“Of what use is religion?” 11

It is a tragedy that violent mobs are rampaging through the land laying waste our civilization as they go – and no one is stopping them: not the police, not the states governments, not the federal government – and most stunningly disappointing of all, not the president. Not yet, anyway.

President Trump, why are you are not acting to restore law and order?

At Townhall, the conservative online opinion journal, Derek Hunter writes:

There is a disturbing percentage of our fellow Americans doing whatever the hell they want to do with little or no concern for the law. And the law has little or no concern for itself, at least when it comes to those charged with enforcing it.

Across the country, charges are being dropped against rioters and looters. Why? Many of those people in position to prosecute the guilty have no interest in doing so. Hell, many of them ran on the idea of not prosecuting people. What kind of idiot would vote for a district attorney who promised to let people get away with more? Well, from San Francisco to St. Louis, they did just that.

With police ordered to stand down, or pulling back on their own, the mob has gone off the rails. Why shouldn’t you? If your store is raided, hope you have good insurance. If you’re randomly attacked, hope you fall safely. wouldn’t mind it so much if the piles of human garbage being given a pass stayed within the boundaries of the jurisdictions electing these morons to not enforce the law, but the idiots who do cast those ballots inevitably flee to sane areas, those not overrun by mutants like them, because who wants to live in a place where stealing anything valued at less than $1000 is no big deal?

While they flee what they made, they bring what made it with them – their vote. Spreading like a swarm of brain damaged locusts, they run to better areas, sane areas that enforce laws and soon are electing other morons to recreate what they just fled. An army of Ilhan Omars who fled a hell hole only to come to the United States and try to recreate that hell hole here.

Still more fellow travelers were actually lucky enough to have been born here and yet are so devoid of natural intelligence and critical thinking ability that they seek to destroy it too. Curiously, they also want open borders, which is like encouraging shipwreck victims to swim to their lifeboat, only to blow a hole in the side of it the moment new people get on board. I did mention they are insane, didn’t I?

Less sane are the rest of us, watching this happen and expecting Republicans to stand up to it. Who in Congress is drawing attention to this Democratic Party-embraced lawlessness? President Trump spent as much, if not more, time at his campaign rally Saturday reenacting a garbage story about how he’d walked down a ramp at the West Point commencement speech the previous week than warning the American people about what liberals are doing.

It’s so out of control that at this point you’d almost have to be an idiot to follow the law. … There are no consequences to disobeying the law. Want a new TV, just take it. See someone minding their own business while you’re in a bad mood? Beat the hell of out them. If you’re in a Democrat-controlled are, the police aren’t coming. Why in the world would cops stick their necks out when they’re what gets chopped first whenever Democrats need to save a buck or need a target to demonize in order to boost morale?

With police ordered to stand down, or pulling back on their own, the mob has gone off the rails. Why shouldn’t you? If your store is raided, hope you have good insurance. If you’re randomly attacked, hope you fall safely.

The mob is running the show, laws are for suckers. So why are the rest of us following them?

What are we paying taxes for? Democrats in these mob run areas are not only turning a blind eye to lawlessness, they’re cheering it along. But I bet they’d bring down every bit of the law on us if we didn’t pay property or income taxes. A tax protest would be beyond the pale, but break into a store, steal a TV bigger than your car, or pummel someone for not appreciating it with a brick and you’re a hero exercising your First Amendment rights. Don’t cut a check to Big Brother and you’ll find out just how tolerant the left is, even if you say you’re doing it in the name of “social justice”.

All this might not be a sign of “the end of the world”, but it’s the end of something. The people who produce are paying, the people who don’t are benefiting. The people paying the bills are trampled while the mob is cheered and protected. Democrats cheer, Republicans are either mumbling or silent. No country can survive long with circumstances like that. And no government – local, state, or federal – that allows it to continue deserves to.

Also at Townhall, Dennis Prager, a man of good sense who nevertheless believes in “God” asks now, in this crisis of insurrection, “Of what use is religion?”

America is being taken over by violent mobs; a vast amount of destruction and stealing has taken place (with little police intervention and the apathy of our political leaders). Why aren’t all clergy delivering thundering sermons about the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal”? Does it now come with an asterisk? …

And most ominous by far, for the first time in American history, free speech — the mother of all freedoms — is being widely suppressed, not by the government but by the press, the universities, the high schools, the elementary schools, all the giant internet media, Hollywood and virtually every major business in America. Christians and Jews place repentance at the center of their theologies, yet there is no place for repentance if you did or said one insensitive thing — real or alleged — even if it was 20 or more years ago. Yet all we get from American religious leaders on this matter is … silence.

The freest, least racist, most opportunity-providing country in history — “the last best hope of earth,” in Abraham Lincoln’s words — is smeared as “systemically racist”; all white people are declared “racist”; and the statues of the greatest Americans, including George Washington and even Abraham Lincoln, are toppled and/or defaced. And all we get from most American religious leaders is either agreement or silence.

It leads this religious American to ask the question the anti-religious ask: Of what use is religion?

Take the claim that being “colorblind” is racist.

If you are a religious Jew or Christian — let alone a rabbi, priest or minister — do you believe that? Do you believe that the human ideal is not to be colorblind? Do you believe that the ideal is to see every person, first and foremost, as a member of a race? Is that what you learned at seminary? Is that what you have taught from your pulpit all of your life? …

So, why the silence? Why aren’t all rabbis, priests and pastors telling their congregations and telling America — in tweets, on Facebook, in letters to the editor, on television and radio, in opinion pieces — that there is one race, the human race, and that the only antidote to racism is to deny that race determines our worth, not to affirm its significance?

Does an ideology that affirms the significance of race have an honorable pedigree? Has it ever led to anything good? Isn’t that exactly what Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan advocated?

So, how are we to explain this tragic failure of religious Jews and Christians — and their clergy — to speak up against looting (aka stealing) and for freedom, for America, for Western civilization and for being colorblind? …

What is now apparent is that most Jews and Christians fear the left, fear The New York Times, fear being shunned by “friends” on Facebook and mobbed on Twitter more than they fear God.

That’s what this moment comes down to. Jews and Christians who fail this test will not only lose their freedom, lose the great American hope for mankind and lose the West; they will have also lost their souls.

If the only consequence of this rise of lawlessness and destruction were to be the total disillusionment of Jews and Christians with their religion, their realization at last that neither Jehovah nor Jesus is going to do a thing about the wrecking of our civilization, we would not be unhappy. In fact, we would pause in our lament for the loss of our civilization to exult and jubilate!

But only for a moment. Because disillusionment with religion will not be all. Disillusionment with government by the people, with the rule of law, with the liberty that only the rule of law makes possible – for that, lamentation can not be loud and long enough. Though it will do nothing to save us.

Posted under Anarchy, Christianity, Judaism, Race, Religion general, revolution, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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Why don’t these black deaths matter? 6

“Resist not evil” is a Christian doctrine, stunningly immoral. A negation of morality.

Ah, Christians reply, but it provides the opportunity for virtue if you bow your head and endure evil. If you let it triumph. Suffering is virtue.

Christianity as such has always put a high value on self-sacrifice. On the choice of suffering. The idea is uniquely Christian, introduced by the author of the religion, St. Paul. It owes nothing to any other religion. It is against nature, strongly counter-intuitive, useless to evolution; which makes it a puzzle why the idea appealed to so many, or at least failed to put them off, as Christianity spread.

Evil is pain, punishment is burning hell, yet to choose pain is the highest good? Such conundrums abound in Christian ethics and do not trouble its apologists.

The early period in which Christians were persecuted was not long in the perspective of our common era. Then, in the seventh century C.E., Islam arose.

Christianity is masochistic. Islam is sadistic. Both are proselytizing movements. The consequence: for fourteen centuries, a terrible pas de deux of agony and death.

Now, in our time, the international Left has embraced Islam as an ally. Together they are attacking Christianity. In Africa, the MiddleEast and the Far East, Muslims are slaughtering Christians by the hundreds of thousands. In  Europe and America the Left is vindicating the killers and persecutors.

Pope Francis is unmoved by the massacres. Perhaps because it is a Christian duty to suffer death at enemy hands, and the enemy must be forgiven. Or perhaps, and far more likely, because he is a Leftist and it is a tactic of the Left to give Islam its “space to destroy” (as the Black Leftist mayor of Baltimore promised rioters in her city in 2015).

One of the spaces most soaked in Christian blood is Nigeria.

Eileeen F. Toplansky writes at American Thinker:

Where are the marches and the outrage regarding the deliberate and quite systematic murder by jihadist Muslims of Black Christians in Nigeria and other African countries? …

At Genocide Watch one learns that Nigeria is “a killing field of defenseless Christians.” Since June 2015, “over 11,500 Christians have been murdered and 2,000 churches were destroyed”.  The “statistics are based on careful records kept by church groups that include the names of victims and dates of their murders”.

Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for 7,400 murders of Christians. Boko Haram committed 4,000 killings of Christians. … Five Nigerian Christians are massacred every day by Fulani and Boko Haram Jihadists.

One hundred percent of the 7,400 murders by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen since June 2015 were Christians. Fulani militias wipe out whole Christian villages … Four thousand Christians were killed by Boko Haram, a majority of the 6000 civilians massacred by Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) since June 2015. Boko Haram also murders Muslims who work with the Nigerian government, teach or attend schools, and anyone else who does not submit to Boko Haram’s deadly domination. From 2009 to 2020, Boko Haram murdered at least 27,000 civilians, even more than ISIS in Syria and Iraq, making Boko Haram the world’s deadliest terrorist group. That ‘distinction’ has now been claimed by Jihadist Fulani militias.

Christians of Igbo extraction are targeted and abducted. … If not immediately murdered, they are “forced to pay ransom or face death including beheading or forceful conversion to Islam”. Women are subjected to brutal sexual violence of all sorts.

“A slow-motion war is under way in Africa’s most populous country”. It’s a massacre of Christians, massive in scale and horrific in brutality. The world hardly notices. In Mali and Nigeria, Christians are burned alive. In fact, “Nigeria is ranked 12th and Mali 29th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.”

No global marches, no statements from Black Lives Matter, and a deafening silence from women’s groups. What might account for this? 

It is because the left allies itself with the Islamic jihadists, and while they are strange bedfellows, their ultimate aim is global conquest. There is no room for Christians or Jews, whatever their racial background.

Leftist groups pay no attention to this unending murder and rape. …

How is it that the Pope will not speak out for his flock dying in Africa? Could it be that his leftist leanings preclude his concern for Black Christian Africans? …

Moral equivocation is a standard ploy of the left. It is how leftists weasel out of responsibility and shift guilt to others. It is how they exhort easily deceived people to prostrate themselves with false culpability over crimes they never committed. Considering Black Lives Matter, it would shock many members of the black community to “learn that the intellectual godfathers of this movement are mostly white communists … intent on making blacks into cannon fodder for the revolution“.

In fact, the Black Lives Matter movement is not about particular injustices but about the alleged injustice of the American system, of capitalism, and of “white supremacy”. Its mission is not to save black lives. The thousands of deaths from black-on-black homicides draw no attention and inspire no protests, nor do the deaths of black police officers on the integrated police forces they attack.

Totalitarian Catholic Communism – an ideal for America? 8

Adrian Vermeule is a Harvard professor of Constitutional Law who doesn’t like the US Constitution, is nostalgic for Roman Catholic statist totalitarianism, and proposes a new dispensation for Americans under “authoritative rule for the common good” which, he gleefully declares, requires the “overriding” of “the selfish claims of individuals to ‘private rights’”.

Vermeule is a convert to Catholicism. He does not mention Catholicism by name in this article, but his belief that morality is rightly defined and imposed by a central authority for the “common good” belongs to his religion. And the idea that self-sacrifice is the highest moral good is essentially a Christian teaching. A fear of heresy – people being allowed to voice an opinion that the state-as-church does not approve – suffuses his political philosophy.

Free speech and free-speech ideology — that government is forbidden to judge the quality and moral worth of public speech,” he writes, “should be not only rejected but stamped as abominable, beyond the realm of the acceptable forever”.

The article in which he propounds these views appears in the Leftist journal, The Atlantic, as “part of the project The Battle for the Constitution, in partnership with the National Constitution Center”. (Go there to see how all the contributions to this project are actually against the Constitution.)

It is easy to see why The Atlantic likes his ideas. Stalin would have applauded them.

As for the structure and distribution of authority within government, common-good constitutionalism will favor a powerful presidency ruling over a powerful bureaucracy, the latter acting through principles of administrative law’s inner morality with a view to promoting solidarity and subsidiarity. The bureaucracy will be seen not as an enemy, but as the strong hand of legitimate rule. The state is to be entrusted with the authority to protect the populace from the vagaries and injustices of market forces, from employers who would exploit them as atomized individuals, and from corporate exploitation and destruction of the natural environment. 

The close resemblance between Left statism and Catholic Christianity could not be more candidly displayed.

This Constitutional Law professor would not allow a thread of the Constitution to remain … Oh, wait! He does allow a few threads to remain, useful for the re-construction of the United States of America:

The general-welfare clause, which gives Congress “power to … provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”, is an obvious place to ground principles of common-good constitutionalism (despite a liberal tradition of reading the clause in a cramped fashion), as is the Constitution’s preamble, with its references to general welfare and domestic tranquility, to the perfection of the union, and to justice.

And he could endure the retention of some words, provided they were re-interpreted:

Constitutional words such as freedom and liberty need not be given libertarian readings; instead they can be read in light of a better conception of liberty as the natural human capacity to act in accordance with reasoned morality.

“Reasoned morality” being the “common-good” morality such as was propounded by the Catholic Church and for many centuries enforced by the Papal and Spanish Inquisitions.

This imposed “common-good” morality will be resisted at first, but –

Subjects will come to thank the ruler whose legal strictures, possibly experienced at first as coercive, encourage subjects to form more authentic desires for the individual and common goods, better habits, and beliefs that better track and promote communal well-being.

Notice that citizens have become “subjects” under this ideal regime. And the state run by bureaucrats has become “the ruler” – more pope than king.

If it can be taken that The Atlantic speaks for the Left – and surely it can? – we are being told in the strongest possible terms that the Left wants and intends to abandon the Constitution – which alone binds the states of America together into a nation – and substitute a federal government with totalitarian policies and absolute powers that would establish Roman Catholicism as a state religion, substitute central planning for the free market, and implement the “green” policies of environmentalists further to restrict our lives as “subjects” of the Moral State.

If it was just one Catholic religious nut pleading for the establishment of this utopia, we could laugh at it and forget it.

But it is not just one. It is millions of – mostly young, school-indoctrinated – Leftist religious nuts wanting dependence on parental government; the drowning of individuals in an ocean of common-good; the implementation of anti-industrial “green” policies with the hard forced labor and poverty they’ll entail; sacrifice of personal ambitions and talents; acceptance of chastisement for sin (you “will come to thank the ruler” for it) and life-long indebtedness for food, shelter, and apportioned health care; total loss of self-determination; obedience.

Obedience. Bureaucrats will tell you what to do. Do it!  It is for the common good.

Above all, obedience. 

The enemy on the Right 25

Anti-white racism now obsesses the Left more than any other of its preoccupations (“gender-fluidity”, “climate change”, citizen disarmament, open borders). It was surely only to be expected that there would be an equal and opposite reaction on the Right. It exists. It is equal in intensity, but not in the numbers who support it. Adherents of what we might call the “whites are best movement” are a small minority among conservatives.

American Greatness publishes articles by some of them. Why is American Greatness giving the alt-Right a respectable platform? It is not that the editors are simply allowing the expression of white-Christian-supremacists as a matter of tolerant  broad-mindedness. One of their columnists who defends the alt-Right is Matthew Boose. He, we are told, is “a Mt. Vernon fellow for the Center for American Greatness”. We have recently discussed an article of his here. Boose defends a facetious youth named Nick Fuentes who declares the Holocaust to be a lie, and a funny one, a rib-tickling yarn.

Pedro Gonzalez is another such contributor. He is also a member of the online journal’s staff. Though not named on their “Who we are” page, he is, we learn from a note at the bottom of his column, an “assistant editor”.

In the column discussed here, he is reviewing a documentary film titled No Safe Spaces … 

… featuring conservative commentator Dennis Prager and comedian Adam Carolla. The aim of the film is to expose the illiberal direction that the halls of higher education have taken.

He gives it some praise:

The days of rage that have rocked universities across the country in recent years are well documented here.

And he makes it plain that he is in strong agreement with the film-maker, Dennis Prager, that the outbreaks of student rage – which in some cases brought disastrous consequences for the affected universities – were outrageous and indefensible.

But he finds flaws in the film. Or, rather, with people whose opinions it reflects. Gonzalez does not object to what they say in the film itself, but what they have said and done in other places at other times.

He says:

No Safe Spaces succeeds at its primary goal: revealing the fundamentally evil designs of our enemies. … There are, however, serious flaws in this otherwise polished production. For a start, the mainstream conservatives Prager props in the documentary have recently behaved themselves in a way consistent with how the Left operates.

They had offended, he explains, by refusing to give a platform at certain conservative gatherings to spokesmen of the (self-styled) alt-Right. Why?  Because, we can infer, the opinions of the alt-Right are as offensive to most conservatives as are those of the Left, for the same reason. They are intensely racist.

The alt-Right, spoken for in his review by Pedro Gonzalez, claims that its indignation is a righteous reaction to their being denied freedom of speech. (They speak and write freely, however, at many a gathering, on many a blog site, and everywhere in the social media.)

One of the professors whose story is treated sympathetically in both the film and, at first, in the review, is the (liberal, not conservative) biologist, Brett Weinstein. He refused to be kept away from the university where he taught, Evergreen State College in Washington state, on a “no whites on campus” day, was consequently subjected to violent persecution by Leftist students, and hounded out of his job. He maintained that the attempt to force whites to stay away was “an act of oppression”, and cited historical precedents of groups trying to force others to share their beliefs. He gave an example which Gonzalez quotes:

“Some of history’s darkest chapters involved brutal coercion of people because they didn’t accept that ‘Jesus is the son of God’,” wrote Weinstein recently. “Assuming Christians have outgrown that inclination, they’d be wise to quit broadcasting this exclusionary claim. Seems obvious. What am I missing?”

And that irked Gonzalez.

He comments:

That is, Christians must stop being Christians. Or to use Prager’s line, on preferring “clarity over agreement”, Weinstein is merely clarifying that liberalism requires that Christians dissolve Christ and adopt a secularized theology of humanism.

Weinstein did not mean that “Christians must stop being Christians”, unless Christians are nothing but enforcers of shared belief. Nor would Dennis Prager tolerate a requirement “that Christians dissolve Christ and adopt a secularized theology of humanism”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our beef with Prager is that he taints his intelligent advocacy of conservatism with arguments for religion. He earnestly defends Christianity, even as he passionately proselytizes Judaism.

But Weinstein had struck a nerve. The alt-Right does not only believe that whites are best, but that Christian whites are the best of the best: Christianity is the supreme good; it can do no wrong. And because Christianity is the supreme good, devotees of all other religions – and non-believers – are bad, and deserve what they get at Christian hands.

The alt-Right is doing exactly what Weinstein advises them it would be wise to quit doing: “Broadcasting this exclusionary claim.”

Indeed Gonzalez insists: “[T]he only social force with the moral and ethical framework to counteract leftism [is] Christianity.”

While many Christians today, particularly in America, are supporters of freedom, the kind of Christianity that the alt-Right apparently admires has more to do with intolerance, domination, and compulsion.

Christianity had a very long reign. Contrary to Christian claims, it did not prove to be historically a force for good. Whether the human suffering the Christian churches caused when they had the power to do so on a massive scale was less or more, better or worse, than that caused by Leftist powers, is a verdict more easily reached by prejudice than judgment.

Posted under Anti-Semitism, Christianity, Ethics, Race, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 1, 2020

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What makes for the common good? 22

We can usefully start with two quotations:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.
― Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol 1

Which is  a description of capitalism in practice. It is a beautiful system. Individuals provide goods or services that other people want and therefore pay for. The greater the demand, the more rewarding the provision, the more profitable the business. If the demand is too great for the labor of the provider to meet on his own, he can pay people to help him. How much he pays will depend on how much the employee contributes to the profit: his contribution must be worth more – twice or three times as much – as his pay to make him worth hiring.

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Senator Marco Rubio does not agree with Adam Smith and Ayn Rand. He believes that the butcher, the brewer, the baker, must carry on their businesses as benevolent enterprises. And that we live to serve others.

He does not say so in as many words, but his opinions amount to those sentiments.

Which he writes about at National Review in an essay adapted from a speech he delivered at the Catholic University of America. We quote the greater part of his essay:

Large corporations have become vehicles for shareholders and banks to assert claims to cash flows, rather than engines of productive innovation. Over the past 40 years, the financial sector’s share of corporate profits increased from about 10 to nearly 30 percent. The share of profits sent to shareholders increased by 300 percent. This occurred while investment of those profits back into the companies’ workers — and future — dropped 20 percent. Last year, corporations on the S&P 500 spent more than a trillion dollars buying back their own shares. These are the largest corporations in the world collectively saying, “We don’t have anything to invest in.”

This is what it looks like when, as Pope Francis warned, “Finance overwhelms the real economy.”

A phrase that means nothing. But then, Pope Francis knows nothing about Economics. He’s  a “liberation theologist”  – an oxymoronic god-worshiping communist. And Rubio, the ostensible conservative, quotes him as an enlightening sage?

The world is full of enterprises to invest in. But Rubio wants the investment to be ethical according to his own judgment of what is ethically acceptable.

The result has been an economy whose architecture has been rapidly transformed. Despite three years of robust economic growth, millions are unable to find dignified work; they feel forgotten and left behind. We are left with a society with which no one is happy. …

An outright lie. In fact, unemployment is low –  lower than it has been for 50 years.

Rubio goes on to attribute a variety of “social ills” to there being “millions unable to find dignified work”:

The repercussions have extended far beyond the economy: a collapse in churchgoing and community institutions; a decline in marriage, childbirth, and life expectancy; and an increase in drug dependency, suicides, and other deaths of despair. We have condemned the next generation of Americans to be the first to enter adulthood worse off than their parents.

Diagnosing the problem is something we should be able to achieve across the political spectrum, though even that seems challenging at times. Ultimately, deciding what the government should do about it must be the core question of our politics.

Marco Rubio is a Republican Senator. But he he thinks like a Socialist Democrat – that the solution to people not going to church (an outcome of which, if it is true, we heartily approve of course), to a drop in births and life expectancy, to drug dependency, to suicides “and other deaths of despair” and to anything else worth clicking one’s tongue over that goes on in a population of over 330 million, lies with government.

We must start by rejecting the false choice our politics has offered us for almost three decades. First, our financialized economy …

He is alluding to the ways in which money can make money. When you are young and in the prime of life you work for your money; when you are old you let your money work for you. You own bonds and shares. Both the investors and the companies invested in, benefit. Companies get the capital they need to produce goods and services, investors get income and increase their capital worth. It’s one of the joys of capitalism.

Why that is a bad thing for the wealth and happiness or the morals of the nation, Rubio does not explain. Financial markets do not require busy hands, the sweat of the human brow; the physical toil he apparently considers “dignified” and which alone, in his view, brings the worker satisfaction. As if happiness were best pursued at the conveyer belt or the plough or the coalface or the anvil.

“Our financialized economy” was the undesirable result of government decisions, of “policy choices lawmakers have made in the past”. It makes for an undesirable “imbalance” which must be set right, he says:

[R]estoring a balance between the obligations and rights of the private sector and working Americans will require the attention of lawmakers today.

He quotes Pope Benedict (the non-Communist Pope) objecting to “the dominance of ‘largely speculative’ financial flows, detached from real production”.

He argues that money producing money is not good. That the production of material things is good.  That somehow “our financialized economy” has taken us away from a system which, while still capitalist, is geared towards community benefit rather than individual gain. (But which has never existed.) He calls it “common-good capitalism”. And he says we need to get it back.

What we need to do is restore common-good capitalism: a system of free enterprise wherein workers fulfill their obligation to work and enjoy the resultant benefits, and businesses enjoy their right to make a profit and reinvest enough to create high-productivity jobs, which is what I mean by dignified work for Americans. …

The butcher, the brewer, the baker must not give up slaughtering, brewing and baking, but must do it out of benevolence and not self-interest. They must employ workers in order to make them happy, not because their labor is needed by the employer.

It is also possible to reform the Small Business Administration to reinvigorate the legacy of business innovation that delivered Americans to the Moon 50 years ago. …

“Business innovation” did that? And it’s not doing it now is a result of … what? Losing vigor? Letting the financial markets become dominant?

We must remember that our nation does not exist to serve the interests of the market; the market exists to serve our nation. And the most effective benefit the market can provide is the creation of dignified work.

No, the market does not exist to serve the nation, any more than the nation exists to serve the market. The market is the nation serving itself.

His vision is communitarian:

Dignified work allows people to give their time, talent, and treasure to our churches, our charities, and community groups. It makes it easier to form strong families in stable communities and reinvigorates those institutions that bind us together as a people.

Because when you live with, worship with, serve with, or share a community with someone, you know him or her as a whole person. You may not agree with the person’s politics, but you have other commonalities that bind you together.

But when your neighbors are strangers, and all you know about your fellow countrymen is who they voted for, it is much easier to see them as the other.

He invokes the name of a famous Catholic in politics – a Democrat:

In 1968, Robert Kennedy decried the deep cultural sickness of his era that was “discouraging initiative, paralyzing will and action, and dividing Americans from one another, by their age, their views, and by the color of their skin”.

As Kennedy did in 1968, we must accept the indivisible tie between culture and economics, so that once again we can reclaim the motto on our nation’s seal: E pluribus unum — out of many, one.

All of which is, frankly, drivel.

E pluribus unum was chosen as the motto of the United States because many states united to form one new nation. It had nothing to do with communitarianism.

If and how we resolve this will not just define 21st-century America; it will define the century itself. Our future is not ours alone to decide. In China, we are confronted with a near-peer competitor on the global stage.

China is undertaking a patient effort to reorient the global order to reflect its values and its interests at the expense of ours — a global order in which the key industries and good jobs are based in China and controlled by them; in which the principles of freedom of religion and speech are replaced by what the Chinese call “societal harmony” …

Isn’t “societal harmony” the very thing that the Senator is arguing for?

… and in which the right to elect your own leaders and voice dissent is replaced by a totalitarian system that criminalizes protest and imprisons minorities.

Nobody here wants that (except perhaps the American Left, the professoriate, the mainstream media, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).

An America in which no one is held back by his or her gender, skin color, or ethnic origin is no longer just morally right; it’s a national imperative.

And is not that the American reality (except in the universities where Asians are held back by Leftist administrations because too many of them are high achievers)?

For, in the words of the late sociologist Robert Bellah [a sociologist of religion who had been a Communist in his youth], the American tradition — the “transcendent goal” of our politics — renders sacred our “obligation to carry out God’s will on Earth.”

Let’s repeat that: our transcendent political goal is to carry out the American tradition because by doing so we sanctify our obligation to God. It makes no sense, even as a religious idea.

But Rubio asserts –

That is the task accepted by each generation before us. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices and achievements.

Now we must decide whether to accept the challenge of our time and author the next chapter in the story of the nation that changed the world.

How can we not? As we live and act the “chapter” of our time is being “authored” by us.  So – more drivel.

Senator Rubio’s “common-good capitalism” may be good Catholicism, but it is neither good capitalism nor conducive to the common good.

All who live in the same country have certain needs in common – such as roads, sewers, street lighting in towns, bridges, ports, the rule of law, military defense – so it is plainly reasonable for all to contribute to their provision and upkeep. There is no economic or moral imperative that one person pay for another person’s (other than his own natural dependents’) education, medical treatment, shelter – or survival. Because people in civilized cultures are generally humane, however, they help their helpless compatriots. As a personal choice, as voluntary activity, such giving is irreproachable. Charity is neither immoral nor threatening to the economy when it is practiced between consenting adults in private.

But Christian doctrine compelled material charity at the same time as it mercilessly punished dissent. And Christian morality became socialist doctrine. It shouts down Adam Smith, burns Ayn Rand, and inspires Senator Marco Rubio.

Adam Smith proves that the best way to serve our fellow man is to supply each our own needs by providing others with something they will pay for. That is the market. We do not have to love our grocer, only to pay him. As an economic system, it is capitalism. It does not need to be made more palatable with a condiment of sentimental togetherness.

Just as it is, it is good for us all.

What is conservatism? 40

A heated altercation is proceeding between two groups of American conservatives. Each group is claiming to be the true conservatives.

The one group calls itself “Alt-Right ” and “America Firsters”. All its members are white and proudly white-supremacist, convinced that the white race is superior to all others. They are also called “groypers”. What they want to conserve, they say, are what they consider to be the traditional cultural norms of the white race, laying particular stress on the Christian religion and heterosexual marriage. Their motto is “Faith, Family, Community”. They are fiercely – and at the same time facetiously – aggressive in word and deed.

The other, much bigger group in America, are the conservatives who (generally, but not invariably and not uncritically) vote Republican; are Christian, but want a separation of church and state; are nationalists and patriots, but not racists; are tolerant of homosexual marriage; and who loyally uphold the Constitution of the United States.

These two rival versions of conservatism are to be found in an article and a speech from which we select the most telling passages:

Matthew Boose defends the “Alt-Right” and attacks what he calls “Conservatism, Inc.” in an article at American Greatness. He refers to the “civil war” between representative of the two sides, and sums up the arguments as he understands them:

In the wake of the Donald Trump moment, conservatism is up for grabs: white identitarians, “Catholic integralists,” paleocons, and American nationalists all sense an opportunity for greater representation. But the bigger story is that the globalist, anti-nationalist, progressive “conservatism” that came before Trump isn’t yet quite dead, and it’s fighting for survival.

The degree to which this is true has become apparent over the past few weeks as a civil war within campus conservatism has raged on between Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA and paleoconservative activists who follow the nationalist podcaster Nicholas Fuentes.

Nicholas Fuentes is a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite.

As Kirk and his allies see it, the Fuentes fans, who call themselves “groypers,” have been trying to “hijack” campus conservatism by injecting “white nationalism” into the debate. But this so-called sabotage has been accomplished with extraordinary simplicity. The groypers have been showing up to Kirk’s events to air their grievances about the failures of mainstream conservatism and its wholesale embrace of the LGBT+ agenda and mass migration.

Rather than talk to these activists in good faith, though, the gatekeepers have decided their ideas are not worth debating. They have instead pursued a campaign of denigration and suppression. Leaving aside personalities, they have dismissed candid, important questions about demographics and the liberalization of the conservative movement as “bigoted” and “racist.” …

Kirk acknowledges that the demographic shifts … are real and that leftists are celebrating those changes. But Kirk ends up backing the leftist premise that such demographic shifts are inevitable and that the Republican Party’s only hope is to embrace this growing and diverse reality.

Kirk rejects without explanation putting a moratorium on immigration. Rather than restrict immigration to reverse the trend, Kirk [says that] … Republicans must reject “anti-immigrant” stances and instead do more to reach minority demographics. Only then can the GOP remain viable in a majority-minority future.

The premise is based on an obvious double-standard, one which is becoming more and more difficult to simply ignore. … If we’re talking about the interests of “natural Republicans” from El Salvador and “MAGA drag queens,” then Kirk and Conservatism, Inc. have no issue with appealing to demographics. But when it comes to talking about the interests of white Christians it’s a different story altogether. That’s “racist”. …

The leaders of the conservative movement must be able to answer these questions: why are white Christians, and only white Christians, prohibited from acting in their rational self-interest? Why must Republicans, given the prospect of a dim future in which it can only survive by pandering to the Left, respond by pandering to the Left now, just to win over people who hate and want to persecute them anyway?

In the end, this “strategy” is nothing more than a capitulation to the Left, the same surrender that has laid the country, and the party, so low for decades. By all means, the Republican Party must never waver in its support of the traditional family, of life, and of the Constitution. But it’s also not clear how exactly, or why, appealing to minority groups, and only minority groups, is the best way to do that.

It is disingenuous, not to say illogical, to say that the Republican Party must, for some unexplained reason, not think in terms of demographics when it comes to its most reliable voters—and join the Left in attacking any of those voters who may feel besieged by our liberal monoculture—and instead seek to recruit and celebrate other, reliably liberal groups, such as gays and Latino immigrants. With the exception of evangelicals and Cubans, Latino voters as a group are reliably Democrat, and they have been for decades. They support gun control, the welfare state, and even gay marriage by some margins. Their mythic social conservatism is not as solid as some Republicans would like to think. What does Conservatism, Inc. imagine it can do to change that in short order?

While the TPUSA controversy has focused on demographics, another core grievance of the “groypers” is the conservative movement’s inability to conserve the morals and traditions that made America great, especially traditional marriage. The conscious embrace of leftist identity politics, particularly LGBT rights, by Kirk and other Conservatism, Inc. figures justifies the impression that this is by unconscious design, if not conscious choice.

They pander to every identity group under the sun while at the same time feeling very free to attack white Americans who are troubled by the prospect of becoming a minority in their own country. Such people are denounced as “racists” just for feeling that way. It’s hard to see what’s conservative about this, or how it will help Republicans win elections in a deeply uncertain future.

It is no accident that some liberals have encouraged their Republican adversaries to embrace the “diversify” strategy Kirk advocates, as it advances the Left’s own goals and commitments. The gatekeepers in Conservatism, Inc. embrace the same ideas, the same methods, and even the same rhetoric as the Left to advance a globalist, anti-nationalist agenda. Their smears of outspoken America Firsters are indistinguishable from the Left’s familiar drive-by attacks on even the most unobjectionable conservatives.

The “conservatism” of groups like TPUSA isn’t conserving anything—nothing, that is, but liberalism itself. It does not offer young people anything they cannot already find in the ethos of consumerism and vacuous personal “liberation” so pervasive in our liberal culture and advanced relentlessly by the globalist Left.

For conservatives to embrace gay marriage is not an intuitive position by any means, but Kirk and his boosters have done exactly that, denouncing those with questions about this development as “homophobes”. Especially at a time when leftists scheme in the open about taxing churches that don’t recognize gay marriage, it’s hardly a logical position for a conservative to take.

The “conservatism” of Conservatism, Inc. isn’t conservatism, but a species of libertarianism. Like many in the libertarian camp, Kirk takes the view that matters of marriage and morals should be left to private contracts between individuals and what they do in the so-called privacy of their own lives; never mind that the Left has already invaded the public square and has made persecuting Christians and conservatives a moral mission. To the libertarians of Conservatism, Inc., moral authority appears not to rest with a higher power, but is arrogated instead to individuals. All that matters is the “free market” and securing the freedom to legitimize a deeper and deeper backslide into barbarism.

I’m not going to question Kirk’s faith, but the morality he advocates has more in common with the Left than with Christian principles. In an interview … Kirk described himself as a “conservatarian” and expresses the view that there is no contradiction between the libertarian non-aggression principle and his religious views: “you should be able to make your choices as you see fit, as long as you’re not harming someone else.”

This is the classic formulation of liberalism: the idea that society should be arranged to make people as free as possible to pursue their own adventures. But there is nothing obviously conservative about this mentality. By following it, Kirk has embraced a very recent cultural shift that repudiates centuries upon centuries of tradition on marriage and the family.

This libertarian ethos of personal liberation justifies the damage done to the social fabric by leftism, while inviting further degeneration down the road. It has no cohesive social vision beyond securing the “blessings of liberty” to invite drag queens into libraries to read stories to schoolchildren. It has neither the desire nor the conviction to resist America’s free-fall into social anomie and moral decay, and it has no plan for repairing the destruction of the past decades of experimentation. America is imagined not even to be a concrete place at all, but rather a collation of hoary abstractions coined by the Founding Fathers, who surely fought and died so that future generations of Americans would embrace state-sanctioned gender reassignment surgery for 7-year-olds.

Coupled with this moral indifference is a worship of the “free market” and its miraculous power to distribute goods, resources, and labor as efficiently as possible. It’s not by mistake that conservatives of Kirk’s stripe talk more about markets than morals. If all that matters is the free market and “doing whatever you want,” then it’s hard to justify restricting immigration or opposing gay marriage to preserve American jobs, values, and traditions.

These “conservatives” understand that the common good is most helped by inviting millions of foreign laborers to boost the GDP, that the Gospel preaches acceptance of whatever sexually permissive fashions the Left dreamed up yesterday, that America is just an idea in which all lifestyles, peoples, and cultures except those which define the historic American nation must be celebrated. …

Conservatism, Inc. can offer no assurances that Americans may expect to raise their children in a decent, moral society that cares about family, community, and faith. It does not seek to build a world where Americans may live free and prosperous lives without bearing false witness to the same idols that the Left, and the controlled opposition of Conservatism, Inc., worship. Americans are provided not the least guarantees of job security, or that America will even speak their native language in thirty years time. Neither are they provided the reprieve of knowing that they will be able to worship and raise their families in the faith of their upbringing and their ancestors without incurring ruinous financial and social consequences.

Kirk acknowledges that conservatives are besieged by a “far-left mainstream culture leading an assault on American values,” but whether he realizes it or not, Kirk and his defenders are part of enabling that mainstream. The entirety of Conservatism, Inc. is working towards the same ends as the progressive, globalist left. The irony is that they do this while styling themselves the “real conservatives” and attacking anyone with serious questions about the movement’s priorities.

Rather than answer challenging questions about the future of conservatism, the Beltway conservatives have responded with emotive attacks, threats of censorship and doxxing, and outright smears. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) has warned that questioners who venture outside the gentle sandbox of Heritage Foundation good-think will regret showing their faces on camera. Ben Shapiro dedicated a 45-minute speech to obliquely attacking the groypers, but refused to engage with them directly. Coming from the guy who coined “facts don’t care about your feelings,” that’s just rich.

Conservatism, Inc. isn’t a movement but a corporate enterprise. Its self-styled “dissent” is all part of a shallow brand of rebellion that begins and ends with “triggering” blue-haired gender studies majors. Beyond these shallow displays of edginess, Conservatism, Inc. promotes the same agenda of social liberalism and open borders as the Left. They wear a mask of intellectualism and “free thought,” but the moment anyone questions the dogma, the gatekeepers fall back on exactly the kind of emotive attacks that they project onto the “triggered” Left.

Kirk says that the Right must resist “excommunicating” those with different opinions on important issues, but that is exactly what Kirk and his allies are trying to do to the America Firsters. He complains of being subjected to an ideological “purity test” by the America First crowd while simultaneously, and arbitrarily labeling them “fake conservatives,” “white nationalists” and “anti-Semites.” This is nonsense.

What Kirk calls a fake purity test is conservatives who are concerned about the direction of the Trump movement making sure that it actually remains committed to its priorities. Their concerns are legitimate. It doesn’t matter when and whether Kirk became a Trump supporter if his ideas don’t align with the agenda that propelled Trump to office.

The truth is that the groypers, however weird the “groyper” brand might be, are closer to the mainstream of how the American Right actually feels than the Beltway types who wear the conservative label while behaving exactly like leftists. They should be applauded for challenging Conservatism, Inc. and its bankrupt ideology. Their “trolling” is more effective activism than the totality of the establishment’s pathetic kowtowing to the gods of Diversity and Progress. …

Why don’t establishment conservatives like Kirk, who have also been smeared by the Left, ally with the conservative “trolls” who actually want to conserve something instead of pandering to the people who hate them? That they do not raises  two possibilities: that they are not sincere, or that they are sincere liberals.

Whatever they are, it isn’t “conservative”.

Ours is a conservative establishment that does nothing, and has done nothing, to conserve the traditions that made America great. This fact cries out for an accounting, and it is becoming impossible to ignore. If Conservatism, Inc. refuses to engage candidly with serious, legitimate questions about its priorities, then it deserves to be called out for its hypocrisy and emptiness.

It is an intensely emotional argument. It shows real fear that America is undergoing a demographic transformation that will make the whites a minority.

Ben Shapiro (who was not at first a supporter of President Trump, but seems to be now) defended the more common views of American conservatives and attacked the ‘”Alt-Right” in a speech he made at Stanford University (November 7, 2019):

I want to talk about the dangerous game being played by two particular nasty groups who feed off one another: I am speaking about the radical Left and the Alt-Right. …

The radical Left and the Alt-Right need each other. And they’re playing a game, in which the radical Left seeks to delegitimize anyone who isn’t radically Left by lumping them in with the despicable Alt-Right — and in which the Alt-Right seeks to make common cause with anyone “cancelled” by the radical Left, specifically with the supporters of President Trump who have been maligned falsely as evil by the radical Left, in order to artificially boost their numbers.

These two goals are mutually reinforcing. Here’s how this garbage works… Let’s say, for example, that you believe that ‘white civilization’ — a nonsensical term, since civilization is not defined by color but by history, culture, and philosophy — is under attack from multiracial hordes. Let’s say that you’re antipathetic toward Jews and enraged by the liberties guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of the United States. Let’s say you spend your days ranting about how American conservatives and traditional classical liberals — the sole protective force against the radical Left — haven’t “conserved” anything. You say America is not a propositional or creedal nation, even though the nation’s founding literally begins with the words, ‘We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights… Let’s say you cite Christianity as the basis of your values, but you’re more likely to quote Nietzsche than Christ. …

First, you declare your allegiance to President Trump, and declare that you aren’t really Alt-Right, even though you obviously are. You show up to lectures wearing a MAGA hat in order to get the media to cover it – and in order to demonstrate that you’re truly a representative of the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump. You call yourself “America First”, hijacking Trump’s slogan, but twisting it to mean “white Americans first”.  The media will eat it up, because the media love nothing better than suggesting that Trump is a white supremacist, despite the fact that he has repeatedly condemned white supremacism. …

You do so by simply lying about mainstream conservatives. You suggest that mainstream conservatives are insufficiently committed to social conservatism. You do this by asking questions like, “How does anal sex help us win the culture war?” [a reference to an Alt-Right heckler’s question at a TPUSA event]. “The purpose is to simultaneously pose as edgy and also preserve your ability to say you were just joking. …

What helps America win the culture war is freedom: freedom against a government encroaching on your activities that don’t harm anyone else. … As Edmund Burke put it, “Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself.” You know what else helps win the culture war? Engaging with your community, involving yourself in the social fabric. Not creating Pepe memes online and then jabbering about anal sex.

In fact, there’s great irony in watching alt-righters claim that they should use the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoints on others – while complaining that the Left uses the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoint on others. You can’t really whine about other people shutting down your viewpoint and activity that harms no one else while planning to shut down everybody else’s viewpoints.

The Left everywhere in the Western world likes to condemn all conservatives as “far-Right white-supremacists, Nazis, fascists, racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes”. Shapiro stressed how the Left does this in America:

[The Left] will label anyone on the right Alt-Right, even if we say vocally and in no uncertain terms that the Alt-Right is pure, unbridled, vile garbage — even if members of the Alt-Right target those on the mainstream right. Even if Donald Trump condemns the worldview. …

So the Boston Globe will call my website, The Daily Wire, an “Alt-Right outpost” (we forced them to recant); the Economist will call me “the Alt-Right sage without the rage” (we’ll force them to recant). Students at Boston University are festooning my posters with a Hitler mustache. Students at this university will mob those trying to put up posters for this lecture …

The media will suggest that Trump is in league with the Alt-Right, even at this late date – they’ll neglect all Trump has done to purge his administration to those who were remotely friendly with the Alt-Right  and his forcible disavowal of white supremacism. They’ll simply overlook that Trump isn’t a white supremacist, and declare that the MAGA hat is equivalent to a Nazi swastika – and they’ll say that, by extension, anyone who wears a MAGA hat or votes for Trump is a secret Brownshirt.

[But] if someone believes that all men are created equal, … that every American should have equality before the law, in free market capitalism, in small government, in equal opportunity for all people of all races, that person is not on the Alt-Right. In fact, they despise the Alt-Right, and the Alt-Right despises them. But people on the Left know this, they just prefer the lie. Why? Because their goal is to delegitimize the entire Right.

“The only difference between the radical Left and the Alt-Right,” he pointed out, “is they reverse the victim hierarchy.”

Despite Boose’s protests, it is obvious that the “groypers”, the “America Firsters”, are homophobic, anti-Semitic, white-supremacist racists.

We are none of those things.

We have a lot in common with the conservatives who are defended by Shapiro – and who are not “globalist”, “anti-nationalist”, or “progressive”. But we do not share all their principles, values and views. We quote neither Nietzsche nor Christ to support our opinion.

So why do we call ourselves conservatives? What is it that we think needs to be conserved?

Christopher Roach, writing in the same issue of American Greatness Conservatism to defend Nicholas Fientes and Matthew Boose’s notion of conservatism, says, “Conservatism is not a checklist of particular positions, an ‘established dogma’ or set of ‘doctrine’. It is a disposition, a love of what already is, and is in danger of being lost.”

Certainly it is not a set of doctrines. But it is a set of values.

Our motto, inscribed on our Facebook page, declares those values to be “Freedom, Justice, Reason”We were endowed with them by the Enlightenment. They are interdependent, and essential to our civilization. They need to be conserved if our civilization is to survive.

Freedom is our highest value. We want personal freedom. All our other wants flow from that one; wants of systems, policies and institutions. (This, as Matthew Boose observes, is libertarian – but we share little else with Libertarians.)

Freedom needs the protection of the rule of law, a system of impartial justice which treats all sane adults equally, and which the nation state – and only the nation state – can administer. (Something which libertarians we have read and listened to seem not to be convinced of.)

As we are so fortunate as to live in such a nation state, we are patriotic nationalists. We are uninterested in the race, color, ethnic background of our fellow patriotic nationalists.

We want a strong military to defend us from foreign invasion (but not to force outcomes in other countries).

We want our government to be no more powerful than it needs to be to do its essential job of protecting freedom; never to become so big and strong as to be our master. (It is here that we are furthest from the Left.)

Capitalism is essential to prosperity, and prosperity sustains freedom. The free market is inseparable from a free society. The Alt-Right’s contempt for business, trade and profit is as stupid as it is hypocritical, arising from the absurd value placed on poverty by Christianity (and endorsed by socialism).

We part company with the majority of American conservatives over the issue of “faith”. We accept no “truths” that cannot survive critical examination in the bright light of reason.

Nothing else is essential to our conservatism.

We do, however, have preferences which we do not expect all atheist conservatives to share.

We are against the killing of people except as condign punishment for those who kill, so we are against the killing of unborn living children unless for compelling reasons. We are unconcerned about individual adults’ sexual choices as long as they do not involve the exploitation or corruption of children, although we continue to understand the meaning of “marriage” to be a solemn (not “sacred”) contract between a man and a woman primarily (not imperatively) for the begetting of children.

Where do we stand on immigration, the future demographic composition of the United States? That seems to be the biggest issue in the argument between the Alt-Right and the mainstream conservatives.

Matthew Boose writes:

The elephant in the room is demographics. Not even progressives any longer pretend that mass migration won’t, at the rate we’re going, transform America into a majority-minority nation within our lifetimes. The implications for the nation and the Republican Party because of this shift are profound, and any conservative movement that is not willing to engage with it seriously cannot be taken seriously.

The Alt-Right wants America to be a nation of European-descended, heterosexual, English-speaking, Christian whites.

Do we agree with them?

To the only official language being English, yes. To the bearing and raising of children by husband and wife as a general custom, yes.

To worshiping Jesus Christ, no.

And we are not against immigration. While we see the influx of large numbers of people from less civilized countries, bringing customs and systems of law which we abominate, to be bad for the economy and the quality of life, we do want immigrants bringing inventiveness, expertise, wealth, ability, talent to enrich the nation.

Keeping the country white? Why? European culture, above all Anglophone culture, owes its greatness partly to being eclectic, taking what it likes from other cultures.

We took the zero from brown-skinned India. We took our numerals from India too (though they are wrongly called Arabic).

Did not your Christian god come from the Jews? More beneficially in our view, mobile phones did too.

The sound of no hands clapping 9

Welfare state socialism is justified by its enthusiasts on the grounds that there are some people in every nation who cannot support themselves and have no one to support them, so the state must do it; the entire economy of the nation must be brought under government direction and control.

To ask how many such people there are (nowhere more than thousands among tens of millions) is deemed inadmissible because morally wrong. Why morally wrong? For the same reason that state aid must be given to everyone alike, rich and poor, self-reliant and dependent: because the poor and dependent must not be made to feel different from everyone else. They must be saved not only from indigence but also from humiliation. Therefore the rich must receive social security payments from the state just as the poor do.

Whether or not the poor and dependent actually would be sensitive on that score is not the concern of the Good who decree the welfare. The redistribution of wealth – forcibly taking money from those who earn it to give to others who don’t – has to bring about social equality. So even though it would cost much less to give aid directly to the needy  – cutting out the immense cost of welfare administration – and to let the rest accumulate as much wealth as they can –  thus making generosity to the poor easy – the welfare solution is chosen.

It is chosen because it the virtuous choice. It is the virtuous choice because it both raises the poor and brings the rich down.

It is a Christian idea that those who have are bad and must be abased, and those who have not are good and must be rewarded. In Socialism the idea not only persists, it grows ever more malignant.

If there is not yet a moral requirement that those who can walk must lose their legs because not everyone can walk, and those that can speak must lose their tongues because not everyone can speak, it is coming close.

Universities are carrying the idea in that direction.

Listen to what Breitbart reports here and here and here:

1.Those who are white must be punished because not everyone can be white and to be white is a privilege which must be ended.

A prestigious Scottish university arranged an event titled “Resisting Whiteness” where white people were to be banned from speaking.

Resisting Whiteness, which bills itself as a QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Colour) outfit …  also planned to set up two so-called “safe spaces” at the University of Edinburgh event — and intended to ban white people from one of them.

We will not be giving the microphone to white people during the Q&As, not because we don’t think white people have anything to offer to the discussion, but because we want to amplify the voices of people of colour,” explained a primer for the event. “If you are a white person with a question, please share it with a member of the committee or our speakers after the panel discussion.”

2.The way we write must be changed because not everyone can master the way we write.

Leeds Trinity University in the United Kingdom has told its lecturers to avoid using capital letters in their classroom handouts because they upset students, and can “scare students into failure.”

3.The way we show our approval must be changed because some don’t like it.

At Oxford University –

The motion to “mandate the encouragement of silent clapping” proposed using the more “inclusive” British Sign Language symbol for clapping — known as “silent jazz hands” (waving both hands by the sides of the body at about shoulder height) — in place of audible applause.

The clapping ban would affect student union meetings and events where traditional clapping and cheering “presents an access issue” to those with anxiety disorders.

The majority in Scotland, England, Europe and North America are guilty of “cultural racism”, “ablist racism”, and the ineluctable “racism” of just being white.

All you can do, ye guilty, is demean and impoverish yourselves in accordance with Christian values.

Here they are according to St. Paul:

We are the filth of the world, the scum, the muck that is scoured from things (1 Cor 4:13) and the lowest of the low (Phili 2:3).

Let us abase ourselves; be fools (1 Cor 4:10); be humble, and associate with the lowly (Rom 12:16).

Bear affliction with patience (Rom 12:12-14) and even with joy (1 Thess 5:16,18).

You must consider all others to be greater than yourselves (Phili 2:3).

Share all you have so that you’ll all be equal in worldly possessions (2 Cor 8:14, Rom 12:13).

It will not be the first time that groundless shame and guilt have brought a civilization to self-destruction.

 

(Hat-tip to Cogito for the three links)

Posted under Christianity, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

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Enlightenment values 8

Christian values (as described in the post immediately below) are alien to human nature. Human beings do not, cannot, love all other human beings. (Many find it hard to love a few. Some find it impossible to love any.) A thirst for vengeance is common among us. Normal people do not prefer poverty to riches.

Christian values do not underlie our civilization. What values do?

Freedom, justice, reason.

None of which are of any interest to the Christian religion – though millions of individuals who are Christian benefit from them and, to their credit and reward, consciously defend them.

The rewards of reason are, most importantly, scientific knowledge, technological progress, innovation. “Measurement began our might,” wrote W. B. Yeats, referring to ancient civilizations.

To live in freedom, to make justice attainable, to reap the rewards of reason, we need government by Law.

In its beginning, Christianity rejected Law. The author of the Christian religion, St.Paul, contended that the sacrifice of Christ marked a new era and the Law was no longer needed. Christianity was instead of the Law. Later the Church found it necessary to retrieve the moral law of Judaism, and to compile its own canon law. The period of Christian antinomianism was short-lived, but Catholic rule failed spectacularly through the centuries of the Church’s power to provide justice to the peoples of Christendom. It punished heresy, blasphemy, innovation, mere disagreement. It opposed scientific discovery. The Church of Rome was a totalitarian tyranny. So were the Protestant regimes of the Reformation.

The greatness of our civilization began with the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, the recovery of ancient thought, the launch of the Age of Reason. Europe measured again. Our age of science dawned.

And on the principles of reason, freedom, rule of law, the United States of America was founded.

Yes, some of the Founders were Christians. (And some were deists. And some, though pre-Darwin, were probably quietly atheist.) Yes, the Declaration of Independence mentions a Creator. It designates this Creator as “Nature’s God” – a bold statement of an Enlightenment perception. (Spinoza’s god was nature, the laws of physics.) This god, the Framers said, “endowed” human beings with certain rights. In other words, they saw them as natural rights. There is barely a trace of Christian doctrine in the founding documents, but just enough for those to discern it who want it to be there.

 

Jillian Becker    October 22, 2019

Western civilization and Christian values 25

It is often claimed that Western civilization owes its success to Christian values.

Does it? Is our civilization a product of Christian morality?

What are Christian values?

Wikipedia tells us and I summarize:

Love of God and unconditional love of all people, including enemies; fidelity in marriage; renunciation of worldly goods; forgiveness of sins and offenses, renunciation of vengeance.

We don’t know how many Western Europeans, during the last two millennia, loved the Christian god, nor can we assess to what extent such a love inspired great deeds. Perhaps that particular value has contributed significantly to the triumph of the West. 

But it would be hard to argue that any of the others are features of Western history.  

Christians have been warring with other Christians since even before Rome itself became Christian. Mutual violent hatred, relentless intolerance, unquenchable thirst for revenge in the parched souls of multitudes who bore the Cross into battle – these are the recurring themes of the ages dominated by the Church of Rome. So much for universal love, love of enemies, and renunciation of vengeance.

Was there ever a single anno domini, even a single hour in a single year in a Christian land, when the vows of marriage were not being broken by a multitude of impious wretches? Is there not divorce in our time? Are the civil courts not kept busy by the unforgiving?

Do we not gather worldly goods?

Ladies and gentlemen and transgenders of the jury, I ask you to find Western civilization not guilty of ever implementing Christian values.

 

Jillian Becker   October 20, 2019

Posted under Articles, Christianity, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 20, 2019

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A good man with a bad idea 32

The US Attorney General, William Barr, gave a formal talk at (Roman Catholic) Notre Dame Law School last week (Friday, October 11, 2019) which has come to our notice.

We respect Attorney General Barr for declaring, to questioners at a congressional hearing, that the admitted surveillance of President Trump by US intelligent agents was indeed spying. A statement that shocked the Democrats. Not because it wasn’t true, but because they didn’t want the truth to be spoken, and hated it to be spoken so bluntly.

We expect the Attorney General to shock them much more deeply and permanently by bringing all their criminal machinations to overthrow the duly elected president into open scrutiny, and charging all the guilty with their crimes. Our expectation and hope extend to seeing them jailed.

So we are reluctant to criticize Mr. Barr.

But his speech at the Law School raises an issue of importance to us.

Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSnews.com, reports the speech and comments on it at Townhall:

Barr simply explained what President John Adams meant by a statement he made in 1798 letter. He then showed the significance of that statement to American life today.

“We have no Government armed with Power which is capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by … morality and religion,” Barr quoted from Adams’s letter. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Within this context, Barr accurately described the cultural war raging in America today.

“The challenge we face is precisely what the founding fathers foresaw would be the supreme test of a free society,” Barr told the Notre Dame law students.

“They never thought that the main danger to the republic would come from an external foe,” he said. “The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.”

“And this is really what they meant by self-government,” said Barr. “It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

A notion with which we have no quarrel.

Mr. Barr went on to say:

But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings. Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values.

Certainly they must.

But then he said:

And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on an authority independent of men’s wills. They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being. In short, in the framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

Why must they, how could they, “flow” from a “transcendent Supreme Being”? How is such a “transcendent moral order” made known to human beings? By the “Supreme Being” implanting the knowledge as instinct? Or through ancient assertions by ignorant men?

We state apodictically that no superhuman being ever spoke to a human being. Though both St. Paul and Muhammad say they were spoken to by “Jesus” and “the Archangel Gabriel” respectively.

We laugh off all such claims. Can we then accept that it is by instinct the religious have knowledge of a “transcendent moral order”? Moral knowledge planted deep in their souls?

But which “transcendent moral order”? Not only did Jesus and Gabriel give quite different moral commandments according to the human conduits of their messages, but instinct too has conveyed a variety of convictions as to what is morally right and wrong. They often contradict one another. While (for instance) some religions teach that a woman who commits adultery must be stoned to death by a crowd of righteously outraged citizens, another maintains that only one who is without sin may cast the first stone, and insists that all mortals are tainted with the sin of their first ancestors, so no one may start stoning.

We atheists want – as we thought the Founding Fathers all wanted – a state that has nothing to do with religion; steers clear of making any laws “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. But William Barr, and Terry Jeffrey  insist – and remind us John Adams insisted – that “our constitution was made only for a moral and religious People”. And they tell us the Constitution, and America itself as the free country founded on the Constitution, are chiefly under threat not – as we observe – from Congressional socialists, revolutionaries in the schools and universities, violent anarchists in the streets, but from “secularists”.

Barr argued that “secularists” are now attacking the moral order that is the foundation of our liberty and threatening religious freedom in pursuit of their cause.

First is the force, fervor and comprehensiveness of the assault on organized religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

The threat is not that the government will establish a state religion; the threat is that the state will attack people for conscientiously practicing their own.

“The problem is not that religion is being forced on others,” Barr said. “The problem is that irreligion is being forced; secular values are being forced on people of faith.

What secular values? What secularists are fervently and comprehensively assaulting organized religion?

It may be that secularists and atheists on the Left are doing so. But are they doing it to force secularist values, or Leftist values which are secular?

We atheist conservatives are doing nothing like that. And we don’t know any secularists or atheists on the political Right who are actively trying to stop people worshiping this or that god or sets of gods. Most of us just think it is absurd to do so. (And we certainly don’t want a theocracy. If we saw any danger of that coming up we would attempt, fervently and comprehensively, to stop it.)

Mr. Barr cites an example which is typical of the intolerance of the Left. Not of atheists and secularists generally – though it affected a religious organization – but essentially of the Left:

One example he cites is the crusade the Obama administration fought all the way to the Supreme Court to force Americans – including the Little Sisters of the Poor – to act against their conscience by mandating that they buy insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

But Barr recognizes that the ultimate battle is for the hearts and minds of America’s children.

“Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools,” he said.

He cited as one example an opinion issued by the Orange County Board of Education in California that said, “Parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

In other words, if you cannot afford to liberate your child from the government school, you must allow that government agency to teach your child that a boy can become a girl.

We share his indignation. That is not an atheist or a secularist reaction. It is common sense to repudiate such nonsense.

But the excellent Mr. Barr thinks that only Christian teaching – not science – can make the conclusive argument against the proposition that there are or can be more than two sexes.

Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the facilities to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it.

Sounds good, but by “truth” he means the Christian religion.

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.

“Our values” certainly.

“Our faith”? No. The less religion is taught to new generations, decidedly the better!

Wherever wars are being fought or threatened now, this month, this year, anywhere in our world, the cause in almost every case arises, burning hot and lethal, out of one or another religion’s “truth”.

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Leftism, Religion general, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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