This is from an editorial at Investor’s Business Daily:
As Russia’s ruble plunges, its economy is fast melting down. …
Russia’s central bank raised official interest rates to 17% from 10.5% in a bid to halt the ruble’s stunning plunge, the largest since 1998’s ruble crisis. But on Tuesday, even that desperate rate-hike move failed, as the ruble continued to dive another 4%.
Next up, in all probability, will be capital controls. Putin might even confiscate citizens’ savings by forcing them to swap dollar-based savings accounts for debased ruble ones. This kind of shabby thievery has been done before, but mostly by Latin American dictators. …
How could Russia’s economy go into meltdown mode so fast? …
The major reason for Russia’s implosion is the decline in oil prices. The country relies on selling oil to earn dollars, and the more than 30% drop in oil prices has hit the economy and the currency hard.
A recent estimate by Russia’s Finance Ministry says oil has to average about $117 a barrel for the government to balance its budget. At a current oil price under $60 a barrel, Russia is a fiscal disaster.
The U.S. fracking revolution is a big reason for this. America now puts out more than 9 million barrels of oil a day — up from 7 million barrels just two years ago.
The oil and natural gas fracking boom is happening on private and states’ lands – against the will and the policy of the Obama administration.
As crude prices have declined, oil producers from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia to Iran have felt extraordinary economic pain. Now Russia’s feeling it too, and with political turmoil growing, Russian and foreign investors are leaving the country in droves — and taking their hard currency with them. …
Capital flight is a disaster for the ruble, and is likely to set off double-digit inflation soon.
Interest rates may have to go even higher to stave off a total ruble collapse – 20%? 25%? 30%? No one knows.
But higher rates, soaring inflation, a 60% decline in the stock market and reduced oil revenues mean 2015 is likely to be a nasty year for Russia’s caving economy. …
“Putin’s consistent policy of increasing state economic control may well be leading Russia on the path to stagnation and economic decline,” according to a report issued by the Heritage Foundation in September. …
[Russia’s] reliance on oil exports, the trigger for this crisis, is an obvious one. … Russia also faces a shocking demographic decline — its population is actually shrinking, and it has the odious distinction of being the only industrialized nation in which the average life span is falling. … Russians with skills and schooling are leaving in large numbers, a brain drain. A 2013 survey found 45% of university students wanted to leave the country and live permanently outside the former USSR. What’s left to run Russia’s enfeebled economy is a shrinking, unproductive remnant.
Russia should try a free market economy. It is the only way to prosperity. And then we could have peaceful trading relations with Russia at last. But Russia is very unlikely to do that. The Russian people have never known freedom under the rule of law. They have never wanted it. They get the governments they deserve.
Today Taliban terrorists entered a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, wearing army uniforms, and massacred more then 140 people, mostly children between the ages of six and sixteen.
They poured gasoline over one of the teachers and burnt him to death in front of his class.
They cut off the heads of some of the children.
Meanwhile, this is what is happening in Britain, where the reigning monarch is head of the Church of England: –
We quote from an article by Hal G. P. Colebatch at the American Spectator:
Christians are being killed in tens of thousands in the Islamic World and Africa. A Christian woman in Pakistan is sentenced to be hanged for drinking from a Muslim cup. An official who tries to save her is murdered by his own bodyguard, who becomes a popular hero, and Jewish babies are murdered by more Islamic heroes in Jerusalem.
The Church of England, meanwhile, devotes its energies to attacking the British Education Secretary for plans to teach “British values” in schools, calling them potentially “dangerous, divisive and undemocratic”. …
The government guidelines were drawn up after it was found schools had been infiltrated by Muslim extremists. [But] the church said it had major concerns about the use of inspectors to police instances of promoting the values that diverged from the politically correct ideas of equality and diversity. …
In October a small Christian school in Berkshire was failed by inspectors for lacking sufficient political correctness, and failing “to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain”. … The school was punished by officialdom for being too British.
The headmistress was questioned by government officials as to why she had not brought in a Muslim Imam to lead assemblies …
There was, of course, no suggestion of reciprocity — that Christian chaplains lead assemblies in Muslim schools … to prepare their pupils for life in modern Britain by teaching tolerance, diversity, and respect for other religions, for instance.
It is not hard to imagine how such a proposal would be received, though the recent revelations of the sexual abuse of 1,400 British children in the small city of Rotherham alone by “Asian” [ie Muslim] grooming gangs suggests there may be a need for wider education in such values. Surveys show that a large part of Britain’s younger Muslim population subscribes to extremist propositions, and has provided a large number of recruits for ISIS.
One wonders what would be the response if the Imam [who should be “brought in to lead assemblies”] advocated death for female adultery, child marriage, and judicial amputation for theft, female genital mutilation, stoning to death for homosexuals and the annihilation of Israel? …
Further, if Imams must lead assemblies, why should cults like the orange people or transcendental meditationists not get a look in, to say nothing of the rather larger religions Buddhism or Hinduism? Furthermore, the whole complex paradox of extending tolerance and pluralism to an absolutely intolerant and uncompromising creed is simply denied or ignored.
Another high-achieving primary school, this time in Lincolnshire, has been attacked and denied its “outstanding” rating by government quango Ofsted because the pupils are “too English and too white”. How can it be expected to have non-white pupils if none live in the area? …
The church’s criticism came from its chief education officer, Nigel Genders, who warned against allowing a government definition of “Britishness”. The Church also published a submission to the government warning against such an allegedly “negative” and “divisive” approach.
A government spokesman defending what should not have needed defense, said: “The fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual respect and tolerance were set out by the Government four years ago and have been commonly used since.”
Four years ago? Funny, we thought they were British values for much longer than that: the rule of law from the signing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215, and democracy of a kind since the Glorious Revolution of 1689 when William and Mary became the first constitutional monarchs, and individual respect and tolerance since the days of King Arthur and his Round Table.
[The government spokesman] continued, wetly, “We believe that all young people should develop an appreciation of these values as this will help them to contribute to and succeed in modern Britain.” …
A senior Anglican Bishop, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, a former Bishop of Oxford, said Prince Charles’s future coronation service should be opened with a reading from the Koran.
The gesture would, he claimed, be a “creative act of accommodation” to make Muslims feel “embraced” by the nation.
Hal Colebatch expresses the irritation and disgust we also feel at the Bishop’s “patronizing arrogance combined with cultural shame and masochism”.
He told peers that the Church of England should take the lead in “exercising its historic position in a hospitable way”.
He claimed further that at a civic service in Bristol Cathedral last year authorities had agreed to a reading of the opening passage of the Koran before the beginning of the Christian ritual. This, he said, “was a brilliant creative act of accommodation that made the Muslim high sheriff feel, as she said …
Pause there a moment to notice that the Muslim high sheriff is a she! Also that the opening passage of the Koran is the Shahada – the declaration of faith, the words that are said by a convert to Islam to turn him/her instantly into a Muslim. Did the congregation repeat the words? If so – gosh, Nigel! – do you realize that the entire congregation in the cathedral that day has now become Muslim?
… warmly embraced but did not alienate the core congregation”.
No - the poor ingenuous dears were totally unaware of what was happening to them.
“That principle of hospitality can and should be reflected in many public ceremonies, including the next coronation service.”
Perhaps, to make the embracing even more complete and ultimate, the two Muslims who showed their appreciation of the principle of British hospitality by beheading one of Prince Charles’s soldiers, Lee Rigby, in a London street, could place the crown on the new King Charles’s head. Or should ISIS’s chief headsman be flown in to do the job?
What of Omar Bakri Muhammad, the extremist preacher who is said to have played role in radicalizing the murderers of Lee Rigby and who has attempted to justify the killing of those fighting against ISIS jihadis, using Facebook to say that it is sometimes necessary to kill women and children sheltering in schools and hospitals? What could be more inclusive and multicultural than a place for him at the Coronation with the ISIS executioners?
Or they could invited the Taliban beheaders of children to enhance the inclusiveness of that historic occasion.
Just a suggestion.
Quotation from an announcement, in the form of a letter, posted on the website of the US Department of State:
U.S. Plans To Lead in Resettling Syrian Refugees
Anne C. Richard
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 9, 2014
… Only a small fraction of those who want to be resettled can be – only about one hundred thousand refugees per year, worldwide. There are more than six times that many Syrian refugees in Jordan alone. …
We applaud the 25 countries that have agreed to resettle Syrian refugees, including some who will be accepting UNHCR refugee referrals for the first time. The United States accepts the majority of all UNHCR referrals from around the world. Last year, we reached our goal of resettling nearly 70,000 refugees from nearly 70 countries. And we plan to lead in resettling Syrians as well. We are reviewing some 9,000 recent UNHCR referrals from Syria. We are receiving roughly a thousand new ones each month, and we expect admissions from Syria to surge in 2015 and beyond.
Like most other refugees resettled in the United States, they will get help from the International Organization for Migration with medical exams and transportation to the United States. Once they arrive, networks of resettlement agencies, charities, churches, civic organizations and local volunteers will welcome them. These groups work in 180 communities across the country and make sure refugees have homes, furniture, clothes, English classes, job training, health care and help enrolling their children in school. They are now preparing key contacts in American communities to welcome Syrians.
I am inspired both by the resilience of refugees we resettle, and the compassion of those who help them. Resettlement cannot replace what refugees have lost or erase what they have endured. But it can renew hope and help restart lives. That can make all the difference.
So thousands of Syrians are about to be brought into the United States. They are likely to be only the first wave of refugees from the mainly Muslim Middle East.
Refugee Resettlement Watch lists the states where nearly 10,000 mostly Muslim refugees were resettled in the first two months of the current fiscal year.
Once settled here, they can bring their relations to join them.
Under the Obama administration, the Muslim population of America is increasing constantly by immigration. They do not need amnesty. They start receiving “entitlements” immediately on arrival.
But the UN won’t allow Western countries to decide which refugees they’ll accept.
Canada wants to accept Christians and Yazidis, not Muslims with their incompatible law and ideology. But the UN won’t allow Canada to do that.
This is from Front Page by Daniel Greenfield:
The UN’s refugee agenda has an agenda and it’s not refugees, it’s Islamic invasion.
The federal government is seeking to resettle more Syrian refugees, but only from the country’s religious minorities, according to sources close to discussions around Canada’s position on refugees from the war-torn nation.
Sources close to the discussions say Canada is seeking to resettle only refugees from Syria’s religious minorities, something that would likely be difficult for the UN’s refugee agency to accept.
The UNHCR’s policy on refugees says a resettlement state determines the “size and composition” of who and how many refugees it accepts, and “therefore has full control with respect to decisions on individual cases”.
“Nevertheless, UNHCR urges all states to be guided by the agency’s internationally recognized criteria on eligibility, global needs and priorities”, the policy says.
As far as global needs go, the Middle East has plenty of safe refuges for Sunni and Shiite Muslims, it has none for Christians and Yazidis. It only makes sense that the West should fill the need for safe refuges that don’t exist in the Muslim world for non-Muslims, while the Muslim world takes in its own refugees.
Such as the “Palestinians”? The policy of the Arab states has always been NOT to accept refugees for settlement and integration – especially not Arabs from the Palestine region, sentenced by their fellow Arabs to suffer as much as possible as a reproach to the world for allowing Israel to exist.
Russell Kirk is a Catholic conservative. We were sent the link to an essay of his titled Ten Conservative Principles by a friendly Catholic commenter on our Facebook page.
As (we reasonably suppose) the essay was drawn to our attention to challenge our view of conservatism as atheists, here is our response.
Kirk declares – rightly – that conservatism is not an ideology. In fact, he says, “conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order”.
So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. …
We would look back further than two centuries – to the great new morning of European culture, the Enlightenment. Otherwise, we’ll accept what he has said so far without argument.
It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects …
[While] it is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions … I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims. …
The following articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.
First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.
Here we start contending with him. While our view of what moral behavior should be is probably the same in many practical instances as Kirk’s, our understanding of why we should behave in these ways, and how we know we should behave in these ways, is different.
That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.
We agree with Kirk that human nature can be said to be constant in that it is not transformable as Marxists think it is and should be; and that what is moral and immoral in principle is not altered by time. But only a believer in a god – a benevolent one who concerns himself with human behavior – can state that there is a “moral order” that was “made for man”, and that “man was made for” a moral order.
He goes on to state this Christian view even more plainly:
This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. … Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order.
We think Plato queered philosophy for all time with his conjecture that there are two worlds: this material one where we live our mortal lives, and another one, abstract, ideal, higher, that we knew before we were born, and will know again after we have died. This one, solid as it seems, Plato taught is not real; it is a world of shadows. The other one, the ideal world, is real. To reiterate: What we experience as real is not real; what Plato imagined is real. How did Plato ever sell that notion to his own elite audience? And how come it has survived through the ages? It is the source of the Christian belief that life in this world (the only world we know for sure exists) is a sojourn in a place of testing, a place of sorrows, and has little value: while heaven is the world that matters, a place of eternal bliss. Plato and Christians believe that people’s “souls” go to the higher world when they die if they’ve been good.
While we concede that there is much immorality in our time – as there always has been and always will be – we do not see that there has ever been a “moral order”. The Christian churches did their utmost to force people – with extreme intolerance and appalling cruelty – to conform to their own moral code of mandated love, forgiveness, gentleness, humility and self-sacrifice. (Self-sacrifice because life in this solid world is not important, and martyrdom will win you a place in that rumored heaven.)
… It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society – whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society – no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.
We have no argument with most of that if by “the inner order of the soul” he means the convictions, values, standards people hold. A society composed of individuals who live by high moral standards will be a good society. (Only we see nothing wrong with “gratifying appetites” as long as it is not at the expense of others. The asceticism of Pauline Christianity enters Kirk’s portrait of the conservative here.)
Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.
Adherence to custom and convention are not necessarily a bad thing, but should never be an excuse for refusing to change when change is called for. Continuity of social institutions that have been time-tested and found to be useful to human life and happiness is obviously a good thing. But they should not be resistant to necessary change: a matter of evolution rather than decreed reform. Kirk is right in saying here that “Change … ought to be gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.” It is a point he returns to when he comes to his tenth principle.
He suggests that the “body social is a kind of spiritual corporation, comparable to the church; it may even be called a community of souls”. We prefer to speak of common interests, of co-operation for mutual benefit, and of patriotism.
Apart from that, we don’t think his discussion of this “second principle” is worth much examination.
Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.
Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription – that is, of things established by immemorial usage … Our morals are prescriptive in great part. Conservatives argue that we are unlikely, we moderns, to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste.
To put it another way: relying on the wisdom of the ages, continuing with what has been found to work, is often sensible. But again, tradition should not become bondage. As times change, new difficulties arise that need new solutions.
It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.
We do not think private rationality is petty. We cannot avoid making our own judgments. On whose judgment can we rely if not our own? Even if we decide to rely on the judgment of our ancestors, or our parents, or our teachers, or our political leaders, we ourselves judge it right to do so.
Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. … Providence [God] moves slowly, but the devil always hurries. Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. …
We agree with that as a general principle – overlooking Providence and the devil. But life in civilized lands is no longer leisurely. Travel is fast. Communication is fast. Catastrophe can come fast upon us. “Conservative” cannot be allowed to become a synonym for “obsolete”.
Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.
Except for his notion that there will be a Last Judgment, we agree with that too.
Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of Imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order. But if the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are neglected, then the anarchic impulse in humankind breaks loose: “the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.
There too, we largely agree. We would not say, however, that human beings are “imperfect”, since we know of no standard of “perfection” against which they can be measured. Christians of course believe in the Fall, in original sin, the inherited guilt of all mankind because of a first man and woman’s disobedience to a creator god. We find that idea repulsive and ridiculous. We reckon that to live is to suffer; that we are all capable of doing wrong, and there are habitual criminals and sadists among us, which is why we need the rule of law; that each one of us in his pursuit of happiness will find other individuals in his way; that rational self-interest is an enormously useful guide to living successfully with others and treating each other well.
Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. … Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. … [A] sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired. …
We strongly concur. And at last he mentions freedom – but only in passing, in connection with private property. We would put freedom as the highest value.
He pays more attention to “the community” than the individual.
Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. … It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.
We have cut out most of this section of Kirk’s essay. Of course we are for co-operation with our neighbors to provide for our shared needs and desires, from street lighting to street parties. And while charity is certainly a better means of redistribution than socialism, neither charity nor socialism is a solution for poverty. Self-reliance in a free economy is the best solution.
Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. … In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.
Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite – these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.
There is more to this section, but that is enough to convey his point. We agree with it well enough. Only, we would express our view on liberty and restraint differently. We say that the duty of government is to protect the liberty of the nation as a whole and of everybody in it; and that individual freedom should be restrained by nothing but the freedom of everybody else.
Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces … its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate. … The conservative … favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.
Change is essential to the body social … The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.
We agree with him about the forces of Permanence and Progression, and the need for judicious change.
But then again with his final paragraph we take issue. He harks back to Plato, back to the two worlds, back to the Christian illusion that there is a “moral order in the universe”.
The great line of demarcation in modern politics … is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order …
As we most emphatically do …
… and that material needs are their only needs …
As nobody does!
… and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.
We find no “enduring moral order in the universe”, no “order spiritual”. But we share quite a lot of ideas with Kirk’s conservative – enough to make it obvious that you do not have to be a Christian to be a conservative, even in America.
But we find Kirk’s description incomplete. He has left out an idea that we hold indispensable to Western conservatism. (We stress “Western” conservatism because elsewhere the word has other meanings. In Russia, for example, since 1991, the conservatives are those who want Communism back.)
The missing principle is what Adam Smith called “the natural order of liberty”. We call it the free market. (Karl Marx, who hated it, called it Capitalism.)
When Kirk stresses the importance of private property, the missing principle is hovering there behind his sentences; but though he expatiates on the virtue and necessity of owning property, he does not declare an opinion on a right and wrong way of acquiring it.
Ideally, we would like to be able to go about our daily business without thinking about government, without being aware of government; confident that we are protected by the law, and by our nation’s military might; free to do what we please, always remembering that “the freedom of my fist ends where your nose begins”. That for us is conservatism.
And here is our portrait of an atheist conservative: a free, self-reliant, rational person; realistically suspicious of human nature; who knows that to prosper he must have something to sell – a good, a skill, a service, an invention – that others will pay him for; who behaves towards others with rational self-restraint, keeping social interaction pleasant with the customs of civility, but being always ready to defend himself with lethal weapons if he has to. He holds justice in high esteem, knowing it is hard to be just but that the effort must never be abandoned. He honors the legacy of freedom and political order that his forebears have won for him. He knows the value of what he inherits, and will preserve it and bequeath it; but he’ll also adapt to changing circumstances, and is not a slave to convention. He knows and fulfills his responsibilities. He expects his fellow-countrymen to tolerate his differences from them as he tolerates theirs from him. He will not want power over others, and not tolerate them having power over him except within limits he consents to. He seeks success and happiness in this world, not expecting to be rewarded or compensated in some rumored “afterlife” on the other side of physical death or political revolution. He does not abase others by pitying them. He does not kneel to anyone, literally or figuratively. He moves at ease in his own country. He says what he wants to say. He tolerates no encroachment on his property. He keeps what he earns (as much as legally possible from government), and spends it as he chooses.
(Hat-tip for the Russell Kirk essay to our Facebook commenter Robert Wilkins)
When a whole whimper of western women sex-changed into feminists – starting in the 1960s – they did not give up dependency, they simply switched from being dependent on a husband to being dependent on the state.
It was a bad move. It is generally far easier to negotiate for your wants with a single person whose life and comfort is bound up with your own, than with an indifferent bureaucracy.
Feminism is a Leftist movement – the ideology or faith of the Left being the belief that government, like a god who commands all the resources of the world and can forever pluck more out of the infinite, must and will supply your every need: cradle you, coddle you, teach you, care for you, shelter and protect you, and so give you joy.
The model American “woomin” in this dreary long age of Obama, is a fictitious feminist named Julia. Julia Government is her married name. Her channel of communication with her remote, powerful, immaterial spouse is gov dot com. She signals her needs to him, and he responds with grants and services throughout her life.
She has a child with his indirect assistance. She does not have to stay at home to care for it as women used to do. Government raises and educates it in the Faith. And to keep her occupied and in pocket, Government grants her a little business of her own – not too lucrative, nothing that would make an obscene private-sector type profit!
Generations of children have now grown up nurtured in the cold bosom of the state. Each generation is smaller than the last. “Wimmin” don’t see the point of having them, actually. And Government provides almost free contraception. And Planned Parenthood provides cheap abortions. So let the human species dwindle. It’s bad for the planet anyway.
And besides – life, the feminists say, is not all it’s cracked up to be.
So why don’t you try going back to the old ways, wimmin? Share a marriage bed with a person? Bear more children, raise them, teach them, enjoy making them happy and letting them make you happy?
No, no!, the feminists reply, we would be housebound. We would have to give the best years of our lives to changing diapers, and cooking, and putting clothes in washing machines!
Instead of what we’re doing now.
Copulating with anyone we want when we want; accusing men of rape whether they’ve done it or not; having the occasional abortion; running a little business on a grant; or working for our master, the Government. You know – all that.
No downside to all that?
Well, (the wimmin tell us, deeply resenting our hostile questioning), even if being married to the state has its drawbacks, at least (they say, singing in their chains like the sea) – at least we’re free!
It profits me but little, after all, that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquility of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life. – Alexis de Tocqueville
Bruce Thornton quotes that wise saying in an article at Front Page, from which we extract these points:
California recently passed a law requiring that sexual encounters between students in universities and colleges can proceed only on the basis of “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement”. Failure to resist or to ask the partner to stop the encounter can no longer be taken as consent. Institutions that wish to receive state funds or financial aid must adhere to this standard when investigating charges of “sexual assault”, a phrase redefined to include behaviors once considered boorish or insensitive, but not legally actionable. The California law follows on the 2011 Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’s “dear colleague” letter that instructed schools investigating sexual assault complaints to use the “more likely than not” or “preponderance of the evidence” standard of evidence rather than the “clear and convincing” one.
The dangers to individual privacy and accountability that follow such regulatory intrusions into sexual intimacy between legal adults have been well documented, not the least being the violation of the rights of the accused, who now enter a hearing with a presumption of guilt rather than of innocence. Also problematic is the double standard inherent in such rules, particularly when both accuser and accused are drunk or otherwise incapacitated. …
The feminists’ championing of sexual autonomy for women reached a head in the 1960s. Before the modern age, sex was seen as a necessary but dangerous force that, if left uncontrolled, not just impaired the mind, but also destroyed whole civilizations. It was the illicit sexual passion of Paris and Helen that “burnt the topless towers” of Troy, as Christopher Marlow wrote. As such, sex had to be contained and channeled by social practices and cultural institutions. Virtues, taboos, and especially marriage all attempted to direct sexual energy to its most socially important goal, procreation and the family. …
By the late nineteenth century, many social and cultural developments had undermined this traditional sexual realism. Over the following decades, in the work of Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Sigmund Freud, Margaret Mead, Alfred Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, Norman O. Brown, Herbert Marcuse, and numerous others, sex was [regarded as] a natural phenomenon that science could understand and hence make more enjoyable and less damaging. The destructive effects of sex, in this view, were not inherent, but the consequence of repressive social institutions …
In the sixties, Cultural Marxism interpreted traditional limits on sexual behavior as the instruments of oppression and conformity, reinforcing the “false consciousness” that perpetuated the ruling class and its power.
Breaking sexual taboos and experiencing sexual pleasure thus became acts of liberation, leading to self-fulfillment and personal freedom.
Feminism embraced this notion of sexual liberation. The autonomy of women depended on their casting off the shackles of patriarchal misogyny most evident in male control of women’s sexuality – “our bodies, ourselves” became the battle cry. Women should have the equal power to choose sexual experiences and pleasure, and the unjust double standards that gave men but not women sexual autonomy should be discarded. The biological differences between men and women, especially nature’s subjection of women’s bodies to the relentless imperatives of procreation, were now discarded as arbitrary, unjust impediments to women’s freedom and autonomy. This process was moved along by the new technologies of reliable birth control and accessible and safe abortion.
In the ensuing decades, however, the malign consequences of sexual liberation became increasingly manifest – the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases, the wider access to demeaning pornography, and the explosion of out-of-wedlock childbirth and the attendant social dysfunctions that follow from children being raised without fathers.
Even for more privileged women, there were psychological costs to be paid for contending with male sexual predators and absolving them of responsibility for their behavior, given that now men and women were equally in control of their sexual choices, and that the traditional mores once enshrining male responsibility, such as chivalry, had been dismissed as patronizing and sexist.
But as the years passed, many women began to discover that there are indeed differences between men and women and their experiences of sex. Liberation did not lead to the sexual utopia of carefree and cost-free pleasure, but to the guilt, regret, and humiliation that follow being used as an object for somebody else’s transient enjoyment.
The response to these ill effects was to create rules and codes designed to eliminate the negative consequences of sexual freedom. But contrary to the assumptions of lawmakers who want to regulate sexual behavior, sex is not a game like tennis that can be pleasurable for the players provided the rules are followed. As Camille Paglia has pointed out, when it comes to sex, the more appropriate metaphor is to the old Roman arena, where there was no law. An act that is so physically and psychologically complicated, and that exposes our most intimate longings and hidden selves, cannot be rationalized and made cost-free, or its unpleasant effects neutralized, by reducing it to a “voluntary agreement” in which the terms and conditions are spelled out and followed as in a contract. …
Faced with the costs of sexual liberation, [feminists chose] to demand that the state use its coercive power to protect women not just from insensitive men, but from the consequences of their own choices. Sexual harassment law is the most widespread expression of this impulse to use the tutelary state to defend women from a “hostile and intimidating” environment. The vulgar joke or boorish innuendo is now not just a violation of social decorum, but a crime subject to law and punishment.
But nothing infantilizes women more than the sexual codes promulgated by numerous universities. Obviously, sexual assault properly defined is a crime that should be investigated and the guilty punished. But getting drunk and then sleeping with an equally intoxicated partner is not a crime. It’s a learning experience about taking responsibility for one’s actions, and practicing the virtues of prudence and self-control. …
At the same time that feminists still call for unlimited sexual freedom, they treat women as Victorian maidens who lack agency and resources of character, and thus must be defended against sexual cads and bounders. As the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald puts it, this “new order is a bizarre hybrid of liberationist and traditionalist values. It carefully preserves the prerogative of no-strings-attached sex while cabining it with legalistic caveats that allow females to revert at will to a stance of offended virtue.”
This strange demand for absolute freedom without responsibility for one’s choices is not just a symptom of feminism. It reaches into our broader culture. It has become the enabler of the entitlement state, which justifies its growing size and regulatory power over people’s lives by promising to protect them not just from the vicissitudes of life, but from the consequences of their own choices … Thus the feminist demand for government-subsidized birth control and abortion is of a piece with government bailouts for homeowners who over-borrowed on the equity of their homes or lied on their mortgage applications.
The demand for personal freedom without accountability contradicts the foundational philosophy of our republic. The right to liberty is not the right be absolved from the consequences of one’s actions. Taking that responsibility is what makes one worthy of freedom and equal to others who likewise must be accountable for their actions.
We quote from our own post, Home sweet closet (December 7, 2012):
Most living units will accomodate one person only. Families must be broken up, the bearing of children discouraged (though copulation promoted with “free” contraceptives). Life in these tiny spaces will of necessity be austere. As austere as in a prison cell. Little room for even essential belongings. No room to entertain friends. Almost none for books, recorded music or movies, photographs, pictures, any pet bigger than a fish, collections or hobbies. To stretch your legs you’ll have to go out into the public arena. That’s the idea, of course: privacy must be extremely limited; your activities must be visible, communal, controllable. No dystopia yet conceived by any fiction writer matches up to this nightmare. Its only redeeming feature is that it will be so stagnant a society that it will perish through sterility and death – unless human instincts not entirely crushed will drive the regimented beings to rebellion and the overthrow of their enslavers. Better recognize what’s coming now, and resist it, than enter that hell on earth.
This is from an article in Investor’s Business Daily by Paul A. Gosar, member of the United States House of Representatives from Arizona:
In the eyes of the Obama administration, Americans are not the best judges of where they should live and raise their families. At least that’s the message coming from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Just when you thought the administration’s Orwellian sovereignty had reached its limits, HUD has declared that our nation’s suburbs aren’t diverse enough and that local governments may not be the best arbiters of housing and zoning regulations.
To remedy this perceived cultural malaise, the administration has issued a new proposed regulation that mandates a barrier for individuals and families on where they can choose to live.
In so doing, the president and his administration are encroaching on the rights of local governments and again needlessly injecting race into public policy issues, setting the stage for even further division and animosity.
To accomplishing this goal, the president has proposed a rule known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), which according to Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will –
… push Americans into living how and where the federal government wants. It promises to gut the ability of suburbs to set their own zoning codes. It will press future population growth into tiny, densely packed high-rise zones around public transportation, urbanizing suburbs and Manhattanizing cities.
Paul Gosar doesn’t say so, but this is the implementation of Agenda 21, emanating from the United Nations. It is a giant step towards world communist government.
To know all about pernicious Agenda 21, and how it is being surreptitiously implemented, see our posts: Beware “Agenda 21”, June 24, 2011; Agenda 21: the “smart growth” conspiracy, November 21, 2011; Three eees for environmental equalizing economics, December 4, 2011; Dark city, May 31, 2012; Destroying American wealth and sovereignty by diktat, June 6, 2012; The mystic UN and Agenda 21, August 3, 2012; Pleistocene Park, August 11, 2012; The death of nations, September 18, 2012; Home sweet closet, December 7, 2012; Getting rid of mother, January 30, 2013; Teaching submission to world government, April 14, 2013; Be alarmed, April 6, 2014; Your tiny home is frozen, July 14, 2014.
… Washington bureaucrats would tell us where we can live and whom we can live next to, all in the name of social justice and ideological utopianism. Nothing could be more wrong and un-American.
Just like we don’t need the government choosing our doctors, neither do we need it choosing our neighbors.
The 1968 Fair Housing Act already makes discrimination illegal in the “sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The act was amended in 1988 to add disability and familial status as covered conditions.
But apparently that’s not enough to provide everyone with equal opportunity in housing. What the administration wants is equal outcomes, and the only way to achieve that is for the federal leviathan to force itself on local jurisdictions.
No one should ever be targeted for exclusion from a neighborhood because of their ethnicity or any other protected category. But neither should there be quotas for neighborhoods to achieve some sort of racial balance that would not happen naturally. A level playing field that lets Americans choose where they live gives zoning authority to local governments is the wisest policy.
To curb this federal overreach, I sponsored an amendment in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would block funding for the president’s rule on AFFH.
Some colleagues and I have issued a new call to action, asking appropriators to include the same defunding language that passed the House of Representatives in any appropriations package we vote on and send it to the president. If the rule is implemented and municipalities do not comply with AFFH, community development grant money will be withheld.
The sad truth about this Obama social engineering proposal is that HUD conducted its own study in 2011 that concluded that moving people living in poor neighborhoods into suburban neighborhoods neither helps children do better in school nor decreases their family’s dependence on welfare — the goal of the proposed AFFH rule.
A compelling reason to defund this regulation is that it will have the opposite impact on the people it is intended to assist, increasing their likelihood of government dependency.
This is an encroachment into the domain of local governments, even bypassing state governments, and violates the basic intent of our Founders.
It certainly does that, in a very big way.
We wonder: does Rep. Gosar not know about Agenda 21? Or does he not mention it because he doesn’t want to frighten us?
Are Republican politicians generally ignorant of Agenda 21?
We all need to know about Agenda 21. We need to be afraid of it.
An Egyptian atheist dares to speak the truth about Islam on television, and argues with a – thoroughly deluded, or deliberately lying – imam:
It would say a lot for Egypt under President Sisi if Ahmad Harqan can speak this freely with impunity. But is that the case?
This information accompanies the YouTube video captured by Memri:
“In an October 21 TV interview, Egyptian human rights activist Ahmad Harqan explained why he had become an atheist and said that Islam is a “harsh religion”, which was being implemented by ISIS and Boko Haram. They are doing “what the Prophet Muhammad and his companions did”, said Harqan. According to media reports, Harqan and his pregnant wife survived an assassination attempt on October 25, and when they went to the police to complain, were arrested for disrespect to Islam.”
We hope we will learn what happens to them.
After World War I, the Gaza Strip, which for centuries had been part of the Ottoman Empire, came under a British mandate. From 1949 to 1959, it was governed by Egypt, ostensibly under the authority of the Arab League. In 1959, the Strip was incorporated by Egypt, though the population was not granted Egyptian citizenship.
In 1967, the territory was occupied by Israel in the course of its defensive Six-Day War. Thousands of Israelis settled in the Strip and established industries there. But in 1993, by the tragically misconceived Oslo Accords, Gaza came under the administration of a “Palestine National Authority” (PNA). In its perpetual pursuit of peace with the Arabs, Israel agreed to remove the settlers. They resisted, and the Israeli government had them removed by force. They left acres of excellently functioning and highly lucrative greenhouses to the Arabs – who promptly destroyed them.
So it was that a Judenrein Gaza Strip became an autonomous “Palestinian” region, officially administered by the PNA.
In 2007, the terrorist organization Hamas, after an internecine struggle with the PNA, seized control of the Strip and proceeded to launch attacks on Israel with suicide bombers and rocket fire. Israel dealt with the suicide bombers by putting up a protective fence, and from time to time responds to the rocket fire with bombing raids. The world thinks Israel is not being fair to the Palestinians by taking these measures.
The world, chiefly the Western powers, has chosen to keep the population of Gaza as a perpetual beggar nation, dependent on aid. The children of Gaza are taught in schools run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) – created specially for the purpose of keeping generations of Palestinians as “refugees’ – and under its tutelage are raised to be Israel-haters and terrorists. The result is the perpetuation of intense hostility, which makes a mockery of the pretense of those same Western powers to be honest brokers of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Now the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has infiltrated the Strip and is threatening to take over control of it from its fellow Sunni-Muslim terrorists, Hamas.
This is from an article by Khaled Abu Toameh at Gatestone:
It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.
That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.
Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women.Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.
It is no secret that the Islamic State has a presence in the Gaza Strip. According to sources there, many disgruntled members of Hamas and other radical salafi-jihadi groups have already joined the Islamic State, with some fighting together with ISIS groups in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this year, it was revealed here that Islamic State has already begun operating inside the Gaza Strip – much to the dismay of Hamas.
Hamas, nevertheless, continues to deny any presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. “There are no members of Islamic State in the Gaza Strip,” said Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.
Many Palestinians, however, do not seem to take Hamas’s denials seriously, and remain unconvinced.
Over the past few days, two separate leaflets signed by Islamic State threatened to target Palestinian poets and writers for their “wantonness” and “atheism.” The leaflets mention the poets and writers by name – a move that created panic among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The leaflets also included an ultimatum to Palestinian women to abide by Islamic attire or face the Islamic State style of punishment — presumably being stoned to death. The threat leaves one with the false impression that, under Hamas, women can wear swimming suits at the beach and walk around the streets of Gaza City in mini-skirts.
But this is what happens when one fundamentalist group believes that the other is not radical enough.
“We warn the writers and poets of their wanton sayings and atheist deeds,” one of the leaflets reads. “We give the apostates three days to retract their apostasy and wantonness and enter the religion of Islam anew.”
The threats issued by Islamic State have drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians. This is the first time that such threats have been made against poets and writers or women.
Although Hamas has denied any connection to the threats, Fatah officials [aka the PNA] in the West Bank were quick to accuse the Islamist movement — which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 — of being behind the leaflets. …
Palestinians point out that the two leaflets were not the only sign of the presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. They say that Islamic State flags can be seen in many parts of the Gaza Strip, especially at football stadiums and public buildings. In addition, Islamic State stickers can be seen on the windshields of many vehicles.
More recently … families have begun attaching the Islamic State emblem to wedding invitations sent out to friends and relatives. Photos of Palestinians who were killed while fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appear in many places, especially mosques and educational centers.
Of course, all of this is taking place while Hamas continues to insist that the Islamic State is not operating in Gaza.
Those who are taking the threats seriously are the women and writers whose names appeared in the leaflets.
Amal Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Women’s Union, expressed deep concern about the threats made by Islamic State. “We are headed toward the worst in the Gaza Strip,” she complained. “We hold the Hamas security forces responsible for the leaflets of intimidation and terror.” She and a large group of women in the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the repercussions of the threats.
Judging from reactions, it is clear that many Palestinians – including Hamas – are extremely worried about Islamic State’s presence in the Gaza Strip. Even if the terror group still does not have many fighters in the Gaza Strip, it already has countless followers and admirers.
It is also clear that if and when the Hamas regime collapses, the Gaza Strip will not fall into the hands of less-radical Palestinians.
The Gaza Strip has already been turned into an “Islamist Emirate” that is run by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad.
While Islamic State may have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza Strip, its chances of entering the West Bank are zero. This is thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas are well aware that without the Israeli security presence in the West Bank, the area would easily fall into the hands of Hamas or Islamic State.
It is important to keep in mind that the countries in Europe now voting for a Palestinian state may effectively be paving the way for a takeover by Islamic State.
We wonder how many people living in Gaza secretly wish the alleged Israeli “occupation” were real, and are nostalgic for the days when it was. Their lives were better, and more secure, under Israel than under the PNA or Hamas.
Now they – especially writers, poets, and women it seems – must dread the prospect of life under the rule of the Islamic State.
But if the Islamic State does absorb Gaza, its population will be stateless no longer. As citizens of the Caliphate they may be miserable, but they will no longer be “refugees”.
No more UNWRA. No more exploitation of the Palestinians by the Arab States as “victims” of Israel.
Of course, the attacks on Israel will not stop. They will very likely intensify. Will the world object as much to Israel defending itself against the Islamic State as it does to Israel defending itself against Hamas?
Time may tell.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State is taking possession of the minds of millions of Muslims all over the world. If it is not growing territorially at this moment, it is certainly growing as an ideal.
An ideal of savage cruelty and enslavement! Islam triumphant.
The Egyptian Goddess Isis
(just for decoration)
“This is what we call Smart Power, using every possible tool … leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect even for one’s enemies, trying to understand, and insofar as is psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view, helping to define the problems [and] determine a solution, that is what we believe in the 21st century will change the prospect for peace.”
That, John Hinderaker of PowerLine reports, is what an “audience of diplomats and other officials from all over the world” heard Hillary Clinton say at Georgetown University. The title of her speech was Smart Power: Security Through Inclusive Leadership.
She would respect, for instance, the ISIS decapitators? The Taliban oppressors of women? She can empathize with their “perspective and point of view”? She hopes to “define the problems” in warm chats with them and so “change the prospect for peace”?
John Hinderaker comments:
The hall was at least half empty. Which may not mean anything. … I am not sure whether the public was even invited.
What does deserve ridicule, however, is the content of Hillary’s remarks, which remind us how vapid her thinking is. …
So that’s what they call Smart Power? No wonder it didn’t work: diplomacy as envisioned by a naive but well-intentioned elementary school teacher.
She went on to deplore the scarcity of women in high-level international diplomacy.
Considering the paucity of success in her own career as Secretary of State, and its resounding failures – most notably a failed “re-set” with Russia, and the horrors of Benghazi – she may not be the best representative of the fair sex to advocate for this cause.
One of the problems with the liberals’ approach to national security is that wherever they look, they see opportunities for affirmative action. If it isn’t women in combat, it’s women in the foreign ministry:
Of the hundreds of peace treaties signed since the early 1990s, between or within nations, she said fewer than 10 percent had any female negotiators and fewer than 3 percent had women as signatories.
“Is it any wonder that many of these agreements fail between [sic] a few years?”
Upon which John Hinderaker justly exclaims –
It’s enough to give non sequiturs a bad name!
He goes on:
But beyond the easy ridicule, there is a serious point: liberalism of the Clinton variety is utterly out of ammo.
Hillary has no ideas of any intellectual or strategic significance. All she can do is utter platitudes and pander to 1970s-style feminism.
And for this she gets $300,000 a pop?
But affirmative action requires the US to have a female president next time.
No matter if she cannot think. No matter if she was bad at the only important government job she tried to do. No matter if she, like the affirmative action president now in office, comes out of the Saul Alinsky stable of hate-America communist wreckers.
To the Left, to the foolish voter (I am being redundant here), it is enough that she is a woman. And married to Bill Clinton (ironically, the hound of women!).
Will the American electorate again make a disastrous choice of president in 2016 and elect Hillary Clinton?
Surely not – if a plausible candidate is at last found by the Republican Party.
There’s the rub.
Speaking for us again, here is Pat Condell on the absurdity of religious belief.
This video is not new. It’s dated December 16, 2010. But what he says is ever valid – and the way he says it, entertaining as ever.