Brexit accomplished at last 6

Brexit today, January 31, 2020. A great day for Britain.

Nigel Farage says good-bye to the useless parliament of the corrupt EU:

 

 

Posted under Britain, Europe, nationalism, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 31, 2020

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Meaning? 40

What meaning of “meaning” is our subject? Significance. Purpose. 

We took the following sentences from an article by Dennis Prager at Townhall, in which he laments that Americans seem to be more unhappy now than they used to be. He mentions various probable causes, then comes to his main point:

And now we come to the biggest problem of all: the lack of meaning.

Aside from food, the greatest human need is meaning.

Poor people who have meaning can be happy, but wealthy people who lack meaning cannot be.

Nothing has given Americans – or any other people, for that matter – as much meaning as religion. But since World War II, God and religion have been relegated to the dustbin of history.The result? More than a third of Americans born after 1980 affiliate with no religion. This is unprecedented in American history; until this generation, the vast majority of Americans have been religious.

Maybe, just maybe, the death of religion – the greatest provider of meaning, while certainly not the only – is the single biggest factor in the increasing sadness and loneliness among Americans (and so many others).

Dennis Prager believes that religion provides the individual with meaning to his life, and endows all human life with meaning.

What is that meaning?

*

What does Christian doctrine say it is?

This answer comes from CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry):

What Does the Bible say is the purpose of our lives?

According to the Bible, our purpose, the reason we are here, is for God’s glory.  In other words, our purpose is to praise God, worship him, to proclaim his greatness, and to accomplish his will.  This is what glorifies him.  Therefore, in this we find that God has given us a reason for our existence, a meaning for our existence.  We were created by him, according to his desire, and our lives are to be lived for him so that we might accomplish what he has for us to do. …

Even though things can go wrong in our lives, the ultimate reason we are here is to glorify God – even through the difficulties.  We do this by praising him and trusting him through difficult times.

So: “Our purpose is to praise God.” “The reason we are here is to glorify God.”

Was the universe made so that we self-conscious living beings on this planet will “glorify” the maker?

If such a purpose is supreme, the question arises, why was the maker so counterproductive as to make the viruses, and the adverse conditions of nature, and predators, and the propensities for things to fail, and all the adversities and hindrances that incapacitate us? Why provide a multitude of ways the purpose of all creation can be thwarted?

And again if such a purpose is supreme, why did he, the Purposer, bother to make billions of stars and planets with no living beings on them to do any glorifying whatsoever?

And does that purpose, that meaning, keep Christians happy?

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What does Islam say?

From Arab news:

Islam is the response to humanity’s search for meaning. The purpose of creation for all men and women for all times has been one: To know and worship God.

Here again is the belief that the universe was made so that we on this planet can know and worship (praise, glorify) its maker.

On this Islam and Christianity agree.

And do they agree that believing it makes a lot of people happy? Are Muslims happy?

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What does Judaism say?

We find its answer to “What is the meaning and purpose of human life and the existence of the universe?” is not much different from those of Christianity and Islam: glorify, know, worship. (Not surprisingly, as it inspired both the younger religions.) But its expression of the idea is less succinct, more recondite and perplexing, even vague – and as is common with vague ideas, long-winded.

This is from an article in Commentary by the highly respected authority Emil L. Fackenheim (April 1965):

In the eyes of Judaism, whatever meaning life acquires derives from this encounter: the Divine accepts and confirms the human in the moment of [their] meeting. But the meaning conferred upon human life by the Divine-human encounter cannot be understood in terms of some finite human purpose, supposedly more ultimate than the meeting itself. For what could be more ultimate than the Presence of God? The Presence of God, then, as Martin Buber puts it, is an “inexpressible confirmation of meaning. . . . The question of the meaning of life is no longer there. But were it there, it would not have to be answered.” …

So: Human beings – or at least the followers of Judaism – can and do “encounter” God. If a human being does “encounter” – or “meet” – God, his existence has meaning. And the whole of “creation” has meaning because some human beings “encounter” God? Wait, no. The encounter “confirms” meaning. And at the same time abolishes the need for knowing it.

But what meaning does it “confirm”?

In Judaism, however, this “inexpressible confirmation of meaning” does, after all, assume expression; and this is because the Divine-human meeting assumes structure and content. … through the way man is accepted and confirmed as a consequence of this meeting. In Judaism God accepts and confirms man by commanding him in his humanity; and the response called for is obedience to God—an obedience to be expressed in finite human form. …

So obey the God-given Law. That is the purpose of your life. Your own reward is here and now on this earth. 

… The God of Judaism is no Deistic First Cause which, having caused the world, goes into perpetual retirement. Neither is He a Law-giver who, having given laws, leaves man to respond in human solitariness. Along with the commandment, handed over for human action, goes the promise of Divine action. And because Divine action makes itself contingent upon human action, a relationship of mutuality is established. God gives to man a covenant—that is, a contract; He binds Himself by its terms and becomes a partner.

You fulfill your side of the covenant or contract, and God will fulfill his.

… God is long-suffering enough to put up with persistent human failures; and at length it becomes clear that the covenant can survive only if God’s patience is absolute. The covenant, to be sure, remains mutual; and Divine action remains part of this mutuality, as a response to human deeds. But Divine action also breaks through this limitation and maintains the covenant in unilateral love. …  Sin still causes God to punish Israel; but no conceivable sin on Israel’s part can cause Him to forsake her. Divine Love has made the covenant indestructible. …

Then what happened between 1942 and 1945? The all-powerful merciful god plainly did not act as an all-powerful merciful god could be expected to act when his human partner was in extreme need of powerful merciful intervention. Then how can any Jew go on believing in him, let alone worshiping him?

It is incomprehensible. Why didn’t the Holocaust convince the entire Jewish people that their god is either non-existent or evil? 

This month is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The leaders of many nations met in Jerusalem to show sympathy with the survivors of the Nazi genocide. In speech after speech by Christian and Jew, the blessing of “God” is asked for Israel. Why? Because continuing to believe he exists and is good and merciful makes for happiness, even as they stood inside a monument to the slaughtered six million? 

Emil Fackenheim states:    

A meaning at once manifest in history and yet indifferent to poverty, war, and tyranny is unthinkable to the Jewish mind.

So unthinkable that the “Jewish mind” can pretend it didn’t happen?

Apparently so. But why?

Because, you see, “His” divine ways are inscrutable:

But the Jewish search for meaning in history is bounded by a … limitation … Not only is the disclosure of meaning in history fragmentary; the meaning itself is fragmentary. Past and present point not only to a finite future but to one which is absolute and all-consummating as well. Not until an eschatological dimension, a messianic belief, comes into view is the Jewish understanding of meaning in history complete.

The Messiah will come, then all will become clear. It will be the end of history; the eschaton. The whole picture will be seen at last and it will be absolutely glorious.

That was as far as traditional Judaism looked: to the end of time.

Jews were … forced to go beyond acceptance of an undisclosed meaning in history. They had to question meaning in history itself, in the light of historical realities. This questioning, to be sure, did not result in wholesale skepticism, or a despair of meaning in history. But it did result in the belief that meaning has remained incomplete in past history, and must remain so in any future that does not differ qualitatively from the past.

In other words, yes, what has happened to the Jews, and to human beings generally, has largely been pretty bloody nasty, which is precisely why we can expect the future to be  superlatively delightful.

Or not. Maybe the whole picture, the glorious fulfillment, the purpose and meaning of earthly existence will come only in an afterlife. Beyond the Messiah, beyond the eschaton, beyond death –  so later Judaism allowed itself to consider – there may be another life:

The messianic future, while the earliest, is not the only eschatological expectation in Judaism. Beside and beyond it emerges the hope for a “world-to-come”—a hope which, although post-Biblical in origin, was always implicit in the Jewish belief that God gives meaning to individual lives wholly and in their own right. Whereas the Messianic future redeems an incomplete history, the world-to-come redeems the incomplete individual lives which exist in history.

By “incomplete lives” does he mean miserable lives? Lives in which believing does not make for happiness? Lives cut off by murder for religious reasons?

Despite the absence of the belief in life after death from the Hebrew Bible, Orthodox post-Biblical theology quite deliberately embraces it. For the Divine commandment has accepted the individual and therefore any Redemption would remain incomplete—as the Messianic end by itself does—if it did not give completion to the individual. But no more can the Messianic goal of a redeemed future be identified with an Eternity beyond all time. A primordial Divine commanding Love has endowed history with meaning, in that it calls for meaningful human action. The great Divine-human drama of history thus initiated cannot be retroactively destroyed by an end which makes this world merely a place in which to prepare for another, and in itself meaningless. Redemption must consummate both the history in which men work and wait, and the lives of the individuals who work and wait in it.

What is meant by “redemption”?  Some sort of compensation? Or merely “forgiveness” of “sins”?

The two aspects of the eschatological expectation, then, must remain mutually irreducible, even despite the conscious recognition that Eternity must surely supersede all future history. This can be so because the world-to-come remains radically unintelligible. The rabbinic sources confine themselves to saying that it will redeem the whole man whom the Divine commandment has accepted from the beginning—not an immortal soul only, but a resurrected psychosomatic totality.

That is a reference to the belief in bodily resurrection that was held by all but one faction of the Jews (the Sadducees, the party of the priests), when Judea was a province of Rome. The time of “Jesus” who, Christians believe, rose bodily to a physical heaven. To which also his virgin mother was heaved up bodily by angels.

They are well aware that this is past all understanding, and they view silence on the subject as a necessity imposed by the silence of the Bible itself.

They can’t say anything about it because they don’t know anything about it. Yet they know that it will be. They know there is an end, a purpose, a meaning. And that it is good. But not what it is. 

What does Hinduism say?

From the Ohio State University:

According to Hinduism, the meaning (purpose) of life is four-fold: to achieve Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

The first, Dharma, means to act virtuously and righteously. That is, it means to act morally and ethically throughout one’s life. However, dharma also has a secondary aspect; since Hindus believe that they are born in debt to the Gods and other human beings, dharma calls for Hindus to repay this debt. The five different debts are as follows: debt to the Gods for their blessings, debt to parents and teachers, debt to guests, debt to other human beings, and debt to all other living beings.

The second meaning of life according to Hinduism is Artha, which refers to the pursuit of wealth and prosperity in one’s life. Importantly, one must stay within the bounds of dharma while pursuing this wealth and prosperity (i.e. one must not step outside moral and ethical grounds in order to do so).

The third purpose of a Hindu’s life is to seek Kama. In simple terms, Kama can be defined as obtaining enjoyment from life.

So far, so good. Live well. Behave decently towards your fellow human beings. Strive for prosperity. All sound and sensible. All stands up to examination in the light of day.

But then the murkiness which characterizes religious belief closes in:

The fourth and final meaning of life according to Hinduism is Moksha, enlightenment. By far the most difficult meaning of life to achieve, Moksha may take an individual just one lifetime to accomplish (rarely) or it may take several. However, it is considered the most important meaning of life and offers such rewards as liberation from reincarnation, self-realization, enlightenment, or unity with God.

“Unity with God” is what it’s for, the reason we endure our sufferings through many lives. That’s how hard it is to achieve.

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What does Buddhism say?

Buddhism denies that there is any permanent and absolute significance of life, and described life as unsatisfactory (s. dukkha) and void (s. sunyata). However, Buddha acknowledged that there is a relative significance of life, and it is through this relative and conditioned nature of life that we can achieve and realize the universal truth. According to the discourses of the Buddha, our lives, and the world, are nothing but phenomena that rise and fall. It is a process of forming and degenerating. There is nothing that is not subject to change or impermanence. Impermanence indicates that there is no eternal bliss, because even a joyous state will eventually cease and become suffering.

Individuals can, however, attain a state of bliss temporarily. It’s not a purpose, not a meaning, not a significance, but a release from suffering. And that’s a lot!

*

No, Mr. Prager. Religion does not provide anything close to a satisfactory meaning of the universe’s existence or purpose of human lives.  

There is no meaning to existence.

The significance, or value, of human life cannot be measured because human life itself is the measure. Trying to assess the value of life is like trying to assess the wetness of water.

As for happiness, we each find it, if we do, as we can.

A few things that help most of us:  Living in a free country. Doing work we like doing. Making money. (Never mind being called a gross materialist. Even if money can’t buy happiness, lack of it can’t buy anything.)  Having a family. Having friends. Learning and thinking. Pleasures of the appetites and senses. Achieving our self-chosen purposes.

But to live is to suffer. Even the most fortunate of human beings cannot escape pain, disappointment, failure, and loss. And suffering  has not and cannot conceivably have any meaning or purpose that makes it good (except, within civilized limits, as legally imposed punishment).

We concede that some find happiness, or consolation for unhappiness, in religion. But for countless millions religion has been and continues to be a source of fear, anguish, and death.

 

Jillian Becker   January 29, 2020

Posted under Articles, Philosophy, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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President Trump creates a new state 16

Under his hand the map of the Middle East is changing.

Will he succeed? He usually does.

Posted under Arab States, Israel, middle east, Palestinians, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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Loving prayers, hate speech, and disinformation 1

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives and official leader of the campaign to destroy President Trump by impeaching him, furiously denied to a reporter that she hates Donald Trump when he asked her if she did:

“I don’t hate anybody,” responded Pelosi. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. Don’t accuse me of hate.”

Being accused of hatred was, in Pelosi’s mind, the same as accusing her of being a bad Catholic.

“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” she said. “I don’t hate anyone.”

Hatred was not part of her upbringing, she said. “I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love.”

On the contrary, she said, she always prays for the president. “I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time.”

How deeply reassuring for the president. (And the reporter – a rare one to provoke Speaker Pelosi! – must have felt warmly loved too.)

But in Reality, for the last four years, the Democrats, the Left everywhere, and the media have been spewing hatred of Donald Trump non-stop, night and day. They hate him.

It’s not that they merely don’t like what he stands for, what he does or how he does it. They certainly don’t, and they would be against anyone who stood for the same and did the same. But their intense hatred is plainly for the man himself.  

The hatred is totally irrational, and for those of us who much admire and like President Trump, impossible to understand. Is their hatred motivated by envy? Can they not bear it that Donald Trump is a successful businessman, a billionaire, a TV star, and on top of it all, president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world? And he has a very beautiful wife. And successful children. How dare he?

They – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa activists, the professors, the media hacks – hate him with a hatred that drives them to any length in their effort to destroy him. For days, weeks, months, years on end they rage against him in the House and the Senate. They make up absurd lies about him. There is no accusation, however farfetched, however unlikely, however ridiculous, however crazy, however impossible that they have not or will not level against him, over and over again.

Has there ever before been so much hate speech poured out against an elected American leader?  

No matter how much good he does for the country – and he has done a lot; no matter how competent he is – and he is highly competent; no matter how generous he is – and he is generous, even giving away his salary: they hate him, hate him, hate him. They want him thrown out of office; they want him humiliated; they want him tortured; they want him dead. 

To help them achieve his ruin, to help them advance the great cause of destroying Donald Trump, the media (most of them) lie about him. They spread misinformation, disinformation, scurrilous rumors, obscene tales, filthy smears.   

And at the same time they all – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa actvists, the professors, the media hacksceaselessly rail against “hate speech and disinformation”.

What they mean by “hate speech” is the expression of any opinion that differs from their own. And by “disinformation” they mean any contradiction, any disproof, any exposure of their lies.

They want “hate speech and disinformation” stopped. Pronto. It’s intolerable to them that people go on saying things they don’t like. It’s too provoking! People .. people … do it, go on and on doing it, in the “social media”. Freely. Saying whatever they like. No regulation. No punishment. Good grief, they behave as if the United States of America were Liberty Hall!

We quote parts of an article by Paul Bradford at American Greatness:

 Joe Biden wants to punish Facebook and Twitter so they will censor more.

Biden endorsed one of the most aggressive proposals against Big Tech last week in an interview with the New York Times. He wants to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from publisher liabilities.

“Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one,” Biden said. “For [Mark] Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] and other platforms.”

“It should be revoked because [Facebook] is not merely an internet company,” Biden said. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible. It’s totally irresponsible.”

Biden also won’t rule out criminal penalties for Zuckerberg over alleged collusion with the Russian government.

Biden, it needs to be borne in mind, was vice president when Barack Obama was president and they were colluding with the Russians.

He implied the Facebook executive is selling out American democracy to foreign tyrants for cold hard cash.

Biden, it should also be borne in mind, and through him his brothers and his son and his sister and his son-in-law, corruptly raked in cold hard cash, much of it from foreign tyrants, by the million when he was vice-president. He sold his office.

Biden is particularly upset with the number of ads Trump runs on Facebook.

He sees a terrible risk that if Trump is allowed to do that, he could get himself re-elected! Why can’t Zuckerberg and the other tech giants see what danger they’re running America into?

Nearly every Democratic presidential candidate, both former and current, wants to punish tech companies for allowing “hate speech” and “disinformation” on their platforms.

Three candidates besides Biden want to target Section 230. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to look into Section 230 to make sure “right-wing groups don’t abuse regulation to advance their agenda” and that tech platforms censor hate speech. He doesn’t call for the outright elimination of Section 230 but his meaning is plain enough.

Similarly, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a forgotten presidential candidate, wants to revise Section 230 to hold Big Tech accountable for “misinformation and hate speech on their platforms”.

The other candidates also want to pressure Big Tech to censor more, but haven’t specifically mentioned Section 230. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to break up Facebook and other tech giants as punishment for “profiting off of hate speech and disinformation campaigns”.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says his administration would investigate and call out platforms that “traffic in hate and encourage or fail to moderate abuse and hate”. Buttigieg wants more aggressive measures to suppress ads that liberals deem to be erroneous.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another former presidential candidate, also wants Big Tech punished for alleged hate speech. “We will hold social media platforms responsible for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” she told the NAACP last year.

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, that candidate will demand more online censorship. Every major candidate sees what they call “hate speech” as something that should not be protected by the First Amendment. Every single one of them wants to use state power to push Facebook, Twitter and other platforms into only allowing liberal discourse.

In fact, in Reality – the sphere where Leftists do not like to live – conservatives are constantly being censored, suspended, rebuked, and outright banned by the Powers that govern the internet. Every one of those Powers is Left-biased. But some conservative opinion does get published to the world, and how can the Left, and especially those in it who have been raised in a way that fills their hearts with love, be expected to tolerate such a state of affairs?

Earth’s savior wears Antifa 2

Keean Bexte of Rebel News travels to Stockholm to investigate Greta Thunberg.

“In 2019, Greta Thunberg [wearing an Antifa T-shirt] contributed a voiceover for a release of “The 1975”, a song by the English band of the same name. She finishes by urging: ‘So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.’ Proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion at Thunberg’s request.” – Wikipedia.

In the video, Swedish journalist Annike Rothstein talks about Greta Thunberg’s connection to Extinction Rebellion, and a picture of her wearing the Antifa shirt is shown, between 12 and 13.40 minutes.

Related image

An Extinction Rebellion climate alarm demonstration in London

Posted under Climate, Environmentalism, Leftism, Sweden by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 24, 2020

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Europe reverts to darkness 7

It is reported that Renaud Camus, a French intellectual, has been given a 2-month suspended prison sentence for saying that mass immigration into Europe is akin to an “invasion”. The author of Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement)  was charged with the “thought crime of public incitement to hate or violence on the basis of origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.”

Origin, ethnicity, nationality, and race are not matters of choice. One is born into them. But a religion is a set of ideas. You can believe the ideas or not, propound them or not. It is entirely a matter of choice. And they must be critically examined as necessarily as any other ideas – or, considering how lethal they have been throughout recorded history, even more so.

Belief in any one religion is in itself a tacit criticism of all other religions. They all contradict each other. No two are compatible. (If anyone says they are all true, ask him why in that case he believes the one he does.)

Religions are dogmatic untruths. All of them. They cannot be anything else. “A set of dogmatic untruths” is a precise and accurate definition of a religion. It is vital that their untruths be exposed as such. They absolutely must be criticized.

The French authorities and all the others that do the same thing are acting like the Inquisition. They and all the feminists and other Leftists who now run Europe are undoing the Enlightenment. They have reverted to mental darkness. The revival of critical examination was not just an aspect of the Enlightenment, it was the sun itself.

“Religion” has been officially exempted from criticism all over western Europe because, and only because, Islam has invaded Europe.

Islam has not just invaded Europe – Islam has conquered Europe. 

Posted under Europe, France, Islam, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 23, 2020

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Where hell is cool 12

The so-last-century World Economic Forum that still meets annually at Davos in Switzerland, recommends that the United States become “more like Sweden”.

Nations can learn from Nordic and other European countries when it comes to helping people scale up the economic ladder, and countries like China and the United States could reap billions by boosting social mobility, a report said Monday.

The World Economic Forum released its first “Global Social Mobility Index”, which analyzed 82 countries and suggests that governments should ensure a level playing field not just because it is the right thing to do, but it can benefit their economies.

“A level playing field” is a well-worn euphemism for Socialism among the globalists.

The release comes a day before the forum opens its latest annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, where concerns about growing inequality are high in the minds of organizers.

“Inequality has become entrenched and is likely to worsen amidst an era of technological change and efforts towards a green transition,” the forum said.

In other words, “going green” would be a vast impoverishment, the forum admits. But – it believes – once the whole world has done it, there will be no more economic inequality. The greening – giving up fossil fuels and relying on the wind to blow us energy – will be accompanied by redistribution of money, so all people, all nations, will be equally poor, equally hungry. Except only the redistributors, the virtuous instigators of universal want. They will be well-fed.   

It has an index, “the forum” does. Inspired by the very same spirit that guides Bernie Sanders, it excites the elect with rosy conceptions.

The index ranked Denmark, Norway, Finland. Sweden and Iceland as its top five countries, registering over 80 points on a 100-point scale, while the United States came in at 27th, Russia was 39th, and China took 45th.

Somehow the notion that “social mobility” serves the cause of equality has arisen in its communal mind:

“If economies were able to improve their social mobility score by 10 points, gross domestic product would increase by 4.4% by 2030 on top of the societal benefits such investments would bring,” the forum said in a statement.

Redistribution aka Socialism has never increased GDP. It cannot. It is not a mechanism for increasing GDP. It is a mechanism for squandering wealth. And social mobility and economic equality are mutually exclusive. Social mobility occurs only with capitalism in a genuinely open society. Why don’t they know that? Who are they?

We come upon a name as the speaker of typically unintelligible patter:

Saadia Zahidi, a forum managing director for the new economy and society, said the report found that governments for now could make the greatest improvement in boosting social mobility by supporting [ever rising?] wages, quality of work [?], and “life-long learning systems”. [Systems?] “These are not things that are going to create a drag on growth,” Zahidi said. “These are actually things that are going to facilitate better growth. So that’s one aspect. The second aspect is that the gains can actually be quite big.”

Zahidi said she considered the index as warning sign or even a solution “to the trend towards entrenched inequality”.

How did Zahidi get there? Who is listening to her? Hers is a voice from the fog of Davoses past.

Would it be good if America became more like Sweden?

Not only socialists but all sorts of other romantics such as libertarians hold Sweden to be the model nation for prosperity, security, and happiness. As near to a utopia as earth has to show.    

So what is Sweden really like?

Bruce Bawer writes at Front Page:

Poking around YouTube the other day, I stumbled across a 2018 documentary that was written and hosted by Johan Norberg, a 46-year-old Swedish economist who is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank in Washington, and who is one of his country’s leading boosters of free trade and free markets. This was hardly Norberg’s first venture into the documentary form: in 2003, Britain’s Channel 4 aired Globalisation is Good, in which Norberg celebrated the prosperity created in Taiwan and Vietnam through the outsourcing of factory jobs from the U.S. – but neglected to breathe a word about the catastrophic impact of that outsourcing on millions of American workers.

Norberg’s 2018 documentary is entitled Sweden: Lessons for America? In it, he traces Sweden’s economic ups and downs over the last couple of centuries: once a dirt-poor land in the grip of guilds and regulations, Sweden embraced the free market and low taxes – resulting in a century of burgeoning prosperity – only to “screw it up” in the 1960s by introducing a big-government welfare state that charged Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren a 102% income rate and Ingmar Bergman 139%. (He fled to Germany.) From 1976 to 1995, Sweden went downhill; interest rates hit 500%; IKEA moved its headquarters abroad. But the story, as Norberg tells it, has a happy ending: the 1990s brought reforms – deregulation, lower taxes, school vouchers, widespread privatization of public services, no minimum wage – that resulted in a first-rate climate for entrepreneurship and innovation and a “very productive private economy” that yields enough wealth to fund generous welfare benefits and pensions. America, we’re urged in Norberg’s conclusion, should look to Sweden as a model.

Some observers would contest Norberg’s explanation of how Sweden attained economic success. “It got to be one of the richest countries in the world,” Swedish comedian Aron Flam said on a 2017 podcast, “by staying out of two world wars and selling arms to both sides” and, during the Cold War, relying on NATO (which it never joined) for free defense. But let’s put history aside for now and focus on the present. At the outset of his documentary, Norberg promises to show us “what it’s like to live in Sweden today”. When it comes to this topic, his show is a masterpiece of evasion – one that echoes much of the nonsense one often encounters in glowing libertarian accounts of the “Swedish model”. Libertarians, when they talk about Sweden, like to deny that Sweden is socialist, even though the country was ruled for decades by a party that identified as socialist; in any event, the fact remains that Swedes are, by nature, collectivist, statist, consensus-oriented, and anti-individualistic – scared to challenge received opinion and eager to join in ostracizing those who do.

They’re also, thanks to years of suicidal immigration policies, living in a social, economic, and cultural nightmare – to quote Flam, “a slow, simmering war zone“. In the cities, violent crime, shootings, gang rapes, car burnings, massive explosions, and even grenade-throwing have become routine. Just in the last couple of weeks, the chief of the National Police, Anders Thonberg, has put in an urgent request for backup from the military, and Ulf Kristersson, head of the Moderate Party, has charged the government with losing “control of what is happening in Sweden”. …

In a January 13 blog post, a cleric named Helena Edlund observed that in her hometown of Malmö it became normal some time ago “to wake up to bombs and bullets”; now, she laments, the same is the case in the most exclusive parts of central Stockholm, where she lives now. “I have lost count of the friends whose family members have been robbed, beaten, raped, or had their cars burned or stairs blown up,” she wrote. “For those who have lived in relative security in the country’s more privileged areas, this is something new, but those who live in vulnerable areas have had it this way for many years.” The same politicians whom Norberg extols unreservedly for making today’s Sweden wealthy and dynamic are accused by Edlund of having “destroyed” the country with their open-border policy and their readiness to roll out the welcome mat for “terrorists”.  Addressing those pols, Edlund asks: “What advice do you have for those of us who loved Sweden’s peace and security? Where should we go to seek asylum?”

The perpetrators of all this mayhem, of course, are Muslims, either immigrants or the children of immigrants – people to whom Sweden provided refuge and whom it has rewarded lavishly for not working. Most of them reside in no-go sharia enclaves where even the cops fear to tread. In 2016, a 60 Minutes Australia film crew was beaten by Somali migrants in Rinkeby, a no-go zone in Stockholm that is also known as “Little Mogadishu”. (“This,” said host Liz Hayes, “is a country that’s barely coping”; in an interview, an activist told her that Sweden is “on the brink of an economic and cultural disaster.”) Last September, a news team for Sweden’s SVT was targeted by stone throwers at the construction site for a new mosque in Stenhagen (“stone grove”), a no-go zone in Uppsala.

Then, last December 12, journalist Joakim Lamotte ventured, video camera in hand, into the town square of another no-go zone, Kronogården in the city of Trollhätten, thereby attracting the attention of several dozen young Muslim men, most of them masked, who (as can be seen here and here) gradually closed in on him, verbally harassed him, demanded that he leave “their” turf, and finally struck him repeatedly and stole his video equipment. Several police officers were present, but did nothing to protect Lamotte and made no arrests, even though a couple of them were also physically assaulted by the thugs.

How did Lamotte’s fellow Swedish journalists respond to this horror show? By mocking him and expressing support for his attackers. Robert Aschberg, a prominent Aftonbladet columnist, accused Lamotte of being a profiteering, self-dramatizing attention-seeker; Mathias Ståhle of Svenska Dagbladet tweeted that Lamotte’s account of being beaten and robbed made him “giggle”. The Swedish media’s take on this story was so egregious that even the BBC ran a report calling them out and treating Lamotte sympathetically.

The BBC did that? It must have been on a day when pigs were seen flying.

Fortunately, after decades of polite PC silence, more and more Swedes are finally admitting that they’re in deep trouble – hence the fast-rising support for the upstart Sweden Democrats, who call for serious immigration controls. Yet too many mainstream politicians and journalists remain in denial. Legislator Isabella Lövin asserted in 2016 that Sweden, with “the world’s first feminist government” …

It may have been the first, but most Western European countries now have them. The European Union is led by wymyn. Even where there are still some males in positions of power, the system is gynocratic – pacifist, emotional, conciliatory …

… is nothing less than a beacon of hope for the Western world; as of last November, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was still sticking to the line that the underlying cause of all this lawlessness is high unemployment in certain neighborhoods; the felons’ cultural and religious backgrounds, he insisted, are irrelevant. In Sweden: Lessons for America?, Norberg lauds the newspaper Aftonbladet; in a bracingly blunt 2019 op-ed about elite Swedish views on immigration, Norwegian author Kjetil Rolness accused that paper (the flagship publication of the Swedish elite) of “almost pathological denial of realities, in favor of wishful thinking and virtue signaling”.

In 2016, the Spectator ran an unusually frank article by Tove Lifvendahl, the political editor of Svenska Dagbladet, about Sweden’s immigration challenges; but its subtitle was telling: “We’ve taken in far too many people and we’re letting them down badly – especially the children.” This is the Swedish establishment mentality in a nutshell: even when they’re being honest about the problem, they reflexively feel obliged to express more concern for immigrants than for native Swedes  

The anarchy in the streets is only part of the big scary picture. Norberg’s documentary portrays a Sweden where retirement homes, pensions, schools, and health care are just plain terrific. On the contrary: the immense cost of providing for immigrants (Muslims make up over 8% of Sweden’s population, the second highest figure in Europe, and the yearly bill for housing, feeding, and clothing the huge percentage of them who are on the dole is colossal) – has drained more and more money from basic services and benefits for hard-working native Swedes (this, moreover, in a country where people with jobs are so heavily taxed, supposedly to cover those basic services and benefits, that a citizen with a purportedly decent income has to struggle to get by). In recent years, while the national mainstream media have all but ignored this mass redirection of taxpayer funds, alternative news sites and local papers have told one horror story after another about retired Swedes who’ve been unceremoniously tossed out of their residences to make room for newly arrived Muslims.

Mass immigration, Swedish businessman Henrik Jönsson told Dave Rubin on a January 17 podcast, is causing Sweden to go broke “because we have the most expensive welfare system in the world”. And yet last year the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag, voted to increase the annual number of immigrants. Rolness, again, had it right when he wrote that too many Swedes prefer foreign refugees to Swedish babies; similarly, Swedish journalist Kajsa Norman assailed police and media for downplaying assaults on Swedish girls by Muslim men, maintaining that “sympathy for the refugees trumps sympathy for the girls”.

What did Sweden: Lessons for America? have to say about this crisis that seems destined to drag Sweden into anarchy, civil war, and/or sharia? Nothing whatsoever. … Does he mention that Jews are leaving Sweden in droves because of Muslim harassment (and worse)? No. For that matter, while touting Sweden as an economic success story, Norberg omits to mention its dramatic decline in GDP, GDP per capita, and current account balance during the last few years (a trend that was already clear when he made his documentary).

None of which should surprise anybody. Norberg is one of those libertarians who, for all their repeatedly professed love of liberty, refuse to oppose the disastrous immigration policies that have already done serious damage to individual freedom throughout the West – witness, for example, the prosecution in Britain, Austria, Denmark, Canada, and elsewhere of citizens accused of offending Muslims.

Watching Norberg’s documentary on Sweden, one can’t help thinking of an observation by Aron Flam: “Swedes don’t really understand the concept of liberty.

Nor do the fantasists who run the World Economic Forum.

His story 3

Tommy Robinson’s acceptance speech when he is awarded the Free Speech prize at the Danish Parliament:

It’s long, but it’s a must-watch.

Posted under Denmark, Fascism, Islam, Law, liberty, Muslims, tyranny, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Monday, January 20, 2020

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Of compassion and commonsense 12

It’s generally a sign of a weak argument when something that is a plain and obvious disaster, which must be fixed, urgently, is allowed to flourish because of constitutional theories and scientific studies. … Without common sense, all the verbal gymnastics on earth will not find the truth. 

So Edward Ring writes at American Greatness.

He quotes a Democrat who objects to dangerous Democratic policies concerning the homeless:

I live in a city, Portland, OR, plagued by homelessness. I do not want homelessness to be criminal, but I also want to remove homeless camps and tents from my city’s sidewalks, fields, under bridges or overpasses. … The objection is far greater than a distaste for the appearance of the homeless or their camps.. … Portland’s waterfront is plagued by the smell of urine under bridges, large number of rats (they come out at night), danger from discarded drug paraphernalia, and threatening nature of many homeless people.

He writes that citizens fear “walking by large numbers of people sleeping in filthy towels, sleeping bags and tents”; that “a business owner’s objections to having a homeless person sleeping outside her store” is not unreasonable, nor is the preference of householders who live near a homeless camp “to live without fear, or worry their children will play with a discarded syringe”.

Many, perhaps most of the homeless are lunatics. They need to be in asylums for their own and everyone else’s sake. They are on the streets because way back in the last quarter of the last century, theorists who made academic studies insisted that those we commonly called raving madmen were “really” sane and the rest of us, designated “society” or “the community”, were “really” the insane. These theorists sprang up simultaneously in many Western countries – notably America, Britain and Germany –  singing the same song. An international chorus hymning a momentous discovery, a breakthrough in the understanding of human evolution: what seems insane is sane; what seems sane is insane. 

The compassionate thing to do was to “release these men and women into the community”. The homeless wretches reel about the streets of the cities, bewildered, helpless, desperate, lost. Drugged and diseased, they lived on the streets and died on the streets. Unless they were caught for crimes and died in prison. Successive generations of them do the same.

But now theorists who make academic studies are insisting that homeless deranged criminals are “really” the victims of social crime, and we, “society” or “the community” who obey the law are “really” criminals. The compassionate thing to do is to let them commit crimes.

We’re not making this up.

Edward Ring makes it plain that it is not compassionate to tolerate crime:

As anyone who lived or regularly visited New York City in the early 1990s will attest, “Broken Windows” worked brilliantly. Crime and disorder fell precipitously virtually overnight, and for the first time in decades, the city felt safe. It worked so well that most of the rest of the country quickly followed suit with similar results. It is the rare social science theory that actually worked. … Abandoning it wholesale is folly. Do people really want more disorder? How is that good for anyone and how will it not lead to more crime?

He is talking about all street crimes, not just those committed by the psychotic homeless. In California now, the theorists who make academic studies have enlarged their exonerating cloud of compassion to enfold and protect all street criminals.

He comes to the nub of the argument. What is and what is not compassionate?

Beyond constitutional theorizing and scientific studies, which can be posturing rationalizations as often as they are valid, is the moral value of compassion. That value is priceless.

“Priceless” meaning precious beyond price, extremely valuable. We would join issue with him over that, qualify the claim, but not here and now. We continue to follow his argument.

But common sense requires tempering the value of compassion with common-sense recognition of human nature. Compassion comes with obligations. Compassion is one of several moral virtues that need to inform common-sense solutions to public policy challenges.

For example, according to University of Virginia social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, there are six universal moral foundations. These virtues (and their opposites) are: care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation, and liberty/oppression. Progressives … apparently place the virtue of compassion above all others. But true compassion cannot do good unless it is balanced with fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity, and liberty.

We would omit “sanctity” and substitute “honor”.

Is it fair to anyone … to permit people to defecate on public sidewalks? Is it compassionate to allow people to stagger about a busy shopping district, stupefied on heroin? …

[A] “new breed of Democratic prosecutors” … is part of the problem, not the solution. They have placed a highly selective compassion before common sense.

It is true that, somehow, Americans need to figure out how to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated.

But the obligations of commonsense compassion

“Commonsense compassion” being not an oxymoron in his view, but an alliance, or at least a truce, between head and heart? …

… require policymakers to accept unpleasant realities: When you downgrade crimes you encourage more crime. When you decriminalize possession and personal use of hard drugs, you encourage more drug addiction. When you provide benefits and services to homeless people, you encourage more homelessness.

These realities don’t mean we shouldn’t have compassion for people who are homeless or who are coping with drug addiction, or even for those who have turned to a life of crime. …

There he goes too far!  To condone “compassion for those who have turned to a life of crime” is to condone the rape of justice.

But he turns back to commonsense.

Compassion has become so corrupted by progressives and the special interests who benefit from disorder and misery that the policies enacted in its name have made the problem worse. How is it compassionate, when supposedly compassionate policies lead to more victims; more homeless, more drug addicts, more criminals?

He’s right: it is not compassionate. It is cruel.

Posted under Crime, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 19, 2020

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Tommy Robinson justly honored 3

Three loud cheers!

A great award, a just reward, is being bestowed on Britain’s one true hero of our time,

TOMMY ROBINSON

 

Posted under liberty by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 17, 2020

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