained that way. Then they said it would burn itself out and splinter into quarreling factions. Then, when that failed to happen, they said it would split the Republican Party and to this day they cling bitterly to that hope. As election day draws near and the polls make Democrats increasingly worried, they continue to slander the Tea Party as racist - although one senses that this talking point is wearing thin. After all, do you risk alienating up to two thirds of Independents in order to rally your base? At what point does that become a losing strategy?

This article, by Mary Kate Cary in US News and World Report entitled: "The Tea Part Movement is More Mainstream Than Obama" is very interesting. She writes:
The political center has shifted. Polls show that independents have moved right and are staying there. A recent one, conducted by Democratic pollster Doug Schoen in late August for the conservative Independent Women's Voice, calls it a "fundamental realignment" as independents now lean to the right by 2 to 1. The survey asked independents what they would like candidates to do. The list of answers is clear: "Decrease the size and scope of government, cut spending and taxes, balance the budget, reduce the federal debt, reduce the power of special interests and unions, repeal and replace the healthcare legislation, and decrease partisanship." Most Tea Partyers would agree with just about everything on that list. So would most Republicans. And they'd all agree with independents who said that they're not getting those things from Washington.
So if the majority of Independent are added to the core Republican vote, you clearly have a majority of Americans. Which party is most receptive to this new, emerging majority?

Notice what's not on that list: climate change, financial regulation, bank bailouts, auto bailouts, troop surges, lawsuits on immigration reform, and repealing "don't ask, don't tell." (The only reason healthcare reform made the list is because independents want it scaled back.) Notice too that these are precisely what we have been getting from Washington.

It's no accident that the issues important to independents are strikingly similar to the ones important to Tea Partyers. Despite what the White House says, the Tea Party agenda is more mainstream than the Obama agenda. That's why, by a 52-to-40 margin, a majority of likely voters say their views are closer to Sarah Palin's than to President Obama's, according to Rasmussen Reports. [bolding is mine]

Now this is very interesting. The list of policies the Democrats care most about are non-issues or opposed by the Tea Party movement. And the issues the Tea Party movement cares about are non-issues or opposed by the Democratic Party. We may be witnessing the first act in a decade long realignment of American politics. It could represent the consolidation of the Reagan Revolution, which after all was more like the prelude to the revolution than the revolution itself.

The biggest issue facing the Republicans is whether they can adjust to the Tea Party agenda in time to become the vehicle for the emerging right-of-center American political consensus. That remains to be seen. The Rasmussen Poll showing that likely voters are closer to those of Sarah Palin than Barack Obama by a 52-40 margin means that the Republican Party must nominate a candidate for president in 2012 who either is Sarah Palin or is endorsed enthusiastically by Sarah Palin. If the GOP fails to do this, it risks the formation of a Third Party and/or an unnecessary loss to the Democrats.

True, if the GOP does this, it risks having "moderate" or "liberal" elements split off from the Republican Party. Would they join the Democrats or form a Third Party? My suspicion is that such elements (i.e. the Castles, Murkowskis, Christs, Spectors, etc.) simply do not represent any significant percentage of the Republican vote and therefore could not get a third party off the ground. They would disperse and their loss might just gain the GOP more votes than it loses for it. The GOP would be wise to say to big-government, tax and spend, liberal Republicans "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" and hop on the Tea Party Express.

Communism as a Reactionary Return to the Bad Old Days

The best way to understand Communism, and the Marxist ideas which inspire it, is to see it as reactionary insofar as it advocates a retreat to the pre-Christian and pre-Western past. Why? Because it involves a massive repudiation of many of the basic principles that undergird the West and which have grown out of the Christian influence on the West.

The essence of the idea of the West is that man is created in the image of God and has true moral freedom, which is designed to be used in the service of God and one's fellow man in relationships of love. Political freedom grows out of this seed in the form of ideas like individual liberty, the rule of law, limited government, the division of powers, free speech, freedom of religion, the separation of church and state, free enterprise, and the need for positive law to be based on natural law.

Communism represents a lapsing back into the absolute tyranny that grows out of the union of religion and the State, the lack of private property and the denial of human rights that characterized the great civilizations of the East which preceded the rise of the West out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. Drawing on ideas found in Israel and Republican Rome, but most of all those found in the Bible, the West created something new in history: something that has been under attack by Marxists and Social Darwinists for the past century and a half. Communism is a re-lapse backward into what existed before the rise of the West.

In this light of these musings, I came across this quotation from Richard Pipes in his magisterial little book: Communism: A History.
Nowhere in the world has a poor majority, or any majority for that matter, voted the Communists into power. Rather, poor countries are less able to resist Communist takeovers because they lack the institutions that in richer, more advanced societies thwart aspiring radical dictators. It is the absence of institutions making for affluence, especially the rights of property and the rule of law, that keeps countries poor and, at the same time, makes them vulnerable to dictatorships, whether of the left or right variety. In the words of a student of the Cambodian Communist regime, the most extreme on record, 'the absence of effective intermediary structures between the people and their successive leaders predisposed the society to the unrestrained exercise of power.' Thus, the same factors that keep countries poor - above all, lawlessness - facilitate Communist takeovers.

These factors have a further effect. In the Orient, since the earliest times, the absence of private property in land meant that distinction and affluence could be gained in one way only: by acquiring prominence in the sovereign's employ. Government posts, consequently, were viewed not as service to the country but as a means of personal enrichment. It was natural, therefore, that participation in Communist regimes, which concentrated all power and all wealth in their hands, was perceived as the principal means of gaining status as well as fortune. (This, of course, held true also in Russia.)
I just want to highlight a couple of points from this intriguing quotation.

First, Pipes asserts that poor people do not want Communism and Communism does not help the poor. This upsets the conventional wisdom of most of the denizens of Western universities.

Second, it is the lack of a strong civil society - intermediary structures - that facilitates the downward slide of a country into dictatorship of the Communist or any other kind. In this light, the assault of "cultural Marxism" upon the family is significant for the family is far and away the most important of these intermediary structures. As the welfare state replaces fathers with government cheques, it effectively intrudes into families and remakes them. The high-tax, welfare state also "nationalizes" much of private charity and also thereby weakens civil society. So those who worry about the symbiotic growth of individualism and big government are right to worry.

Third, the lack of private property in land and the attitude of individuals seeking personal enrichment by acquiring government posts go hand in hand and are characteristic of both pre-Christian and pre-Western empires and of modern Communism.

Therefore, it seems legitimate to me to label Communism as a reactionary return to the past, falsely sold as "scientific" and "modern." Communism is going back to the way empires worked prior to the influence of the Judeo-Christian worldview. It is not the way forward.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Speech I'd Love to Hear Christine O'Donnell Give

Good evening my fellow citizens of Delaware. As you may be aware, certain rumors about me have been mentioned recently in mainstream media outlets over the past two weeks. Troubling accusations about my past have surfaced and I stand before you tonight to say that these accusations concerning my involvement in witchcraft are true and, in fact, what has emerged so far is but the tip of the iceberg.

Many years ago a coven of powerful witches met secretly to swear to take over America and refashion it in the image of our heroes - the 17th century Puritans, Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan. This coven has now infiltrated the Republican Party and has seized control. Yes, I am a witch. Of course I am. Did you ever watch the TV show "Bewitched"? Well, you may have noticed that I merely wiggled my nose and made Mike Castle disappear!

I have to pay tribute to what used to be called the "mainstream media" for having the courage, the tenacity and the never-say-die attitude to break this story. While millions of Americans are fixated on side issues like record government deficits, high unemployment, the possibility of a double-dip recession, the tragedy of abortion, the two wars we are fighting and other trivialities - they made sure that the precious TV minutes and column inches were used to zero in on what will determine the future of this country after November 2. And the bloggers - how can we ever thank the liberal bloggers enough for elevating the political discourse in this country!

You know and I know that the number, type and scariness of witches in Washington is or should be the real priority of the average American today. You know that the lamestream media is only right to focus on something I said on a frivolous and mind-numbing TV show twenty years ago because that is the issue we are supposed to care about. Why did I go on that show, you ask? Beats the heck out of me. Looking back, I suppose I was as desperate for attention as the host. But you grow out of that - well, most of us do anyway.

Look folks, as you have probably figured out by now: I'm pulling your leg here. I'm not a witch and you can know that it the truth for one very simple reason: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WITCHES!

You know that and I know that: but does Perez Hilton know that? Inquiring minds would like to know. Look, you and I know that there is no such thing as a witch, but we also know that in politics there is such a thing as a witch hunt. And you should ask yourself why so many women politicians get called witches. It happened to Hillary, and to Sarah and it happens all the time. And this year, when the Momma Grizzlies of the Republican Party have come to the fore as in no time in the past - assertive conservative women who are concerned about what is happening to their families and to their country - at this time I suggest to you that the idea that a literal witch hunt would become a centerpiece of the election campaign of a candidate for the US Senate makes a certain kind of sense.

The media is scared, liberals are scared, Democrats are scared. They are out of ideas and saddled with an unpopular president and unpopular policies. Facing a major push back from the American people in this election, they are desperate to change the subject from themselves, their policies and the state of the country on their watch.

So expect more negative ads than ever before. Expect more personal attacks on conservative, Republican women. Expect desperation and negativity and fear-mongering. Expect it and do what I do: laugh at it! It just means they are losing!

I have a warning for our opponents: witches are imaginary creatures of your nightmares, but Momma Grizzlies are real and on Nov. 2 you are going to find out how hard they bite!

Thank-you and good night. (wiggles her nose and grins for the camera as she fades out)

Is it Fair to Hold Democratic Socialists Responsible for Stalin's Crimes?

This is a provocative question designed to get your attention. But the answer to this question is more complicated than you might think.

After Khrushchev's secret speech to the Soviet Politburo in 1956 and the invasion of Hungary in the same year, the Communists, fellow-travelers and other left-leaning individuals in the West became aware of the crimes of Stalin and the utter and complete failure of the Marxist-Leninist revolution in the Soviet Union. Stalinism was revealed as a totalitarian, anti-human, evil political movement. The question was how far back in the genealogy of this movement did the poison go?

So if Stalinism was evil, did that discredit Lenin? If Lenin was discredited, did that discredit Trotsky too? or Mao? or Castro? or Third World liberation movements like the Sandinistas? If Lenin and Trotsky were discredited were Marx's ideas discredited too? If Marx's ideas are discredited, are just some of his ideas discredited or his system as a whole? If Marx's ideas (or some of them) are discredited, are social democratic principles discredited as well? Or does the magic bullet of "democracy" instantly transform evil into good?

The issue is which, if any, parts of "The Left" escape responsibility for Stalin's evil deeds. Ideas that are put into practice and result in murder, tyranny and poverty are not good ideas and only half implementing them or implementing them as only as thoroughly as possible in the face of determined conservative resistance does not make them into good ideas. It may well be that the only reason socialism has not (yet) resulted in horrible evils in Western Europe is that these ideas have not been as fully implemented as they were in the Soviet Union; but that does not make them benign or morally good.

The New Left that arose in the West between the late 1950s and early 1970s was an attempt to be Marxist but not Stalinist. Yet, as David Horowitz (who was at the center of the rise of the New Left in Berkley, California) chronicles in his political memoir, Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, makes clear, the New Left not only did not abandon the Marxist ideas that were put into practice by Lenin and Stalin (with their own twists and adapted to their own historical context), but the New Left also fell for the siren call of violence and destruction as the way to advance the revolution.

For one example, the New Left valorized the murders and drug pushers who made up the Black Panther Party. Horowitz recounts his own personal involvement with Huey Newton and his defense of the Panthers as editor of Ramparts magazine. One factor that eventually drove him away from the New Left was the murder of a friend of his who he recommended to the organization and who was asking too many pointed questions about party finances. Another example was the take-over of the Students for a Democratic Society by the ultra-extreme Weathermen, who were committed to using violence to provoke the revolutionary war that would overthrow the American government. New Leftists like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were involved in acts of terrorism in an attempt to ferment revolution; democracy was a failure for them.

So the attempt by the New Left in the 1960s to be Marxist (or even Communist) without being Stalinist must be judged a failure. Even many of the central players themselves seemed to recognize this. Ayers and Dohrn, like Tom Hayden and many others, eventually gave up revolutionary violence (that is, for their part, though they still supported it in other parts of the world) and began to work within "the system" to change it according to their own Darwinist-Marxist worldview. They have been part of the "long march through the institutions" the goal of which is to subvert the Capitalist West from within rather than confronting it directly through revolutionary violence.

It is clear that the strategy of using Marxist ideas but renouncing Stalinist violence and embracing democracy is perfectly compatible with calling oneself either a "Progressive" (which many in the Democratic Party do today) or a "Democratic Socialist" (which is more of a European label). In other words, I am questioning whether a Marxist who claims to be committed to democratic process is any less dangerous or culpable than an outright Communist who is infiltrating the system to undermine it from within. Does a commitment to procedural democracy in and of itself sanitize false view of human nature, history and justice?

My point is that the ideas are far more profoundly important than the political strategy. The methods can change according to the circumstances. But what is the ultimate goal? And what view of human nature is driving the movement? And is the movement based on a materialist interpretation of history? Is the definition of justice compatible with absolute right and wrong written into creation the Creator or is it a social construct, a projection of the will of the strong?

What got me thinking along these lines was the observation that radical Islamists have learned how to use Western democracy for profoundly anti-democratic goals. The goal of an imposition of sharia law and an Islamic theocracy is utterly anti-democratic, but what if the majority vote for it? Does it suddenly become good? And if a majority of American voted in a Hitler (as the Germany people did) or a Stalin, would that make the ensuing regime morally good? The only possible answer to these questions is "no" - unless on wants to defend the Third Reich.

But what would the West have to believe in order to say no and defend itself against a determined foe who uses individual liberties to subvert individual liberty, uses religious freedom to subvert freedom of religion, uses free speech to stifle free speech, uses democracy to implement a system run by unelected religious leaders who, once in power, are answerable to no one (as in Iran, for example)?

The West faces the same dilemma with regard both to Marxism and Islamism. Both are essentially totalitarian systems based on heretical doctrines that want to supplant Western liberal democracy with their own regime. Both are adept at using democracy to overthrow liberal democracy.

The answer is that the West needs a commitment to certain principles and beliefs that go far deeper than procedural democracy and individual liberty. These good political beliefs must be grounded in deeper metaphysical and ethical beliefs - in certain convictions about man being created in the image of God and in natural law and in the reality of original sin and the the folly of utopianism. A deep respect for tradition and a healthy suspicion of radical social engineering will help, but even these will not replace what are ultimately religious convictions about the nature of God, the nature of man and the limits of politics. Without such convictions, traditionalism will degenerate into a mindless nostalgia and narrow-mindedness.

The West needs a revival of Christianity and this is the crucial issue in whether the West will survive or fall. Only a religious people committed to faith in God will be able to withstand the assaults from Islamism and Marxism. Only the Judeo-Christian worldview that built the West can sustain it through this crisis. If this is not present, then freedom is at risk.

If the West Falls, It Will Happen Because of Stupidity

Bruce Thornton, author of Decline and Fall: Europe's Slow Motion Suicide, has an excellent article in The City entitled: "Politics Based on Illusion." His main point is extremely important: that the Ruling Class of the West - the academics, the media and the bureaucratic class - is exhibiting a massive failure of imagination. This failure of imagination renders us vulnerable and is extremely dangerous.
The great historian of Soviet Russia, Robert Conquest, once wrote something about the dangers of naïve diplomacy that I’m reminded of daily. “We are still faced with the absolutely crucial problem of making the intellectual and imaginative effort not to project our ideas of common sense or natural motivation onto the products of totally different cultures,” Conquest observed.

- - snip - -

America’s 30-year struggle with Islamic jihad has been defined by just this sort of failure of imagination. Yet the diplomatic pathology has much deeper roots, and reflects a larger set of assumptions about human and state behavior going back to the Enlightenment—what we can call utopian universalism. In this view, all peoples are essentially rational and want the same political and social goods, particularly personal freedom and material prosperity. If they behave irrationally or destructively in seeking other goods, blame this on the fact that they have not yet been educated to their true interests. They remain mired in ancient superstitions, particularly those of religion, ethnic loyalties, and nationalism. Yet in time, the progress of knowledge, technology, and global trade will sweep away these impediments to happiness.

This vision of human identity lies behind the idealistic internationalism that dominates inter-state relations in the West.

- - snip - -

Far from universal, however, these ideals reflect a particular history—that of the West—beginning in ancient Greece and Jerusalem and developed further by the Romans and Christianity. They have become globalized mainly by Western power and dominance. . . . Within the West itself, this “moralizing internationalism,” as historian Corelli Barnett calls it, was exploded by the carnage of the twentieth century, in which nationalist and ethnic loyalties, incoherent political religions like fascism and Communism, and finally a renewed religious fanaticism have created mountains of corpses.

Far from universal, however, these ideals reflect a particular history—that of the West—beginning in ancient Greece and Jerusalem and developed further by the Romans and Christianity. They have become globalized mainly by Western power and dominance.

- - snip - -

Despite the examples of these historical failures, we have made the same mistakes in our conflict with Islamic jihad, starting with the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Rather than attempting to understand the religious motives of Islamic jihadists, which they clearly articulate and link to their reading of traditional Islam, we reduce them instead to our own secularized, materialist beliefs.
It is extremely important to understand that not everyone in the West, let alone everybody in the world, thinks the same way and is driven by the same priorities. There is a real reductionism about human nature: all people need is food, shelter, sex and consumerist, low-brow, non-stop, 24/7 entertainment. This is a kind of crudely Marxist argument that sees all human behavior and all of history as explicable by economics.

If you think that human nature is what Darwin and Marx says it is, then you will never understand Islamic fervor, any more than you will understand traditional, orthodox Christianity.

But not understanding everything in the world is not necessarily dangerous; failing to understanding your sworn enemy - one that is fueled by petro dollars - can be deadly.

Finally: A Light Slap on the Wrist for an Anti-American Tenured Radical

University professor, Obama pal and former Weatherman domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, has been denied his request to be appointed "Professor Emeritus" by the University of Illinois. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

When retiring University of Illinois at Chicago professor Bill Ayers co-wrote a book in 1973, it was dedicated in part to Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy.

That came back to haunt Ayers when the U. of I. board, now chaired by Kennedy’s son, considered his request for emeritus status Thursday. It was denied in a unanimous vote.

Before the vote, an emotional Chris Kennedy spoke out against granting the status to Ayers.

“I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our university to a man whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy,” he said.

“There is nothing more antithetical to the hopes for a university that is lively and yet civil, or to the hopes of our founding fathers for their great experiment of a self-governing people, than to permanently seal off debate with one’s opponents by killing them.”

Hmm. . . you think?

Clarice Feldman at American Thinker Blog has an interesting update on this story.

Tom Maguire notes the Sun Times article fudges on the Ayers-Obama connection on the Annenberg challenge where it is obvious Ayers brought Obama onboard that ill-fated "education reform" effort. He also suggests this tardy Kennedy objection to Ayers may signal a Kennedy family-Obama split.
If the Kennedys and the Clintons are going to gang up on Obama and his New Left core supporters in a battle for control of the Democratic Party, won't that be entertaining? It will be better than the Hatfields and McCoys.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is CAIR a "Moderate" Islamic Organization?

Is CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) a moderate Islamic group which should be allowed a place at the table and accorded respect as an organization that promotes mutual respect for religious differences and Western values?

Andy McCarthy, author of The Grand Jihad, says no. But many Left-wingers say yes. So which is it?

The Hill reports that CAIR is giving Helen Thomas a lifetime achievement award:

The longtime White House correspondent who resigned from Hearst newspapers in June in the wake of comments she made about Israel will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR is honoring Helen Thomas, who is of Lebanese descent and now 90 years old, at its Leadership Conference and 16th Annual Fundraising Banquet on Oct. 9 in Arlington, Va.

Speakers will also include Oxford Islamic studies scholar Tariq Ramadan.

Thomas started at the White House as a reporter during the Kennedy administration. In a video interview captured at a White House Jewish heritage event for RabbiLIVE.com that spread quickly across the Internet, Thomas advised Israeli Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland, Germany, America and "everywhere else."

So here it the bottom line. Maybe Andrew McCarthy is crazy and wrong about the ties of CAIR and many other Muslim organizations in America to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas etc. But no one can deny that CAIR is giving an award to a vicious, life-long, anti-Semite.

So it seems obvious to me that, if McCarthy is wrong and CAIR is properly to be regarded as a "moderate" Islamic organization, then the definition of "moderate" must be "Anti-semitic." Now, if the meaning of moderate must be stretched to this extent - so that it includes honoring Anti-semitism, then I think we should all be opposed to this kind of "moderate Islam" just as strongly as we ought to oppose Islamic terrorists like Hamas and al-Qaeda.

But that, we must remember, was McCarthy's point in the first place. Game, set and match to McCarthy.

In a Bunker Somewhere Global Warmist Generals Contemplate Defeat

As James Delingpole documents, the leading generals in the Global Warming Wars are surrendering (you know they have lost when they start trying to re-brand their scam). Delingpole has a little fun with the Alarmists:

First Al Gore admitted it. Now it’s Monbiot’s turn. Tomorrow, in a ceremony on Luneberg Heath an ashen-faced Oberstgruppenfuhrer Monbiot will be handing over his baton, his pearl handled Luger and his death’s head fruit-paring knife to General Delingpole in token of his abject, total, humiliating surrender in the great Climate Wars.

“Tell you what, old man. Why don’t you put this to good use? We’ll all look the other way,” General Delingpole will reply, sliding the Luger back across the table towards Monbiot, together with a couple of rounds (just in case he misses first time) (hollow tipped, just to be absolutely sure of the right results).

“Nein, danke. I hef some hemlock. Organically grown on my estates in Mid Wales. It vill be a shame I never live to see ze vind farms blossom all over ze hills near my Heimat in Machynlleth. Ach, such pleasure it vould hef given me to see ze birds, mashed to a pulp by ze spinning blades, und ze sorrow of all ze people nearby whose properties hef been devalued and whose nights made sleepless, und ze taxpayers’ money sluicing into ze wind farm owners’ pockets and ze thin smile playing on ze sinister lips of Reichsfuhrer Huhne…”

“Are you done, Monbiot old boy? Only some of us really do have better things to do than listening to you rambling incoherently a minute longer. God knows your Comment Macht Frei drivel has been a sore enough trial this last decade or more.”



“Who did that? Was it you, Morano? North? Booker? McIntyre? McKitrick? Bolt? LaFramboise? Id? Watts? Montford? Breitbart? Warner? Nova? Horner?…….”

“I think it might have been all of us, sir.”

“Jolly good. Carry on.”

As Delingpole himself note, however, it is not really over. The science of Global Warming Alarmism has been unmasked as politics pretending to be real science, but the "Cause" of taxing the developed world for being developed, ruining the economy and hurting poor people through higher unemployment and out-of-control energy bills goes on forever.

Except it’s not over, is it? Not remotely over and that’s the ruddy problem.

Read the rest here.

(Just a note: I intend to go on calling it "Global Warming" until the Arctic Ice disappears and London is under six feet of water. The credibility of the entire Environmental Movement (not to mention the UN) depends on these predictions coming true.)

Ahmadaminejad's Anti-Semitic Slurs and Conspiracy Theories on Display at the UN

Once again, the UN was disgraced as a place of serious debate by the monstrous antics of the President of Iran. The Hill reports:

The U.S. delegation to the U.N. walked out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech before the general assembly Thursday after the controversial leader said some believe Americans were behind the 9/11 terror attacks.

The Associated Press reported that Ahmadinejad claimed that some speculate that Americans organized the attack to ensure Israel's survival.

The U.S. delegation issued a statement in response, the AP reported.

"Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable," they said.

Relations between Iran and the West have been tense for many years over the Middle Eastern country's nuclear ambitions and anti-American and -Israel statements made by its president.

Congress overwhelmingly passed a new set of sanctions against Iran in June that penalize companies that assist Iran with petroleum refining.

In 2005, Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

This Washington Post video shows the walk-out by the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and 27 European nations. It also shows a rally held outside the UN by Iranian exiles and Iranian Americans at which former Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, calls for the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy.

Walking out is an empty gesture, however, in response to a fanatical regime bent on acquiring nuclear weapons with which to pursue its genocidal ambitions and dreams of world conquest.

One More Example of the Relevance of Traditional Orthodoxy and the Irrelevance of Trendy Liberalism

Pope Benedict's visit to Britain has demonstrated yet again how relevant to ordinary people traditional and orthodox Christianity is and how the "progressive" strategy of pursuing trendy liberalism and radical politics simply bores most people to tears.

The Catholic Herald is the best source of news on the Catholic Church in the UK. It is orthodox and resistant to the trendy liberalism that hold much of the hierarchy of the English and Scottish Church in its icy grip. It supports Pope Benedict XVI in the same way that it steadfastly supported Pope John Paul II. As you read

The recent coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain is excellent. You can find it here.

One article that I would especially commend is William Oddie's "Mr Cameron, if you really mean what you say, you must allow our adoption agencies to re-open." Oddie noted how Benedict's sweet reasonableness put politicians on the defensive:
His achievement was that he put the politicians on the defensive in such a way that they could only insist that his was not merely a reasonable point of view, but that they themselves already shared it, honest they did. In his farewell speech, David Cameron insisted that “people of faith – including our 30,000 faith-based charities – are great architects of [the new culture of social responsibility we want to build in Britain].”
After quoting Benedict's words about how secular societies need to be open to Christian organizations, Oddie then asks Cameron to live up to his nice words:
Well, we all know exactly what the Pope meant by that: why were we forced to close down our adoption agencies as a result of legislation which was supposed to be about toleration? And Dave, if your warm words to the Pope about “faith-based charities” are not so much hot air, what will you now do to restore the freedom of Catholic charities to act in accordance with Catholic principles?

It would be simple, Dave, to show that you actually mean what you say about faith-based charities. You don’t have to repeal the Sexual Orientation Regulations: simply allow us an opt-out. If you won’t, don’t claim ever again that you “look forward to ever closer co-operation between the UK and the Holy See”: just let those empty words fall quickly into oblivion.
In other words, can't liberals be tolerant?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why are Liberals So Intolerant?

Carson Holloway has some sharp insights on "The Sources of Liberal Intolerance" at Public Discourse.
Liberal intolerance is rooted in a secular disregard for the dignity of individuals, coupled with the veneration of Progress and the belief that liberal ideologies can’t win in public debate.

American conservatives frequently complain that American liberals are intolerant—a striking paradox for a political movement whose very name suggests a respect for freedom. In their political rhetoric, liberals frequently resort to demonization, claiming, for example, that those who oppose same-sex marriage are animated by irrational hatreds. In the realm of public policy liberals openly desire to regulate communications media, like talk radio, that promote conservative ideas. Indeed, contemporary liberals routinely defend speech codes in the universities, which an older generation of liberals defended as bastions of untrammeled discourse. The complaint is so familiar, and the examples so numerous, that further elaboration of the phenomenon could serve no useful purpose.

What might serve some useful purpose, however, is an effort to reveal the roots of this intolerance. Tolerance is a delicate plant that does not grow easily in the soil of humanity. To some extent, then, liberal intolerance is simply a reflection of the ordinary weakness of human nature, which in all men yearns to silence those whose opinions differ too widely from their own. . . .

In the first place, liberals are drawn into intolerance by their belief in progress, or rather Progress. The contemporary left is, to a considerable extent, committed to the notion that history, or rather History, moves according to a rational, discernible purpose, specifically in the direction of a gradual but irreversible amelioration of the human condition, understood especially as an ever-increasing equality. At first sight, one might expect that such a belief would actually foster tolerance. After all, why should one bother to silence non-progressive views if Progress is fated to advance no matter what anyone does? But it does not work out that way. Instead, the liberal belief in Progress causes liberals to view any expression of what they regard as retrograde opinion to be a threat to the very foundations of their worldview.

In the second place, contemporary liberalism is prone to intolerance because some of its most cherished political and cultural aspirations are at odds with the deeply-rooted moral convictions of the American society it is trying to reform.

Finally, the left is intolerant because it tends to be secular, and as a result is less able to respect the dignity of the individual human person. The Western tradition finds support for human dignity in the biblical belief that every human being is created in the image and likeness of a transcendent God. . . . Modern American liberals have to a considerable extent shaken off such theological convictions. In their place, many liberals have embraced Darwinism, understood not merely as a scientific explanation of the biological mechanisms of evolution but as a comprehensive account of man’s ultimate origins. Darwinism thus understood, however, purports to “know” that human beings emerged merely through the interplay of chance and necessity, and that they differ from other animals not in kind but only in degree. . . .

Thus we often find liberals seeking to advance the cause of social justice, as they understand it, by doing injustice to individuals.
Read the rest here. A few comments.

First, since contemporary liberalism makes "Tolerance" its first principle of practical reason and its highest virtue, for it to fail even to be tolerant makes it a complete and total failure as a political philosophy even judged by its own internal standards.

Second, we must remember that contemporary liberalism is not classical 19th century liberalism, but is a form of liberalism that has surrendered in large part to socialist thinking. Contemporary liberalism allows Marxists to pose as insiders to Western political systems rather than appearing as an outside enemy seeking to destroy the system. The intolerance of contemporary liberalism arises out of the mixing of revolutionary Marxism with liberal thought to create something antithetical to the Western tradition.

A Dangerous Radical Who Must Be Destroyed!

My suggestions for copy for the next Democratic attack ad against Christine O'Donnell. I'm trying to think of how they could push the envelope just a bit further.

The GOP has gone too far this time. This hotbed of radicals and extremists has acted irresponsibly and its actions pose a threat to the Republic. All moderate and reasonable must grab their pitchforks and torches and ride the buses to Delaware immediately. Our liberties are at stake!

Forget minor little issues over which reasonable people can agree to disagree like health care costs, out-of-control government spending, spiraling deficits, a double-dip recession, high unemployment or the trashing of the Constitution. We can worry about those things later. America faces its greatest challenge in Delaware.

Rally behind the comforting and moderate Marxist who Harry Reid calls "My Pet" and "My Favorite Candidate." Remember that nothing but Chris Coons stands between you and the election of a monster who makes Hitler look kind and gentle, a Genghis Khan without table manners, one of the Undead who performs Satanic rituals involving drinking the blood of Democratic babies at midnight every full moon.

This demonic monster from the depths cannot be shown mercy for she represents all that evil and filthy and disgusting in America. She epitomizes and embodies pure, unadulterated evil. It would be no crime to strangle such a dictator with guts of the last priest.

Christine O'Donnell is her name and she must be stopped. Why?

Because she stands for ugh, I can't make myself say it, ugh - sexual . . . . purity. Gag . . . Sputter . . . Choke . . .

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Benedict XVI Demonstrates Humble Courage in Secular Britain

I agree wholeheartedly with Stephen Glover in this article entitled: "If only the Archbishop of Canterbury dared to speak with a fraction of Benedict's authority." He writes:
Only a few days ago we were being assured by many voices on the BBC that Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain might well turn out to be a damp squib. It was widely predicted that few would turn out to see him.

Some even suggested that protests against the heinous crimes of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church might so dominate and disfigure his visit that there would be no room for the Pope to talk about anything else, or for us to listen.

In the event, the crowds were larger than had been forecast, if not as big as they were when the charismatic Pope John Paul II came to this country 28 years ago. Particularly noticeable were the many enthusiastic young people among an estimated 80,000 congregation at a prayer vigil in Hyde Park in London on Saturday evening.

As for the protests about child abuse, they did not overwhelm the visit. Pope Benedict effectively admitted the guilt of the Roman Catholic Church. At a mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday afternoon, he moved some members of the congregation to tears when he appeared to liken the victims' suffering to Christ's sacrifice on the cross. He spoke of the 'shame and humiliation' brought to the Church by the scandal.

This was a much more successful visit than the Roman Catholic hierarchy had dared to hope.

But I have a feeling it was more than that. In a manner wholly unlike our home-grown clerics, the Pope spoke to the soul of our country, affirming eternal moral verities which our own political and religious leaders normally prefer to avoid.

In essence, he has been asking us to examine what kind of country we want this to be. He warned Britain not to lose sight of its Christian heritage in its 'multi-cultural' and 'aggressively secular' modern society.

Politicians should not try to 'silence' religion by discouraging public celebration of its most important festivals, notably Christmas. Nor should they enact legislation which forces Christians to act against their consciences.

He reminded us that 'Britain stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God', and reflected how it was 'deeply moving to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives'. The excesses of secularism and the perils of 'atheist extremism' were themes to which he returned again and again.

They will resonate with Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, and with many non-Christians of other faiths, and perhaps those with none. . . . Pope Benedict's declarations over the past few days have been remarkable and, in modern Britain, virtually unprecedented.

They were delivered in the calmest, meekest, least ranting way possible, and yet they carried a great authority that largely comes, I think, from the Pope's sense of holiness and evident goodness, as well as from the dignity of his office.

Even hard-hearted cynics and sceptics could not fail but listen. Most extraordinary of all, here was a religious leader prepared to confront the modern secular world - and modern secular Britain - with the timeless values of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.

These values, said Pope Benedict in his final address yesterday, had been traduced by abusive priests who had seriously undermined the moral credibility of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is almost a shock to hear a religious leader speak in so blunt a way, so inured are we to our own religious leaders, particularly Church of England bishops, accommodating themselves to secular values.

. . . wouldn't it be wonderful if Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, dared to speak with a fraction of the authority of the Pope? The tragedy is that Dr Williams and Anglican bishops probably agree with almost everything Pope Benedict said about the dangers of secularism - and yet they do not have the courage, or whatever it takes, to say it.

And whereas the Pope speaks clearly in English, which is his third or fourth language, Dr Williams often speaks opaquely or in riddles in the language that is his own.

In his concluding address, Pope Benedict said that he had discovered 'how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the good news of Jesus Christ'. He is right. And yet how often our national Church - the Church of England - fails to proclaim this good news.
The only point I'd quibble with is whether in fact Archbishop Williams and the other Anglican bishops do believe in what Pope Benedict is saying. They believe in some of it, but not likely all of it. Many Anglican bishops have given up on so much of traditional Christian orthodoxy in order to accommodate themselves to the spirit of the age that this lack of faith renders them mute in the face of modern skepticism.

Global Climate Disruption (Formerly Known as "Global Warming")

The administration that gave us "man caused disasters" to replace the old-fashioned "terrorist attacks" and "overseas contingency operation" to replace the frightening and violent-sounding "war on terror" has now decided that from now on, instead of saying "global warming" you should now say "global climate disruption. Fox News reports:
White House science adviser John Holdren urged people to start using the phrase during a speech last week in Oslo, echoing a plea he made three years earlier. Holdren said global warming is a "dangerous misnomer" for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature.
I guess the advantage of the new phrase is obvious. It includes both warming and cooling, which makes it irrefutable. Temperature rises: "Look at the global climate disruption going on." Temperature goes down: "Ah, see that global climate disruption taking place before our very eyes." This is much better than making actual predictions that can be falsified or confirmed by empirical evidence.

That is the risky way to do it; it can be very frustrating for the dedicated tax raiser to find that the global temperature rise that was predicted is not happening. How, exactly would we know if global climate disruption were not occurring? What would falsify the theory of global climate disruption? If the answer is that there is no way to falsify such a theory, then it is pretty clear that we have moved beyond science into the realm of opinion.

But it gets worse.

So I'm sitting around thinking about "global climate disruption" and I'm wondering what exactly is the difference between that and what we stupid conservatives affectionately refer to as "weather" - you know as in: "Nice weather we are having" or "That was some dose of weather we had yesterday, eh?" So I decided to consult the all-knowing Wikipedia. I quote:
Weather is the state of the atmosphere as measured on a scale of hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or storm, clear or cloudy. . . Weather occurs due to density (temperature and moisture) differences between one place and another. . . . Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a future time and a given location. The atmosphere is a chaotic system, so small changes to one part of the system can grow to have large effects on the system as a whole.
So let me see if I've got this straight. The state of our atmosphere is constantly changing due to temperatures going up and down in various places. The atmosphere is chaotic: meaning that it is constantly in flux - being disrupted, one might say. And the difference between "global climate disruption" and "weather" is . . . what? Oh yes, GCD (as opposed to weather) can be fixed if we just implement a bunch of new taxes and transfer billions of dollars to the UN. But what exactly is the difference between GCD and weather?

Well, darned if I know. All I know is that it is freezing in my office today and I'm hoping for some local, if not global, climate disruption before tomorrow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pope Benedict and Secular Britain: Lessons on How to Engage Post-Christian Culture

Pope Benedict XVI has thought long and hard about the issue of modern secularism and his Augustinian theology and deep commitment to historic Christian orthodoxy and morality give his words a kind of gravitas that is so often missing from the fawning, appeasing, shallow remarks made by so many Christian leaders today in the public square.

Here are some excerpts from a story in the Daily Telegraph about Benedict's leadership during his recently concluded trip to the UK. Instead of it being a PR disaster, as many liberal Catholics feared, it was another Benedictine triumph, just as the trip to the US was and the trip to France and so on. People who essentially have no message for the secularized, late-modern Western world cannot seem to believe that traditional orthodoxy can have so much power and beauty in the midst of a secular society.

In an article with the headline: "We will not be silenced, Pope tells secular Britain."

Delivering the most important speech of his historic visit, he attacked the politically correct ideas that Christmas should not be celebrated for fear of offending minorities and that the faithful should be forced to keep their beliefs to themselves.

Speaking in Westminster Hall before an audience including four former prime ministers, the Pope declared that politicians must not interfere with the running of Roman Catholic institutions, in what would be seen as a reference to those adoption agencies and faith schools that felt under attack from the previous Labour government.

Here Benedict tells it like it is - no big surprise there to those who have followed his ministry up to now - but the real surprise is the reaction:

He spoke earlier in the day of the threat posed by “aggressive secularism”, words that were echoed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.

Cheering crowds had lined the streets of London to welcome Benedict XVI, first in Twickenham, then in the centre of the capital.

Cheering crowds? Support from the "Ever-Waffling One" and Rabbi Sacks? Isn't Christendom over? Is not the Roman Catholic Church dead? Do people really still believe that stuff anymore?

Here are come choice quotations from Pope Benedict's address to Parliament in Westminster Hall:

Thank you for your words of welcome on behalf of this distinguished gathering. As I address you, I am conscious of the privilege afforded me to speak to the British people and their representatives in Westminster Hall, a building of unique significance in the civil and political history of the people of these islands. Allow me also to express my esteem for the Parliament which has existed on this site for centuries and which has had such a profound influence on the development of participative government among the nations, especially in the Commonwealth and the English-speaking world at large. Your common law tradition serves as the basis of legal systems in many parts of the world, and your particular vision of the respective rights and duties of the state and the individual, and of the separation of powers, remains an inspiration to many across the globe. . . .

This country’s Parliamentary tradition owes much to the national instinct for moderation, to the desire to achieve a genuine balance between the legitimate claims of government and the rights of those subject to it. While decisive steps have been taken at several points in your history to place limits on the exercise of power, the nation’s political institutions have been able to evolve with a remarkable degree of stability. In the process, Britain has emerged as a pluralist democracy which places great value on freedom of speech, freedom of political affiliation and respect for the rule of law, with a strong sense of the individual’s rights and duties, and of the equality of all citizens before the law. While couched in different language, Catholic social teaching has much in common with this approach, in its overriding concern to safeguard the unique dignity of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, and in its emphasis on the duty of civil authority to foster the common good. . .

The central question at issue, then, is this: where is the ethical foundation for political choices to be found? The Catholic tradition maintains that the objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation. According to this understanding, the role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers – still less to propose concrete political solutions, which would lie altogether outside the competence of religion – but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles. This “corrective” role of religion vis-à-vis reason is not always welcomed, though, partly because distorted forms of religion, such as sectarianism and fundamentalism, can be seen to create serious social problems themselves. And in their turn, these distortions of religion arise when insufficient attention is given to the purifying and structuring role of reason within religion. It is a two-way process. Without the corrective supplied by religion, though, reason too can fall prey to distortions, as when it is manipulated by ideology, or applied in a partial way that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person. Such misuse of reason, after all, was what gave rise to the slave trade in the first place and to many other social evils, not least the totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century. This is why I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilization.

Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation. In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalization of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance. There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere. There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none. And there are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience. These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square. I would invite all of you, therefore, within your respective spheres of influence, to seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason at every level of national life.

Speaking as a non-Roman Catholic, it is so inspiring to hear a high-profile Christian leader like the pope speaking so forthrightly about the need for faith and the dangers for Western democracies of trying to marginalize faith and Christians in a misguided drive for total secularism. The realm of the secular is the invention of Christianity and is good; secularism is to make the secular into an idol which is made absolute and worshiped. In order to maintain the sphere of the secular a society needs Christianity to supply the rationale and moral fiber necessary to keep the secular from being turned into an idol.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Obama, Our Rights and Our Creator

Jeffrey H. Anderson has a brief note on the Weekly Standard blog on the curious incident the other night in which Barack Obama left out the words "by their Creator" when quoting from the Declaration of Independence in a speech. He writes:
The most famous words in the Declaration of Independence — and almost surely the most famous words ever written by an American — read, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

On Friday evening, when President Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, he quoted that passage as follows (on the clip at 22:30): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal [pause], endowed with certain unalienable rights: life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In Obama’s version, there is no “Creator.”

Only two plausible explanations spring to mind. One is that President Obama isn’t very familiar with the most famous passage in the document that founded this nation; that even when plainly reading from a teleprompter, he wasn’t able to quote it correctly. The other is that President Obama doesn’t subscribe to the Declaration’s rather central claim that our rights come from our “Creator” (also referred to in the Declaration as “Nature’s God” and “the Supreme Judge of the World”).

Only the president likely knows for certain which of these two explanations is true, or whether perhaps there is another. His nearly 4-second pause before he omits reference to our Creator, however, is peculiar. He stares at the teleprompter, purses his lips, blinks several times — as if confused, disturbed, and/or in the process of making a decision — and then proceeds to use his alternate wording.
This is the type of thing one would be tempted to just blow off in any other situation. But Obama is a big government, progressive who seems to think the Government can do anything it wants. And under the circumstances American might be forgiven for being a little over-wrought about the Constitution and other founding documents of their audacious experiment in self-government. With twenty states suing the federal government for passing an unconstitutional health care law, people are a mite touchy. The mood of the country is swinging decisively against unrestrained social engineering by bureaucrats in the name of the Omnipotent State.

This is not the first time Obama has gone off-script and embarrassed himself in recent weeks. He looked like a whiny brat complaining that "people" talk about him like a dog the other day. Is the stress getting to him?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Briefly Noted and Worth Reading

Here are links to a few good articles or posts that I don't have time to discuss in detail but would like to draw to my readers' atttention.

Willis Eschenbach is tired of Malthus and I must confess that so am I.

The editors of National Review make an excellent case for traditional marriage.

If you doubt the existence of socialist in America and in the Democratic Party, check out this site.

The biggest thing we could do to fight poverty would be to strengthen marriage; will liberals get on board? (Don't hold your breath.)

Who was the greatest mass murderer in history?

Peggy Noonan's Yardstick and Fundamental Political Change

Peggy Noonan was a speechwriter in the Reagan White House and she is now a respected columnist for the Wall Street Journal. She got caught up in the religious hysteria surrounding Barack Obama a couple of years ago and so she is now regarded by conservatives with the same suspicion attached to wobbly ex-conservatives like David Brooks and David Frum, who appeared to have joined the Ruling Class.

But Noonan's writing is occasionally brilliant and one can easily see why she was a very effective speechwriter. In her latest WSJ column she uses the metaphor of the yardstick to explain in simple terms how the Left has been successful in shifting the political spectrum left-ward during the past half century or so. With the collapse of the liberal center, the choices have increasingly come down to conservative or socialist. Noonan explains:

I see two central reasons for the tea party's rise. The first is the yardstick, and the second is the clock. First, the yardstick. Imagine that over at the 36-inch end you've got pure liberal thinking—more and larger government programs, a bigger government that costs more in the many ways that cost can be calculated. Over at the other end you've got conservative thinking—a government that is growing smaller and less demanding and is less expensive. You assume that when the two major parties are negotiating bills in Washington, they sort of lay down the yardstick and begin negotiations at the 18-inch line. Each party pulls in the direction it wants, and the dominant party moves the government a few inches in their direction.

But if you look at the past half century or so you have to think: How come even when Republicans are in charge, even when they're dominant, government has always gotten larger and more expensive? It's always grown! It's as if something inexorable in our political reality—with those who think in liberal terms dominating the establishment, the media, the academy—has always tilted the starting point in negotiations away from 18 inches, and always toward liberalism, toward the 36-inch point.

Democrats on the Hill or in the White House try to pull it up to 30, Republicans try to pull it back to 25. A deal is struck at 28. Washington Republicans call it victory: "Hey, it coulda been 29!" But regular conservative-minded or Republican voters see yet another loss. They could live with 18. They'd like eight. Instead it's 28.

This is brilliant exposition. Noonan is right that the Tea Party is challenging and changing both parties. The historical significance of the Tea Party movement is that it may very well pull the Republican Party back toward the right, the Democratic Party back toward the right and thus create a new center. If it does so, it will go some way to restoring the liberal democratic center that used to form the center of American politics with both parties overlapping much of it.

This means that the re-alignment now occurring in American politics may be as significant as that which occurred during the late 60s and early 70s when the Left took over the Democratic Party and shifted the center to a big government, high tax, welfare state position uneasily poised between socialism and liberalism. Or to put it another way, American politics was moving toward a European model where the voting public was usually presented only with two choices: socialism and socialism implemented more slowly.

It is not always remembered that there were two radical movements that trace their origins to the 1960s. In addition to the well-known New Left, the 60s also witnessed the birth of Goldwater conservatism, which eventually led to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. If the Tea Party movement succeeds in restructuring American politics in the way Noonan describes, we could be witnessing the fourth phase of the revival of American Conservatism that arose after World War II.

The first was the rise of the coalition brokered by William F. Buckley and National Review in the 50s between national security hawks, libertarians and traditional conservatives. The second was the Goldwater campaign in the mid-60s and the move of the liberal refugees from the Democratic Party into the Republican camp as Neo-conservatives. The third was the rise of the Religious Right and Reagan years and the fourth is the Tea Party era featuring the actual shrinking of the federal government for the first time in a century.

Will we look back a decade from now and view the Obama phenomenon as the last gasp of the New Deal? Will the Tea Party movement be credited with a fundamental re-alignment of the American political spectrum? Are we living in a time of change as deep and far-reaching as the 1960s? Only time will tell.

Pope Benedict XVI and His UK Critics

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom must be judged a smashing success. (More on why in a future post.) He brought hope and courage to Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and all who still dare stand up to the "dictatorship of relativism."

The Pope's angry, noisy critics have done their best to be rude but they have clearly been shown to be a tiny minority who do not speak for the majority of British subjects. They are pathetic and comical. In this post we look at three of them.

Richard Dawkins is an eminent scientist who has left off doing science and turned to theology, at which he is about as good as Hitler was at painting. He is a one man Monty Python sketch: here is a man who believes that it is more likely that little green men from outer space created life on planet earth than that God did - and he claims to be the voice of Reason.

Stephen Fry is a TV personality, a writer, a homosexual and an atheist who signed a letter protesting the Pope's visit. Gullible and vulnerable people who need reassurance for their decadent lifestyles appear to be susceptible to his marketing abilities. From the Daily Mail via Virtue Online:
Stephen Fry, along with many of the other celebrities who have criticised the Pope's visit, has a book to promote.

The quizmaster and author is holding signings of The Fry Chronicles in Norwich, Cambridge and Oxford this week, backed by a high-profile advertising campaign by his publisher. It has spent tens of thousands of pounds on promoting him with advertising in every national newspaper. His attacks on the Pope's visit have placed him at the centre of a storm of publicity.

His book signings are major productions with ticket prices to match. They are billed as 'An intimate evening with Stephen Fry'.

The promotional material adds: 'To mark the publication of his hugely anticipated second volume of memoirs [he] will give audiences an exclusive preview of his revealing, charming and extraordinary new book.'

Fry's readings on September 20 and 21 at the Royal Albert Hall are sold out, with ticket prices ranging between £30 and £55, excluding booking fees. The reading today in Cambridge costs £20.50.
Apparently, being an atheist in the UK does not require courage and the ability to shrug off social isolation and condemnation. On the contrary, it seems to pay rather well.

But the biggest fraud of all is Peter Tratchell, a homosexual rights campaigner who is so hypocritical as to blame Pope Benedict XVI for the sexual abuse of children by priests even though Benedict condemns such acts as "filth" while he (Tratchell) is on record as arguing that sex with children may not be all that bad. Peter Hitchens catalogs this hypocrisy with admirable restraint but utter moral clarity on his blog:

I (as a non-Roman Catholic) have examined some of the main charges levelled against Benedict XVI by his attackers, and found that several of them are simply untrue, whereas others have been crudely distorted.

I have also examined the record of one of the main critics of the Papal visit.

This is Peter Tatchell, prominent in the ‘Protest the Pope’ campaign.

I admire Mr Tatchell’s physical and moral courage, notably when he was badly beaten by Robert Mugabe’s bodyguards for attempting a citizen’s arrest of that monster. The effects of that beating still trouble him.

But this does not cancel out what I believe is the hypocrisy of his attempt - and that of the Left in general - to wage war on the Pope by employing the charge of condoning or failing to act against paedophilia (it is No  5 in the charge-sheet set out by ‘Protest the Pope’).

For on June 26, 1997, Mr Tatchell wrote a start­ling letter to the Guardian newspaper.

In it, he defended an academic book about ‘Boy-Love’ against what he saw as calls for it to be censored.

When I contacted him on Friday, he emphasised that he is ‘against sex between adults and children’ and that his main purpose in writing the letter had been to defend free speech.

He told me: ‘I was opposing calls for censorship generated by this book. I was not in any way condoning paedophilia.’

Personally, I think he went a bit further than that. He wrote that the book’s arguments were not shocking, but ‘courageous’.

He said the book documented ‘examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal’.

He gave an example of a New Guinea tribe where ‘all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood’ and allegedly grow up to be ‘happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers’.

And he concluded: ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures.

'Several of my friends - gay and straight, male and female - had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13.

'None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.

‘While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.’

Well, it’s a free country. And I’m rather grateful that Mr Tatchell, unlike most of his allies, is honest enough to discuss openly where the sexual revolution may really be headed.

The amount of coverage the media gives to these clowns is a scandal. They deserve to rot in obscurity, not be front page news. The liberal bias of the media is on display every time one of them gets coverage that would more justifiably be spent on analyzing the reasoned arguments given by Pope Benedict XVI for the need of secular societies to draw their moral beliefs from Christianity if they are to remain free and strong.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arabs Refuse to Recognize Israel as a Jewish State

Here is the real obstacle to peace in the Middle East. It is not Israel or the occupation or US support for Israel. All these are secondary to the primary issue: that the Arab nations refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. They want to flood Israel with Muslims and then use democracy to make it into an Islamic theocracy - at which point of course democracy will be abolished and the Jews will become a persecuted minority if they are allowed to remain at all. As so often with Muslims, those identified as moderates by Western Leftists are anything but.

From the Middle East Affairs Information Center comes this report:

While negotiations on a future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians have just been resumed, the Arab League draws a line in support of the Palestinian decision not to recognize a Jewish State. As a consequence, the members of the Arab League will also not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, not now and not in the future.

The Arab foreign ministers held a meeting in Cairo on Thursday and decided to reject a demand made by Israel, asking Palestinian negotiators to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, according to Ma’an News Agency (Fri, Sept 17, 2010).

“In a statement issued after the meeting, the Arab League supported President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian negotiators have recognized Israel’s right to exist, but not as a Jewish state, which officials say would prejudice the right of return for refugees and violate the rights of Israel’s non-Jewish residents. (Ma’an News Agency)”

Earlier, Palestinian official and member of the Palestinian Negotiating Team, Dr Nabeel Shaath said that

“The Palestinian National Authority will never recognise that Israel is the national state for Jewish people, as such recognition will directly threaten the Muslim and Christian Palestinians in Israel, and will prevent the Palestinian refugees who left their homes and towns decades ago, from the right to return…” (crethiplethi, Sept 14, 2010).

There can be no Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria until this matter is resolved. Here is the voice of reason on this issue:

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has made it clear in his remarks at the White House (sept 01) that

“Just as you expect us to be ready to recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, we expect you to be prepared to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. There are more than a million non-Jews living in Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, who have full civil rights. There is no contradiction between a nation-state that guarantees the national rights of the majority and guaranteeing the civil rights, the full civil equality, of the minority.” (crethiplethi, sept 02, 2010).

“If we are asked to recognize a Palestinian state, it is both natural and appropriate that the Palestinians recognize the state of the Israeli people as a Jewish state,” Netanyahu said at the start of Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting. (crethiplethi, sept 07, 2010).

It is no less possible for a Jewish state to recognize the rights of minorities than for a Muslim state to do so. The difference is that Arabs in Israel have far more liberties than Jews in Muslim countries do. The problem here is that by holding to the "right of return" the Arabs intend to destroy the State of Israel as a Jewish-controlled homeland. This defeats the purpose of Israel's existence: to be a haven for Jews in times of persecution.

Understanding the Liberal Mind 2: Why the Tea Partiers "Must" Be Racist

If you have read anything in what Sarah Palin consistently refers to as "the lamestream media" over the past few months - and, unfortunately many people are immersed in it exclusively as their source of news and opinion - you will have read accusations that the Tea Party is racist. Sometimes it is in the form of breathless revelations, other times it is insinuated, while other times it is tossed off as a piece of conventional wisdom that "everybody" knows.

Racism and bigotry are part of the human condition and there are a few fringe flakes in every movement including those liberal movements now accusing the Tea Parties of being racist. That is a given. But are Tea Party people more racist overall than America in general or the Left in general? There is no evidence to suggest that it is.

Yet it is an article of faith for what Angelo Cordevilla calls "the Ruling Class" that the Tea Party supporters (up to 30% of the American population according to some polls) "must" be racist. Why do they believe this? There are two theories, both of which have some points in their favor.

First, some would say that all through the history of the Left, from the 19th century on, Leftists tend to accuse their political opponents of committing the sins of which the Left itself it guilty and that this tactic is simply raw cynicism. Isolate an opponent, focus on him and scream a lie about him over an over again until the sheer number of times the accusation is heard begins to convince uninformed bystanders that it must have some truth in it.

The Left, of course, is obsessed with race: racial quotas, affirmative action, victimization. The Left has nothing but scorn for Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a color blind society, which makes their faux outrage over Glenn Beck using Martin Luther King Jr. Day for his Restoring Honor rally on the Washington Mall a pile of hypocrisy. They left "Uncle Martin" behind a long time ago and his only use to them now is as a symbol into which they pour their radical ideology.

So maybe it is just cynical, gutter-level, street fighting politics. But there is a problem with this theory. While it explains why the hard core Left makes the accusation of racism, it does not explain why more moderate, less ideological and more sincerely motivated people buy into it.

If the first theory explains the origin of this charge, the second theory explains why it gets traction in the culture in general. The second theory is the paternalistic notion that some social groups are perpetual victims who have to be cared for by the nanny state and without welfare they will flounder. Since the Tea Party stands for a roll back of the welfare state in the name of fiscal sanity, lower taxes and lower government spending and balanced budgets, it represents a threat to the big government, welfare state cherished by liberals and socialists alike. Thus, to be a Tea Partier is to lack basic human decency in the form of concern for the victims - such as black Americans - and the only possible source of such hateful lack of concern must be racism. If it is anything else, that something else is just a bad so any Tea Partier is guilty and evil. End of argument.

The problem is that the modern liberal mind has absorbed the Marxist attack on private property as the source of social injustice and therefore is open to this line of reasoning. For many people the whole thing is unconscious; all they could articulate on the conscious level is "conservatives are uncaring and mean because they want to cut welfare just so they can keep more of their own money to spend on themselves." Why middle class people might object to higher taxes on the rich is something they cannot explain; in fact, they can't even believe it. (They should go to a Tea Party event themselves some time and confront reality.)

The root of the problem is the modern, Marxist attack on private property, which leads to envy and class warfare rhetoric such as we are now seeing coming out of the Obama administration every day.

The ironic thing is that the effectiveness of the accusation of racism hurled against conservatives stems from the fact that conservatives actually hate racism and so they flinch when accused of it. It has a sting because it is abhorrent. To call the Tea Party folk insufficiently socialist or to angrily accuse them of not adhering to Marxist orthodoxy would not have the same effect. But it would be the same thing expressed more honestly.

Understanding the Liberal Mind 1: Who Owns Your Money?

Nancy Pelosi is a flake. She poses as a Catholic and pretends to know something about moral theology but she wouldn't know her Thomas Aquinas from her Thomas the Train Engine. Yet she is one of the most powerful women in America as Speaker of the House and a typical example of Progressivism in her thinking. So it is helpful to try to understand the way she thinks.

One of the most fascinating features of Leftist thought of all stripes - including Progressivism - is the highly wound sense of moral indignation that always lies just beneath the surface and bursts forth from time to time in embarrassing ways. What grounds and funds this moral indignation, this bed rock conviction that they are right and conservatives, capitalists, businesspeople and upholders of middle-class values are wrong?

In this article, which is not seeking answers to these sorts of questions - it is just a shallow news story - we find some clues.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday renewed her pledge to pass an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but now she’s leaving the door open to extending the tax cuts for upper-income Americans. . . .

“What I believe the American people deserve is a tax cut for the middle class,” Pelosi said. “And without getting into procedure and timing and process, what we’re going to do is to say at the end of the day the extension of the Obama middle-income tax cuts will take place, and that’s what I have to say on the subject.”
Notice the use of the phrase "deserve." She frames it in moral terms, but leaves unsaid the question of who decides who "deserves" what.
Pelosi, though, made her view clear: Rich people don’t deserve tax cuts. She said she sees “no justification for going into debt to foreign countries to underwrite and subsidize tax cuts for the wealthiest people of America.”
In her worldview, rich people don't deserve tax cuts and middle-class people do. A tax cut is like a generous concession on the part of a Feudal Lord to one of his serfs: he doesn't have to do it but he does out of generosity. Yet, the money we are talking about does not belong to Nancy Peolosi or the Federal Government but to the individuals who earned it. It is their money. And it is not needed for the legitimate operation of the government for the common good (defence, police, roads etc.) but for the purpose of redistribution by Government according to socialist ideology.

Ultimately, Pelosi regards all the wealth as belonging to the Government and its job is to decide how much to let each citizen keep. So when anybody threatens her power to make such decisions for the citizens, they are evil and selfish and must be eliminated. The power of her moral indignation is fueled by the Marxist denial of a cornerstone of Western civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition: private property.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Pope Meets the Queen: A Meeting of Minds

Damien Thompson of the Daily Telegraph and blogger extraordinaire on all things Catholic in the UK has a nice post on Pope Benedict XVI's meeting today with Queen Elizabeth II, whose guest he is in the UK this week. He explains succinctly why a low church, conservative Anglican would have more in common with this Pope than would a liberal, Anglo-Catholic like Rowan Williams. Thompson explains why conservative Protestants today have more in common with traditional Roman Catholics than they have with liberal Protestants.

Her Majesty the Queen, in common with most of her subjects, has mixed feelings about Popes. She takes very seriously her oath to uphold the Protestant religion. Like her father and grandfather, she is Low Church C of E – she is not keen on vestments or Anglican Communion services that look too much like a Roman Catholic Mass.

Her theology is far more Protestant than that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Williams regards himself as a Catholic, albeit a liberal one from the Anglican, not Roman, branch of the univeral Church. He has a great devotion to the sacraments and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Paradoxically, however, the Queen may share as much ground with the Pope as with her own Archbishop. The supreme governor of the Church of England and the supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church are both octogenarians dismayed by modern immorality. Neither of them thinks that gay unions are compatible with Biblical teaching, as Dr Williams appears to. (You never know quite where you are with +Rowan.) And, although the Queen has never expressed a view on the subject, she is not thought to be a great champion of women priests.

Today’s meeting undoubtedly reflects a clash of historical traditions and formal theology. But it is also an encounter between two devout, old-fashioned, conservative Christians – and, in that respect, a meeting of minds.

If it please Almighty God, may her Majesty outlive her muddled-headed eldest son and may Pope Benedict's reign exceed that of Archbishop Williams!