Sunday, October 30, 2011

Who Won the Cold War?

Remind me again, which side won the Cold War between the Communist East and the Liberal Democratic West? Let's see, the official version is that the Liberal Democrats won the economic war, thus bringing the USSR to its knees, but it is becoming more apparent every day that the Communists won the war of ideas and that victory is now bringing Liberal Democracy to its knees in Western Europe.

Social democratic Europe is turning into the Soviet Union.

The long, relentless, one-step-at-a-time march of socialist ideas first through the hearts and minds, and then through the institutions, of Western Europeans has brought the European Union to the point where economic survival now requires the surrender of national sovereignty and responsible government in Europe.

Janet Daley, of the Daily Telegraph, has an illuminating and unusually honest assessment of the events which took place in Europe last week. Her blog post, entitled "This was the week that European democracy died," looks at the latest twist in the long drawn out train wreck that is the European Union:

Democracy went down in a blaze of glory last week. Both the German Bundestag and our own House of Commons put up one hell of a fight against the dying of the light. Maybe history will record that fact in an elegy on the demise of the great 18th-century experiment in government by the people: they were eloquent to the end. Because at the end, eloquence was all they had.

Trying to hold back the resurgence of oligarchy – the final dismantling of democratic responsibility in the governing of Europe – has been looking pretty hopeless for a long time. That eruption of excellent rhetoric and faultless argument which sprang to the defence of the rights of the governed (and in Germany’s case, of constitutional legality) made the loss seem all the more tragic, but no less inevitable.

So this is where we are. The agreed EU “stability union” triumphantly paraded before the media in Brussels will have the power to approve or disapprove budgets of countries in the eurozone – that is, to vet and police them – before they are submitted to the elected parliaments of those countries. In other words, parliaments which are directly mandated by, and answerable to, their own populations will not control the most essential functions of government: decisions on taxation and spending. Even without the ultimate institutions of economic and political union, which still elude the EU, actual power over fiscal policy will be taken from the hands of national leaders. And if, as a voter, you cannot influence your prospective government’s tax and spending policies, what exactly are you voting for?

Britain being outside the eurozone, we will not have to present our fiscal arrangements for authorisation before submitting them to the scrutiny of our legislators (and their constituents). But since our own economic recovery relies so heavily on the stability of the euro, we find ourselves (or at least, George Osborne has found himself) enthusiastically supporting this rape of democratic principle in countries which regard their freedom and self-determination as precious in much the same way, remarkably enough, that free-born Englishmen do.

The implications of what has happened will take some time to sink in. But eventually it will become clear that what has happened is that a centralized, EU bureaucracy has become sovereign, just as socialist theory says it should. And the reason why it should is the ineptness of old-fashioned, liberal-democratic governments to do the job. Capitalism (neo-liberalism) has failed; where have we heard that before? And so, therefore, democracy must give way to socialist central planning.

This is being put forward as a "solution"! In the year of our Lord 2011! Surely, as Daley wisely points out, the purported solution itself is a bigger problem than the problem it was brought forward to solve.

And among those hapless, soon-to-be-disenfranchised peoples, hatreds have been awakened that the EU was, ironically, designed to bury. The Greeks hugely resent what they consider to be the implicitly racist contempt of the Germans: the political opposition in Athens on both Left and Right rejects the idea of being “bailed out” of a crisis (with all the compliance that entails) that they believe to have been caused by the artificial constraints of euro membership rather than by national character flaws. Even their moderate spokesmen are beginning to characterise Germany’s economic impositions as a revival of its wartime attempt at conquest.

When Angela Merkel warned last week about the possible end of the blessedly long post-war peace in Europe, she meant that the failure of the euro (and thus of the EU project) would precipitate economic chaos and possibly lead to war. But she and her colleagues seem oblivious to the resurgence of hostility that is being brought about by every move closer to “successful” European integration.

Indeed, it is often quite eerie how the statements and mannerisms of EU officials, seemingly so dedicated to being the precise opposite of earlier, infamous generations, end up echoing (or parodying) the more memorable moments of the war-torn 20th century. When the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, proclaimed, “I am pleased to stand before you this morning and confirm that Europe is closer to resolving its financial and economic crisis… We are showing that we can unite in the most difficult of times”, I half expected him to wave a piece of paper in the air and proclaim economic stability in our time. . . .

Far from being an antidote to the ideological delusions of the past century, a trans-national superstate is the same sort of utopian, unnatural, ahistorical folly that earlier generations attempted to foist on the recalcitrant populations of Europe. Its doctrine of “co-operation” is simply coercion by another name. It relies on unswerving belief and enforced conformity, just like all the “year zero” political movements that ended in totalitarianism and terror in the past. The one hope is that the great mass of the people, unlike most of their political leaders, seem to understand all this quite clearly. It remains to be seen whether they will have to go out on the streets to make their case.

Only bureaucrats, academics and Marxists believe that there can exist a bureaucracy that serves no political master, that is, a professional cadre of technical experts dedicated only to solving all problems. It is a vision of politics as consisting of nothing but mathematical problems requiring only expert mathematicians to manage all the issues efficiently. What a dream: the benign rule of the technocrat!

The European super-state will fall apart much more quickly than the USSR did because the leaders of the EU likely will not have the stomach for murdering tens of millions of people. So it will not take anything like 70 years for the whole thing to collapse. In truth, the USSR only lasted a few decades, if that, before it lost all credibility. But its fall was a long, drawn out affair mainly because of the violence used to sustain it.

We can expect no such resort to violence from EU leaders because they, unlike those deceived by Lenin and Stalin, are not true believers in Utopia. Today's leaders believe in Utopia because all "right-thinking people" do and when the riots come they will acts more like the befuddled generals of the USSR in those last chaotic days than like the disciplined cadres of true believers who could slaughter millions with a good conscience in the name of making a better world.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Evangelical Left's Nostalgia Trip Down Wall Street

Mark Tooley, who is always worth reading, has some thoughts on the embrace of Occupy Wall Street by left-wing leaders. (Why, by the way, are those leaders always jumping on secular bandwagons to prove their relevance?)

In an article entitled, "Religion Flocks to Wall Street" he writes:

Because they are Americans, the Wall Street Occupiers are suffused with messianic purpose, as are nearly all our nation's American political crusades. But the often raggedy Occupiers themselves do not seem specifically oriented towards organized religion.

Not to worry. Religious Leftists of all sorts have rallied to the Occupiers' bedraggled banners. Guided by the Social Gospel's emphasis on social justice over theological details, these religionists discern God's Kingdom among the squatters' tents and sleeping bags. One group of clergy visited while carrying a mock golden idol shaped like the dreaded Wall Street Bull, the very incarnation of greed.

Praising the Occupation is a gamble for liberal evangelicals, who have tried so hard to appear centrist in recent years, anxious to softly persuade suburban churchgoers to abandon their conservative voting habits. Oldline Protestant elites, along with left-wing Catholic activists, of course welcome the Occupation as a long overdue 1960s revival.

After reviewing the police lineup of the usual suspects from the Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ and Methodist church hierarchies, Tooley comes back to left-wing Evangelicals.

This call towards utopia, enshrouded simultaneously in grievance, entitlement, idealism, and youthful naiveté, has understandably seduced old-style street activists like Jim Wallis of Sojourners, or even Brian McLaren of the emergent church movement. "When they stand with the poor, they stand with Jesus," Wallis has pronounced, even before himself visiting the Occupation, which doubtless only amplified his excited nostalgia. "'The occupation of God has begun'" might inspire the same fear and hope among people today as 'the Kingdom of God is at hand' inspired in the first century," gushed McLaren, after attending his own local Occupation protest.

Indeed, I'll bet Jim Wallis is re-living his old Students for a Democratic Society days as he basks in the glow of the nostalgia. Is Brian McLaren even aware of how much he sounds like old-fashioned, early 20th century social gospelers when he compares the latest social trend to the kingdom of God?

I sometimes wonder if they grasp just how out of date they really are; the leftists who operated in the pre-World War I era and pre-Soviet era could be excused to some extent because they had never seen the fruits of Communism (although they should have been warned by the orgy of violence that was the French Revolution). But to gush about "equality" and "building the kingdom" with secular protest movements today is to have one's feet embedded in the cement of nostalgia while the parade passes by.

Representing a newer generation of Evangelical liberal is Shane Claiborne, a winsome young white man who typically sports dreadlocks, a bandana, and a rustic smock, while proclaiming good news for the poor to attentive middle class evangelical students. "In a world where 1 percent of the world owns half the world's stuff, we are beginning to realize that there is enough for everyone's need, but there is not enough for everyone's greed," he recently insisted. "Lots of folks are beginning to say, 'Maybe God has a different dream for the world than the Wall Street dream.'"

The dubious statistic about the wicked "1 percent" aside, Claiborne speaks some truth. But he and the other religious enthusiasts for Wall Street aren't calling for individuals to shed their wealth for God's Kingdom. Of course, they primarily want an all powerful state to seize and redistribute wealth according to some imagined just formula, after which the lion will lie peaceably with the lamb. It's a utopian dream, not based on the Gospels, always monstrous when attempted, and premised more on resentment than godly generosity. But it's a message that will always have an audience in a covetous world.

What strikes me is the insight Tooley offers in the last sentence. Is it not transparently obvious that the whole appeal of the OWS protests to the ordinary, fuzzy-minded, college kids with iPhones and $100K of student load debt is nothing other than plain covetousness? The Gospel is about generosity; socialism is about forced redistribution. Why is this? Because the Gospel changes lives while socialism fiddles around with social structures. Socialism cannot make people generous; only the indwelling Spirit of God can do that.

But really, religious leaders promoting covetousness??? I suppose it is no stranger than religious leaders promoting fornication . . . or divorce . . . or murdering pre-born babies. Breaking the Ten Commandments seems to be just what the Religious Left does.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Clash of Civilizations - Between Christianity and the Dictatorship of Relativism

Todd Starnes of Fox News has a story on a lawsuit brought against Catholic University of America for being too . . . Catholic!
The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights confirmed that it is investigating allegations that Catholic University violated the human rights of Muslim students by not allowing them to form a Muslim student group and by not providing them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers.

he investigation alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism – e.g., a wooden crucifix, paintings of Jesus, pictures of priests and theologians which many Muslim students find inappropriate.”

A spokesperson for the Office of Human Rights told Fox News they had received a 60-page complaint against the private university. The investigation, they said, could take as long a six months.

Father Z gives this story a little fisking:

Muslims say crosses at Catholic University Violate “Human Rights”

The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights confirmed that it is investigating allegations that Catholic University violated the human rights of Muslim students by not allowing them to form a Muslim student group and by not providing them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers. [Lemme get this straight. They enroll in a Catholic University... and it isn't a surprise that it is "Catholic" given that it is called "Catholic University of America". Then they complain that there are Catholic symbols everywhere!]
The investigation alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism – e.g., a wooden crucifix, paintings of Jesus, pictures of priests and theologians which many Muslim students find inappropriate.” [Perhaps they should enroll at Islamic University of America?]

A spokesperson for the Office of Human Rights told Fox News they had received a 60-page complaint against the private university. The investigation, they said, could take as long a six months. [Could they have had a little help writing the complaint?]

The complaint was filed by John Banzhaf, an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School. [Ahhh,,,,] Banzhaf has been involved in previous litigation against the school involving the same-sex residence halls.
And Bill Donahue of the Catholic League puts this story in its proper context:

Catholic University of America is being sued by George Washington University professor John Banzhaf because it does not accommodate Muslim religious practices.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

John Banzhaf needs to be sued for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. He has no complainants—not a single Muslim at Catholic University has come to him complaining about seeing pictures of the pope or the display of crucifixes in campus buildings. Nor has a single Muslim registered a complaint with the administration of the university. This lawsuit, which follows a recent one filed by Banzhaf against Catholic University for moving towards single-sex dorms, stands not one iota of a chance of ultimately winning. Its purpose is to harass.

When Catholics enroll at Yeshiva University in New York City, they expect to see the Star of David and portraits of Moses. When Protestants enroll at the American Islamic College in Chicago, they expect to see the Crescent and Star and portraits of Muhammad. And when Muslims enroll at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., they expect to see crucifixes and portraits of Jesus. Those who attend these private schools and object to such displays need to leave and apply to a community college or a state university.

The impression is being left in the media that Muslim students are behind this assault on the First Amendment. It thus behooves Muslim leaders to denounce this lawsuit immediately. The bigot is Banzhaf, not Muslims.
The obvious lesson here is that things are often not what they seem at first glance. Critical reading of the news media is crucial to understanding contemporary events.

A story about persecution of Muslims . . . . . . turns into a story about militant Muslims demanding that a Catholic university compromise its faith . . . . . . . . turns into a story about a Catholic university being persecuted by a pro-nanny state liberal who decides what is in the public interest and uses lawfare to get it.

The clash of civilizations in this case is between the Judeo-Christian basis of Western civilization and the new barbarism that a certain, high-profile person labelled "the dictatorship of relativism."

W. B. Yeats and the Question of What Comes After Christianity in the West

Western culture has lost it soul. Its soul, of course, is Christianity. Twenty centuries of Christian influence on the West has produced a civilization which is, if not in a deep and profound sense Christian, nevertheless deeply and profoundly influenced by and shaped by Christian Faith. Augustinian Christianity holds that the City of God will never be realized perfectly on earth in the current age in the Church, in the State, or in the society in which a Christian Church and Christian State together guide the culture. Neither the State nor the Church can be completely purged of sin in this age; the City of God must descend out of heaven after the Return of Christ after this age comes to its conclusion.

Yet the sense in which Western civilization can be described as a "Christian civilization" is neither superficial nor trivial. There is a middle ground between the extremes of viewing Western civilization of merely co-opting Christianity to serve as a thin veneer over an essentially pagan essence and viewing Western civilization as the Kingdom of God on earth.

Western civilization is Christian, or rather, was Christian, in the sense in which it felt guilty for failing to live up to the moral standards of the Bible and this is neither trivial nor superficial. It is perhaps the deepest and most important way in which a civilization can be Christian in the present age between the first and second comings of Christ.

But now, Western civilization is crumbling because it has lost its collective faith. We see this process, named by sociologists as "secularization" and by political philosophers as "liberalism," beginning in the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century on the continent, delayed for a century by the Evangelical Awakening in Britain and America in the 18th century but coming to fruition in the 20th century in Europe and after the 1960s in North America.

Western civilization has no other religious-philosophical worldview or set of first principles to draw upon. The Enlightenment was a reaction against Christian metaphysics, epistemology and ethics and the embrace of the idea of equality as the sine qua non of morality. This idea of equality, combined with a romantic philosophical anthropology and a Utopian eschatology, led 19th century Marxists and 20th century Neo-Marxists to attack the Christian foundations of the West in the name of the new religion of Humanity.

The question of what is to come after Christianity remains murky. Surely they are correct who argue that post-Christian paganism will be extremely different from pre-Christian paganism because the former will have embedded within itself fragments of Christianity. Post-Christian paganism will have a conversionist zeal, a method of purification and redemption and a moralistic sternness that did not characterize the old, tired, paganism supplanted by Christianity in the first millennium of Western civilization.

We see a picture of what this post-Christian paganism looks like in the Nazi, Fascist and Communist movements of the 20th century. Liberalism degenerates into the will to power and the excrescences of religiosity left over after the death of orthodox Christian Faith degenerate into a bloodthirsty, neopagan, religious fanaticism.

I view W. B. Yeats' poem, The Second Coming, published in 1921, as prophetic.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The first 8 lines describe the anarchy, out-of-control violence and irrationality of the Great War. The "best" who lack all conviction are the secularized children of believers in Christ who believe in nothing more than liberal tolerance. The "worst" who are full of passionate intensity are those who are inflamed by nationalistic or simply bloodthirsty passions. We can see such people in charge by looking back to the French Revolution or forward to the rise of the Third Reich.

The next 8 lines look to the future; if Christian civilization died in the trenches of the Great War, what will replace it? No civilization can endure long without a soul; something must fill the void. A Second Coming must occur, but if Christian Faith is dead there can be no question of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ on the clouds of heaven in power and glory. That is precisely the Faith which has died. So whatever is to come must be an expression of the Spirit of the Age, which is antithetical to authentic Christian Faith.

The last 4 lines describe a new birth in Bethlehem, suggesting the founding event of a new religion that replaces the old, dead Christian Faith. What is born must incarnate the Spirit of the Age and therefore can be described as a "rough beast." It slouches toward Bethlehem to be born even now, but it has not been born yet. Out of the political, economic, religious, philosophical, ethical and military chaos - in short, civilizational chaos - of 1914-18 will emerge the "New Thing" that will replace, Christianity, the "Old Thing."

What happened in Nazi Germany is the logical expression of the decadence, madness and evil that fills a body whose soul has died. Old, Christian, Western civilization rose up one last time and spent nearly its last ounce of strength slaying the "rough beast" in World War II, but could only do so by making an alliance with another beast, which was nearly as bad. While the West could be said to have won the Cold War against Communism in a superficial, external sense, the tragic reality is that the Spirit of the Age - clothing itself in the ideal of Equality - has entered the Western bloodstream and infected it fatally.

Western civilization - Modernity - is dying. Europe is just playing out the string, while the United States fights for its life against the same infection that felled Europe. What comes next is difficult to describe because it is not a rational, logical, worldview like Christianity, but rather, the antitheses of such a worldview. It is the will to power with a clear conscience that is struggling to be born.

This all sounds extremely pessimistic and it is. But if one asks "Is there any hope?" the answer is always "Yes." But hope can only be found in that which the West has already rejected. Christianity is the only hope for the survival of Western civilization. We must not rule out the possibility of revival and rebirth because we are not fatalists or determinists. God's Providence is unpredictable and surprises may yet await us - especially in the United States where Christianity remains a living community of Faith.

But the rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born - whether it is called the Spirit of the Age, the Antichrist, the Will to Power or Neopaganism - has clearly been born and is fighting for control of Western civilization. Its nihilistic, romantic, Utopian, anarchistic lust for blood and the destruction of the social order is dangerous and demonic. Christians will have to resist it by being willing embrace martyrdom. Revival will entail war.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

7 Billion People on Planet Earth!

The Malthusian myth of overpopulation continues to grow in the fevered swamps of anti-humanism and radical environmentalism. (See here for a relatively tame example and here for a more aggressively anti-human one.) Many people are wringing their hands right now because we have just passed the 7 billion mark in the world's population. I am amazed at the number of people who think that we would all be happier and more prosperous if only we could cut the population in half.

In actual fact, the greatest crisis facing the world in the 21st century is the specter of population decline, with all the wars, economic disasters and drops in living standards likely to accompany such a calamity.

If you don't understand the statistics, here is a great little two minute video which explains how the world's population is on pace to peak by the mid-21st century and then decline sharply.

For more information on population studies, go here.

In a nation of stagnant population (such as Japan) there is also economic stagnation. In a nation that is declining in population (such as Russia) there are even worse economic problems. Economic stagnation leads to cultural decline but economic instability leads to social unrest, dictatorships and war. In a nation where men vastly outnumber women (such as China) the likely outcome is some sort of war of conquest or even civil war.

Seven billion people does not feel crowded to me; the anti-human hype is just part of the culture of death. The reality is that we need to have an average of 2.1 children per woman just to maintain population levels and in over 70 countries we do not have that high a fertility rate. We are aborting and contracepting ourselves out of existence and disobeying the Divine command to be fruitful and multiply. This is nothing short of collective suicide and the fact that it will take several generations to accomplish should not make it acceptable.

Think about it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Defund Abortion Rally

On Oct. 23 a rally was held at Queen's Park to protest the use of taxpayer funds for abortions. It was sponsored by Campaign Life Coalition and featured mostly young people. About 2300 people attended, but I heard no word of it in the secular media. Here is a taste of the rally:

The contrast with the Occupy Wall Street nonsense is stark. Since the mainstream media share the anti-capitalist worldview of the OWS crowd, they are guaranteed favorable national coverage on a nightly basis.

We need to push this issue harder and force the media to notice. I think we greatly underestimate how many Canadians hate the scourge of abortion and wish it could be stopped. It is time for Evangelicals to get involved in swelling the numbers of the annual March For Life in Ottawa in May.

Richard Dawkins is a Coward

Tim Stanley has a nice piece on Richard Dawkins cowardly refusal to meet William Lane Craig in public debate about the existence of God. Presumably Dawkins has access to the internet and has watched a few YouTube videos of Craig making mincemeat out of atheist philosopher wannabes. No wonder he is desperately seeking excuses to avoid what would surely be a world class humiliation.

Stanley writes in the Daily Telegraph:

Finally, Richard Dawkins has given his reasons for refusing to debate the American theologian William Lane Craig. We have waited a long time for this. The invitation to discuss the existence of God at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre was extended to Dawkins many months ago. Craig is an excellent speaker who has made mincemeat out of better men, including Christopher Hitchens. He has a witty, deliberate style that often makes his opponents look (and probably feel) a little ridiculous. Therefore, everyone just presumed that Dawkins refused to debate Craig because he’s scared. He is, after all, only human (or a talking monkey, depending on your point of view).

But Dawkins is a proud man (or arrogant chimp), and the accusation of cowardice probably ate at him from within. Finally, on Thursday, he gave a proper excuse for his no show to The Guardian. Its intellectual emptiness says so much about his particular brand of atheism.

It seems that Dawkins has been doing a little internet trolling. He has dug up an online debate in which William Lane Craig apparently defends the massacre of a city of heathen Canaanites ordered by God in Deuteronomy 20:13-15. “Listen to Craig,” Dawkins writes, as if imagining Craig were a demon sitting on his shoulder. “He begins by arguing that the Canaanites were debauched and sinful and therefore deserved to be slaughtered. He then notices the plight of the Canaanite children [and concludes] … ‘We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.’” Dawkins writes that he is so disgusted with Craig's thesis that he cannot possibly agree to meet him in person. “Do not plead that I have taken these revolting words out of context," he adds. "What context could possibly justify them?”

Actually, the context is called “Christian apologetics”, and it’s been around for centuries. It's the attempt by scholars to present a rational basis for belief in God. Part of that process is running difficult bits of the Bible past the tests of reason and ethics. To return to the entire post that Dawkins quotes from (because, contrary to what he wrote, context does matter to a serious thinker), Craig begins thus: “These stories offend our moral sensibilities. Ironically, however, our moral sensibilities in the West have been largely, and for many people unconsciously, shaped by our Judaeo-Christian heritage, which has taught us the intrinsic value of human beings, the importance of dealing justly rather than capriciously, and the necessity of the punishment’s fitting the crime. The Bible itself inculcates the values which these stories seem to violate.”

Ergo, Craig’s purpose in writing this piece is to unravel the paradox of a moral Bible that also includes lashings of apparently random violence. Craig stresses that these passages of the Bible are difficult for us to read because we are not of the age in which they are written – they are just as alien to us as Beowulf or the Iliad. That’s because Christian society has been shaped by the rules of life outlined in the New Testament, not in the section of The Bible in which this massacre occurs. Far from using this passage to celebrate the slaughter of heathen, Craig is making the point that the revelation of God’s justice has changed over time. The horrors of the Old Testament have been rendered unnecessary by Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. That’s why the idiots who protest the funerals of gay soldiers or blow up abortion clinics aren’t just cruel, they’re bad theologians.

The irony is that Dawkins is outraged - outraged I tell you - about Canaanite babies 3500 years ago, but he thinks that blood-stained abortion clinics all over a modern country like Britain are perfectly normal and necessary. He is a total prisoner of intellectual fashion and thinks that the offending of modern sensibilities is the sine qua non of what constitutes a knock-down Linkargument. It is the equivalent of "Well, all the best sort think this way, you know darling."

That he uses such a transparent dodge to evade being decimated by a debater who simply knows far more about philosophy and theology than he will ever know would be excusable if it were not for Dawkins' air of smug Oxbridge superiority, which he assumes with regard to ordinary Christians.

He is the classic school yard bully who runs home to momma when the older brother comes back to invite him to pick on someone his own size.

"The fool has said in his heart that there is no God" . . . and he refuses to debate opponents who are too smart.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Global Warming Alarmism as a Religious Movement

Michael Barone has a very good article at Real Clear Politics on the religious character of the global warming movement entitled: "Cult of Global Warming Losing Influence".

Religious faith is a source of strength in many people's lives. But religious faith when taken too far can prove ludicrous -- or disastrous. . . .

They have an unshakeable faith that manmade carbon emissions will produce a hotter climate, causing multiple natural disasters. Their insistence that we can be absolutely certain this will come to pass is based not on science -- which is never fully settled, witness the recent experiments that may undermine Albert Einstein's theory of relativity -- but on something very much like religious faith.

All the trappings of religion are there. Original sin: Mankind is responsible for these prophesied disasters, especially those slobs who live on suburban cul-de-sacs and drive their SUVs to strip malls and tacky chain restaurants.

The need for atonement and repentance: We must impose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, which will increase the cost of everything and stunt economic growth.

Ritual, from the annual Earth Day to weekly recycling.

Indulgences, like those Martin Luther railed against: private jet-fliers like Al Gore and sitcom heiress Laurie David can buy carbon offsets to compensate for their carbon-emitting sins.

Corporate elitists, like General Electric's Jeff Immelt, profess to share this faith, just as cynical Venetian merchants and prim Victorian bankers gave lip service to the religious enthusiasms of their days. Bad for business not to. And if you're clever, you can figure out how to make money off it.

Believers in this religion have flocked to conferences in Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto and Copenhagen, just as Catholic bishops flocked to councils in Constance, Ferrara and Trent, to codify dogma and set new rules.

But like the Millerites, the global warming clergy has preached apocalyptic doom -- and is now facing an increasingly skeptical public. The idea that we can be so completely certain of climate change 70 to 90 years hence that we must inflict serious economic damage on ourselves in the meantime seems increasingly absurd.

If carbon emissions were the only thing affecting climate, the global-warming alarmists would be right. But it's obvious that climate is affected by many things, many not yet fully understood, and implausible that SUVs will affect it more than variations in the enormous energy produced by the sun.

Skeptics are often denounced as anti-science, but it is not anti-science to be skeptical. The heart of the scientific method is skepticism; without it science could not progress. Skeptics are not saying that there is no global warming; obviously, global warming has been going on since the last ice age. And skeptics do not deny that human activity affects the environment, though to what degree is less clear.

What skeptics are saying is a bit more complicated than a sound bite or slogan. They are saying is that there is no way to be sure that we know exactly how the climate will change in the future because we do not understand clearly enough all the factors that influence climate change. Given the limits of science at the moment, it makes more sense to keep researching and put money into mitigating the effects of climate change as necessary, rather than seriously harming our economy in an attempt to reduce human effects on climate that may or may not be decisive for climate.

Barone puts this well:

In recent years, we have seen how negative to 2 percent growth hurts many, many people, as compared to what happens with 3 to 7 percent growth. So we're much less willing to adopt policies that will slow down growth not just for a few years but for the indefinite future.

Media, university and corporate elites still profess belief in global warming alarmism, but moves toward policies limiting carbon emissions have fizzled out, here and abroad. It looks like we'll dodge the fate of the Millerites, the children's crusaders and the Mahdi's cavalrymen.

If we have protesters in the streets because of the recent recession, imagine an economic slowdown worse than what we have experienced being made permanent by deliberate government policy - and then imagine the anger.

No wonder governments have seen fit to back off the extreme measures being pushed by the environmentalist movement.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So How is That Lovely Anarchy Working Out in NYC?

New York Magazine has an interesting article entitled: "The Organizers vs. the Organized in Zuchotti Park" in which the "order" that is supposed to arise organically from the bottom up is not exactly producing a society of love, harmony, equality and peace. I read Orwell's Animal Farm a month or so ago and it occurs to me that it is no wonder that book has been so widely read. Life resembles it. [my comments in square brackets and in red]

All occupiers are equal — but some occupiers are more equal than others. [Remember? "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others?"] In wind-whipped Zuccotti Park, new divisions and hierarchies are threatening to upend Occupy Wall Street and its leaderless collective. [divisions and, gasp!, hierarchies arising spontaneously in the midst of people who deny that hierarchies are necessary - say it ain't so, Uncle Karl!]

As the protest has grown, some of the occupiers have spontaneously taken charge on projects large and small. But many of the people in Zuccotti Park aren't taking direction well, [you don't say!] leading to a tense Thursday of political disagreements, the occasional shouting match, and at least one fistfight.

It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons weren’t sitting well with the neighborhood’s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters.

“[The high school] couldn’t teach,” explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out," said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.

But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly. [Forced? You mean like unpopular health care legislation being forced through Congress? But, I thought this was the alternative to that . . . I'm confused.]

“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music," said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it ... they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.” [She wasn't named Nancy Pelosi, was she? It could have been a disguise.]

To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest," he said. "They didn’t even give the drummers a say ... Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.” [I feel like occupying something to express how much I ache for the poor, oppressed drummers.]

The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting." [Can you say anything worse to a person in that movement? A low blow indeed.]

All belongings and money in the park are supposed to be held in common, but property rights reared their capitalistic head when facilitators went to clean up the park, which was looking more like a shantytown than usual after several days of wind and rain. [Is it just me or do I detect a faint note of sarcasm in this sentence? I mean, this is the mainstream media, after all. They are not supposed to take the Revolution lightly or fail to support it in every possible respect.] The local community board was due to send in an inspector, so the facilitators and cleaners started moving tarps, bags, and personal belongings into a big pile in order to clean the park.

But some refused to budge. A bearded man began to gather up a tarp and an occupier emerged from beneath, screaming: “You’re going to break my f******* tent, get that s*** off!” Near the front of the park, two men in hoodies staged a meta-sit-in, fearful that their belongings would be lost or appropriated.

Daniel Zetah, a 35-year-old lead facilitator from Minnesota, mounted a bench. “We need to clear this out. There are a bunch of kids coming to stay here.” One of the hoodied men fought back: “I’m not giving up my space for f******* kids. They have parents and homes. My parents are dead. This is my space.” [I don't think he understands socialism. So many people don't at the moment they are being asked to sacrifice for the Revolution.]

Other organizers were more blunt. “If you don’t want to be part of this group, then you can just leave,” yelled a facilitator in a button-down shirt, “Every week we clean our house.” Seth Harper, the pro-drummer proletarian, chimed in on the side of the sitters. “We disagree on how we should clean it. A lot of us disagree with the pile.” Zetah, tall and imposing with a fiery red beard, closed debate with a sigh. “We’re all big boys and girls. Let’s do this.” As he told me afterwards, “A lot of people are like spoiled children." [Light shines into the darkness!] The cure? A cold snap. “Personally, I cannot wait for winter. It will clear out these people who aren’t here for the right reasons. Bring on the snow. The real revolutionaries will stay in -50 degrees.”

“The sunshine protestors will leave,” said “Zonkers,” [Is he for real, or is he a refugee from a comic strip?] a 20-year-old cleaner and longtime occupier from Tennessee. (He asked that his name not be used due to a felony marijuana conviction.) “The people who remain are the people who care. You get a lot of crust punks, silly kids, people who want to panhandle ... It disgusts me. These people are here for a block party.”

Another argument broke out next to the pile of appropriated belongings, growing taller by the minute. A man named Sage Roberts desperately rifled through the pile, looking for a sleeping bag. “They’ve taken my stuff,” he muttered. Lauren Digion, the sanitation group leader, broke in: “This isn’t your stuff. You got all this stuff from comfort [the working group]. It belongs to comfort.” [It belongs to the pigs. They hold it in trust for all the animals.]

And as I spoke to Michael Glaser, a 26-year-old Chicagoan helping lead winter preparation efforts, a physical fight broke out between a cleaner and a camper just feet from us.

“When cleanups happen, people get mad,” Glaser said. “This is its own city. Within every city there are people who freeload, who make people’s lives miserable. We just deal with it. We can’t kick them out.” [Its true - irony is dead!]

In response to dissatisfaction with the consensus General Assembly, many facilitators have adopted a new “spokescouncil” model, which allows each working group to act independently without securing the will of the collective. “This streamlines it,” argued Zonkers. “The GA is unwieldy, cumbersome, and redundant." [Oh my goodness; they have already got bureaucracy! That is obviously making their lives better and happier.]

From today’s battles, it’s not yet clear who will win the day: the organizers or the organized. But the month-long protest has clearly grown and evolved to a point where a truly leaderless movement will risk eviction — or, worse, insurrection.

As the communal sleeping bag argument between Lauren Digion and Sage Roberts threatened to get out of hand, a facilitator in a red hat walked by, brow furrowed. “Remember? You’re not allowed to do any more interviews,” he said to Digion. She nodded and went back to work. But when Roberts shouted, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Digion couldn't hold back.

“Someone has to be told what to do," she said. "Someone needs to give orders. There’s no sense of order in this f******* place.” [But once you abolish "civilization" and demolish hierarchies, the order will bubble up spontaneously from below and it will be better, much better, than what we have now. It's true. I read it on a website.]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lech Walesa Says "No Way" to Occupy Wall Street

Lech Walesa was rumored to be heading to New York to address the Occupy Wall Street protest, but it turns out that once he found out the true nature of the organizations behind it he backed out - in a hurry. From the Big Government blog:

The Polish champion of freedom and liberty, founder of Solidarity, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, and first President of modern Poland Lech Walesa had been rumored to possibly be traveling to New York to stand with Occupy Wall Street protesters. Press accounts reporting this “breathless” news had given all of us pause.

We suspected that the European news media had filtered out accurate information about the genesis of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).

When Walesa’s comments hit the AP wire last week, my team immediately reached out to our Polish contacts. We made the point that the political themes of Occupy Wall Street may have started out with some of the principles that we share, but OWS themes were rapidly being morphed into anti-freedom and anti-liberty messages. At the core is the want for a big, powerful central government to dominate the lives of individual citizens.

Using plus other news sources, rapidly we painted an accurate picture of the groups training, leading, and organizing the “movement.” The movement is organized by anarchists, Code Pink, the American Communist movement, jihadists, anti-Israel, socialist, and anti- free enterprise interests. OWS folks are politically to the left of President Barack Obama.

At the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation in Warsaw, they were thankful to receive this information.

Based on our discussion and intervention, President Walesa is not going to get involved with the OWS. He is not comfortable with the “organizations” behind the movement. It was not a difficult discussion.

The lifetime of good work exercised by President Walesa has lifted people around the world fighting tyranny. Through the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation in Warsaw, Walesa has supported freedom and liberty around the world. As a man primarily responsible for vanquishing communism in Poland, Walesa has a personal bent toward helping the underdog and the downtrodden.

This spring, when President Obama visited Poland, President Walesa refused to meet with him.

Lech Walesa is a genuine hero of resistance to the totalitarian state. Getting him to speak would have been a tremendous propaganda coup. But unfortunately for the leftists behind the movement he has been around the block a couple of times and isn't going to fall for their tricks.

I especially noted the part about President Walesa refusing to meet with President Obama. Obama has treated Poland abominably over the whole missile defense system issue. A free Poland should be a valued ally of the West and the US in particular.

Maybe we ought to be as concerned as Lech Walesa about the hard left manipulation of the OWS protest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If You Want to Spout Modernist Heresy, Leave Jesus Out of It

I was recently asked by a reader about the website, "Jesus Radicals" and their teaching on anarchism. So I went there and did some reading. Here is what jumped out at me.

1. Socialism: Under the "Economics" tab they say:

Classical anarchism is socialist. That means the the means of production should be owned by the workers and all decisions that affect their work (salaries, what to produce and how, etc) should be made by the workers as well, not a boss. These two pillars would significantly reduce the gap between rich and poor and and also go a long way towards a more egalitarian and democratic society.

A recent example of anarchist economics is developed by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel in the late 1990′s, called participatory economics (parecon for short). They envisioned this economic model as an alternative to capitalist market economies as well as state-based socialism. Participatory economics would strive for human and worker solidarity (rather than isolation and selfishness), equality (rather than disparity), and self-management (rather than having a boss) . . .

This type of anarchist vision is in stark contrast to capitalist free market economies where workers have little say in their own pay, hours, what they produce, and experience an instability in their work since their jobs could be moved at any time if a more profitable location were discovered by the owners, who exploit their labor for profit.
This is the exact opposite of the truth. Ask the workers of the former Soviet Union how much choice workers have in where they work and working conditions under socialism. Under capitalism, workers can individually choose to move from job to job according to what wages and benefits are offered and working conditions. Under socialism these decisions are made by groups over which the individual worker has virtually no control. Socialism is an idea that does not work in reality.

Socialism is bad for everybody. Wherever it has been tried the result has been increased poverty, atheism and tyranny. Socialism is old news; these folk need to get out of the 19th century.

2. Civilization: On this topic the so-called "Jesus Radicals" reach back behind Marx to another figure who is highly influential on modern thought: J. J. Rousseau.
We risk the extinction of all species so we can have momentary comforts. Thus, “green anarchism,” or “anarcho-primitivism,” traces the origins of the problem lie far back in human history with the first domestication of plant and nonhuman animal life. Repeating much of what anthropology has known for years, green anarchism shows that agriculture was the first step in human exploitation of the earth and one another. It was out of this sedentary existence that patriarchy, war, and other forms of social domination arose. As such, we ought to be looking at what anthropologists have found out about nomadic bands. Though not completely free from all violence, many of these bands have never known warfare and are arranged in an egalitarian fashion. There are no kings and rulers amongst them who dominate.

Thus, civilization is a target of green anarchism because at its root, civilization is inherently violent and sets up various relationships of domination.
This is utter, romantic, heretical nonsense. It is actually a heretical doctrine of the Fall of man, in which the Fall occurred not because of disobedience to the law of God but because of the rise of civilization. Thus the nature of sin is relocated from the human heart to the structures of society. Thus, social reform can overcome sin and that is why anarchism advocates the tearing down of the carefully built up structures of civilization that prevent social destructiveness.

People who advocate tearing down civilization are enemies of the people. They are dangerous, but fortunately not numerous enough to put their destructive ideas into practice. But they bearing watching.

Much of what is on this site is inconsistent with the historic Christian faith. All of it is derived from modern thought, which has been drifting further and further away from the Bible and orthodoxy for centuries now.

I saw nothing on this site dealing with Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross for our sins or the need to confess, repent and believe the good news that Jesus died for us so we could be saved. I saw nothing about the need to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but plenty about typical, boring, secular, left-wing ideas from environmentalism to feminism to revolutionary politics.

So what do they mean by Jesus? Is it the Jesus of the New Testament? Is it the Jesus of the orthodox creeds? Is it the Jesus of traditional Christianity? No, "Jesus" here is a symbol used to baptize left-wing secular thought. "Jesus" as used on this site means "an evocative religious word that symbolizes to us the best intentions of modern radicalism."

But the road to hell is paved with our best intentions.

An Occupy LA Organizer Refuses to Condemn Anti-Semitism: Defends it as Free Speech

If you are going to protest and call for change, you have to be against some things and for some things. The OWS movement is quickly losing credibility by refusing to be honest about what it wants. They hide behind "democracy" and claim that no one person can speak for the group, which means that they don't officially want anything. Well, they got nothing. So why don't they go home now? They got exactly what they wanted.

The point is that OWS is not really interested in participating in the democratic process; they actually want to subvert it. Well, fine if that is what they want they are an enemy of all democratic people and we need to keep them under control so they don't succeed. Hitler succeeded in subverting democracy and so did Lenin. But we won't let it happen here.

The other day an OWS protester was filmed spouting Nazi-like anti-Semitic garbage. She was a part-time teacher with the LA School Board. She has now been fired, which is appropriate.

But in this clip from a local LA news station, she is unrepentant. The clip also features an interview with an "organizer" of Occupy LA, who is asked to denounce her. The organizer refuses.

Now if you asked the organizer to denounce the banks or the 1% she would, of course, have no problem doing so. Why? Because there is consensus in the OWS movement. But she won't denounce anti-Semitism. Why not? Obviously, there must not be consensus about that issue.

So this seems to me to establish quite clearly that anti-Semitism is (1) present in the OWS movement and (2) tolerated in the OWS movement.

Therefore, I denounce the OWS movement as immoral, hateful and prejudiced and I call on all moral people to do the same.

Can anyone see any flaws in this reasoning?

Officially Going Pelagian: Let's Get it Out in the Open

It has been some time since we last checked in with the Episcopal Church in the US, which continues to implode and decline at a rapid rate.

The latest development is the move by some in the Diocese of Atlanta to officially adopt Pelagian heresy as the official doctrine of the Church. David Virtue of Virtue Online reports:
If the Rev. Benno D. Pattison, Rector, the Church of the Epiphany in Atlanta, has his way, the 5th Century heretic Pelagius, declared so by the Council of Carthage, will be reinstated at the next and final Diocese of Atlanta annual meeting presided over by Bishop Neil Alexander.

Nearly 500 clergy members and parish delegates will gather in Rome (Georgia) Nov. 4-5 for the 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta and vote on reinstating Pelagius who denied original sin as well as Christian grace.

Pelagius was an ascetic who denied the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him, the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid. He denied the doctrine of original sin as developed by Augustine of Hippo. Pelagius was declared a heretic. His interpretation of a doctrine of free will became known as Pelagianism.

According to Pattison, the historical record of Pelagius's contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire and their ecclesiastical dominance. "An understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition."

Pattison wants to see Pelagius's "restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God's creation, and that the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans.

"The church needs to reclaim his voice in our tradition," concluded Pattison.
Of course, the issue isn't "reclaiming his voice." That is entirely unnecessary as the voice of the Episcopal Church been loudly Pelagian for years now. The point is, rather, to openly embrace heresy and make it official.

I can't help but thinking this is a good thing. It gets tiresome listening to these Anglican/Episcopal bishops running around mouthing submission to the ecumenical creeds as a pro forma matter all the while trashing the Great Tradition of Christian orthodoxy by their actions. This at least has the virtue of openness and honesty.

Persecuting the orthodox has already begun in South Carolina, so to make it official is to let everybody know exactly where things stand. I suppose making Arius a saint and openly repudiating Athanasius and the Nicene Creed can't be far off for this formerly Christian sect. When your "church" has no problem with John Spong, Pelagius and Arius don't seem like a stretch.

If You are Thankful for Your Job, Hug a Billionaire

OWS and the Obama administration are continuing their juvenile class warfare rhetoric designed to trick the stupid into thinking they really care about poor people and the middle class. But the more they talk about how much money they should allow the "millionaires and billionaires" to keep, the more they resemble a gang of thieves sitting around talking about how much stuff they should take when they break into your house tonight and how much they should leave in place.

A healthy society is a free society and in a healthy, free society there will be more millionaires and billionaires every year. This is a good thing and a sign of a prosperous society. In a static or declining society the number of millionaires and billionaires will stay the same or shrink year by year and that is not a good society for anybody to live in.

Millionaires and billionaires (hereafter M&B's) play an essential role in the economy and in a capitalistic society there is an incentive for them to invest their wealth in socially beneficial ways rather than hoarding it. The capital gains tax is too high in the US right now, which discourages risky investment in the kind of start-up companies that could employ more people if given a chance to succeed. But Warren Buffet wants to increase it further, which would be sure to increase unemployment. Yet he is seen by socialists as a hero! This is nonsensical.

Look, when a person goes to invest his money there are lots of blue chip stocks and bonds that offer low to moderate returns and little risk. There are also other possible investments in start-up companies or ones that want to expand. They offer a possibility of high returns but say 3 out of every 5 will go bankrupt. So in order for it to be worthwhile investing in the risky options the return on the investment in the 2 of 5 risky businesses that don't go bankrupt will have to be higher than the safe return on blue chip stocks and bonds. The rate at which this investment will be taxed is crucial. It is one of the big variables in deciding what is rational to do. It is a matter of math, not emotion.

So, if a country has lots of M&B's and a low capital gains rate, then its small businesses that want to start up or expand will have a ready pool of investment capital available and the result will be job creation, which is good for the poor and the middle class. But if a country decides to tax the M&B's down to middle class levels with high capital gains and other taxes, then the economy will stagnate, which is bad for the poor and the middle class.

Giving a few hundred dollars to middle class people, as Obama wants to do by extending the payroll tax break, does nothing to provide investment capital for small businesses. That money will get saved, used to pay down debt or, in the best scenario, spent on consumer goods. The most it can do to help the economy in the short term is to stimulate demand for consumer goods. But it cannot help spur investment.

The problem is that OWS and the Democrats are framing this issue in emotional/moral terms. They claim it is an issue of fairness. Do you want to help the M&B's save money or do you want to help struggling middle class families? But it is not that simple. What if the best way to help provide employment is to stimulate investment by lowering the capital gains tax? But that messes up the overly-simplistic narrative the liberals/socialists construct to justify higher the taxes needed to pay for increasing entitlement programs.

Every time I hear the "Tax the 1%" meme, I feel personally threatened. I feel as though someone is out to destroy the economy and create the kind of conditions in which I could, potentially, lose my job. The war against the rich is really a war against the middle class and it is based on emotional manipulation, rather than reason. The people who are involved in it may be sincere, but they are much too gullible.

Maybe economics should be a compulsory subject in high school and maybe we ought to start purging socialists out of our universities so that free market principles once again dominate the curriculum. OWS and liberal/socialist propaganda is getting out of hand and people are getting hurt.

In the meantime, if you are thankful for your job, hug a millionaire or billionaire. Or at least don't demonize them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Greed is Not Limited to the One Percent

Tasha Kheiriddin has an excellent column in the National Post today entiled: "Greed Doesn't Stop at the 1%" She begins:

Oh, that nasty 1%. Based on the global protests inspired by Occupy Wall Street, they are the source of all the world’s ills. The placards say it all: “End corporate greed”; “Paycheques not credit card bills”; “Banks for the 99%!”

But what about that 99%? What responsibility do they bear for the situation the world finds itself in? The answer is: plenty. Greed doesn’t just live on Wall Street: it finds a home on Main Street too. And when people think it’s perfectly OK to take out mortgages they can’t afford, or rack up credit card debt to buy flat screen TVs, clothes and appliances, or draw on their home’s equity to finance cars and vacations, well, as they say, you reap what you sow.

Of course, there are people who are hurting as a result of the recession through no fault of their own, she goes on to note:

Yes, there are many people who legitimately struggle to make ends meet. Who work two jobs at minimum wage, who eschew things many consumers take for granted – cable TV, a car – and who watch every penny. For them, I have sympathy: they are the collateral damage of the market meltdown, as jobs dried up and wages stagnated.

But you only have to crack open the business pages, or watch a reality TV show like Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s “Princess” (about heavily indebted young women) to start questioning the moral purity of the 99%. Many of these people are the authors of their own misery: they consider credit to be cheap, if not free, money. The result is that even here in Canada, the ratio of household debt to personal income has hit a whopping 150%, up 78% in real terms in the past twenty years.

This is the problem: many of the OWS protesters are people who have been personally irresponsible and now want big government to bail them out. Any recent graduate of a Canadian university who has a $50,000+ student loan is irresponsible. That represents the financing of a lifestyle, not an education.

The reality of the world is that there are always going to be many good things that some people cannot afford - or cannot afford without self-denial, hard work and delayed gratification. That is reality and many OWS protesters seem to be in denial - not of self, but of reality.

Kheiriddin goes on:

Sure, it’s easy to blame the Wall Street CEOs for bundling rotten mortgages and contriving arcane debt instruments that weren’t worth the paper they were written on. But someone took out those mortgages. Millions of people, actually, who bought more house than they could afford. Did someone hold a gun to their head? No. They were just as greedy as the 1%, only on a smaller scale.

Governments are also just as guilty. In the U.S., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac granted mortgages to people deemed disadvantaged – minorities, the poor – in the hopes of increasing home ownership. This spurred the private sector to compete and fuelled the infamous subprime mortgage market.

This part is important. Several US administrations, going back to Clinton, have attempted to defy economic reality and common sense by pressuring banks to give mortgages to people who can't afford them. In the name of increasing rates of minority home ownership they have pushed for smaller down payments, longer terms and lower financial qualifications. This does not help minorities. It does not help anyone. What would constitute really helping minorities would be a growing economy in which they could actually qualify for mortgages under the old rules. But liberals cried "racism" at anyone who challenged them and the eventual result was the subprime mortgage crisis.

The subprime mortgage crisis was the main driver of the 2008 financial crisis. The problem was that too many financial institutions held worthless mortgages they had paid a lot of money for and they faced losses that threatened to sink them. They demanded that the government bail them out (using tax payer's money) because it was government that created the mess in the first place (which it was).

The moral of the story is that the old mortgage rules should have been kept in place. As a matter of fact, they were kept in place in Canada and you didn't hear about any banks failing in Canada, did you?

So it was government, coupled with individual greed, that created the mess. Wall St. just went along for the ride and it was no wonder government was so quick to bail them out. That way government can pass off blame for creating the mess to Wall St., which doesn't need to get re-elected.

That is how the world works. But the lesson is that we don't have too much capitalism; the lesson is that we don't have enough capitalism. If we had a real capitalist system the banks would have been allowed to go bankrupt, their profitable assets would have been bought up cheap by their competitors and the system would go on. But we don't have real capitalism; we have cronyism instead. If we actually had real capitalism there would have been no crisis in 2008 because the government would have stayed out of the regulating banks into giving mortgages to people who didn't qualify and there would have been no subprime mortgage crisis.

The point is that greed is indeed a problem, but greed is not limited to the 1%.

Anti-Semitism and Anti-Capitalism Always Go Together

Defenders of OWS claim that the many video clips circulating on the internet of anti-Jewish signs and OWS protesters spouting anti-Semitic garbage do not represent the movement as a whole. Well, they might not represent you in particular, but if you are an OWS supporter the fact is that they do represent the movement you have chosen to identify with. The mainstream media is maintaining a discrete silence about the anti-Semitism because it wishes to aid the protesters, who align with their left-wing, anti-capitalist, anti-Israel biases.

Here is a post from Big Government reporting on how OWS Chicago joined in an anti-Israel protest organized by Code Pink, the Gay Liberation Network and the ANSWER Coalition.

Here is another post from Big Government on Lisa Fithian, a union organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union, the Teamsters, the UAW and the SEIU. On May 31, 2010, she led an anti-Israel demonstration. Video of her rants is included in this post and the following comment is given:

The footage above was shot on May 31, 2010 and features Lisa Fithian shouting through a megaphone, accusing the state of Israel of “slaughter[ing] Palestinians every single day.” As Fithian, organizer of the Democratic Party’s new favorite mass protest, looks on, a menacing man decked out in a Palestinian keffiyeh leads her activists in the chant:

“Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea!”

You don’t need a degree in geography to know what that means. From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea there lies a small nation named Israel. If “Palestine” were to be free within those geographic boundaries, that would mean the destruction of Israel– America’s most reliable Middle East ally, and the only true democracy in the entire region.

But the vile chants under Fithian’s leadership don’t stop there. The mindless robotic herd is also led in the chilling chant:

“Long live Intifada!”

The intifada that the Fithian troops pine for is the bloody terrorist war waged upon innocent Israelis, the latest incarnation of which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 (mostly civilian) Israelis–not to mention thousands of Palestinians killed (most of whom were combatants).

As President Barack Obama, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and other Democratic Party leaders line up with the Fithian-led “Occupy” protesters, they might want to consider that they are supporting a movement headed by a woman who organizes and leads radicals who want Israel eliminated from the map.

Fithian is a moving force behind the OWS protests, which are not spontaneous uprisings nor are they a mass movement. They are organized and funded by the hard left in America and other countries and they use unemployed young people and college students as their dupes.

But as this post from reminds us, anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism have been historically associated with one another since before Marx.

It’s a long history. As New American columnist Daniel Sayani points out, the OWS, despite self-professed notions that they are leading a new movement “are merely perpetuating the socialist belief that Jews are to blame for ‘social injustice,’ an idea that began with Proudhon.” Proudhon was a self-professed anarchist who published What is Property? Or, An Inquiry Into the Principle of Right and Government in 1840. He inspired Karl Marx, who maintained a years-long correspondence with the author. In 1844, Marx himself wrote “On the Jewish Question,” (alternatively entitled “A World Without Jews”) in which he blames the Jews for the same “income inequality” and “dollar worship” that irks many of today’s protesters.

Furthermore, Sayani points out, the American Left’s favorite economist, John Maynard Keynes, whose economic policies “of bailouts, central banking, and massive governmental intervention to ‘stabilize’ output over the business cycle” was himself an anti-Semite who once stated, “It is not agreeable to see civilization so under the ugly thumbs of its impure Jews who have all the money and the power and brains.”

No Christian should have anything to do with OWS, which is a hateful and negative movement that uses naive people who have grievances to advance a worldview that is opposed to Christianity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Review of "The Communist Hypothesis" by Alain Badiou

For those of you who live a sheltered life, I have news for you: there really are real, live Communists alive and kicking today. Yes, real, live, actual "let's start the revolution, take over the government and the media, and then kill all the capitalists" type Communists. While it may be true that most people consider Communism to be passe, the supposedly dead corpse roams the earth refusing to die like a zombie out of a horror movie.

In fact, it is dangerous to think that the idea of Communism is dead when it has just gone partially underground inside the universities of the West and in the minds of many union activists, communist party activists, plus various people in many left-wing organizations including feminist and environmentalist organizations.

A vague version of the basic idea of communism continues to lurk in the minds of many people today, including those who have accepted the failure of actual communist states in the 20th century. The basic idea is that, in a just society, income ought to be basically equal and so everyone deserves to be supported by the government whether they work or not and taxing the rich is justified - in fact morally mandated - as the means to this end. It is a grave mistake to think that this basic idea of communism no longer powers action in our world just because the Soviet Union has collapsed. It is particularly dangerous to think this can be accomplished without violence and economic collapse.

It is the idea of communism that forms the subject of Alain Badiou's book: The Communist Hypothesis. Badiou is a French intellectual, writer and university professor who occupies a position on the political spectrum to the left of the Communist Party of France. A lot of people probably wouldn't even believe that there is anything to the left of the Communist Party of France! But there is and it is called Maoism. Badiou's book is even published in a small, red, hardback format reminiscent of Mao's Little Red Book.

In the middle of the 20th century Communism was in crisis. the crisis was caused by Nikita Khrushchev, who gave his famous "secret speech" to the Twentieth Party Congress on February 25, 1956 in which he exposed and denounced the purges of Stalin and purportedly inaugurated a "less repressive era" in the Soviet Union. This turned what had been a moral crisis into a public relations or propaganda crisis and led to a number of responses in world communism.

First, most of the Communist Parties in the West divided into Stalinist and non-Stalinist factions. The non-Stalinists claimed that what happened under Stalin in the USSR was not "true Communism" and tried to maintain some critical distance from the Soviet Union thereafter.

Second, some Communists underwent an intense struggle of conscience which ended with their conversion to liberalism and capitalism such as Whittaker Chambers.

Third, some of those previously sympathetic to the USSR in the West responded by becoming social democrats or democratic socialism. They attempted to distinguish between socialism and communism and tried to maintain an appreciation for Marx while viewing the Soviet experiment as the betrayal of Marx. Communists were thus Marxist-Leninists, while the non-communists were Marxian socialists. They often called themselves "Neo-Marxists" to stress the difference.

Fourth, there was the rise of the New Left in America in the early 1960s. They were more influenced by the "critical theory" of the Frankfurt School and cultural Marxism than they were by communism per se. They attempted to re-formulate Marxism in a new age by focusing on oppressed minorities, Third world people struggling for liberation, women, and students instead of the proletariat. Their goal was to overthrow the cultural institutions that resist Communism: the Church, the Family, the Military and Big Business. Their method was through the infiltration of the universities, the entertainment industry and the mass media.

Fifth, there was a strong movement in France to embrace the Maoist cultural revolution and this movement had American branches in the more radical student groups of the 60s such as the Black Panthers and the Students for a Democratic Society. Many of these people went to Vietnam and proclaimed their support for the Chinese-supported North Vietnamese regime including Jane Fonda and others.

Badiou's book is a manifestation of the fifth response to the revelation of Stalin's crimes. It professes to be a different kind of Marxism from the Soviet model. It is similar in important ways to the fourth, cultural Marxist approach of the New Left, and the third approach of Neo-Marxism. It goes beyond economics to culture and it tries to be non-Stalinist. But it is different from these two approaches - which are designed for consumption in the still somewhat anti-Communist West - by its frank and open embrace of revolutionary violence.

Badiou proclaims his everlasting fealty to the movements symbolized by two dates: the Paris Commune of 1871 and the Student Revolutions of May 1968. Each is treated in its own chapter in this book and both are viewed as precursors to the Chinese Cultural Revolution in which over 30 million people were murdered between 1966 and 1976. What makes it possible to view the the 1871 and 1968 movements in a romanticized (and sanitized) light is that, unlike the Russian Revolution, these movements never gained power. Both advocated the kind of direct democracy and egalitarian approach to decision-making that we see in the contemporary Occupy Wall Street protests, which was possible since they never became responsible for the government of millions of citizens over a long period of time.

What makes Mao's cultural revolution superior for Badiou to the Marxist-Leninist revolution in Russia and to the Stalinism it produced is two-fold:

First, it is significant that Mao launched his cultural revolution from within what Badiou refers to as "the party state," which is his label for the corruption of the pure idea of communism represented by Stalinism. The "party state" is one in which the communist revolution results in a new state power, controlled by the party, which fails to live up to the ideals of localism, direct democracy, people power and freedom. Since Mao is using workers from outside the party to battle against the "bourgeois elements" within the party, his murderous rampage is totally different from Stalin's!

Second, Mao's cultural revolution was not merely about military or economic power, but about culture: how people think. What Chairman Mao implicitly recognized was the falsity of Marx's contention that economics drives culture and that once economic structures are changed by the Revolution human nature will change as well. Oddly, Mao is partially agreeing with Pope John Paul II that culture precedes economics and is the real driving force in history. In a way he even agreed with the Pope that religion is the source and basis for culture by promoting a vicious and dogmatic atheism. But it is telling that the Pope's campaign to bring down Communism in Poland was non-violent whereas Mao's cultural revolution in China caused tens of millions of murders.

What Badiou simply refuses to recognize is the inner contradiction in the idea of communism, which is that you can't get equality without destroying liberty.

By refusing to recognize the need for a state to control predatory human behaviour by coercion he tries to make it possible to dismisses all the violent, murderous communist regimes in the 20th century as not really communist. Yet, he at the same time recognizes the need for revolutionary violence to bring communism to power. And, worse, he proposes to solve the problem of human nature not changing as soon as economic structures are changed by still further violence!

As the Red Guards and workers rampaged around lawlessly murdering people for incorrect thought we see what politically incorrectness really is all about. As people are sent to re-education camps to be "taught" (forced) to think correctly we come to understand that all forms of Marxism, socialism and communism can only get so far in re-making the world without resorting to murder and coercion. As we look at the cultural revolution we see the contradiction of communism in action.

To put it succinctly, the inner contradiction of communism is that it claims to be able to build a better world by redistributing wealth but it cannot achieve this goal except by creating a hell on earth by murder. Economics is not fundamental to human society, religion and the culture shaped by religion are. And, eventually, communism must attack these mainsprings of human society and in so doing it attacks the dignity and rights of the human person created in the image of God and thus becomes anti-humanistic.

You can't produce a humane society by anti-humanism.

Badiou's book is blind to the inner contradictions of communism, but it is a valuable read because nobody can come away from having read it and think that any of the usual excuses for communist "excesses" have the slightest shred of credibility. Badiou knows that revolutionary violence is necessary in order for communism to be implemented. He even quotes (without criticism) Mao's speculation that 20 or 30 cultural revolutions might be necessary before the idea of communism really takes hold in the human heart. Badiou is honest - and that is fatal for any true communist.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Anti-Semitism from Occupy Wall Street

Here is another very calm, very coherent, very hate-filled OWS protester admitting to an interviewer that she thinks the Jews who run the bands and the Federal Reserve should be run out of the country. She talks like she thinks that everybody agrees with her and it isn't even that controversial. In her circles it probably isn't.

Tony Katz has a post in which he describes his interview on Cross Talk, which was afterward posted on YouTube. He gives a list of the some of the comments it attracted and the anti-Semitic theme was prominent once again.

HAs tony ever been punched? Id like to be the first. – MrMrEvin

The only acts of violence are by the police! don’t listen to that Jew! – murmur6666

lol, just what i expected from a tea party douche. Pull the string, get the pre-programmed ideas. Sheesh. – ForestSongUnLTD

The guillotine needs to make a comeback. – bamboo4tameshigiri

T. Katz needs a bitch slappin’. Pick me! Pick me! – phillisthebarbarian

Teabaggers need to be put in re-education camps! Roseanne Barr was right! – petersz98

Tony’s face would look good arguing from the bottom of a basket. – Will224000

What a fat f*** – arturro666

tony should be wearing a white hood… – SHACKTRESS

What a dumb Zionist tool in the bottom right corner – megamogx

will someone please violently obliterate the man on the bottom right – humanboy1221

Who is this stupid Tea Party guy. Make me want to stand up and punch his face. What a dick head!!! – nhu111

Didn't we see this movie before in the 1930s? Do you who identify as leftist not see the danger of your 1% class-warfare rhetoric? Don't you see that it has already led you to become identified with some really seriously evil people and attitudes? Do you really want to be part of this?

Remember, in 2012 in North America conservatives are neither racist nor anti-Semitic. Conservatives stand against hate and prejudice. Will those on the Left join us in condemning anti-Semitism and rooting it out of their organizations?