Muslim terrorism and immortal longings 1

The immediate cause of a terrorist attack is the decision by the attacker to carry it out. (Except of course those forced to act against their will – for example, little girls made into suicide-bombers in Nigeria by the ISIS-affiliated organization Boko Haram.)

However compelling he (generic masculine) considers the reason why he must do it, he makes the choice to do it. He will kill, injure, destroy for a reason that seems good to him.

Most acts of terrorism now, everywhere, are committed by Muslims in the name of Islam. They do it because Allah told them to through Muhammad, who was told what Allah wanted by the Angel Gabriel. Muhammad memorized the words and in turn dictated them to literate persons who wrote them down, and so created the Koran. Thus “kill the infidel”, Koran 9:5, inter alia.

There’s a big reward for the Muslim who does it: an eternity in paradise, conceived of as a luxurious garden brothel. A strong incentive to a believer.

But there is also the more immediate reward for him of glory on earth, in his personal social sphere. His home town. Among his kith and kin and neighbors. His hurrah circle who will put pictures of him in the market place, in local newspapers – perhaps even on national TV.

Every little soul must shine. Every little soul wants glory. And glory both in heaven and on earth is within a Muslim’s reach if he’ll  just die in the act of killing some non-Muslims.

We do not need academic studies and professorial authority to tell us that. In fact, academics are the most unlikely people to see what’s under their noses. But it can happen.

A. Z. Mohamed – a Muslim himself, living in the Middle East – writes at Gatestone:

Responding to findings of a recent study on what motivates both ISIS fighters and those who combat them, Arie W. Kruglanski – distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Maryland and former co-director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism – said:

The ideology component addresses individuals’ need to matter and feel significant. … It tells people what to do, such as fight and make sacrifices, in order to gain respect and admiration from others.

Kruglanski, whose 2014 article, “Psychology Not Theology: Overcoming ISIS’ Secret Appeal,” argues that religion (in this instance, Islam) plays a smaller part in what makes terrorists tick than “the [human] need for … personal significance.” He added:

Especially when it comes to violence that is shunned by most religions and most cultures, you need validation from a group of people that would then become your reference group. So the group component is very important, particularly when it comes to antisocial activities that are forbidden or shunned.

But in Islam, Professor Kruglanski, terrorist murder and maiming are not forbidden or shunned.

Well, one cannot expect a professor to get it all right. And least this one got hold of one true and important point. He thinks that the terrorist need to look great to those he lives among is a stronger motivation for his taking the path of martyrdom than the teachings of the Koran which provide him with the excuse and opportunity. That is to say, personal validation is a stronger motive than religious idealism.

A. Z. Mohamed does not agree. He thinks that personal validation is secondary. He does not want the significance of Islamic teaching to the jihadi to be underestimated.

Kruglanski is one of many Western professionals who attempt – through science – to gloss over the very real distinction between people who become jihadists in the name of Islam and those who do not. It seems as if many analysts gloss over the role of Islamic teachings – the Quran, the Sunna, and fatwas – by minimizing them while highlighting matters such as the need for personal significance and validation. By minimizing the content of the Islamic literature, what they overlook is that Islamic teachings actually justify many activities that they would label antisocial. Many analysts also ignore that the validation jihadists get from their reference group is mainly Islamic in words and meanings and that reference group has no significance without referring to the Islamic texts. It often seems as if political correctness – trying to persuade the readers that jihadists are no different from other terrorists and Islamic teachings have no connection to terrorism – is substituted ignoring and minimizing the Islamic texts. the Islamic. What are the roles played by Islam and its group dynamics?

What seems a universal dismissal or whitewashing – intentionally or not – of what is written in the texts, has become so prevalent, that it undermines our ability to recognize, let alone rectify, it.

And because the apologists for Muslim terrorism – which include all the governments of the Western world except the Trump administration – insist that Islamic terrorism “has nothing to do with Islam”, it is indeed essential to stress that Islam commands it. 

So while I continue to believe that glory in the ‘hood – however large or small the ‘hood may be – is the strongest reason for Muhammad’s children to die while killing as many infidels as possible, I appreciate the writer’s point that Islam must be blamed.

And I condemn as vehemently as he does the moronic “political correctness” that the Left has imposed on Western minds, which gives birth to the lie that Islamic terrorism has no root in Islamic doctrine.

Where radical Islamism is concerned, [the] practice of political correctness has proven deadly, literally and figuratively. Out of fear of being labelled by their peers as “Islamophobic,” many of the people engaged in research on Islamic terrorism overlook or understate certain facts – such as the call on the part of jihadists to obliterate Western civilization [see Sayyid Qutb’s Social Justice in Islam] – and justify evil through moral equivalence. This is done, in part, by equating the teachings of the Koran with the Bible, and by claiming that no culture is superior to, or more violent than, another.

Contrary to politically correct psychological assessments, there is abundant empirical evidence to suggest that Islamic teachings are central to the radicalization of Muslims. Highlighting terrorists’ situational factors and universal human tendencies fails to include actually looking at the texts themselves and, by downplaying what is there, makes the solution even more elusive.

There are many variables that work together to make a Muslim believe, for instance, that they love death more than unbelievers love this ‘donya’, – this inferior life. Even relatively “moderate” Muslims, as hard as it is for a Westerner to comprehend it, deeply believe that we are here just for an insignificant instant, and that the really important life is yet to come in the afterlife.

He finds additional personal motivation for young Muslims to venture on their dramatic acts of destruction – sadism, need for a thrill – and all with the excuse of the higher purpose:

Many young Muslims might be possessed by their sadistic impulses and welcome the thrill of being given permission to act on them, being told that they are actually obligatory and good; that the person committing them is, in the view of the texts, heroic and will receive lavish rewards.

And some will do it out of sheer obedience:

Other people, who feel dependent and need structure, might be relieved by having every activity prescribed for them and might be pleased to be possessed by their highly persuasive and controlling Islamist leaders.

But the fact remains, the writer reiterates, that “the true origins and nature of Islamic terrorism” lie in Islam itself.

Right. They do. And that is such an indictment of the religion that it justifies wiping Islam off the face of the earth.

Until that happens, every Muslim, if not tied up or drugged, could say “No”.  Many do. But far too many will not resist the temptation to become an instant hero by committing a gloriously god-commanded – and therefore surely super moral – act of terrorism.

 

Jillian Becker    December 16, 2017

Posted under Articles, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 16, 2017

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The Sick Revolution 4

The malignant New Left and its sub-tumor Feminism killed the customs by which men and women relate to each other in a civilized society.

Casual sexual intercourse was made almost compulsory in 1968. Frivolous promiscuity was called liberation but it would be more accurate to call it libertinism.

The motto of the Sick Revolution was “Make love not war.” Terrible as war is, it is less destructive than the Left’s revolt against civilization.    

Thousands of years of wisdom about the necessary constraints on the sexual impulses were denied.

Of course men took advantage of it. Instead of courting women, they grope them and rape them. And women are admitting at last that they don’t like it.

Now there are no guiding standards, no conventions to help either sex deal with natural animal drives. As everything else of importance and true value – art, music, literature, history, government – the Left has corrupted sexual relations.

Thanks to the Left, how many unwanted children have been born to misery if not murdered in the womb? How many have grown up uncared for, institutionalized, emotionally stunted or even depraved, because their mothers felt it was more important to be CEOs than mothers?

How many childless old people are there, living on beyond their friends and lovers for long years of loneliness?

The good life for men and women has always been known. The body knows it, and the heart’s desire. The knowledge is both profound and simple. It is about continuing the human race. It is about begetting children and raising them. It is about using the marvelously evolved process of sexual reproduction to that end, the end it is biologically for, the only manifest purpose of our natural existence.

The rite is mundane, of the earth earthy; and at the same time it is through that alone that we have a part in the process of the universe.

The flower children of the sixties and their fatherless offspring use their genitals, the fons et origo of life, sarcastically. They do not care for life. They say if a child is conceived “it” should be aborted.

The Left does not care for life. It is the ideology of squalor, self-abasement, clownishness, disease and death.

 

Jillian Becker   November 30, 2017

Posted under Articles, Feminism, Leftism, Sex by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 30, 2017

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When hate is a virtue 6

If you are liberal in the true meaning of the word – a lover of freedom for everyone; if you are tolerant and broad-minded; if you believe that all persons should be equal before the law; if you believe that individuals should not be judged according to the ethnic group they “belong” to; if you believe that it is of no concern to you how one adult satisfies his or her sexual desires with another willing adult (or adults) in private; if you believe that no one should have his (“he” being the generic masculine for the human species) life taken from him unless he has taken a life; if you believe that torture is wrong;  that slavery is wrong; that depriving a person of his hands and feet as a punishment for theft is wrong; if you believe that no one should be held fast in a hole up to her chest (“her” chest because women are most commonly subjected to this) and have stones thrown at her head until she dies; if you believe in a benign god or if you do not believe that any god exists; it  is not only right and good that you hate the ideology (or religion or cult) of Islam with its sharia laws, it is a moral imperative that it be hated.  

A decent person must hate Islam. Islam cannot be liked by decent people. If a person does not hate Islam, he is not a decent person.

It does not mean that individual Muslims deserve to be hated or subjected to harsh treatment of any kind, verbal, physical, or legal. Most Muslims are born into the cult, and have great difficulty leaving it if they want to, because Islamic law, sharia, prescribes death for those who do. Non-Muslims who convert to Islam deserve contempt but not persecution.

Because …

Islam is supremacist, totalitarian, homophobic, misogynist, murderous, and savagely cruel. 

No one who hasn’t been in a coma for the last twenty years needs proof of it. Who has not been informed that Islam’s jihad is against all non-Muslims, and that wherever Islam rules it oppresses non-Muslims? Who has not seen the photos of men being thrown off rooftops to their deaths because they have been accused of homosexuality?  Who does not know that Islam insists on the subjugation of women to the absolute authority of men? Who genuinely doubts that for the last few decades most acts of terrorism everywhere in the world have been perpetrated by Muslims? Who has not seen at least some of the snuff films put out by ISIS of rows of men having their heads sawn off, caged prisoners being set on fire, human heads on poles along the sides of streets, uncovered mass graves of suffocated women and children, people in  tanks being drowned? And of kids – boys under twelve years old – trained by ISIS to decapitate men? And of women being stoned to death? And of hands being chopped off in a public place watched by a crowd including children? Who hasn’t heard of children being used as bombs?

And who hasn’t heard Western government spokesmen saying over and over again, a thousand times, that all this “has nothing to do with Islam” ?

Yet in Europe and Britain, those who hate – or are even merely suspected of hating – Islam, are punished by the law. British police spend so much time hunting down and charging people suspected of expressing hatred of Islam, they have no time, money or personnel left to pursue criminals. All West European governments are stupidly ready to let Muslims take power, in the name of democracy, which of course the Muslims are only too happy to exploit. When democratic process has brought them to power, they will impose their tyranny. Democracy will end because it can only work for a virtuous people, since “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom,” Benjamin Franklin said. It’s a regrettable but incontrovertible fact that people who are virtuous can also be abysmally stupid.

In all West European countries, ever more rigorous surveillance of people’s internet communications is urged by governments so they can be arrested, tried, and imprisoned if they tweet or post criticism of the abominable ideology. (We are still free to criticize Islam in the United States, but in almost no other Western country.) They are accused of “Islamophobia”  – an irrational fear of Islam. But it is entirely rational to fear Islam. Making non-Muslims afraid of it is a prescribed religious duty, called jihad. Jihad is holy war against all non-Muslims.

If you are not a Muslim, you are not innocent according to Islamic teaching. Children, even new-born babies, are guilty and deserve severe punishment. If you are not a Muslim, you are a sinner by definition, you offend the Muslim god, and your punishment should be death. Or you can be enslaved. Or you can pay to be allowed to live. Your death can be brought about by any means, however violent, however painful, however cruel. You can be blown into pieces by a bomb. You can be put in a cage and burnt to death. You can be crucified. You can be stoned. You can be drowned. You can be buried alive.  You can have your head sawn off.

So what’s not to hate?

 

Jillian Becker    November 29, 2017

Posted under Articles, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Religion general, Totalitarianism, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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A strange, ironic, and tragic historical moment 2

In a remarkable decision taken at the end of August, Germany’s Interior Ministry declined to bar the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – listed as a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the European Union, and Australia – “from campaigning as a political party in the September general election to the Bundestag”. Yes, the PFLP – on a joint list with the Marxist-Leninist Party – plans to field candidates in this month’s elections in Germany and run for Parliament.

So Bruce Bawer writes at Gatestone.

What is the PFLP?

The Popular  Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), is a Marxist group. Its founder was George Habash, born in Lydda (in the British mandated territory of Palestine) in 1926 to  a Greek Orthodox family. His father was a successful corn merchant. Much of his childhood was spent in Jerusalem. He entered the American University of Beirut in 1944 and qualified as a doctor of medicine in 1951. While at the university he founded the Arab National Movement (ANM). Its guiding light was President Nasser of Egypt, who gave it financial support.

With a central doctrine of pan-Arabism, and, vital to that end, the elimination of Israel by violent means, the movement gathered strength and spread rapidly as an underground organization through the Middle East, on both sides of the Red Sea. It attracted intellectuals and members of the military in several Arab states. But stress shifted away from the Palestinian cause to internal political issues. Habash himself believed so unswervingly in the need for revenge (against the British and the Arab leaders who had been  responsible for the 1948 defeat of the Arab armies against the newly declared state of Israel, as well as against the Jews), in the annihilation of Israel and and in the Nasserite aim of Arab unity, that he sometimes quarreled with Nasser himself when the Egyptian leader adjusted his own policies. But Habash continued to function as one of Nasser’s agents of subversion. His leftist tendency became more extreme. He began to think of himself as a “Marxist-Leninist”, but scorned the ineffectual Communist parties of the Middle east, and favored China over the Soviet Union. He no longer saw the issue of Palestine as part of a merely Arab revolution, but both as necessary to world revolution. (By Marxist prophecy, world revolution is inevitable, yet has to be fought for.) The arch-enemy was “imperialism” of which “the Zionist entity” was only one aggressive spearhead. The defeat of the Arab armies by Israel yet again in the 1967 Six Day War persuaded Habash that the immediate and primary goal must be the “liberation of Palestine”. Although only a means to an end, it was the first step.

And so Habash, along with a number of others in the ANM founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on December 7, 1967. It was composed of three small groups: The Heroes of the Return, the Youth Revenge (branches of the ANM), and an already active group called the Palestine Liberation Front, led by a Syrian army officer named Ahmad Jibril.

Jibril had no personal connection to Palestine, but had formed his PLF with some twenty other Syrian army officers. He had personal contacts with the KGB, and the Communist regimes of East Germany and Bulgaria. His terrorist organization had carried out more than ninety raids on Israel between 1965 and the Six Day War.

With the coming together of Jibril, the professional soldier backed by the Communist bloc and Syria, and Habash, the experienced underground leader  with wide influence throughout the Arab National Movement, the PFLP became a significant fedayeen organization. Habash retained Nasser’s patronage, and PFLP recruits were trained in Egypt.

But where there is ideology, there shall be schism.

The PFLP soon split. The break came where it might be expected in an organization which attempted to make Syrian interests adhere to Egyptian interests. Habash and Jibril had different loyalties  and they quarreled. Habash and his friends in the ANM criticized Syria for not permitting fedayeen to cross into Israel from Syrian oil. The Syrians arrested and imprisoned him early in 1968. Finding himself in sole command of the PFLP, Jibril tried to force the PFLP to break with the ANM. But the Heroes of the Return and the Youth of Revenge would not betray their origins. So in October 1968 Jibril expelled both factions from the PFLP.

Habash was snatched by some of his followers while he was being transferred from one prison to another, and smuggled out of Syria into Jordan. Once they had him back, the two small groups expelled by Jibril declared that they were the PFLP and it was Jibril’s group that was expelled. Jibril formed a new organization called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC).

Another split away from Habash’s PFLP occurred when one of his comrades, a  Jordanian Bedouin Christian, Nayef Hawatmeh, who had joined the ANM while he was a student at the Arab University of Beirut. Sentenced to death for pro-Nasserite subversive activities in Jordan in 1957, he had escaped to Baghdad, where he led the Iraqi branch of the ANM. There he took part in an attempted coup d’etat in 1959, and was imprisoned until 1963 when the Ba’th Party overthrew the Qasim regime.  He changed his views from Nasserite to an extreme leftist revolutionary ideology. After working underground for  ANM in Yemen, he joined Habash in Jordan. But they too quarreled over ideological differences. With four comrades, Hawatmeh formed a group of his own called  the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP).

In 1968 all three groups – along with several others – joined the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which had been invented by Nasser and founded by the Arab League under his auspices in 1964.  From then on, although Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian nationalist leader of the terrorist organization Fatah, was elected chairman of it in 1969, the Marxist revolutionary groups dominated the PLO.

Habash’s second-in-command Wadi’ Haddad plotted a series of aircraft hijackings  on international flights between July 1968 and September 1970. On September 6, 1970, the PFLP hijacked four commercial planes. Two them, one American and one Swiss, were forced to land on a neglected airfield in Jordan, named Dawson’s Field.  There the crews and passengers were held hostage in the planes in the heat of the desert for four days and four nights. Another American airliner was flows to Cairo airport, where the crew and passengers were let out and the plane was blown up. The fourth was an Israeli airliner on its way to London. The Arab terrorist on board was an Israeli woman named Laila Khaled, helped by an American named Patrick Arguello. Their hijacking attempt failed. The Israeli guard on board killed Arguello and arrested Khaled.  Arguello had wounded one of the crew, and in an attempt to save the injured man, the captain flew the plane to London, England being nearer than Israel, where according to instructions he should have returned in such circumstances. The injured man died. And Laila Khaled was detained by the British police – but not for long.

On September 9, a British place on a home flight from Bahrain was hijacked and the pilot forced to fly to join the other two planes on Dawson’s Field. The PFLP demanded that three of their terrorists imprisoned in West Germany, three in Switzerland who had killed an Israeli pilot, and Laila Khaled should be released, or the planes would be blown up next morning with crews and passengers aboard them. The release of fedayeen from Israeli prisons was also demanded. The Israelis refused to bargain with the terrorists, but the British, West German, and Swiss governments complied –  thus providing complete proof that hijacking, terrorism and blackmail paid. It was a signal that started a decade of such crimes.

The crews and passengers were released (some retained by the PFLP and imprisoned in a refugee camp), and then the planes were blown up.

King Hussein’s patience was already overstrained with the presence of the fedayeen groups in his kingdom, their intention being to take over his country. The PFLP had twice attempted to assassinate him. For him the Dawson’s Field events were the last straw. Starting on September 17, his soldiers and airmen rained hell down on the organizations’ camps, bases and headquarters. Thousands of Palestinians were killed. Syria tried to intervene with a tank invasion, but was repelled. Ultimately all the Palestinian refugees who survived the onslaught were expelled from Jordan. They moved en masse to Lebanon. Arafat’s Fatah created a secret organization Black September – the group that murdered the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.

Bruce Bawer writes:

Described variously as a blend of “Palestinian nationalism with Marxist ideology” and as “a Palestinian nationalist organization with different ideological outlooks at different times (from Arab nationalist, to Maoist, to Leninist)”, [the PFLP] has called for Israel’s destruction and international communist revolution.

Considered more radical than Fatah, it has, ever since its founding, routinely targeted civilians without remorse. During its early days, it was on friendly terms with Germany’s Red Army Faction (the Baader-Meinhof Gang) and received funding from the USSR and China.

The leaders of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang sought training as urban guerrillas in a PFLP camp in Jordan in early 1970. But the scheme was not a success. The Germans and the Arabs could not get along with each other. Each side accused the other of being cold and arrogant. Andreas Baader refused to undergo the commando training offered, through mud and under barbed wire, because he said such skills were unnecessary to an urban guerrilla. None of the men in the German group were able to train with the Arabs because there was too much antagonism between them. But the women did learn something. They were taught to handle pistols, particularly Firebirds,  and Ulrike Meinhof declared that learning how to lift weights and fall out of a fast-moving car was much more fun than sitting at a typewriter. The Arab  terrorists, who were training  may women despite the Mohammedan attitude toward women generally, found the Western women too domineering and less able to stand up to the training exercises than their own, and they liked neither Ulrike Meinhof nor Gudrun Ensslin. Baader, Meinhof, and their fellow factioneers were eventually asked by their hosts to leave, and they returned to Germany.

But Ulrike Meinhof was not done with Jordan. She planned to send her seven-year-old twin daughters, Bettina and Regine, to live in a refugee camp there and be trained along with Palestinian children to become “kamikaze” guerrilla fighters against Israel – possibly suicide bombers. (They were intercepted on their way and rescued by the writer Stefan Aust, who found them on an Italian beach, and returned them to Germany and the care of their father.)

The PFLP camp in Jordan to which the children were to have been consigned was bombed to rubble by King Hussein’s air force in one of his punitive raids.

Bruce Bawer continues:

In recent years the PFLP has been chummy with Iran. Half a century ago, the PFLP specialized in hijacking planes — it was the first Palestinian group to do so, and the first successfully to commandeer an El Al plane. That act, in 1968, is widely considered to mark the beginning of the modern era of international Islamic terrorism. …

Then came the hijackings to Dawson’s Field, after which –

 In 1972, a PFLP member took part in the Lod Airport Massacre, in which 28 people were murdered at what is now called Ben Gurion International Airport. In October 2001, it assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in retaliation for Israel’s killing of its top leader at the time, Abu Ali Mustafa (after whom the group’s militant wing is now named).

During the next few years, the PFLP focused on suicide bombings in Israel; more recently, it has kept busy firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

In November 2014, two PFLP associates murdered six people in a synagogue massacre in Jerusalem. On June 16 of this year, it collaborated with Hamas on a fatal attack in East Jerusalem; on July 14, it murdered two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City and bragged that its “heroic operation” had successfully broken through “the security cordon imposed by the Israeli occupation forces on the city of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, breaking the arrogance of the Zionist security which sees in the city and in Al-Aqsa an impenetrable fortress”.

Perhaps the PFLP’s most famous operative is Carlos the Jackal, the legendary Venezuelan terrorist, currently serving a life sentence in France. Another high-profile member is Leila Khaled, who has been called “the first woman hijacker in history” and who has been allowed in recent years to enter many Western countries, including Germany, Sweden, Austria, and South Africa, to deliver speeches, meet with fellow communists, and confer with supporters of movements that try to destroy Israel economically.

If it seems exceedingly inappropriate for these countries’ governments to afford Khaled such treatment, consider that the UN, the EU, and a number of European countries, including Germany, France, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, have funded non-governmental organizations with links to PFLP – among them Addameer, Al-Haq, the Alternative Information Center, the Health Work Committee, Stop the Wall, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. At least one of the groups in question, according to NGO Monitor, was founded and is run by the PFLP; others have convicted terrorists on their payrolls and/or have abetted PFLP and its members in one way or another. There has, however, been remarkably little media attention paid to the fact that at least some of taxpayer money donated by these Western countries has found its way into the PFLP’s coffers, and more than $300 million annually to the salaries of terrorists.

But of all the actions taken by Western governments and international organizations that have benefited the PFLP, none has come as close to legitimizing it as Germany’s decision to let it field candidates in this month’s elections. “For observers of terrorism in Germany,” wrote Benjamin Weinthal in the Jerusalem Post, “it is unclear why the ministry is reluctant to outlaw the Palestinian organization.” After all, it is not as if the Federal Republic of Germany has no power to ban parties; it outlawed the Volkssozialistische Bewegung Deutschlands/Partei der Arbeit (People’s Socialist Movement of Germany) in 1982 and the Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (Free German Workers Party) in 1995.

Nor are today’s German authorities shy about silencing individuals for holding views they consider inappropriate.

But they are all individuals who dare speak against Arab and Islamic terrorism:

Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern noted in 2012 that German authorities were “monitoring… websites that are critical of Muslim immigration” and were prepared to shut them down. In 2014, Bavarian officials sought to gag critics of a new mega-mosque; in January of last year, the Washington Post reported that Germany had “reached a deal with Facebook, Google and Twitter to get tougher on offensive [read: anti-Islamic] content.” German police even raided the home of a critic of Muslim refugees.

A German court had given five months’ probation to a woman for her online comments “about an alleged rape of a German woman by an asylum seeker”. In June 2016, German police raidedthe homes of thirty-six additional people guilty of “hate posting” online; in July, they raidedabout sixty more homes.

It is hard not to see this as a strange, ironic, and tragic historical moment.

In living memory, Germany was transformed from a fearsome totalitarian power, bent on conquest and genocide, into a cornerstone of liberal democracy. Now, even more than many of its similarly misguided European neighbors, it is plainly headed in a direction that should give pause to every lover of Western freedom: even as it is increasingly cracking down on criticism of Islam, it appears prepared to give a genuine Islamic terrorist group the opportunity to win seats in its national legislature.

 

Jillian Becker    September 9, 2017

 

Note: I have quoted the history of the PFLP, largely verbatim, from my book, The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization ((St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1984). And the description of the sojourn of leading members of the Baader-Meinhof gang at a PFLP training camp in Jordan comes from my book: Hitler’s Children: the Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang (latest edition available as an ebook published by Endeavour Press in English and in German translation).

Civilization’s fulcrum moment 13

This is a fulcrum moment in the history of civilized man. (Yes, MAN – the correct generic term for the human race.) What is happening to the Western world now is equivalent to the fall of the Roman Empire.

If most of Europe becomes Islamized, as it is fast becoming by the will and action of the Left – and all the governments of Western Europe are on the Left even those that call themselves Conservative – then where and how, if at all, will our civilization survive?

If most of Europe becomes Islamized, what will remain of European civilization in its homelands?

Imagine a map of Europe showing the thousands of square miles of vineyards. Think of the grapes, and the harvests, and the process of wine-making – the generations of practice and discovery that have perfected it. Do you enjoy drinking wine? Well, there will be no more for you to enjoy. Not from Europe. It will go. All those vineyards will be laid to waste. Islam forbids the drinking of alcohol.

So also beer, ale, whisky … the industries and the pleasure will all be gone. Your cosy village pub? Gone. Your  cocktail hour? Gone. Allah does not permit them to exist.

Now think of the art galleries of Europe. The pictures, the sculpture. Islam forbids the making of images of human beings and animals. Nudes in particular are haram. What will be done with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Bernini? Their works will be destroyed. The pictures will be burnt. The sculptures will be hammered into dust.

Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne

What will be done with the libraries? They contain millions of books that are blasphemous in the judgment of Islam. They will all be destroyed.

What will be done with the schools and universities? What will they be allowed to teach? What will scientists be allowed to do? We know the answers to those questions.

Do you love music? You will not hear the great works of the European composers performed any more. Not in Europe. The concert halls will probably be turned into mosques.

What will be the position of women in Islamic Europe? We all know the answer to that. If Western women were “liberated” in the twentieth century, come the late twenty-first century their brief age of liberty will be over.

What will happen to homosexuals under Islamic rule? Islamic law decrees that they must be put to death.

If you are a Christian or a Jew, and insist on remaining a Christian or a Jew rather than joining Islam, you may be allowed to live if you pay protection money to your Islamic overlords. But don’t count on it. Muslim powers have not shown themselves to be in a merciful mood lately. Christians are being slaughtered even in comparatively tolerant Islamic countries such as Egypt; and in what used to be Iraq and Syria they are being mass-murdered, tortured and enslaved by the caliphate of the Islamic State. And Jews? How likely are they to be allowed to exist under any circumstances? As for atheists – they will have to pretend to believe in Allah-and-his-Prophet, or die.

There will be no more fair trials. In Britain, the adversarial system with its safeguards for the innocent of guaranteed defense, cross-examination of witnesses, rules of evidence, juries, will be abolished. On the continent the inquisitorial system – examination by magistrates “to find the truth” – will also be abolished. Sharia law will replace the old systems and codes. An example of sharia justice? If a woman claims she has been raped and cannot prove it by producing four male witnesses who will swear to having seen penetration, she is held to be guilty of adultery; her punishment for adultery is death. The method of her execution? She is buried tightly up to her shoulders in a hole in a public place, and rocks are hurled at her head until she dies.

None of this is fantasy. Europe has in fact invited mass Muslim immigration. The Muslim fertility rate far exceeds that of the indigenous Europeans. Islam will predominate and rule.

It is probably too late to stop this happening. Just possibly a strong British government that grasps the horror of the impending doom, might – with Brexit accomplished and the nation being once again in a position to make its own policies – stop the Muslim influx, reduce the Muslim population, and preserve British culture, law, and freedom. Some Eastern European countries are refusing to let the Muslim “refugees” in, so there European traditions and culture might be preserved for a while.

There was some hope for the Netherlands had the voters, in their recent elections, empowered the party and the leader who would have saved them from Islamization. But they did not.

The last chance for Europe comes in a few days from now, on May 7, 2017, when two candidates for the presidency compete in a run-off election in France. If the voters choose Marine Le Pen, who does grasp the horror of the impending doom, France may be saved; and since she would probably take the country out of the European Union  and so break up that corrupt undemocratic pro-Islamic entity, Europe may be saved. Europe’s viticulture may continue. Citizens of Western countries may be able to drink French, German, Italian and Spanish wines. The art galleries may remain filled with pictures and sculpture. Music may be played in the concert halls. Scientists may be allowed to pursue science. Freedom, tolerance, justice, reason, may prevail at least to the extent that they have prevailed since the Enlightenment. The nation states of Europe may continue to exist and govern themselves.

But if a majority of the French vote for the only other candidate, Emmanuel Macron, who wants more Muslim immigration and the continuing existence of the European Union, the doom will be ensured.

 

Jillian Becker    April 24, 2017

Tell them 3

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Why was Obama, the Islam-loving communist, twice voted into the presidency of the capitalist, Islam-attacked, United States?

Why do most Americans “think” that Obama is doing a good job – though they know the economy is bad, millions are unemployed, businesses are overburdened with regulations, travelers are manhandled and humiliated at airports, an American ambassador was killed abroad with impunity, the Taliban is back in business in Afghanistan, the Middle East is in flames since Obama assisted the displacement of allied rulers with Islamic fundamentalists … and so on and on?

Why do millions of Americans “think” that economic equality is morally desirable?

Why are tens of millions content to live on state support without attempting to improve their standard of living by their own efforts?

Why do millions of university students in America admire intellectuals who hate America, such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and make an icon out of the sadistic mass-murderer Che Guevara?

Why? Because they’ve been told to. They’ve been told that good people do and “think” these things. They want to be good. They believe what they’ve been taught.

The same answer applies to: Why Muslim women believe they must put up with being sexually mutilated and enslaved to men. Why multitudes the world over believe that there was a nation called Palestinians who were driven off their land by aggressive usurping Jews. Why Christians believe that a man who once lived and died lives on as one part of a three-part god. Why Muslims and Christians imagine that when you are dead you are still alive in another place. Why Jews believe that their benign and omnipotent God has some unknowable but just purpose in having six million of them enslaved, starved, tortured and murdered by Nazis.

They believe these things because they were taught them. All this was drummed into them. They were raised to know that that is how it ought to be. 

Few if any ideas are easy to spread. To get an idea accepted by large numbers of people takes patience, persistence, conviction, tireless energy on the part of those who want to spread it. The idea need not make good sense, be reasonable, come with proofs that it will work as its advocates say it will. It doesn’t even have to appeal strongly to the emotions. It just needs to become what “everybody” accepts.

If you want your idea to prevail over others, this is what it takes. First the conviction that it is right and everyone should know it. Next, a decision to spread it. Then energy, persistence, patience – and eventually force.

What made Christianity catch on? It wasn’t the life-style – poor, austere, hard, humble. Even the promise of eternal life was not a reliable recommendation as anyone’s eternity could as easily be endless agony as endless bliss (it was and is a 50-50 tossup). The theology was so hard to make sense of that the Church itself to this day has not settled it. And the morality it demanded was against human nature. So what made it succeed? Energy, persistence, patience, indoctrination, force.

See how long it took. From the time St Paul invented “Jesus Christ” to the time the emperor of Rome (Constantine) accepted the new god and the doctrines that had accreted to him, thus making it fashionable to be Christian (just a few decades before force was applied and it became compulsory), nearly three hundred years had passed. Three hundred years of persistent, patient, energetic proselytizing. Even then, it was not securely implanted in the minds of the subjects. One Emperor – Julian – came along and actually tried to reverse the trend by suppressing Christianity and re-instating paganism. He didn’t have enough time. He died in battle, his successors went back to favoring Christianity, and the Emperor Theodosius decreed that Christianity was to be the religion of the state. With him the final phase of force arrived.

Marxist Communism took less time to get a real grip on the minds of multitudes. Means of communications had speeded up considerably between the 4th and the 19th centuries, but still it took half a century (if one arbitrarily dates it from the first publication of Marx’s Das Kapital in 1867 to the success of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917). And still the same method had to be employed: energetic, patient, persistent proselytizing. Much repetition was required. The fever of enthusiasm had to be caught by two generations of intellectuals before the infection became a pandemic. Then came force. 

The creed must become the norm. So pervasive must the doctrine be that anybody who does not subscribe to it wholeheartedly will appear egregious; an oddball, a rebel, a danger to everyone else and even to himself. The orthodoxy must be accepted without question as good, so anyone who opposes it is ipso facto a bad person.

By the late 20th century communications had become even faster, so the New Left, rising in 1968, could achieve the peaks of power in Europe in less than thirty years, and  in America in forty years. It started as a weak revolutionary movement which brought nothing good with it to Western Europe and America, but much that was bad: recreational drugs, AIDS, and terrorism as self-expression. New Leftists complained that they had too much freedom, too much choice, that tolerance of their politics was repressive. And this irrational case was widely accepted, even while, on the other side of the iron curtain, a young man burnt himself to death to protest against the lack of freedom, choice, and tolerance.

The New Left movement was ignorant, blind, puerile, unreasonable, sadistic – yet it became, it has become, the prevailing belief-system of the greater part of the Western world, and at present in almost all “free” countries the standard ideology (or religion) of the state, no matter what political party is in power. How?

The plan was made. The plan was put into execution. Gramsci supplied the phrase for the overall strategy: “The Long March through the Institutions”.   It wasn’t enough that the New Leftists should protest, should threaten and carry out violent attacks, should shout and write and display their slogans. They must take over the institutions of power, everyone of them: the smallest citizens’ groupings – such as library committees – were not too small. But none were too big. Town councils had to be infiltrated and eventually dominated; then newspapers, radio and TV channels; boards of education very importantly; the schools, the universities; the civil service; the law courts; a major political party; then the country’s legislative body, and eventually the pinnacles of power, prime ministerships, presidencies. Police forces and the military were formidable challenges. The tactic was first to discredit them and pressure them from outside by means of public opinion guided by the converted press; then to infiltrate them; finally bend them from within to conform to the doctrine and advance the cause.

Meanwhile books, films, articles, lessons, lectures, systems of reward, prizes must all promote the cause. It took decades, but it succeeded. Even in America now there have been at least two generations raised on New Left doctrine through schools, universities, books, films, the press, and TV.

How otherwise could the free Western world, whose policies and armies opposed the oppressing, enslaving Communist Eastern world, have been successfully converted to the very doctrine that oppressed, enslaved, tortured and mass murdered? It didn’t take reason. It didn’t take persuasion. The idea was no more innately and manifestly true and good than the idea of Christianity. But as in the case of spreading Christianity, it took conviction, decision, planning, energy, persistence, repetition, and finally force.

Only Leftist doctrine – government control of the economy, government provision of welfare, confiscatory and punitive taxation – is politically correct now in America. Collectivist thinking is the norm. Good people vote left. (When, in 2008, a Californian woman came upon a stall set up on a main street to canvass votes for the Republican presidential candidate John McCain, she called the police, and was astonished to learn that to solicit public support for the anti-collectivist Republican Party was not illegal.) Again, as with Christianity, the allegiance to the doctrine has little or nothing to do with its ideas. Most adherents could not explain what the ideas are. But they know that good people find them good, that good people vote for them. And that is all they need to know. Who doesn’t want to think of himself as a good person?

But the question of how did this become the case has not been fully answered. There is another aspect to the story. In order for one doctrine to succeed, it is necessary for other, counter doctrines to fail. If the ancient world had had enough confidence in paganism, enough enthusiasm for it, hadn’t taken it for granted, hadn’t become bored with it, hadn’t ignored the Christian missionaries with their crazy talk, could the weird, obscure, muddled, sorrowful, other-worldly new religion of Christianity have prevailed?

And the success of Leftism now – would it have happened if the conservative Right had been paying attention? Remember that old saying that “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance”? Well, the Right was not being vigilant. It didn’t bother to argue against political correctness. It disregarded the cynical shenanigans going on in the United Nations as if it were nothing but a zoo housing many clamorous beasts who were safely confined and could in no way threaten American life, liberty or happiness. If it was made to feel now and then the bullying, deceitful, sly, sometimes violent tactics of the Left, it shrugged them off. Conservatives went on being civil and preferring honesty when the world’s mood had changed to favoring lies and abuse. They put their confidence in the fact that America had been founded as the political embodiment of the idea of personal freedom; had demonstrated to the world – forever, they believed – that freedom brought prosperity and might and stunning innovation. They assumed that the rightness of individual liberty, the capitalist system, and government by the people had been established forever. So strong and free a country could afford to be tolerant. Let some wild, immature, misguided persons preach despotism (Communism, Socialism, Progressivism, Greenism, whatever), the system was strong enough to be hospitable to alien ideas, and to allow dissent or even rebellion. Tested, it would prove itself inviolable. It could not only withstand opposition, it could absorb it and dissolve it. No special effort was required. American history was on the side of those who would defend freedom and the constitution. The separation of powers would protect them. The free press would dilute propaganda. Open enquiry in the academies would ensure that all points of view were argued and the most rational, the most humane, would persuade serious scholars. But they were wrong.

In their complacency, conservatives did not even notice the Long March. They could not mark its stations of success. Even now there are deluded Republicans who have not absorbed the fact that most Americans like collectivism; that they don’t object to electoral fraud; that they accept a failing economy; that many would rather live on government handouts than become rich; that being rich has become a morally bad thing; that it’s okay for foreign powers to develop weapons that can kill vast numbers of Americans; that the press does not report what is happening in the world but only what it wants to happen; that courts of law are willing to prefer foreign law to the Constitution; that it doesn’t matter if American representatives abroad are attacked and murdered; that freedom has become a term worthy only of contempt; that American history is a trail of shame; that a cruel religion is being allowed to seep through the body politic, and is protected and advanced by the government itself.

But now millions of conservatives are waking up and are asking, how did this happen? It happened because people patiently, energetically, persistently planned it and made it happen.

What can we do about it, they ask themselves and each other.

What they have to do about it is change the minds of the people. First they must be sure that they want the free republic the founders established; that they want to maintain free markets; that they don’t want a welfare state; that they do want to preserve national defenses; that they want indoctrination in the schools to stop; that they want to forbid the application of foreign law; that they do not want to go on funding an institution – the UN – that consistently works against their interests. Then they must decide that their political philosophy is right, uniquely right, and must be implemented at any and all costs. Then they must start teaching it. With energy, persistence, patience and fiery enthusiasm. It will take time. But that is the only way. Teach, preach, argue, use every method that works. Give up the idea that it’s better to be gentlemanly than to sink to using the methods of the opposition; that if you do as they do you will have betrayed the very values that you are fighting for. They have made the fight low and dirty. Get down in the dirt and fight it.

How badly does the conservative right want to win power in America? How important is it to them that they should?

If it is important, tell the voters, tell the children that the free market is the only means of creating general prosperity, and why. Tell them that central planning of an economy cannot work, and why. Tell them why competition is good for everyone, producers and consumers alike.

Tell them what profit is and why it is essential for ensuring abundance.

Tell them that only where people are free can there be discovery and innovation, improvement in everyone’s daily life, better technology, the advance of civilization. Explain why. Show them the proofs of history.

Tell them the truth about life in the Third World. Not politically correct sentimental drivel, but the actual awful facts about life in most other countries.

Tell them why impartial judgment is the only means to justice; why all sane adult citizens must be treated equally by the law; why people must be judged by their actions, not their intentions or feelings.

Tell them why government should be kept small and its powers limited. Tell them what the essential tasks of government are: protection of the nation, of the individual, of liberty, of the rule of law itself. And why governments should not be allowed more power and money than it needs to fulfill its few essential functions.

Shout down the shouters. Tell Muslims what is wrong with their creed and why American secularism is better. Don’t allow them to build a protective wall around themselves to shut out criticism of their absurd and savage beliefs.

Tolerate only the tolerant and tolerable.

It will take time. Start now. Stop short of force. But tell them.

John Galt versus Pajama Boy 24

There are different Americas. The great America – the America viewed through European eyes with a mixture of snobbish patronizing indulgence and sheer envy is …

It is what Trump is. He could be said to personify it. His characteristics are those of great America: big, extroverted, ambitious, successful, rich, energetic, restless, generous, proud, adaptable, happy – all admirable qualities. Also … candid to the point of seeming naive, and – okay – boastful, not highly articulate in that he spins no fine phrases, and (many snort) “vulgar”. His candor is not naive; it would lay him open to being taken advantage of had he not been well schooled in the hard-bargaining world of American and international business. His boasting is fully justified: he is a winner. He says what needs to be said, as his tens of thousands of fans appreciate. As for vulgarity – it does no harm. Great America and its personification, Donald Trump, combine energy, high achievement, vision, and generosity that enormously benefit thousands, even millions of others. If the opulence Trump lives in proudly, his delight in showing off his achievements, his loud trumpeting of triumph with every success, is vulgar, then vulgarity is a “yuge” virtue. The fictitious characters whom he most resembles are Ayn Rand’s heroes in Atlas Shrugged. The John Galts and Dagny Taggarts who invent and build and drive and ever improve the engines of civilization.

Another America – more an anti-America – is personified by … Oh any of those sour pious busybodies who think they know best how everyone else should live their lives and want to force them to do as they say. Think current Democratic administration. Or Bernie Sanders. Intellectuals whose opinions were early in their lives pickled in Leftist theory. They are morally vain, needing to feel they are good rather than actually make good. Beings whom Trump would describe as “low energy people”. They make much of “compassion”, not noticing how much condescension there is in their compassion, and how much contempt in their condescension. Their college-age children need safe spaces, “trigger-warnings”, protection from challenging opinions. What words and phrases describe them best? Physically enervated, psychologically etiolated, smug, puritanical, introverted, dogmatic, envious, snobbish, acrimonious, precious, dishonest, hypocritical …Their model fictitious characters are Pajama Boy and Julia, for whom government needs to be an all-sustaining provider and a protecting nanny to the people.

If great America could come to power next year to guide the destiny of the country and shine a beacon light to the world, after 7+ years of stagnation under the debilitating and impoverishing ideologues of the Left, our civilization – now in decline – might be saved.

Or is that America lost and gone? Is Trump a relic of an unrecoverable past?

Margaret Thatcher interrupted the decline of Britain, the decades long rule of the Left. She tried to turn her country into a share-holding, property-owning nation. A free enterprise nation, where capitalism opened the way for everyone to become prosperous. She did what she could, but could not complete the transformation. The Left returned, though it might also call itself “Conservative”.

So even if Trump does become president, and those engines start up again, how far can he take America into a prosperous future? Generations of Americans have now been indoctrinated in schools and colleges to be socialists. Will the country have one last burst of glory, and then sink into welfare mediocracy? Is that the best that can be hoped for?

 

Jillian Becker   April 15, 2016

Religion: a killing disease 1

This is a revised version of an essay by Jillian Becker first posted on February 6, 2011, under the title A cure for religion:

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Is religion one of the most frequent causes of death after heart disease, cancer, and road accidents?

To take just one religion, the most lethal at present: Islam kills uncountable numbers of people every day. (See here and here.)

Surely this is a disease that is curable?

We have heard of Muslims who went to a university in the West and there encountered Enlightenment literature. They were stunned by what they read. They became secularist, possibly atheist. The rumor may be untrue, yet it seems highly possible. Even probable.

If  the West only took the trouble to teach its values to the peoples who live in darkness – those billions of Others – it might in time achieve what wars have failed to: the subduing of the barbaric hordes, the ending of their persistent onslaught.

During the Cold War, America spoke to the Communist bloc through Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe. The effort was made to tell the enslaved peoples that what their masters would have them believe was not true. Those broadcasts helped to bring the Wall down. Why is no such effort being made to give new ideas to the Muslims? Vast numbers of them are taught nothing but the Koran – or rather, have it beaten into them. For many of them it is in a language (Arabic ) that they don’t understand. And even if they know the language, much of what they learn to recite by heart is incomprehensible. Those suras that are intelligible are full of evil counsel and absurdity: “kill the infidel…”,  and a lot of solemn drivel about Djinns. Why doesn’t the secular West give them something better to think about?

Teach them to question ideas rather than dumbly accept them.

Teach them that freedom makes for a happier life, tolerance for a longer one.

It might be argued that many Muslims who live in the West are aware of Western values and ideas and still reject them in favor of Islamic dogma. True. And we may assume that there will always be some who cannot be cured of religion. But the probability is that there are many who can be, if only they were better informed.

Yes, we are urging “proselytizing” and “conversion” on a massive scale: not from one religion to another, but from religion to reason. (To oppose one religion by another – to think of Christianity, for instance, as a cure for Islam – is to misdiagnose the disease.)

It must be worth trying. A start could be made with young Muslims who are already in the West with a positive program of teaching the utility of doubt and moral necessity of critical examination.

No more giving in to Muslim demands for the separation of the sexes, for special facilities in schools and work-places, for courts to take account of their “cultural traditions” such as honor killings and wife-beatings and the sly deceptions involved in “sharia compliant finance”.

We have arrived at our ways for sound reasons, so let’s stick to them. Away with “multicultural” sentimentality and hypocrisy!

We’d like to teach the world to think. We’d like the Western powers to have a shared policy of continually lecturing the billions who live in darkness.

Okay, hectoring them.

Let’s seize them by the ears and say, “Now listen here … !”

But who will do this? Those who are in a position to do it, political leaders, educators, the media, prefer to denigrate Western values. They despise the world-shaping, civilization-advancing achievements of their own culture. Many of them not only scorn their inheritance, but hate it.

They hate and mock the “dead white men” of the great “patriarchy” who bequeathed it to us. 

 

Jillian Becker   February 15, 2016

Posted under Articles, Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Muslims, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 15, 2016

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Against God and Socialism (repeat) 14

This is a repeat of an essay by Jillian Becker, first posted on April 29, 2011.

The rise of enthusiasm for Socialism in America, demonstrated by the great numbers of enthusiasts flocking to hear Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, preaching it, prompts us to post the essay again.

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It is human nature to be selfish. If we weren’t selfish we wouldn’t survive. If we didn’t eat when we were hungry, warm ourselves when we were cold, seek cures for our illnesses, defend ourselves (and our children and our life-sustaining property), we’d die out pretty damn quick. Or rather, we would never have come into existence as a species at all.

We are most of us capable of sympathy with others, and we often willingly give away a thing we own to another person. Some are altruistic. A few will even give up their lives to save the lives of others. Nevertheless, we are all naturally and necessarily selfish.

Christianity and Communism require human nature to change. As it can’t, Christianity’s commandments to love our enemies and forgive those who do us harm turn many a person of good will and high aspiration into a hypocrite if not a corpse. Communist theorists have never settled the question of whether human nature must change so that the Revolution can take place, or whether the Revolution must take place in order for human nature to change. Of course it will never change, but there’s no stopping the collectivist dolts arguing about it.

Capitalism works well because it is in tune with our nature. Adam Smith called it “the natural order of liberty”. Everyone selfishly desires to provide for his needs. To pay for what he wants from others – services and goods – he has to provide something that others will pay him for. Millions do it, and the result is prosperity. Capitalism is an abstract machine most beautiful to behold in the wonder of its workings. When individuals have the incentive to achieve, acquire, and enjoy something for themselves, they’ll go to great lengths to afford it. They’ll compete with each other to provide what others want, toil to make it the better product, and set the price of it lower. The best is made available at the least cost. Everyone is both a taker and a giver, and everyone benefits. True, not everyone’s effort always succeeds, but nothing stops anyone from trying again.

Of course capitalism isn’t a remedy for every ill and discontent. But a capitalist society offers the best chance to an individual to make the best of his condition – being alive – which presents him with a tough challenge – to stay alive for a few score years, and make those years as good as his energy, cunning, and adaptability to conditions outside of his control (plus his statistically likely share of luck), can help them to be.

In a capitalist society no one has a fixed place, whether below, in the middle, or on top. A person can rise, sink, or stay. A truly capitalist society is necessarily a free society in which no one is prevented, by some ruler or ruling clique, from bettering his lot, striving, succeeding, or failing.

Capitalism is the enemy of that God of whom all the children in the British Empire used to sing at morning prayers in school assemblies before the Second World War:

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small;

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,

Each little bird that sings,

He made their glowing colors,

He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,

The poor man at his gate,

He made them high and lowly,

He ordered their estate.

The children were being taught to be content with everything as it was, trusting that God the ruler up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable had ordained how everyone had his fixed place and should stay in it, and because He had ordained it, it must be perfect. The recognition that such a God was an indefensible authoritarian, a whim-driven cosmic dictator, an unjust and arrogant tyrant, came – perhaps unconsciously – to the choosers of Anglican hymns only after a few of the earth’s dictators had been trounced in a prolonged and terrible blood-letting.

But then Socialists took over from God. They decided what was best for humanity. They established the Welfare State. No rich men in castles, no poor men at gates. The State would provide every citizen with depressing accommodation, dull food, health care if he were judged worthy of being kept alive, indoctrination in schools. Though the Socialist State is a slave society, the citizens are not called slaves but Social Security Recipients, National Health Patients, Students, Workers. The belief of their rulers is that they’ll be content because the State provides them with “everything”; they’ll be grateful for the food however poor, the unit in the tower block however depressing, the bed in the hospital however filthy, the indoctrination however boring. The great thing about it, to the collectivist mind, is they won’t have to strive to keep alive. And no one will have cause to pity or envy anyone else, since no one will have less or worse, or more or better – except of course the rulers up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable who ordain that everyone else has his fixed place. They reserve plenty, choice, comfort, luxury, information, and power to themselves.

The recognition that such a State is counter to the human instinct for freedom – call it “selfishness “ if you will – should have come to every sane adult the world over when the Soviet Empire crashed. The idea of Socialism should have died then. But if it did, it was only for a short time. Like the Christian God, it rose again, and lives now in the White House, an administration indefensibly authoritarian, whim-driven, unjust, and arrogant.

Selfish human nature with its instinct for liberty, its impelling desire to possess what is good for it materially and mentally, is the force that can and must defeat it.

Christian agnosticism 0

Today in our Pages section (see the top of our margin), we post a review by Jillian Becker of How Jesus Became God by Bart D. Ehrman.

Here is part of it.

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Bart D. Ehrman’s book How Jesus Became God is a formidable challenge to Christian belief. It stands to his credit that he pursued his researches to the point where he changed from a believing Christian into an “agnostic”. (I put the word in quotation marks because I think the word as applied to religious belief is a cop-out, an intellectual bromide. If you do not believe there is a god, whether your unbelief is weak or strong, you are an atheist.)

An enormous amount of what he says fits with what is known and makes good sense. But in one vital area he goes wrong. He goes wrong because his perspective is Christian – even though he no longer thought of himself as a Christian when he came to write the book. He was not able to free himself sufficiently from the Christian viewpoint because he could not totally shrug off his Christian indoctrination.

Where is it that he goes wrong? ? He traces the vital beginning of the process of Jesus becoming God to the first, Jewish, followers of Jesus. That is the core of his thesis. And, interesting as his book is, generally well-researched as it is, it fails to make its case; because the author has not understood who the earliest followers of Jesus were and what they believed about him.

There is convincing evidence that the man whose Greek biographers called by the name Jesus (and we must call him that for want of knowing what his birth name was) did exist in the province of Judea between the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, and that he was a rabbi with a burning (fanatical, even insanely fanatical) desire to bring about a new Kingdom of God, like the one he and his nation believed had been the free and glorious kingdom of David and Solomon. He prophesied that the “Son of Man” – or the Messiah, the Annointed One – would come and effect this wonder, and he even came to believe that he was that “Son of Man”, that Messiah, himself.

Now let’s look at more of the probable story from a non-Christian (and unbelieving) standpoint.

Jesus’s gesture of attacking some Roman soldiers, along with a couple of his followers armed with two swords – one of them used to slice off a Roman’s ear – did not bring the result he expected. He had convinced himself such a move on his part would be the signal to God to start the series of earth-transforming miracles that would destroy the Roman Empire and bring back the freedom and glory of the Jewish people. The Romans arrested him, brought him to a cursory trial, and condemned him to death by crucifixion – the punishment prescribed for insurrection by Roman law. The punishment was duly carried out. (As Ehrman says, the body was probably flung on the ground somewhere to be devoured by birds and worms and scavenging beasts.)

His little circle of close followers, shocked, terrified, and grieving, fled from Jerusalem to save their own lives, but returned after a while and were to be found among the numerous sects and factions of perfectly orthodox Jews who lived there and carried out their obligations under the law in and to the Temple. They could not bear to give up their idea that Jesus was the Messiah. And as he had not succeeded in doing what a Messiah had to do, they trusted that he would soon return and complete his task. They even sent out missionaries to preach to dispersed communities of Jews and their hangers-on of “God fearers” that Jesus was the risen Messiah and he would return in glory to save the Jewish nation.

Now we come to the tricky bit. Did they then believe that Jesus had come back to life after his execution? Yes. So to them he was still alive? Yes. Did they believe that he had suspired not just in spirit, but in his body? Seems very likely that they did. And this would not have been strange among the Jews of the time. Every sect and party, every faction and movement, religious and political,  except one – the Sadducees, the party of the royal priests – believed in the bodily resurrection of the dead. The general resurrection (the dogma ran) would occur at the end of days. But Jesus’s resurrection, his disciples believed, would be sooner than that – very soon. And they might well have pictured him returning in clouds of glory, descending from the sky and instantly causing the political liberation and resultant spiritual renewal of Israel.

Did they then believe that he was, or became after his death, or perhaps had always been God, or a god, or “the [unique] Son of God” – no. If they had believed any of that they would no longer have been Jews. But doesn’t the idea of his return in clouds of glory and descending from the sky imply divinity? Yes. And Ehrman argues well that there was precedent in the Jewish religious annals for an orthodox belief that (a) there were beings other than God himself in the divine sphere who were thus themselves divine – angels, seraphim, cherubim; and (b) that men had been raised to the sphere of divinity and – it could be argued – shared in the aura of the divine. It is even true that the Hebrew word for God – Elohim – is a plural. And that Psalm 82 speaks of creatures on earth being “gods”. He cites the (apocryphal) books of Enoch and The Wisdom of Solomon for the strongest evidence to support his contention that, while Jehovah was believed by the Jews to be the chief God, there were many lesser gods in Jewish scriptures.

Fine. But now we come back to what the followers of Jesus believed. First of all, who were they? At one point Ehrman calls them “illiterate peasants”. Well there he is probably wrong. For one thing, Jewish boys (most if not absolutely all) were taught to read so that they could read aloud a portion of the law when they turned thirteen. Secondly, there is nothing to say that either Jesus or his followers were uneducated men or even poor men. (The Christian tradition that Jesus was a carpenter and the apparent son of a carpenter has no basis in any discoverable historical fact. The family could have been well-to-do. There were means to support him as a rabbi – a voluntary teacher of the law – in his last year or two.) The disciple Matthew (not to be confused with the name attached to one of the gospels) was certainly literate, being a tax collector.

If Ehrman is right that they were mostly illiterate peasants, then the chance that they would have known anything of the apocryphal books of Enoch are remote, and virtually nil that they could have known of The Wisdom of Solomon – written in Greek – or the works of their contemporary Philo of Alexandria in Egypt.

And even if they were literate, as they almost certainly were, they were not scholars or theologians. There is no way they would have been able to argue for the existence of lesser gods, even if they knew Psalm 82 off by heart. They would have been taught that “God is One” – the central tenet of Judaism. So Ehrman’s sophisticated arguments from esoteric and academic sources for the possibility that they could believe Jesus was or became a god, are inapplicable to them. …

Posted under Articles, Atheism, Christianity, History, Judaism by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 17, 2016

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