What does a conservative in the US most want to conserve? We would say: A commitment to liberty, the founding principle of his country. American conservatives may differ from each other on questions of religion, foreign affairs, entitlements and the economic “safety-net”, homosexual marriage and abortion, even on defense, but if they are not loyal to the Constitution and the idea of individual freedom that it enshrines, they are not true conservatives.
In Britain too, conservatives are dedicated to the defense of the traditional and hard-won liberties of the people.
In Russia, being a conservative means something different. The very opposite. What Russian conservatives want to conserve is their long and almost completely unbroken tradition of tyranny. The quarrel within their ranks would now, in post-Soviet times, be chiefly over whether they want a return to the Red Tyranny of Bolshevism, or the older tradition of Tsarist oppression, where cause for national pride may more confidently be found.
Owen Matthews, author of Stalin’s Children, writes in the Spectator (UK) about a conservative Russian military leader:
Strange times throw up strange heroes — and in Russia’s proxy war with Ukraine, none is more enigmatic than the Donetsk rebel leader Igor Girkin, better known by his nom de guerre of Igor Strelkov.
In a few short months, Strelkov has gone from being an obscure military re-enactor to the highest-profile rebel leader in eastern Ukraine. But at the same time Strelkov’s fame and outspoken criticism of Vladimir Putin for failing to sufficiently support the rebels has earned him the enmity of the Kremlin. Moreover, Strelkov’s brand of sentimental ultra-nationalism, extreme Orthodoxy and Russian Imperial nostalgia offer a frightening glimpse into one of Russia’s possible futures.
In the West, we are used to seeing Putin cast as a dangerous adventurer and nationalist. But to Strelkov, and to the millions of Russians who have come to admire him, Putin isn’t nearly nationalist enough.
Within weeks of his arrival in eastern Ukraine in May this year, apparently on his own initiative, Strelkov quickly became the highest-profile rebel leader thanks to his discipline and military bearing. A veteran of wars in Bosnia, Transnistria and Chechnya, Strelkov is a reserve colonel in the Russian army and a former (and possibly current) officer in Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. With his clipped moustache, pressed fatigues and careful charm, Strelkov styles himself on a pre–revolutionary Tsarist officer. In May he mustered a 2,000-strong local defence force in Slavyansk, banned his troops from swearing and ordered two of his own men to be summarily executed for looting.
He wrote a manifesto calling his troops “an Orthodox army who are proud that we serve not the golden calf but our Lord Jesus Christ” and declared that “swearing is blasphemy, and a Russian warrior cannot use the language of the enemy. It demeans us spiritually, and will lead the army to defeat”.
Russian state television built Strelkov up as a hero. The nationalist writer Egor Prosvirnin praised him as the “Russian God of War” who “rinks the blood of foreign mercenaries to the last drop, and then asks for more”. …
And then, in mid-August, Strelkov mysteriously resigned his post as “defence minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic — along with two other Russian citizens who had been the civilian heads of the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. All three rebel leaders were replaced by Ukrainian citizens.
The most obvious explanation for the reshuffle is that Moscow is preparing a negotiated settlement where the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine — or Novo-Rossiya, “New Russia”, in Russian nationalist parlance — will be given some degree of autonomy within Ukraine. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — from young soldiers’ Instagram selfies tagged to locations inside Ukraine to the Russian regular soldiers taken prisoners of war on Monday by Kiev’s troops — Moscow has also continued to insist that it is not a combatant in Ukraine. Clearly, having Russian citizens at the helm of supposedly autonomous rebel republics and their armed forces was a diplomatic inconvenience to the Kremlin which needed to be fixed — and pressure was put on Strelkov and his cronies to quit.
But there’s another, deeper meaning to Strelkov’s fall from favour. Though he’s often portrayed as a stooge of Moscow, Strelkov has in fact been consistently critical of the Kremlin’s failure to act decisively to annex eastern Ukraine as it annexed Crimea in spring. “Having taken Crimea, Putin began a revolution from the top,” Strelkov wrote in June. “But if we do not support [this revolution] now, its failure will sweep aside both him and the country.”
Strelkov’s close associate Igor Ivanov, the head of the rebel army’s political department, has also furiously denounced the “Chekist-oligarchic regime” of Vladimir Putin and has also predicted that Putin will soon fall, leaving only the army and the church to save Russia from chaos.
This mix of militarism, religion and a mystical faith in Holy Russia’s imperial destiny to rule over lesser nations has deep roots. Ivanov was until recently head of the Russian All-Military Union, or ROVS, an organisation originally founded by the White Russian General Baron Pyotr Wrangel in 1924 after the victory of the Bolsheviks in the civil war. Its guiding motive was to preserve the Tsarist ideals of God, Tsar and Fatherland. For much of the 20th century, ROVS was the preserve of elderly emigré fantasists — before a new generation of post-Soviet nationalists like Ivanov breathed new life into the organisation as a home for Russian ultra-nationalists who hate Putin’s brand of crony capitalism.
A similar outfit is the Narodny Sobor, or People’s Assembly, which describes itself as an “Orthodox-Patriotic organisation devoted to fighting ‘liberasts’ and western values, to promoting Orthodoxy, and to preserving the traditional family”, according to a recent study by Professor Paul Robinson of the University of Ottawa. In Russia, the Narodny Sobor has, along with the Russian Orthodox church, successfully campaigned for a tsunami of conservative legislation to be passed by the Duma, from banning swearing on television and in films to prohibiting the spreading of “homosexual propaganda”. The head of the Narodny Sobor’s Ukrainian branch is Igor Druz — a senior political advisor to Strelkov who has denounced the Kiev government as “pederasts and drug addicts”.
On the face of it, Strelkov and his ilk and Putin should be on the same side. They share a nostalgia for a lost Russian greatness — indeed Strelkov has a degree in history and was until recently an enthusiastic military re-enactor, playing White Guard and second world war officers. And this year, in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, Putin has abandoned years of hard-edged pragmatism and economic prudence and moved towards the kind of mystical, Orthodox nationalism so beloved of the ROVS and Narodny Sobor crowd.
Yet as Putin prepares to sign off on some kind of compromise peace deal with the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, there will be millions of Russians brainwashed by months of state television’s patriotic propaganda who will agree with Strelkov that Moscow is selling the rebels down the river.
Strelkov himself has little chance of becoming a serious opposition figure to Putin; he is too stiff and too weird for public politics. But Putin’s main challenger, when he comes, will be someone of Strelkov’s stamp.
We tend to think of Vladimir Putin as being most politically vulnerable from the left — from the liberal, western-orientated professionals who came out in their hundreds of thousands on the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg three years ago to protest at Putin’s third term. But in truth Putin’s real vulnerability is from the right — from the racist football fans who rioted unchecked through central Moscow in 2010; from prophets of a Russian-led Eurasian empire such as Alexander Dugin, who was in the radical nationalist opposition to Putin before falling temporarily into step with the Kremlin in the wake of the Crimea campaign; and from militaristic ultra-conservatives on the Russian religious right.
So for the countries of Eastern Europe emancipated from Russian servitude barely a quarter of a century ago, there is not only the growing threat of re-subjugation, but the probability that it will be applied according to the whims of a madman, a religious fanatic living out fantasies of Tsardom and limitless imperial expansion by military means.
A writer by the name of Enza Ferreri has written an article against Reason. She probably doesn’t see that that is what she’s done. But that is what she’s done. She writes:
It’s all very simple. We can’t fight Islam in the West without fighting the enablers of Islam in the West, namely the Leftists.
So far, so good.
And, since the Left has many different and separate aspects, we have to fight against each one of them. Secularism, environmentalism, global warming alarmism, homosexualism, militant feminism, sexual relativism, multiculturalism, anti-Christianity, Islamophilia, post-nationalism, internationalism are just as important targets to attack as Marxist economics, the expropriation of the capitalist class (or, in its modern reincarnation, redistribution of wealth), and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The words we have put in bold mark the issues we dispute with Enza Ferreri.
We don’t know what “homosexualism” is, or “sexual relativism”.
We consider sexual choices to be private matters (unless they involve children). They are certainly not dangerous threats to the survival of the West.
But while we agree with the author on her other “targets”, we emphatically disagree with her when it comes to secularism and anti-Christianity.
Secularism is not the same as Leftism. Between the founding of the United States of America and the dawning in the 1960s of this Leftist age, there was a very long stretch of secularism, liberty, and prosperity.
But in those times and those countries where a church (in the widest sense) has been the ruling power, there has always been tyranny. What greater tyranny can there be than the imposition of an orthodoxy on every mind?
Communism and Nazism also impose orthodoxy, and punish dissent as cruelly as a theocracy. That is one of the reasons why we class these ideologies as religions. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China were not secular states; they were orthodoxies, as tyrannous as the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, or the newly declared Islamic State now.
The secular state, and only the secular state, is a free state. Secularism is freedom. Freedom is only possible in the secular state.
In a free, secular society, people are free to be Christians. But people are equally free to criticize Christianity.
Neglecting any of these fronts is like fighting a war leaving a battleground to the enemy, like fighting on the Western front and leaving totally undefended the Eastern one.
Secularism and atheism are certainly the first lines of important wars.
So she contends that the prime enemy in her war is freedom. That being so, she has no case to make against Islam or Marxism.
For all that she seems to be speaking for tolerance (being against Islamophilia) and reason (being against environmentalism, global warming alarmism, “militant feminism”); and against Islam (aka multiculturalism) and Marxism (redistribution etc.), she is actually speaking for her own choice of intolerant, irrational, orthodox tyranny.
A secularist West will always lose to Islam, because it will have enough compassion, tolerance and self-restraint from violence that are the remnants of its Christian heritage, but it will have lost the ideals, the passion and certainty of fighting for a just cause that were once part of Christianity and have disappeared with its erosion.
Her assumptions are arrogant to an extreme. Compassion, tolerance and self-restraint from violence are not the legacies of “a Christian heritage” but of enlightened reason.
It is pointless to try and fight one irrational belief, such as Islam or Marxism, by setting up another irrational belief, such as Christianity, in opposition to it. There is no better reason to believe in the Trinity than in Allah or the inevitability of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Two quotes here serve as epigrams. Robert Spencer wrote in his great work Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t: “People who are ashamed of their own culture will not defend it.” And Dennis Prager said during one of his radio broadcasts, “Only good religion can counter bad religion.”
We admire much that Robert Spencer and Denis Prager write. And we think Spencer makes a point here worth thinking about. But to Prager’s assertion we say, nonsense!
Some people claim that there won’t be a religious revival in Europe because we are past believing in God. That this is not true can be seen by the high – and increasing – number of Westerners who convert to Islam. Many of them give as a reason for their conversion the need for absolutes, boundaries and well-defined status. A journalist writing for The Spectator on this subject explained why she is Catholic:
But above all, I like the moral certainties. I don’t mind the dogma one bit. I would rather dogma and impossible ideals than confusion and compromise. In that sense, I do identify with those who choose Islam over the way of no faith, or a seemingly uncertain faith, like the woolly old C of E.
Confusion and compromise is inescapable. How can dogma – which is to say being incurably wrong – and “impossible ideals” be better than admitting the truth of scio nescio: I know that I do not know? It is as if the culture on which such persons as the quoted Catholic and the author of the article have been raised was never affected by Socratean doubt, the Enlightenment, the assumption of ignorance upon which all true science proceeds.
William Kilpatrick, in Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West – a book I thoroughly recommend reading -, writes: Brian Young’s friends said he was troubled by the decadence of Western society. David Courtrailler’s lawyer said, “For David, Islam ordered his life.” These are the sorts of reasons ordinary converts to Islam give. A common refrain from converts is that Islam provides a complete plan for life in contrast to the ruleless and clueless life offered by secular society. As Mary Fallot, a young French convert, explains, “Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it’s easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points.” If you look at the convert testimonials on Muslim websites, they echo this refrain: Islam brings “peace”, “order”, “discipline”, and a way of life that Christianity and other religions fail to offer.
Islam brings peace! He – and she – can say that with a straight face? While IS (ISIS, ISIL) is rampaging through Syria and Iraq mass-slaughtering, impaling, crucifying, decapitating, raping, enslaving; while Hamas is firing thousands of rockets into Israel; while civil war rages in Syria; while Yezidis, Kurds, Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, other Muslims are being daily killed and constantly persecuted by Muslims?
Astonishing that some women crave the “order” and “discipline” of subjugation; when the “discipline” is exerted by enslavement, beatings, whippings, stonings, legal discrimination.
Human beings will never be past the need for believing in something bigger than themselves, because that need is part of the human mind.
Where are there human beings who do not know that natural forces are “bigger than themselves”? Who among us does not know that we are mortal?
She continues in the same vein. We’ll not irritate our readers with all of it. She is a true believer. And what she believes is that Christianity is good and true.
We will skip to what she quotes as wisdom from a Catholic primate:
A clear direction was given by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna, Italy. As early as 30 September 2000, before 9/11, when very few in the West even thought of worrying about Islam, he delivered a very forward-looking speech, which included this premonition:
… Either Europe will become Christian again or it will become Muslim. What I see without future is the “culture of nothing”, of freedom without limits and without content, of skepticism boasted as intellectual achievement, which seems to be the attitude largely dominant among European peoples, all more or less rich of means and poor of truths. This “culture of nothingness” (sustained by hedonism and libertarian insatiability) will not be able to withstand the ideological onslaught of Islam, which will not be missing: only the rediscovery of the Christian event as the only salvation for man – and therefore only a strong resurrection of the ancient soul of Europe – will offer a different outcome to this inevitable confrontation.
The culture of reason is not a “culture of nothing”. It is a culture of rational humility; of admitting ignorance and trying to find the truth, even if one can never be certain one has found it. Skepticism is the only engine of discovery.
“Freedom without limits”? Freedom of action always has a limit. In a free society, everyone’s freedom is limited by everyone else’s under the rule of law. But indeed the freedom of the mind has no limits, nor should it have any.
Notice the snide swipe at riches and “hedonism”. Do you think that he, as a cardinal, pigs it in some hovel?
By “truths” he means the patent absurdities of Christian theological belief.
“Libertarian insatiability”. What the heck does that mean?
If the Western culture of reason, secularism, liberty, skepticism, science, cannot withstand the onslaught of Islam, it will be because that culture has been abandoned by people like Enza Ferreri.
She goes on to blame shrinking birthrates on secularism. Then she ends with this:
Militant atheists à la Richard Dawkins have not really given enough thought to the long-term consequences of their ideas, which we are beginning to see.
And of which we are reminded whenever, for example, we read in the news of doctors and missionaries who die of Ebola while assisting affected patients for Christian charities. Not many atheist charities are involved in that work.
How many cures for diseases have been found by scientists among whom atheists are in a huge majority? The medical researchers who eliminated smallpox; those who found how to detect the beginnings of cancer and treat it before it becomes lethal, and how to restore wholeness to lepers and replace a faulty heart or kidney …. the list could run on for hours … cure more people than all the martyrdom-seeking self-righteous preachy Christians out to save their imaginary souls by “assisting affected patients” have ever done or could do in a thousand years.
As a reminder to readers who have a strong stomach of what happened when the Christian Churches provided “order” and “discipline” to Europe and wherever else they could reach, we recommend The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual by Jonathan Kirsch, and our own post Calvin: a chapter in the terrible history of Christianity by Jillian Becker, April 25, 2010. (Put the title in our search slot.)
Nothing IS (ISIS, ISIL) is doing now in the name of Islam is worse in type or degree than what those Christians did in the name of Christianity.
The world needs saving from religion.
We took this excellent though horrifying video from Front Page.
We feel the need to comment on only one thing. At the end, Bill Whittle says that Obama is “up against” the mass murderer Putin. But we doubt Obama sees Putin as an opponent. Obama was raised as a Communist. We think he is more likely to see Putin – even now – as an ideological ally than as an enemy.
A video made by conservative Rod Shelton in strong attack mode. (“God” is mentioned in passing, but is moved along briskly.)
(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter Ramon Homan)
Believe it! There really is such a thing – and has been for nigh on 20 years – called the Commission on Global Governance. It is of course a bureau within the headquarters of evil, the United Nations.
This is from Canada Free Press, by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, an authority on the UN’s baleful Agenda 21:
The UN Commission on Global Governance reported in 1995, “The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.” (United Nations, Our Global Neighborhood, The Commission on Global Governance, 1995, Oxford University Press).
It seems that our national sovereignty is yielding quite fast on the southern border without Congressional input, under the guise of a socially engineered humanitarian crisis. They could not erase national sovereignty fast enough in the name of “environmental cooperation”.
The progressives’ social engineering projects implemented around the world are not limited to just destroying national sovereignty, language, and cultural identity. Those who grew up under communism are familiar with the Soviet style, mass movement of entire villages to high density urban areas.
Social engineers had decided that land was better used in co-operative farms owned by the communist government. Private homes located on farm land were bulldozed and people were moved into densely populated cities with grey concrete apartments of 400-500 square feet, mushrooming practically overnight. They could not build them fast enough. Often it necessitated moving two families into a 600 square feet apartment, sharing the kitchen and the bathroom. …
In this country, city planners who oppose urban sprawl and begrudge the average 2,300 square foot homes as environmental destroyers of the planet, have designed and built living units of 140-200 square feet, called aPodments in Sammamish, Washington. Resident Judy Green “shares the kitchen with seven other tenants on the second floor.” To get to her loft cubicle, she must climb six flights of stairs. Because of non-existent global warming, cars and elevators are not allowed. The “micro-units” are smaller than a hotel room and rent for $600-900 per month. I checked with my favorite hotel chain – their average hotel room is 375 square feet. The average jail cell is 6 feet by 8 feet.
The “eco-progressives” use local government zoning to impose their ideas of “sustainable urbanism”, “sustainable communities”, and “equitable communities”, by changing the counties’ desired low density character and scale to high-density crime-ridden slums.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are crafting a plan to place Lilliputian slum dwellings in every area of the county. The Residential Studio Units (RSUs) will have a total surface of 220-320 square feet. Each high-rise will contain 75 such units and one parking space per unit. Locals object to the plan because it will reduce property values, change neighborhoods, increase population density, exacerbate the existing traffic congestion, and increase crime under the guise of “affordable housing” for the poor, low wage workers, and “diversity.” …
Reality television is now indoctrinating Americans into accepting the idea of micro-dwellings with the July 2014 debut of “Tiny House Nation” on the FYI channel. According to their website, “renovation experts and hosts, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, travel across America to show off ingenious small spaces and the inventive people who live in them, as well as help new families design and construct their own mini-dream home in a space no larger than 500 square feet. From a micro-apartment in New York City to a caboose car turned home in Montana to a micro-sized mobile home for road tripping – this is a series that celebrates the exploding movement of tiny homes”.
Perhaps “extreme downsizing” is the dream of retired people or the reality of young Americans who live with several roommates or in the basement of their parents because they cannot afford to buy a normal home on low wages driven by a mismanaged economy. What I do know for sure, this not an “exploding movement of tiny homes” and it has nothing to do with “financial independence”. Most Americans have never heard of such tiny dwellings, love their spacious homes, and are not remotely aware that they are an intricate part of a larger plan of social engineering [to take] people off the land, out of suburbia, and into inner cities.
It is certainly not the new American dream; it is the new forced reality as envisioned and carefully planned by the elite’s UN Agenda 21.
A book titled Utopias Elsewhere (in America, The Wilder Shores of Marx in Britain), by the wise and witty writer Anthony Daniels, chronicles his travels in five communist countries shortly before the Iron Curtain came down in 1991 – the year the book was published. One chapter is about Romania, the land of Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh’s birth, where she lived under totalitarian oppression. It is a book which should be read by anyone who doubts that life under communism is unimaginably poor and miserable. We guarantee it as a cure for those afflicted with leftist ideology. A decent education in the West would include it as a permanently prescribed text.
In the chapter on Romania, Anthony Daniels notes that in villages that were “systematized” (ie where the villagers had been evicted from their houses and the houses swept away) -
Uniform blocks of apartments – of the same design throughout the country – had been built, in earnest of the Ceausescu dream of a nation living in bugged, ill-lit, cold, waterless yet damp cells, in total dependence on the state for everything they consumed.
As the UN’s Agenda 21 dream for the world continues to be realized, the cells in America will not be quite as bad as that. Though they will be bugged, and not very well-lit or well-heated, they will almost certainly have some (rationed) water and they might not be damp.
But if the dream agenda is fully implemented, the tenants will be dependent on the World Government for everything they consume.
The most dangerous war in our history … a war against the existence, the concept of the USA as a nation-state.
That is what Diana West sees happening with the invasion over the southern border of tens of thousands of so-called unaccompanied children (UAC).
She states truly that -
A nation-state doesn’t exist unless it controls its borders and protects its citizens. We, the People, do neither.
But the existential danger here comes not from the assault itself. Nightmarishly, it comes from the Obama administration, which, in its greatest betrayal, is leading, or at least supporting, the aliens’ charge. …
A normal government – one with the best interests of its own citizens at heart – would have taken immediate steps to 1) halt these border crossings that pose a dire threat to public health and safety, and 2) set in motion the deportation efforts necessary to return these illegal aliens to their home countries.
But the Obama administration is not a normal government. …
Every American should examine the Department of Homeland Security solicitation notice that appeared six months ago at the federal business opportunities site FedBizOpps.gov. The notice seeks “Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children,” describing exactly the services now required to process, not deport, this massive influx.
According to this notice posted back on Jan. 29, 2014, DHS was already gearing up to receive “approximately 65,000 UAC in total.” …
DHS, the notice states, has “a continuing and mission critical responsibility for accepting custody of unaccompanied alien children from U.S. Border Patrol and other Federal agencies and transporting these juveniles to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters located throughout the continental United States.”
“Resettlement,” in other words, means these illegals are staying – at least if the Obama administration has its way. This may fulfill a “mission critical responsibility” for the Central American countries whose nationals, including gangbangers and drug runners, are crashing our border. There is nothing, however, in the American interest about it. Come to think of it, there’s nothing in the American interest in the entire refugee resettlement mission – literally. According to the UAC services webpage of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the mission is to assist these minor illegal aliens “in becoming integrated members of our global society”.
Not our “American” society. Big difference.
All the difference in the world. The difference between a world of self-governing nation-states and International Communism enforced by World Government.
Is a Global Communist Society really what a majority of US voters want? Probably not.
It’s what Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Pol-Pot and Saul Alinsky wanted and what Barack Obama and his gang want. And it must be what the New York Times, the Washington Post and the addled brains of the other mainstream media want, because they helped Obama and his gang get into power with just such an aim in mind. They helped by concealing the aim from the voters.
They’re still at it, while the first steps in the destruction of the USA as a nation-state are being taken – with no effective opposition.
The Left is intensely immoral, as unabashedly unscrupulous as a wild beast. It will shamelessly blacken the name of anybody it perceives as a danger to it with baseless lies. Example: Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, publicly announced that the Republican candidate for the presidency in 2008, Mitt Romney, had not paid his taxes.
The Left will sacrifice any number of people, destroy their hopes, their health, their lives, if in their calculation doing so might give them an advantage. Example: Far-left President Obama is drawing tens of thousands of children over the Mexican border – to become, he hopes, future voters for his Party – by announcing that children who are in the US as illegal aliens will not be deported. All the children suffer. Many are ill. Some die.
The Left will deprive a law-abiding citizen, with armed force, of everything he has striven for in the name of some new oppressive regulation it has suddenly launched with a dim ideological end in view such as “environmental protection”. Example: A man who made a pond is being fined $75,000 a day by the EPA for doing just that, on the absurd grounds that the little stretch of water on his property is contaminating a river miles away.
These are just three examples, picked at random from the top of our composite editorial head, of present-day Leftist immorality in America. (How to choose from among the misdemeanors of the Clintons? An embarrasment of riches!) ) The theme of the Left’s iniquity is so vast that volumes could be written about it, and have been. In other countries, Leftist powers have committed mass-murder on an unimaginable scale by poison-gas, firing-squad, torture, overwork, and deliberate starvation.
And what compounds the evil and swells the monstrousness of it all is that they do it in the name of compassion. Their aim, they claim, is to better the lot of the the underdog. They will make the poor richer by taking riches from the rich and giving them to the poor until all are materially and socially equal. They do not want the only form of equality that is just – equality before the law. It offends them, they say (even the richest among them, and most of them are rich) to see inequality between the richest and the poorest.
With them, equality is not a moral principle but an aesthetic one.
They call the ideal of it “social justice“.
Justice has always been understood in our tradition as justice for the individual, qua individual. When a person goes to court, either in a criminal or a civil case, our system strives to provide him with a result that is fair given what he has done or failed to do. This is what we understand justice to be. Thus, when we say that justice should be blind, we mean that it should be rendered without regard to a person’s social status and without regard to the demands of this or that social agenda.
If justice is an individual-centric concept, then there is no room for the concept of social justice. The pursuit of social justice may lead to action that is consistent with justice, for example a non-discrimination statute. But the concept of “social justice” isn’t required to justify such a law; nor is it invoked to do so, since arguments for simple justice are always more persuasive (for example, the sponsors of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 took pains to assure the nation, probably disingenuously in some cases, that the law would preclude racial preferences).
The pursuit of social justice may also lead to action that is inconsistent with justice, such as granting racial preferences or expropriating someone’s property for “the greater good”. Such action is not justice, but rather justice’s antithesis. Thus, we should object when it is marketed as “social justice”.
In sum, the concept of social justice has no value. In the first scenario, it is superfluous; in the second, it is false advertising.
[Peter] Wehner argues that “any society that fails to dispense some measure of sympathy and solicitude to others, particularly those living in the shadows and who are most vulnerable to injustice, cannot really be a good society”. I agree. But vulnerability to injustice can be countered by the rigorous pursuit of simple justice. And sympathy and solicitude can be dispensed under these labels, rather than as a form of justice.
Wehner recognizes this when he concludes: “Whether this effort travels under the banner of social justice or some other name, to do justice and to love mercy is what is required of us, as individuals and as a society”. But the banner under which the charitable project travels matters.
When it travels under the banner of social justice, it gains extra moral authority that it does not deserve. The genuine tension between our desire to do justice (as commonly understood) and to be merciful is elided because justice is subsumed under mercy.
The result will be confusion and mischief, such as the aforementioned racial preferences and expropriation of property for “the greater good”. If rationalized as “social justice”, such components of the redistributionist project become entitlements, not favors to be granted, if at all, in small doses and under limited circumstances.
As [Friedrich] Hayek, who (as Wehner notes) deplored the concept of social justice, understood, therein lies the road to serfdom.
Besides, we cannot believe that devotees of the Left (once grown out of the ignorant idealism of adolescence) give a fig for “sympathy”, “solicitude”, or “mercy”. If they did they would take pains to find out what economic system really does better the lot of the poor (namely, the free market); and they wouldn’t repeat as they do that “the end justifies the means” – their excuse for sacrificing any number of their fellow human beings.
In fact many of them have dropped even the pretense of sympathizing with human beings. The victims of their “compassion” were first the proletarians. Then, as the proletarians in the Western world became too prosperous (because they had a degree of freedom) to qualify as pretexts for vast destruction, they focused on the lumpenproletariat. That class also became too well-off to care about. So then they moaned about the lot of “women” – by which they meant feminists – and people of unconventional sexual preferences. Many of them moved on to animals. But their ever-restless avant-garde did not stop there. They are now working to sacrifice more people than ever before on the grounds that it will be good for the wilderness, for rocks and stones, and even the vast, spinning, molten-cored planet - the ultimate victim of “social injustice”. (See our post, Fresh wild raw uninhabited world, January 2, 2012.)
It would be enormously laughable as a theory, if it wasn’t colossally tragic as historical and contemporary reality.
We think that capitalism is practically synonymous with civilization.
But we cannot escape noticing that many a successful and powerful capitalist casts his vote, bestows his money, and expends his energy to sabotage the system by which he has become rich and powerful.
A case in point: the president of the US Chamber of Commerce recently visited Cuba, a graveyard of freedom and prosperity, and gave comfort to the communist regime by telling it that he was all for investing in it. Is he unaware that past “investment” in Cuba enriched no one but the dictators? He surely is. What can be deduced about him then? Is he crazy? Not clinically. Does he like communism? That would make no sense. What then?
Our preferred source of information and comment on Stalinist Cuba is Humberto Fontova, who writes about this:
US Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue … as a guest of Cuba’s Stalinist regime … gives a speech at the University of Havana …
“For years, the US Chamber of Commerce has demanded that our government eliminate the commercial embargo on Cuba. It’s time for a new approach,” proclaimed Donohue this week to an ovation from communist apparatchiks, some who in 1960 stormed into almost 6000 U.S. owned businesses (worth almost $2 billion at the time) and stole them all …
The Inter-American Law Review classifies Castro’s mass burglary of U.S. property as “the largest uncompensated taking of American property by a foreign government in history”. Rubbing his hands and snickering in triumphant glee, Castro boasted at maximum volume to the entire world that he was freeing Cuba from “Yankee economic slavery”! (Che Guevara’s term, actually) and that “he would never repay a penny”.
This is the only promise Fidel Castro has ever kept in his life. Hence the imposition of the Cuba embargo, not that you’d know any of this from the mainstream media, much less from Thomas Donohue.
The burglarized (and often brutalized) American owners filed those property claims against Castro’s regime with the US government. They’re worth $7 billion today – and must be settled before the so called embargo is lifted. This settlement provision for lifting the embargo was codified into U.S. law in 1996 by the Helms-Burton act, which means only Congress can lift the embargo, obviously after a vote. But the votes are not there.
Shouldn’t the President of an outfit like the US Chamber of Commerce be aware of this? Or is Donohue calling for more of Obama’s “executive overreach”?
“The reforms under Raul Castro’s government demonstrate that Cuban leaders understand that direct economic investment can be a powerful tool for economic development,” proclaimed Donahue to another ovation from his communist audience.
Oh, Cuba’s Stalinist kleptocracy understands this alright. But this “economic development” via foreign investment exclusively benefits the tiny Stalinist nomenklatura that has run Cuba since 1959 — and enthusiastically hosted Thomas Donahue this week. All foreign trade with “Cuba” is still conducted exclusively with the Stalinist regime — no exceptions. In fact private property rights still do not exist in Cuba, much less an independent judiciary and the rule of law.
According to figures from the US Department of Commerce, the US has transacted almost $4 billion in trade with Cuba over the past decade. Up until four years ago, the US served as Stalinist Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. We’ve fallen a few notches recently but we’re still in the top half.
For over a decade the so-called US embargo, so disparaged by Thomas Donahue, has mostly stipulated that Castro’s Stalinist regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products … And that’s the catch with Donahue’s gracious hosts. They’re desperate to abolish that provision.
Enacted by the Bush team in 2001, this cash-up-front policy has been monumentally beneficial to US taxpayers, making them among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by the Castro regime … [Cuba] per capita-wise qualifies as the world’s biggest debtor nation, with a foreign debt estimated at $50 billion, a credit rating nudging Somalia’s and an uninterrupted record of defaults. … Just this year the Russians wrote off almost $30 billion Castro still owed them.
Regarding the disconnect seen above between historic truth and Castroite propaganda, what we have here, amigos, is not a “failure to communicate”. Instead it’s perfect communication – between Castro’s propaganda ministry and the US media (and “business leaders”) to whom they issue press bureaus and visas, after careful vetting. These latter amply live up to their side of the bargain, “reporting” exactly what Castro wants them to report. …
One fine morning in February 2009 the Castro brothers woke up and decided to freeze $1 billion that 600 foreign companies kept in Cuban bank accounts. Another fine morning in April 2012 the Cuban regime arrested the top officers of Britain-based Coral Capital that had invested $75 million in the Castro brothers’ fiefdom and was planning four and luxurious golf resorts. These hapless (greedy, unprincipled and stupid, actually) businessmen find themselves with no more recourse to law than the millions of Cubans and Americans who had their businesses and savings stolen en masse in August of 1960 by Castro’s gunmen.
So not even the well-informed and enlightening Humberto Fontova casts light on the mysterious motivation of Mr Donahue and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The same Mr Thomas Donahue and his Chamber of Commerce support amnesty for illegals.
Investor’s Business Daily asks why:
Across Lafayette Park, facing the White House, sits an imposing stone structure, framed by ornate Corinthian columns and comprising a significant chunk of a full city block. It is home to the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, the historic bastion of American business and industry.
Since its founding slightly more than a century ago, the chamber has engaged in countless issues from keeping unions in check to job training and tax reform.
But increasingly, the chamber is straying from its original principles, and there is no greater example than its supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The national chamber is one of the nation’s loudest advocates for amnesty for people who broke the law entering the U.S.
Chamber President Tom Donohue even went so far as to warn the Republican Party on May 12 not to bother running a candidate for president in 2016 absent support from the congressional GOP for immigration “reform”, a term that has become synonymous with amnesty in recent months. …
The conventional wisdom is that business wants cheap labor. It’s a cynical argument but one that contains a grain of logic, and cheap labor would certainly be one of the byproducts of amnesty.
But if that’s an insufficient answer, what is the full explanation?
IBD does not know. “The future economic and political fallout of amnesty”, it argues, can only be bad for business and industry.
Bigger government, unsustainable federal spending, a growing welfare state and an electorate to perpetuate it hold the potential to doom the free-market system that the chamber has historically encouraged.
Amnesty would be a disaster for the federal budget. The taxpayer cost of amnesty for the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. is a staggering $6.3 trillion, according to a 2013 Heritage Foundation study. The group’s research shows that illegal immigrants are likely to receive three times more money in government benefits than they would pay in taxes.
How this level of government spending helps promote free-market commerce is baffling.
Amnesty would also be a disaster by growing the American welfare state. There are certainly some illegal immigrants in the U.S. who possess the education and skills to compete and advance in professional careers, but most do not. Census Bureau data show that the typical illegal immigrant is 34 years old, has a 10th-grade education and an annual income of less than $25,000. Amnesty would qualify millions of people for scores of means-tested welfare programs and would stretch welfare spending to the breaking point.
Less easily quantified is how amnesty would be a moral disaster. The idea of rewarding people for illegal behavior makes a mockery of the rule of law on which this nation was built.
President Obama makes a mockery of it anyway.
Rule of law is also a prerequisite for commerce on all levels; if one particular law or set of laws can be disregarded, any law can be disregarded. The erosion of the rule of law would create a chaotic environment in which commerce cannot be well conducted.
Some analysts have claimed that the only way the Republican Party can increase its share of the Hispanic and Latino vote is to support amnesty, a claim that further defies logic. Those who are legally eligible to vote did not break the law to come here. Amnesty for illegal immigrants would be a stunning insult to the men and women who played by the rules and entered the U.S. legally … For the GOP to believe that amnesty means victory at the ballot box is delusional.
It makes no sense for the US Chamber of Commerce to support such fatally flawed policy, yet it does, inexplicably so. … Amnesty is a very dangerous position for the chamber and one that would make the organization unrecognizable to the men who founded it.
Is it possible that Thomas Donahue is to the US Chamber of Commerce what Barack Obama is to the US – a leader into ruin?
On the question of why numbers of the most successful capitalists vote for the regulation of business and socialist redistribution (by voting Democratic), and positively encourage the survival of communist dictatorship, we invite readers to offer their theories.
We also invite opinion on the question of amnesty.
Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (see our review of it, The Savior of Socialism Proves the Worth of Capitalism, under Pages) has been found to contain serious errors by the Financial Times.
Their findings confirm the unfavorable verdict pronounced on the book by both our reviewer Don L and, in comment, by our in-house economist Burro.
We quote from the FT article by Chris Giles:
The data underpinning Professor Piketty’s 577-page tome, which has dominated best-seller lists in recent weeks, contain a series of errors that skew his findings. The FT found mistakes and unexplained entries in his spreadsheets …
The central theme of Prof Piketty’s work is that wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war. The investigation undercuts this claim, indicating there is little evidence in Prof Piketty’s original sources to bear out the thesis that an increasing share of total wealth is held by the richest few.
Prof Piketty … provides detailed sourcing for his estimates of wealth inequality in Europe and the US over the past 200 years. In his spreadsheets, however, there are transcription errors from the original sources and incorrect formulas. It also appears that some of the data are cherry-picked or constructed without an original source.
Now we see nothing wrong, in any case, with income or wealth inequality. (Piketty confuses the two.) We have observed that, in open societies, wherever the rich are richest, the poor are least poor.
It is the Left that wants economic equality, and wherever it has tried to establish that impossible condition it has not just failed, it has created hell on earth.
The Left swooped on Piketty’s obese compendium of wishes and errors, as a vindication of socialist theory. (See for example the encomium by the leftist professor Paul Krugman here. He thinks Piketty has made a “masterly diagnosis” in his “superb book”.)
So we hail the FT’s revelations with more than a touch of unapologetic Schadenfreude.
In a comment today under our post The savior of socialism proves the worth of capitalism (May 20, 2014), Burro writes:
A great leap forward has just occurred!
No less than the Financial Times of London has right on it’s front page today, Saturday, an exposé of Pick-your-number’s book and the loony numbers it contains. It then proceeds to demolish most of the Socialist conclusions on page 3. …
[Piketty] has been shown to have attended the “Al Gore” school of statistics, and not only made errors of transcription, ie putting numbers in the wrong place which surprise, surprise was beneficial to HIS thesis but not the opposite, but “the [FT] investigation found numerous mistakes in [his] work: simple fat-finger errors; sub-optimal averaging techniques; multiple unexplained adjustments to the numbers; data entries with no sourcing; unexplained use of different time periods; and inconsistent uses of source data”. …
Picketty says he is “…happy to change my (ie his) conclusion” should such numbers be incorrect. …
Burro does not believe Piketty will change his conclusion or his mind. He wrote the book because he believes with fixed certainty that socialism is good.