The pursuit of happiness 57

Gentlefolk in the 18th. century thought that to try to live happily was a reasonable aim, to judge by the statement of the great authors of the US Declaration of Independence. To them it appeared “self-evident” that every person had a “right” (“endowed by their Creator”, or, in other words, a natural right) to his life and his choice how to live it, which surely meant that he would live it as nearly to his heart’s desire as he could.

Horny handed sons of toil, even if as free under the law, were not expected, either by themselves or their betters, to achieve the same forms of happiness. Enough for them if they could earn their daily bread. For that they lived and strove. Their life was the striving. It occupied their hours, their days, their years, their bodies and their thoughts. Success was survival. Survival was for most of them the only reasonable attainable happiness. If some strove for more – excess, property, leisure – and attained it, then happiness abounded. (Happiness, that is to say, as contentment. Other forms of gratification – thrills, excitement, delights of the senses, scoring triumphs – are not our subject. They are experienced episodically and enjoyed to the degree the individual is capable of.)

The welfare state relieved the workers of the need to strive for survival. Now all could be philosophers. The joy of exploring the limitless sphere of the mind was open to all. Universal happiness would reign.

But doesn’t.

The reasons why people commit suicide are many and various, but what they all have in common is that they find life unbearable. So suicide rates might be taken as a gauge of happiness and the lack of it in a population.

The figures for those rates from the last few years (according to Wikipedia – and perhaps not entirely trustworthy) provide some surprises. (Worth noticing in passing – far more males kill themselves than do females everywhere.)

Highest suicide rate in the world: Greenland. Average 82.8 per 100,000 per annum. It is a welfare state.

Google reveals:

As part of Denmark, Greenlanders have access to one of the most extensive social welfare systems in Europe, including universal, nationalized medical care and free state education, including college.

(President Trump has asked Denmark if it would sell Greenland to the USA. Rhetorical question: Would life in Greenland be better, more bearable, happier if it became the 51st. state of the USA, which provides much less welfare? USA suicide average per 100,000 per annum, 14.5.)

Big drop to the next highest. Guyana 30.2, Lithuania 28.27, South Korea 26.6

The average for most European countries is between 12.57 (Germany) and 17 (Belgium).

Britain? Only 7.23!

China? 9.8

Iran 4.8   The state does most of the killing there.

Venezuela 3.2  Nature does it there, because the people are starving and have no medicines. Venezuela is – way beyond a welfare state – a socialist state.

Syria 0.1  Constant civil war rages there.

Pakistan 1.1   People are happy in Pakistan?

Haiti  – a truly miserable place of hunger and disease. Average suicide?  0.0

But back to the pursuit of happiness in the civilized West.

What went wrong? Is it possible that the strivers enjoyed the striving and its meager rewards?

Or did philosophizing bring the newly leisured to ask, “What is it all for anyway?“. And find no answer?

There are thousands of counselors – even millions, we would guess – telling unhappy people how to be happy. There are hundreds of thousands of books giving readers rules for living –  from obedience to which, happiness might be expected.

And there is religion. Religion is supposed to “give meaning to life”.

Does it answer the question “what is it all for anyway?”

Let’s look at an individual case of unhappiness. In America.

At the American Conservative, we found this letter, reproduced by Rod Dreher, to whom it was sent as if to an agony aunt:

Mr. Dreher,

The things you have been writing lately about alienated young men and mass shootings prompt me to reach out to you. I am not a young man anymore, but I am dealing with things that I did not imagine I would be when I was young and newly married. Back then, everything made sense. I feel like I need to tell my story.

My background is that I am a successful businessman (a kind of consultant) living in a well-to-do suburb of a Southern city. My wife and I married relatively early, and had two kids. The boys are in good colleges in other states. They are getting ready to head back to school next week. It has been a real pleasure having them here this summer. Our house becomes a tomb when they are not around.

Four years ago, my wife told me that she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. After almost 30 years, she had had enough. I did not see that coming. We almost never fought. We used to go to dinner together, take family vacations, do things together, etc etc. She just said that she thought she had hitched herself to a man too young, and now that the boys were older and out of the house, she was reconsidering her life. I asked her if there was another man. She said no, and eventually I believed her. I asked her if she wanted a divorce. She said probably so, but she wanted to wait until the boys got out of school. She is a reasonable person with a finance background, and knows that a divorce would cost us a lot at a time when we are supporting two kids in college.

She has a job she loves. I work from a home office. I was so glad when my company gave me the chance to do this. I miss the friendships in the office, but when you talk on your blog about wokeness in the workplace, I always find myself nodding along. A few years back, my company started getting engaged with “diversity and inclusivity” in the workplace. I noticed that every time they would run us all through one of those seminars, we would all come out of it more suspicious of each other. It was crazy. It was as if our bosses were trying to poison the office environment. I got to the point where as a white male, I saw my co-workers as potentially the people who would try to get me fired if I said one wrong thing by mistake. They might have seen me that way too. It was crazy. The more management pushed “diversity and inclusivity”, the more anxious things felt in the office. When the company was restructuring and offered people in my division the chance to work at home, I jumped at it, just to get out of that tense environment.

It was a blessing at first, but nowadays I wonder if that was the right thing to do. The idea of working from home seems great, until you realize that you don’t see people at all. I have a nice home office where I put in my 9 to 5, which is really more like 8 to 7, but everybody does that. If I’m being truthful, I stay in my office longer than I have to on most days, because there is nothing for me outside of it. My wife used to be my best friend. Now we just share a house and a bed. She has friends from her office, and goes out with them a lot. When all this started, I honestly thought she was seeing some guy. I’m not going into the details, but I’m truly convinced that she’s not. She’s just hanging out with other middle-aged women who are sick of their husbands too.

I used to think only men behaved like that. Mother and Daddy have both passed away, but they had a good marriage. Some of their friends got divorced when I was a kid, and it was always the man leaving his wife for a younger woman. They were very judgmental of them, but in a way I still think was right. They were Southern people (I think you know what I mean, Mr. Dreher), and that meant that they thought it was dishonorable for a man to do his wife like that. I internalized that honor code, and have always lived by it, and my Catholic faith. If my wife demands a divorce, I will give it to her, but I won’t marry again. How could I go through an annulment? I can’t say truthfully that this was not really a marriage. I meant it when I said my vows, and I believe my wife did too. I am not going to make bastards of my sons because my wife abandoned me and I want to be married again. Besides, there would be no marrying again for me anyway. I look at myself in the mirror — mid to late 50s, half-bald, pot belly, etc etc. What woman would want me even if I was free to marry her?

I was an only child, so I have no close family to speak of. We are Catholics. My faith is just about the only thing that keeps me going through all this, but it’s thin. My wife refuses to see a marriage counselor. I made the first steps to getting an appointment to talk to our priest, but I gave up because that was hopeless. I feel bad for our priest. He’s managing a big suburban parish all on his own. It would have taken forever to get an appointment, and there was no way he was going to be able to give us the time it would take to save our marriage, especially given that my wife doesn’t want to save it. Besides, there is nothing I’ve ever heard our priest say that tells me he is a man who could help us. He talks like one of those life coaches our company used to bring in for team building exercises, a guy who gets all his ideas from Hallmark cards.

She still goes to mass with me, but just out of habit. When I stand there listening to Fr give his cheerful but empty homilies, I think about what’s keeping me from going home and blowing my brains out. I’m not going to do this because I’m scared of pain and I’m scared of going to Hell. Also, I don’t want to hurt the boys, and make them feel like they did something to cause it or give them something to be ashamed of. However, I think a lot about how little I have to live for anymore. I am not even sure that the boys think of me much, except as “Good Old Dad”…

Nobody can see it. I stand there in church, wearing my coat and tie, and people probably think I have it all together. We drive nice cars, we live in a nice house in a good neighborhood, etc, etc. I am grateful to have a good job that has allowed me to provide for my family. By all the world’s standards, I’m doing well. I have “white privilege”. 

What a joke. When I first started working in my home office, I would dress up in a coat, no tie, and dress pants to go to “work.” It felt right to hang on to that habit. Since my marriage fell apart, I notice that some days I don’t even get out of my pajamas. I sit there at my nice desk doing all my work on my laptop, and go right back to bed at the end of the day without even taking a shower. I know this is pathetic, and if the boys were still at home, I would know to keep up appearances. This is my life.

When the boys graduate and don’t have to depend on us, I guess that will mean Decision Time. I will probably move out, though to all rights we ought to sell the house. I remember the day we bought it, and talking with my wife about that big dining room, and how we looked forward to the kids coming home with their wives and children for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh, we sure had big plans for that dining room. We bought a house with a fireplace because we dreamed about sitting around it with the grandchildren. All that is over now, and not because I wanted it to be. I feel so powerless. Maybe I would stay here if either one of the boys moved back, but given the fields they have chosen, I don’t look for that to happen, and even if it did, we would just be keeping up appearances for their sake. Southern people are real good at that, as you know.

What prompted me to write to you is your writings about the loneliness crisis. I am not some white trash 22 y.o. living in a trailer somewhere, playing video games, and living off his Mama, but I am completely isolated in my life. My “video game” is Excel spreadsheets. The friends I had back in the happier days were all “couples friends” through my wife. When she said she didn’t want to be married to me, we stopped having people over, and stopped accepting invitations to other people’s houses. After a few years, those invitations stopped coming. I tried to keep up these friendships with the husbands, but it was awkward. I told a couple of the guys I was closest to about the mess in my marriage, and they seemed sympathetic, but there wasn’t a lot they could do. They all had kids, and their couples friends. Two or three times I went to their dinner parties by myself, but you talk about awkward! I was embarrassed by it all, and just quit going. I miss those guys, and I even miss their wives. We used to be happy all together.

If this is “white privilege”, screw it. I stopped by the shoe repair shop a couple of weeks ago, and there were some black guys my age sitting around talking and laughing with each other. I envied them. I probably make 10 or 15 times more than them, but they are probably rich in ways that I used to be before I went “bankrupt”. I would trade all this so-called “white privilege” for a happy marriage, a strong family, and good friends. Mother and Daddy didn’t have a lot of money, but at least they had that. They also had a small-town church where they felt at home. How can anybody feel at home in a big parish like mine? I was taught to be charitable, especially to the clergy, and I do feel bad for our priest, who is carrying a heavy load. But this ain’t church. I’ve gotten to the point where I sit there during mass and I wonder how many of those men in the pews are just like me: barely holding it together, wondering what the hell we’re living for, ignored by our wives, and starving for friendship. God feels so far away. I have never doubted His existence, but these days, He feels like the Pope — a nice man who lives far away and who doesn’t see us.

I know I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself. I guess I am. But damn it, I didn’t think things were going to work out like this. I did everything I was supposed to do, and it all fell to pieces anyway. I’m racking my brains trying to figure out how I can fix this, but my wife doesn’t want it to be fixed. She just wants out. I recognize that I am privileged economically and socially, but I’m here to tell you that if you were a working man who drove by my house, and saw me out front mowing our big lawn, you would think I had it made. In fact, you would be looking at a dead man, at a man who secretly hopes he falls over from a heart attack so he doesn’t have to keep carrying this weight of loneliness. At this point, my only purpose in life is to do what I have to do so my sons can have a good life or think they have a good life, until they get to my age and it falls to shit, and they end up doing just what their Good Old Dad is doing.

The thought just occurred to me as I’m writing this that the only real reason we will have to keep our household together after our sons graduate is if one of them can’t find a job, and has to live with us. That’s a sorry state to be in, knowing that the only thing that would keep you and your wife together is an unemployed grown-up child.

I appreciate the opportunity to get this off of my chest. I like reading your blog because even though it’s depressing sometimes, I feel like you talk about the real world, which is more than I get from my priest. I would just ask your readers to keep in mind that when they see people at church, in the store, and at other places, that those people might be suffering in ways that are not obvious. You think folks have it made, but they don’t. You see me getting out of my [luxury car brand] at church, with my wife, and we’re all dressed up and smiling, but from my very jaded perspective, we’re dead people who have no future. At least my wife has the girls from the office.

I’ve thought about asking my manager if I can come back to the office, but I know that’s not a solution. I’m the Great White Male, the source of all evil in the world. Given my run of luck, it would be about right for somebody to falsely accuse me of something, and end up taking away the last I have left from what started out as an American dream. I’d end up jobless and poor, and then the gun to the head might not seem so scary after all.

Sorry. Thanks for listening.

One thing we find particularly interesting about this “confession” is how little the man’s faith does for him. Fear of hell keeps him from suicide. That’s about all.

If he were not a believing Catholic, he might have developed some curiosity about the world he lives in. It has not occurred to him to go exploring in the infinite realm of the mind.

He was happier when his children lived with him. If he had grandchildren living near by he might be happy again. For a while, anyway. Until they grew up. But young men are not quick to marry now and raise a family.

Readers, your comments are needed.

Russia 1

An illuminating article. For us, lifelong students of Communism and the modern history of Russia, almost as full of surprises as of affirmations.

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society”, as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions”, which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

Religious morality? Communism not a religious morality? Not the same religious morality in certain vital respects? All red capes waving at us bulls!  But for the sake of what’s to come, we’ll only stand and paw the ground – and give a snort or two.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

A louder snort. But on:

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West”. Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia. Moscow let countless priorities languish as it rebuilt in record time its massive Christ the Savior cathedral to original specifications. As the Russian Orthodox church resumed its place as a pillar of the Russia that had been Christianity’s bastion against the Mongol horde as well as against the Muslim Ottomans, golden domes soon shone throughout the land. Whatever anyone might think of the Russian Orthodox church, it anchors the country to its Christian roots.

Few Americans understood Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the close of the 20th century as the reassertion of a bankrupt, humiliated, resentful people looking to make Russia great again. Since then, Putin has rebuilt the Russian state into a major European power with worldwide influence. Poverty and a resource-based economy notwithstanding, it is on a sounder financial basis than any Western country. Corruption is within historical limits. The leadership is appreciated by the vast majority, whose national pride and solidarity dwarf those of Western publics. Nearly all Russians approve strongly of its absorption of Crimea. Russia effectively controls Ukraine’s eastern end, and has exposed the West’s incapacity to interfere militarily in the former Soviet empire. In the Middle East, Russia is now the dominant force.

In sum, the Russian bear licks its deep wounds as it growls behind fearsome defenses.

The Neighborhood

Russia’s Westernism is neither imitation nor love of the West. It is the assertion that Russia is an indispensable part of it. The Russians saved Europe from Napoleon, and from Hitler, too. That they did the latter tyrannically, as Soviets, does not, in their minds, disqualify them from their rightful place in Europe, or justify Europeans, much less Americans, trying to limit Russia’s rightful stature. Today’s Russian rulers are not gentler or nicer than the emperor who shook off the Mongol yoke—who wasn’t known as Ivan the Nice Guy. Like their forebears they are calculating Russia’s stature in terms of the limits—primarily in Europe—set by their own present power as well as by that of their immediate neighbors.

Russian writing on international affairs focuses exclusively on the country’s role as a member of the European system. By the 2030s, if not sooner, the Russian government will have filled such territory, and established such influence, as befit its own people’s and its neighbors’ realities, and will be occupied with keeping it. More than most, Putin is painfully aware of Russia’s limits. Its declining population is less than half of America’s and a tenth of China’s. Despite efforts to boost natality, its demography is likely to recover only slowly. Nor is its culture friendly to the sort of entrepreneurship, trust, and cooperation that produces widespread wealth. What, then, are Putin’s—or any Russian leader’s—national and international objectives?

As always, Ukraine is of prime interest to Russia because it is the crux of internal and external affairs. With Ukraine, Russia is potentially a world power. Without it, it is less, at best. But Putin’s pressures, disruptions, and meddlings have shown him how limited Russia’s reach into Ukraine is, and is sure to remain. Hence, Russia’s conquest of Ukraine east of the Don River signifies much less the acquisition of a base for further conquest than the achievement of modern Russia’s natural territorial limit in Europe. The 20th century’s events forever severed Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia; even Belarus has become less compatible with it. Modern Russia is recognizing its independence, even as the Soviet Union at the height of its power effectively recognized Finland’s. As the Russian Federation’s demographic weight shifts southeastward—and Islamism continues to gain favor there—the Russian government will have to consider whether to shift its efforts from keeping the Muslim regions within the federation to expelling and building fences against them.

As the decades pass, post-Soviet Russia will have to work harder and harder to cut the sort of figure in Europe that it did under the tsars. That figure’s size is the issue. The Russian empire’s size has varied over the centuries according to the ratios between its and its neighbors’ national vigor and power. In the past, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the Hanseatic powers, Germany, all have shrunken or swollen Russia. Borders and spheres of influence have varied. There is no reason why this should not be so in the future. Russia will neither invade Europe nor dominate it politically because its people lack the political will, and its state the capacity, to do either. During Soviet times, this will and this capacity were the product of the national and international Communist Party apparatus, now gone forever.

A glance back at this gargantuan human structure reminds us of how grateful we should be that it now belongs to history. The Communist faction that resulted from the 1918 split in the international socialist movement—like the rump socialist faction that ended up governing Europe after 1945, but unlike the fascist one—already intended to conquer the world. (Fascism, Mussolini’s invention, recalled some of ancient Rome’s peculiar institutions and symbols—the fasces was the bundle of punishing rods carried by the consuls’ lictors—and added governing Italy through business-labor-government councils. It was not for export.) Communists worldwide came under the firm control of the Soviet Party’s international division run by formidable persons like Andrei Zhdanov and Boris Ponomarev, disposing of virtually unlimited budgets and, after 1929, of the services of countless “front organizations.” These, the party’s hands and feet and its pride and joy, reached out to every imaginable category of persons: union members, lawyers, teachers, journalists, housewives, professional women, students, non-students. Each front organization had an ostensible purpose: peace, through opposition or support of any number of causes. But supporting the “Soviet line” was the proximate purpose of all. Through tens of thousands of “witting” Communists, these fronts marshaled millions of unwitting supporters, helping to reshape Western societies. Soviet political control of Europe was eminently possible, with or without an invasion, because the Soviet domestic apparatus had marshaled Soviet society, and because its international department and front organizations had convinced sectors of European societies to welcome the prospect.

The tools that today’s Russia wields vis-à-vis Europe are limited to commerce in natural gas, and to the opportunities for bribery that this creates—witness Russian Gazprom’s employment of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Not only do European governments not fear being invaded by Russia, they refuse to diversify their sources of natural gas, and generally oppose American sanctions imposed on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The notion among European ruling parties that the voters who are in the process of rejecting them for various “populist” and nationalist options, are pining for Russian-style governance or tricked by Russian wiles is a baseless attempt to sidestep the ruling parties’ own failures.

The Lefty globalists think that? There’s a surprise! Whatever makes them think so? We see the populist movements as being unequivocally towards conservative nationalism, self-determination, personal liberty, not … neo-tsarism.

Europe’s rulers know that Russian military forces are not built to conquer the continent, because these forces lack the wherewithal for large-scale projection of power. Instead, they possess formidable capacity for what soldiers call “area denial”. This fits Russian leaders’ strategic goals, the people’s sentiments, and material constraints. The wars that today’s Russian military are built to fight are in areas that today’s Russian military sees most threatened by the U.S. and NATO, on its borders with Poland and Lithuania (where Russia crushed the Wehrmacht in 1944-45), and in Ukraine, north of Crimea. Russia’s military posture has ever been, and gives every sign of remaining, strategically defensive but operationally offensive. Now as before, when war seems imminent Russia’s operational doctrine calls for taking the initiative in a preemptive manner.

Although Russian strategy would be to surround and seal off foreign troops by air and ground, for the first time in Russia’s history, military manpower is scarce and precious. Economizing manpower is one reason why the country has fully integrated nuclear weapons in ordinary military operations, recalling nothing so much as President Dwight Eisenhower’s doctrine in the 1950s of “more bang for the buck”. To seal off the airspace, and to provide an umbrella for their ground forces, the Russians would use the S-400 air-missile defense system—the world’s best, which is now deployed around some 300 high-value locations. Strikes (or the threat thereof) by the unique Iskander short-range missile would preclude the foreign forces’ escape, as Russian troops moved in with Armata tanks, which carry the world’s best reactive armor.

Possession of perhaps the world’s best offensive and defensive strategic forces—comparable to America’s and far superior to China’s—is why Russia is confident that it can contain within limited areas the wars that it needs to fight. Because Russia has nothing to gain by military action against America or China, this arsenal is militarily useful only as insurance against anyone’s escalation of border disputes, and as the basis for Russia’s claim to be a major world player.

Priorities and Collusion

Russia loomed small in U.S. foreign policy from the time of the founding until the 1917 Bolshevik coup, because the interactions between America’s and Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests were few and mostly compatible. Given that these fundamentals have not changed, it would be best for both countries if their policies gradually returned to that long normal.

But for both countries, transcending the past century’s habits is not easy. The essential problem is that neither side’s desires, nor its calculus of ends and means, is clear to the other, or perhaps to itself. It seems that the main thing Putin or any other Russian leader might want from America is no interference as Russia tries to recreate the tsars’ empire. Thus Russia’s continuing relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America can only be understood as Cold War inertia—the almost instinctive sense that what is bad for America must somehow be good for Russia. The U.S. government, for its part, while largely neglecting Russia’s involvement in the Western hemisphere, tries to limit its influence in Europe while at the same time reaching agreements concerning strategic weapons—a largely Cold War agenda. The soundness of these priorities on both sides is doubtful.

Both Russia and the U.S. fear China, and with good reason. The crushing size of contemporary China’s population and economy frightens the Russians. The fact that some Russian women marry Chinese men (disdaining Russian ones) embarrasses them and has made them more racially prejudiced than ever against the Chinese. Yet Russia aligns with China internationally and sells it advanced weapons, paid for with American money—money that China earns by trading its people’s cheap labor for America’s expensive technology. With these weapons as well as its own, China has established de facto sovereignty over the South China Sea and is pushing America out of the western Pacific. Nonetheless, the U.S. treats Russia as a major threat, including “to our democracy”. For Russia and America to work against one another to their common principal adversary’s advantage makes no geopolitical sense. But internal dynamics drive countries more than geopolitics.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election—a charge which has roiled American public life for the past two years and counting. Interference in American life? That is what the Soviet Union was all about. By contrast, current concerns about Russia are a tempest, albeit a violent one, in a domestic American teapot.

In America, the Soviets worked less through the Communist Party than they did in Europe. Here [in America], they simply seduced and influenced people at the top of our society. Even in America prominent persons in the Democratic Party, academia, media, and intelligence services (or who would become prominent, e.g., future Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and CIA Director John Brennan), were Communists more or less openly. Far more important to the Soviets were persons convinced that Soviet and American interests were identical. Harry Hopkins, for example, who ran the U.S. government on President Franklin Roosevelt’s behalf, considered Stalin’s objectives to be so indistinguishable from America’s that the KGB considered him to be effectively Stalin’s agent. By contrast, Alger Hiss, an important State Department official, was one of many controlled Soviet agents within the U.S. government. But the compatibility between Hiss’s views and those of many in the U.S. ruling class was striking. For example, even after Soviet archives confirmed Hiss’s status as a Soviet agent, Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, like many of his class, angrily insisted on Hiss’s innocence.

The comradeship of American liberals and Soviet Communists lasted to the Soviet Union’s end. In May 1983, for example, in an incident widely reported at the time and confirmed by Soviet archives, former U.S. senator John Tunney visited Moscow and, on behalf of his friend and classmate—and prospective Democratic presidential candidate—Senator Edward Kennedy, proposed to KGB director Viktor Chebrikov that Kennedy work with Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov to “arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA” because “the only real potential threats to Reagan [in the 1984 election] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations”. Kennedy promised “to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews”. Collusion, anyone? Today, with the Soviet Union gone, its moral-intellectual imprint on our ruling class remains.

The contemporary notion of Russian interference, however, owes nothing to Russia. It began when, in June 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tried to explain how a trove of e-mails showing its partiality for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders got into the public domain, alleging that they had been hacked from its server by Russian agents. To this day, there is zero evidence for this, the DNC not having allowed access to that server by any law enforcement agency or independent party.

Throughout the rest of the 2016 campaign, this narrative merged with one from CIA Director John Brennan and other leaders of U.S. intelligence, who were circulating a scurrilous dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, that alleged Trump’s connections with Russia. The Obama Administration used the dossier as the basis for electronic and human surveillance of the Trump campaign. Together, these narratives prompted a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no basis for the dossier, or for a relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, the assertion of Trump’s indebtedness to Russia became the pretext for #TheResistance to the 2016 election’s result, led by the Democratic Party, most of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the media.

In Europe as well as in America, the establishment’s protagonists have pointed to Russia to allege that their rejection by the voters is somehow “undemocratic”. Larry Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, following Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, wrote that “in one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence [from sovereign voters] of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” Voting against the establishnment, you see, is undemocratic!

What Are Our Interests?

Making impossible a rational public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia is the very least of the damage this partisan war has wrought. American liberals believed the Soviet Union’s dissolution was impossible; conservatives flattered themselves that they caused it. Few paid attention to what happened and how. Once the Soviet Union was gone, the West in general and Americans in particular presumed to teach Russians how to live, while helping their oligarchs loot the country. Russians soon got the impression that they were being disrespected. At least as Soviets, they had been feared. The Clinton Administration was confident that Russia would become a liberal partner in the rules-based international order. At the same time Clinton tried to load onto Russia the hopes that the U.S. establishment had long entertained about global co-dominion with the Soviets. In the same moment they pushed NATO to Russia’s borders—a mess of appeasement, provocation, and insult. Long-suffering Russians, who had idolized the West during the Soviet era, came to dislike us.

As the George W. Bush Administration fumbled at the new reality, it tried to appease Russia by continuing to limit U.S. missile defenses in fact, while publicly disavowing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; it formally objected to Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, while effectively condoning it. The incoming Barack Obama Administration tried to go further along the same self-contradictory line by withdrawing anti-missile support from eastern Europe, and quietly promising even more restraint. But when, in 2014, Putin seized Crimea, Obama imposed serious economic sanctions and agreed to place NATO and American troops in Poland and the Baltic States. Then, for the most tactical of domestic political considerations, the Obama Administration, and hence the U.S. establishment, decided to try explaining the course and results of the 2016 U.S. election campaign as “Russia’s attack on our democracy”.

What are the American people’s interests in Eurasia, and how big are these interests? Although today’s Russia poses none of the ideological threats that the Soviet Union did—and despite the absence of geopolitical or any other clashing interests—Russia is clearly a major adversary in Europe and the Middle East. Its technical contributions to China’s military, and its general geopolitical alignment with China, are most worrisome. What, other than Soviet inertia and wounded pride, motivates the Russians? The U.S. maintains economic sanctions on Russia. To achieve precisely what? From both sides’ perspective, it is difficult to see what good can come from this continued enmity.

Today’s triangular U.S.-Russia-China calculus is not comparable to the Soviet-Chinese military confrontation of the 1970s and ’80s, when both the U.S. and China feared Soviet missiles, and the U.S. best served its own interests by implicitly extending its nuclear umbrella over China. Today, the problems between Russia and China stem from basic disparities that U.S. policy obscures by treating Russia as, if anything, more of a threat than China. The best that the U.S. can do for itself is to say nothing, and do nothing, that obscures these disparities. Without backhanded U.S. support for close Russo-Chinese relations, the two countries would quickly become each other’s principal enemies.

Ongoing U.S. anxiety about negotiations with Russia over weaponry is nothing but a legacy of the Cold War and a refusal to pay attention to a century of experience, teaching that arms control agreements limit only those who wish to limit themselves. Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing the Iskander missile; the U.S. was right to withdraw from the agreement, but mistaken in ever expecting another country not to arm itself as it thinks best. In that regard, Americans should not listen to, never mind accommodate in any way, Russia’s (or any other country’s) objections to U.S. missile defenses. These are in our clear and overriding interest. Defending America as best we can—against missiles that might come to us from anywhere, for any reason—is supremely our business.

What then are America’s legitimate, realizable demands on Russia?

Putin’s Russia, by its 2015-18 intervention in Syria and its management of Turkey, achieved the tsars’ historic desire for a warm water port. Although the former conquest is firm, keeping Turkey friendly to Russia must ever be troublesome. Absent a friendly Turkey, Russia’s renewed control of Crimea and even the Syrian bases will be of very limited worth for any but defensive purposes. Whatever else might be said of its role in the Middle East, Russia has brought more stable balance to local forces than ever in this young century. Only with difficulty will American statesmen regret that our old adversary now deals with some of the problems that bedeviled us for a half-century.

The U.S. would be more secure geopolitically were Russia merely one of several European powers. But it has always been an empire, whose size has varied with time. An independent Ukraine has always been the greatest practical limitation on Russia’s imperial ambitions. That is very much a U.S. interest, but is beyond our capacity to secure.

U.S. relations with Russia regarding Ukraine are analogous to U.S. relations with Europe 200 years ago. Our overriding interest then was to prevent the Europeans from holding any major part of the Western hemisphere. By stating America’s intention to guard its hemispheric interests while forswearing meddling in European affairs, the U.S. encouraged them to face that reality. Today’s Russia realizes it cannot control Ukraine except for its Russian part, nor the Baltics, never mind the Visegrád states. The U.S. could lead Russia to be comfortable with that reality by reassuring it that we will not use our normal relations with Ukraine or with any of Russia’s neighbors to try to define Russia’s limits in Europe. We should realize that our setting such limits is beyond America’s capacity, and that it undercuts the basis for fruitful relations.

The U.S. prefers the Baltic States, and especially Ukraine, to be independent. But we know, and should sincerely convey to Russia, that their independence depends on themselves, and that we regard it as counterproductive to make them into American pawns or even to give the impression that they could be. Ukraine’s independence—and hence Russia’s acceptance of it as inevitable—depends on Ukraine retrenching into its Western identity, rejecting the borders that Stalin and Khrushchev had fixed for it, and standing firmly on its own feet—as, for example, by asserting its Orthodox church’s independence from Russia’s.

Wise U.S. policy would remove sanctions that previous administrations placed on Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Fruitless strife has been these sanctions’ only result. For example, they emboldened Ukraine to suppose it had U.S. support for presuming it had the same right to navigation in the Sea of Azov, passing under a Russian bridge, as it does in the Atlantic Ocean.

But in accord with the Monroe Doctrine, we should be willing to wage economic war on Russia—outright and destructive—on America’s own behalf, were the Russians to continue supporting anti-U.S. regimes in the Western hemisphere. If you want economic peace with America, we would say, stop interfering in our backyard. We Americans, for our part, are perfectly willing to stop interfering in your backyard.

In sum, nothing should be geopolitically clearer than that the natural policy for both America and Russia is not to go looking for opportunities to get in each other’s way.

Religion versus morality 50

We constantly hear the claim of religious believers that all our societal woes, the rise in crime, the careless conception of unwanted children, the disrespect and incivility that characterizes interpersonal relations, derives from the circumstance that the West has become irreligious, has abandoned what is misleadingly called the “Judeo-Christian” tradition. (See for instance here.)

I contend to the contrary that  not only is religion as such fundamentally immoral in that it teaches falsehood as truth; but, in addition, religious dogma is too weak to support values and principles necessary to the survival of our civilization. 

When the Christian nations of Europe taught their morals to the peoples they colonized, they did so in the context of religion. So when, in the course of time, religion was abandoned by many individual members of the proselytized nations – because it is untrue –  the moral teaching went with it. 

Had the Europeans conveyed the lessons of the Enlightenment, had they taught moral behavior on grounds of reason rather than faith, the principles – such as that of ‘enlightened self-interest’ requiring mutual esteem, reciprocated tolerance and honesty – would have continued to make sufficient sense in themselves to remain unaffected by the rise and fall, the popularity and unpopularity, of other ideas.

 

 

Jillian Becker   August 26, 2019

 

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Europe, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Monday, August 26, 2019

Tagged with

This post has 50 comments.

Permalink

Is religion a force for good? 30

One of our highly valued contributing readers, Jeanne, writes in a comment:

We may not like the form of “stabilization” that comes from Islam, but it worked to set up the type of community and family life that Mohammed desired. We may not like the “stabilizing” influence of Christianity from a thousand years ago, but it did the same. We may not like the Christianity of today that came from the Reformation, but it was a stabilizing factor of the beginning of our nation and forms the backbone of many communities by supporting the family, the individual and charities, which benefit them each. Judeo-Christian beliefs and values aided by the Enlightenment (or vice-versa) set the tone for the moral populace that was so important to our Constitutional Republic when it was making its mark and requiring such principled and responsible individuals to form a United States loosely held together by the laws of men and not divine-rule royalty or theocratic forces of Rome.

If we did not have such an organized Communist movement that worked on our nation for a century, helping to secularize the populace, we might have found that those who left the Judeo-Christian religion behind were still moral/ethical and responsible individuals disciplined enough to make a Constitutionalist proud, but that is not how it worked out. Instead we have no consequences for unethical behavior, because there is a deplorable lack of guidance for proper parental behavior, no reason to be ashamed of bearing out-of-wedlock children, no stigma to a man abandoning all his fatherly duties, no desire to be responsible, no desire to have allegiance to one’s community or country or to obey the nation’s laws and respect its heritage. And that has not so much come about as people left their church, but because of Progressive influence that has been very well done. Most people need religion to maintain a discipline of responsibility and morality.

We think it is a comment that deserves attention.

This is our review of it:

On Islam and the family: Muslim men can marry as many wives as they can afford to keep. The wives are totally subjected to the will of the husband. He is commanded by the Koran to beat her if he judges her to be disobedient or insubordinate in any way. There is no such thing as rape within marriage – a husband can rape his wife. A husband can divorce a wife by saying three times that he divorces her. For her, divorce is difficult to the point of being almost impossible. She cannot have custody of children past their infancy. A daughter can inherit only half as much as a son. If a woman is raped and four male witnesses did not witness actual penetration, she is not only considered uninjured, she is accused of illicit sexual intercourse which is a capital offense. Execution is by stoning. There is no lower limit to the age at which girls can be married. Little girls can be married to elderly men. Girls as young as five can be and often are raped by their lawful husbands literally to death. That was indeed the type of family life that Muhammad was said to desire. But if that is “stabilization”, then stability is no virtue.

On “Judeo-Christian”: This is a favorite hyphenation in the West of late. But it makes no more sense than would “Christio-Muslim”. (Islam derived some ideas from Christianity but it is a very different creed.) Christianity was a revolution against Judaism. The essential moral point of Jewish religious teaching was the idea of justice. (What those ancient men thought was just doesn’t match in every particular with what we may think is just, and the Jewish God is more a god of revenge than of justice, but the thrust of the doctrine was that guilt must be punished and innocence protected.) Christianity substituted love for justice. The guilty must be forgiven. The sin can be condemned but not the sinner. St. Paul, who is the author of the Christian religion (see the essay listed in our margin under Pages, The Birth and Early History of Christianity) wanted to abandon the Jewish Law altogether, insisting that it had been superseded by the “sacrifice” of “the Christ”. But the Church fathers could not organize an antinomian church so retrieved the entire Jewish bible as a prologue to their own “Testament” for the sake of preserving the moral law – which is to say, the “ten commandments”. They also needed the Jewish Bible for the prophesies of the Messiah, since they held Jesus to be the fulfillment of them. They changed the meaning of “Messiah” from ”King” to “God”, and declared that God was not One – the central tenet of Jewish theology – but Three. So little more than  a few laws, common to all the law codes of the Middle East and probably everywhere, remained of Judaism in Christianity. Christianity with its extreme intolerance even of slight doctrinal differences came down as a long night on Western Europe for a thousand years. Terrible religious wars between Christian factions, and between Christians and Gnostics such as the Cathars, took untold numbers of lives, century after century. What happened to families and the stability of communities while the Papal Inquisition was at work? Or in the civil wars fought over doctrinal differences? Or to the families and communities of the Jews persecuted throughout Christendom? It’s a blood-soaked history. When the Reformation came, the Protestant churches were as intolerant as the Roman Catholic church. The darkness was lifted at last only by the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment was a revolution against all the orthodoxies of all the churches, and broke their power. Western greatness dates from the Enlightenment. Doubt, valued by pre-Christian Greece and Rome, came back from long suppression to challenge the churches’ insistence on unquestioning conformity. The two greatest products of the Enlightenment were Science and the Constitution of the United States of America.

In a nation that made no laws respecting religion, the history of Western religion changed. Old historical religious conflicts were put to rest. In America, millions live peacefully with neighbors of different faiths and none. (But new ideologies have arisen, secular religions, stirring up antagonisms as intense and bitter as did the old.)

It may well be the case now that American church-going families are in general happier and more successful than others. It may well be that the abandonment of traditional religion contributed of late to delinquency, fatherlessness, and disregard of familial, patriotic, and civic responsibility.

But does that mean most people need religion to live responsibly and morally?

Did most people behave more morally and responsibly when they feared divine retribution? Was there in fact less theft, rape, and murder when, through the long Christian centuries,  everybody went to church? And if so, was it a good bargain to have more security for one’s possessions and one’s person at the price of living one’s entire life in terror of eternal hellfire?

In the past, in the long perspective, has religion proved itself to be a force for good?

Is it good now for a civilized educated nation to teach children to believe that a person rules over the universe, continually watching their every thought and deed so as to reward or punish them?

Is it good if the citizens of a free republic believe that a Lord, a King, an invisible Sovereign rules over them?

Is it good to kneel to, worship, suffer for, pray to, an omnipotent, omniscient, unknowable, immortal Tyrant?

Posted under Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 24, 2019

Tagged with

This post has 30 comments.

Permalink

Everybody hates the Jews – unless it suits them not to 10

Oh the protestants hate the catholics
and the catholics hate the protestants
and the hindus hate the muslims
and everybody hates the jews

So sang Tom Lehrer in his 20th century satire, National Brotherhood Week.

There’s been a resurgence of anti-Semitism – or to give it its common or garden name Jew-hatred – all over the formerly Christian world where it never disappears entirely. The boost results now from the addition of Islamic cultural color and its fun new cooking recipes to the social mix.

Even in the US, the Democrat majority have just proved themselves open-minded on the issue since a couple of newly-elected Muslim members of Congress, the representative for Hamas, Rashida Tlaib, and the representative for Somalia, Ilhan Omar, have given them a new perspective on it. (Warning: The Tlaib link goes to an article showing examples of extreme political obscenity.)

Don’t expect Western anti-Semites to be consistent with their hatred. They can condemn anti-Semitism when it suits them. For instance, when they use it as an accusation against their opponents.

That’s what President Emmanuel Macron did. Here’s the story, told by Guy Millière at Gatestone:

After sixteen Saturday demonstrations by the “yellow vests,” who began in November by protesting French President Emmanuel Macron’s increase in fuel prices, the controversy seems to have taken a darker turn.

That seems to have come to light on February 13, when a small group of demonstrators started hurling insults at a French Jewish philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut — who was born in and lives in Paris — after they spotted him on a sidewalk. One man, shouted, “Shut up, dirty Zionist sh*t,” “Go home to Tel Aviv,” “France is ours,” “God will punish you.” A cameraman filmed the incident, then shared the video on social networks. A scandal ensued. The “yellow vests” movement as a whole was immediately accused by the French government of anti-Semitism and “fascism”.

Finkielkraut claimed that he had not been attacked as a Jew, but as a supporter of the State of Israel. He then added that the man who had insulted him did not speak like a “yellow vest” and that the words “God will punish you” is an expression from “Islamic rhetoric”. Police who watched the video identified the man as a radicalized Muslim, and the next day arrested him.

In the days leading up to that incident, several anti-Semitic acts had taken place in and near Paris. The German word “Juden” [Jews] was painted on the front of a Jewish bakery; swastikas were drawn with a black marker on portraits of former Jewish minister Simone Veil; trees that had been planted in memory of Ilan Halimi, a young Jew who had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered [by Muslims] in 2006, were destroyed. Investigations have begun but nothing so far has shown any relationship between the “yellow vests” movement and any of these anti-Semitic acts. The French government nevertheless continues accusing the “yellow vests” of being at least partly to blame.

When the French government, for instance, published statistics about anti-Semitic acts committed in 2018, and noted a 74% increase from the year before, the government spokesman linked this increase to the “disorders” that have been taking place in France, implicitly meaning the “yellow vests”.

Meanwhile, in a demonstration against anti-Semitism organized for February 19 by the Socialist Party and The Republic on the Move (the party created by Macron), fourteen parties agreed to participate. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, however, was excluded. The organizers said that as the National Rally belongs to the “extreme right”, it cannot participate in a protest against the “fascist peril”. Slogans included: “It’s enough”, “No to hate” and “Anti-Semitism is not France”. Former Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande took part. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe spoke of a “united France”. A Muslim singer, Abd al Malik, was invited to sing the French anthem.

President Macron, during the event, was at the Holocaust Memorial in Paris. The next day, he attended the annual dinner of the CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions) and gave a speech against “racist hatred”. To make sure that his audience understood that he was talking about the “yellow vests”, he used an expression he had used on December 31: “hate crowds”.

The “yellow vests” movement continues to be described by members of the government as guilty of being anti-Semitic and “fascist” despite the minor detail that nothing proves any culpability in recent anti-Semitic acts. The “yellow vests” movement began only in November and therefore cannot be held responsible for the increase in the number of anti-Semitic acts for the whole of 2018. Small groups of anti-Semites who did try to infiltrate the demonstrations of “yellow vests” were quickly expelled. The “yellow vests” movement is fundamentally a movement against taxes that many French people consider arbitrary; it has nothing to do with either anti-Semitism or “fascism”.

Anti-Semitism in France has been gaining momentum. In the last 15 years, eleven Jews were murdered in France by anti-Semitic killers, often in horrific ways. In a growing number of neighborhoods, everyday life for French Jews has become unlivable. Many who have the means have left France. Many who have not left have moved to more secure areas of the country. In the last two decades, 20% of French Jews (100,000 people) have emigrated, and tens of thousands have abandoned unsafe places, such as Seine-Saint-Denis, and have relocated inside France.

Some journalists observed that a decision to mobilize people against a “fascist peril” — and to unite almost all political parties while excluding the National Rally — seemed like a political trick, unfair and biased. They emphasized that most of the anti-Semitic attacks and all the murders of Jews in France came not from members of the National Rally or “fascists”, but from extremist Muslims.

Also on February 19, tens of thousands of people across France demonstrated against anti-Semitism. Those protests would certainly seem praiseworthy — if they had no hidden agenda. Many commentators, however, seem to think that this was what was taking place.

Some community leaders stressed that the demonstration against anti-Semitism was a political operation aimed at demonizing the “yellow vests” to arouse fear of a non-existent peril in order to help Macron’s Republic on the Move party win the European elections in May.

Other people noted that holding a demonstration which excluded the right-wing National Rally party was a move aimed at diverting attention from the real anti-Semitic danger. They also suggested that political parties which support the murderers of Jews were precisely those which deny that radical Islam is a danger.

Television commentators pointed out that the government had largely ignored the “anti-Zionist” dimension of the insults addressed to Finkielkraut. They also noted that the presence among the demonstrators of parties, such as the French Communist Party, and Europe Ecology — which support terrorists who murder Jews — was a shock.

Gilles William Goldnadel, Honorary President of the France-Israel Association, published an article in Le Figaro stating:

“Making the yellow vests take the blame is an act of cowardice [to avoid mentioning] Islamism…. Asking people to march against anti-Semitism while cynically rejecting political parties in the name of a fantasy anti-fascism, but accepting to be at the side of parties that support killers [of Jews] is outrageous… It is Islamism that kills Jews in France. We must not forget it. Since 1945, every drop of Jewish blood that has flowed in France was shed by Islamism“.

MP Meyer Habib said that, “hypocrisy reaches new heights when parties that praise terrorist killers claim to fight against anti-Semitism.” He enumerated in Parliament the list of Jews murdered in France and gave the names of their murderers, to show that all of them were radicalized Muslims. He added that the mobilization should be a mobilization against “radical Islam”, not against “fascists”.

In a television interview, the author Éric Zemmour defined the behavior of Macron and the government as a “masquerade of pyromaniac firefighters“:

“They claim to fight against anti-Semitism by attacking imaginary fascists, and they do it in alliance with leftists who support anti-Semitic murderers, but they do nothing against the Islamization of France, which is the main source today of anti-Semitism in France…

“Macron and the government are accelerating the rise of Islamism by each year hosting in France hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants who come from countries where anti-Semitism is omnipresent, and continuing to repeat blindly that Islam is a religion of peace. They actively contribute to the rise of anti-Semitism by barely denouncing Muslim anti-Semitism.”

The journalist Ivan Rioufol, also using the word “masquerade,” spoke of a fight led by the government against “almost non-existent fascists”, and of the “use of the fight against anti-Semitism” to crush “an almost non-existent anti-Semitism” while sparing “the anti-Semitism that attacks and kills“. …

A documentary film, Under a False Identity, by the journalist Zvi Yehezkeli, showed in detail how some Islamist organizations are preparing to be the “vanguard of the revolt” and using all the opportunities available to take control of France. One of the people he interviewed, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in France, said that the Muslim Brotherhood is gaining ground, and can count on the help of the French government, which subsidizes its activities. …

Back to Macron’s speech at the CRIF dinner: He spoke briefly of “an anti-Semitism based on radical Islamism”, but immediately — and incorrectly: as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “Islam is Islam.” — defined “radical Islamism” as a “deformed religion” and not true Islam. He said just as briefly that “anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism”, but that he would not call for a vote on a law to condemn anti-Zionism.

He immediately added that he intends to fight against “other hatreds: hatred against Muslims, racism in all its forms, anti-LGBT racism”. He said that he will ban associations that “feed hatred”. He then named three associations he intends to ban as soon as possible: a very small neo-fascist group, Social Bastion, and two extremely tiny Nazi groups, Blood & Honor Hexagon and Combat 18. He did not name any leftist, anti-fascist or Islamic group, even though they are evidently responsible for much of the violence committed at the end of the demonstrations of “yellow vests” and are easily identifiable: many have websites or street addresses.

Macron stated that “the foreign policy of France is known”, but he failed to elaborate. He could not very well remind a Jewish audience that France is one of the main supporters of the Palestinian Authority, or that he had “regretted” Israel’s decision to freeze the funds used by the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to reward murderers of Jews and their families, or that he had worked for months with Germany and the United Kingdom to create a trade mechanism intended to help Iran’s of the mullahs, who often repeat that they intend to wipe Israel off the map.

On February 20, the fifteenth demonstration of the “yellow vests” took place in Paris without major incident. The police used a few explosive grenades but no one was hurt. There were no anti-Semitic attacks. A fully veiled woman, wearing a yellow vest on which anti-Jewish slogans were written, was asked by demonstrators to leave. She was in the company of some bearded men also wearing yellow vests. They all quietly left.

The next day, in the center of Paris, another demonstration was held. Pro-Palestinian advocates assembled to demand the release of “Palestinian political prisoners”. They waved pictures of people who had been convicted of murdering Jews and were now in Israeli prisons, and signs on which were written, “Israel murders Palestinian children”, “Destroy Israeli apartheid” and “Death to Israel”. Macron and the French government do not seem to find the organizers of that demonstration problematic.

So that’s the picture. The civilized world, the post-Enlightenment West, the forgiving, loving, Christian world as it used to be, condemns race-hatred. It will even go so far as to forbid it by law.

It commands:

Thou shalt not hate. Especially thou shalt not hate supremacist, totalitarian, misogynist, homophobic, savagely cruel, murderous Islam.

But thou mayest hate the Jews.

Myths of our time 17

This is a list of beliefs – in no particular order – that are very widely and commonly held, but are untrue:  

Sweden is a happy country. Fact: It is a Muslim-infested misery-state, the rape capital of Europe.   

The BBC is a trustworthy, truthful, unbiased source of news. Fact: It is dishonest, it routinely distorts or suppresses news it doesn’t like, is snobbish, deeply and persistently anti-Semitic, and heavily biased to the Left. 

The Jews seized the state of Palestine, sent most of the Palestinians into exile, and oppress those who remained. Fact: There never was, in all history, an independent state of Palestine. The territory is the historic homeland of the Jews. When Arab armies tried to destroy the modern Jewish state, many Arabs fled, intending to return when their side was victorious, but their side was defeated. Israeli authorities tried to persuade Arab residents not to leave. Those who remained are the freest Arabs in the Middle East, with all citizens’ rights. 

Nazism was a right-wing ideology. Fact: Nazism was National Socialism and as distinctly derived from the tradition of the Left as its rival International Socialism.

Che Guevara was a hero. Fact: Che Guevara was a torturer and mass murderer, and a coward.  

The Mahatma Gandhi was a good man who liberated India from the British Raj. Fact: Gandhi was a cruel man who had little if any influence on the British decision to withdraw from India.

Senator Joe McCarthy was an evil witch-hunter of Communists. Fact: McCarthy did his duty in tracking down potential Communist fifth-columnists, propagandists, and traitors during the Cold War.

President Roosevelt was a liberal who saved America from economic disaster. Fact: President Roosevelt was a Communist sympathizer. His policies prolonged the Depression.

President Obama’s period in office was scandal-free. Fact: President Obamas’ period in office was exceptionally full of scandals, some of them the worst examples of corruption and plain treason in US history. 

Islam is a religion of peace. And its name means “peace”. Fact: Islam is a religion of war and conquest. Its name means “submission”.

Carbon dioxide is a poison. Fact: Carbon dioxide is the food of green plants.

Human beings are changing the climate of the planet for the worse. Fact: The climate of the earth is always changing as vast cosmic forces act upon it. Human beings can make very little difference, if any, to the heating and cooling of the planet.

A baby in the womb is not a living human being. Fact: A fetus with a heartbeat is alive, a living human being.

Government exists to care for and provide for the people. Fact: government robs the people, threatens the people, frightens the people. Whatever government does, it does badly. Government must be kept within bounds to properly perform its only essential duty, the defense of liberty, by enforcing the law and preventing invasion.

President Trump is a racist. Fact: He is not and has never been a racist. He has worked all his adult life with people of many races, never discriminating against any of them on racial grounds.

President Trump is an anti-Semite. Fact: He is the most pro-Jewish pro-Israel US president ever.

President Trump oppresses women. Fact: he honors women, promotes them, behaves towards them as heterosexual gentlemen in our culture customarily do (or did).

President Trump is a liar. Fact: He tells the truth. Like every human being, he can be inaccurate with dates, numbers, recollections, but on all important matters he is consistently truthful.    

The Democratic Party protects minorities. Fact: The Democratic Party is the party of slavery, segregation, secession, and the Jim Crow laws. By keeping millions of blacks on welfare, Democrats have kept them from independence, advancement, and prosperity.

Democrats act in the interests of the working class. Fact: Democrats despise the working class.

The US media report the news. Fact: The US media, in the huge majority, are lackeys of the Left.

American universities encourage free thinking, free and open exchange of opinion, the exploration of ideas. Fact: Most American universities are centers of Leftist indoctrination, dogmatic and intolerant.

Western civilization is grounded in “Judeo-Christian” values. Fact: Western civilization as we inherit it derives its values from, and owes its success to, the Enlightenment, which was an intellectual revolution against the oppressive authority of the Christian churches.

The “white patriarchy” has been bad for non-whites and women. Fact: Almost everything we have that sustains our lives and makes them endurable; almost everything we know;  every comfort, every convenience, every freedom that makes it possible for us to pursue happiness, physically, socially, politically, was given to us and the world by white middle-class men. 

That’s just a starter list.

We invite readers to add to it.

Allah has a Pope and Marx is his prophet 1

It is plainly a thing that needs explanation, why the Left, doctrinally anti-religion, insistent on women’s liberation, vehemently against homophobia, is in alliance with Islam. How can you be against religion yet for Islam? For women’s equality and at the same time for women’s subjugation? Against homophobia but unconcerned that gays are bound hand and foot and flung to their death from the top of tall buildings?

The Left does not explain why. It does not entertain the question.

And here’s another thing that needs explanation. Why are the heads of the Christian churches looking on impassively while Christians of many denominations are being slaughtered and enslaved by Islam in the Middle East and North Africa, to such an extent that the Christian communities of what was once the vast empire of the eastern Roman church are being wiped out of existence?

The Catholic author William Kilpatrick writes at Lifesite:

Ever since the Second Vatican Council, Church leaders have presented a smiley-faced version of Islam which emphasizes the commonalities with Catholicism and leaves out the alarming elements.

Over the last six years, the chief proponent of this bowdlerized view of Islam has been Pope Francis. He has reassured Christians that Islam is opposed to violence, advised Muslim migrants to find comfort in the Koran, and has portrayed terrorists as betrayers of true Islam.

More significantly, he has become perhaps the world’s foremost spokesman for an open-borders, let-everyone-in policy toward immigration. Seemingly indifferent to the increasingly dangerous situation created by jihad-minded Muslims in Europe, Francis has encouraged a welcoming attitude toward all while scolding opponents of mass migration as fearful and xenophobic.

In short, Pope Francis has acted as an advocate for Islam. He has portrayed it as a religion of peace, the moral equivalent of Catholicism, and a force for good. A number of people, however, now feel that the pope has seriously misled Christians about the nature and goals of Islam and Islamic immigration. …

The combination of high Muslim birth rates, mass Muslim migration, and European concessions to Islam’s blasphemy laws has set Europe on a course toward Islamization. Islamization, in turn, will spell dhimmitude for Christians. As the Islamic influence grows, Christians will be subject to increasing restrictions on the practice of their faith, perhaps even to the point of persecution. It’s possible that Christianity in Europe will be exterminated.

The pope has done much to promote the cause of Islam – so much so that he has been praised by Islamic leaders for his defense of their faith. The questions that then arise are these: Is Francis aware of the possibility that Islam will become dominant in Europe? Is he aware that this may spell the end of European Christianity? And if he is aware, does he care?

For a long time, I thought that Francis was simply naïve regarding Islam. His counterfactual statements about Islam and his Pollyannaish view of mass Muslim migration must, I thought, be the result either of blissful ignorance or of bad advice from “experts,” or a combination of both.

Now, however, I have my doubts. The catalyst for these doubts is Francis’s approach to the current sex-abuse crisis. I originally supposed that he was naïve about this, too: perhaps he didn’t realize the full extent of the problem or the full extent of the cover-ups, or perhaps he wasn’t aware of the numerous lavender networks in seminaries, in dioceses, and in the Vatican itself. But in light of recent revelations, it no longer seems possible to give him the benefit of the doubt. In several cases, he not only knew of the crimes and cover-ups, but took steps to protect and/or promote those involved. Francis seems determined to push through a revolution in doctrine and morals – what he calls “a radical paradigm shift” – and it doesn’t seem to matter that the men he has chosen to help him achieve his goals are the ones most deeply implicated in the scandals. By all accounts, Pope Francis is a “hands-on” pope who knows exactly what he wants, carefully calculates his moves, and leaves little to chance.

Why, then, should we suppose Francis is completely naïve about the extent of the threat from Islam and from Islamic immigration? It’s difficult to imagine that he isn’t fully aware of the widespread persecution of Christians in Muslim lands. And it’s just as difficult to think that he’s ignorant of the Islamic crime wave on his own doorstep – the escalating incidence of rape, riots, and terrorist attacks in Europe. Does he really believe that such things have nothing to do with Islam?

Unless one assumes that Francis is ignorant of history and out of touch with current events, one must entertain the possibility that – to repeat a favorite slogan of his – he wants to “make a mess” in Europe.

But why? Why risk the damage to the Church that would surely follow on the Islamization of Europe? Doesn’t Francis care about the Church? Increasingly, it seems that he does not. …

This is from Francis himself speaking at a conference on Church closings:

“The observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy … should be welcomed in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the times that invites us to reflection and requires us to adapt.”

Translation: Francis is not particularly concerned about church closings. Perhaps he even thinks of them as a blessing, i.e., a necessary end to the old order of things that will clear the way for the construction of the new order.

What is this new order? In many respects, it resembles the new world order envisioned by politicians and academics on the left. Like them, Francis has a dim view of national borders and national sovereignty, and, like them, he has an almost unquestioning belief in the benefits of international institutions. One gets the impression that Francis would be quite content to let the U.N. run the world, despite the fact that the U.N. is increasingly run by leftists and Islamists. For example, Francis has praised the U.N.’s Global Compact for Migration because he believes that immigration should be governed globally rather than by individual nations.

How does this relate to Christianity and Islam? Just as Francis seems to favor a one-world government, he also seems to be drawn by the vision of a one-world religion. He hasn’t said so in so many words, but he has given several indications that he envisions an eventual blending of religions. …

One way to achieve this unity in diversity is by deemphasizing doctrine. Doctrinal differences are, after all, the main dividing line between different faiths. Thus, by downplaying the importance of doctrine – something he has done fairly consistently throughout his papacy – it’s probable that Francis hopes to smooth the path to interreligious harmony. Just as Francis disapproves of borders between nations, it’s quite likely that he looks upon borders between religions as artificial and unnecessarily divisive. …

But a religion must have a doctrine. The doctrine is the religion. What is a religion if not its doctrine?

Francis frequently shows signs of indifferentism – i.e., the belief that all religions are of equal value.

If this is the case, then Pope Francis probably has no desire to convert the Muslims streaming into Europe. …

Exactly what, then, does he have in mind by encouraging mass migration into Europe? One possibility … is that he envisions a kind of multicultural blending of religions. But in order for this to happen, it would be necessary for the respective faiths to dilute their doctrinal positions. Pope Francis seems quite willing to do this on the Catholic side. …

But what about fundamentalist Muslims? A harmonious world religion dedicated to humanitarian ends would require not only a watering-down of Christianity, but also a considerable moderation of Islam. …

[He claims] that Islam is already – and always has been – a moderate and peaceful faith. Most notably, he asserted … that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence”. …

For decades now, global leaders have been assuring us that Islam means peace, that violence has nothing to do with Islam, and that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. …

Francis seems to have little anxiety about the Islamization of Europe. Indeed, as evidenced by his encouragement of mass migration, he seems to have no objection to Islamization.

Either because he truly believes the false narrative that Islam is a religion of peace, or because he believes that the self-fulfilling prophecy strategy will create a more moderate Islam, Francis seems to be at peace with the fact that Islam is spreading rapidly.

Whatever he has in mind, it seems that Pope Francis is betting against the odds. …

Whether Francis has been misinformed about Islam or whether he has adopted a strategy of misinformation, he is taking a huge gamble – not only with his own life, but with the lives of millions. When the religion of Muhammad meets the religion of indifferentism, which seems more likely to prevail?

As the “one world religion” must have a doctrine, what would Pope Francis have it be? The only hint we have is in what we know of his own beliefs. The beliefs he holds not at all indifferently: the Liberation Theology that Communist Catholic priests preached in his native Latin America – but was cooked up and fed to them by the Soviet Union.

The Catholic part of Liberation Theology is less evident – if evident at all – than the Communist part.

Whether to Communism or Islam or both, Christianity is losing, and may be on its way to being lost – dissolved perhaps in a “world religion”.

We are not sorry to see a religion lose its grip on sad human gullibility, but we get no satisfaction from the victory of the temporary alliance of Islam and the Left over Christianity. Of the three religions – Christianity, Islam, Communism – Christianity has been the least dreadful in recent times.

The Christian response to Islam 11

If we think our interests may only come first and we don’t care for others, it is a treason of our values, a betrayal of all moral values.”

So said Emmanuel Macron, who is (curiously) the president of France (at a gathering in Paris of heads of state to commemorate the centennial of Armistice Day).

The idea is confused. “Only” come first? How many can come first? And to put one’s own interests first does not exclude “caring for others”.

Macron was defending globalism – though he hesitated to call it that because, he admitted, globalism made many French citizens “nervous”.

He prefers to call it “internationalism”, and in defense of it he condemns nationalism. (Donald Trump – sitting near him at the time – proudly  calls himself a nationalist, and insists on putting  his own country’s interests first as his job absolutely requires him to do, so Macron’s speech was generally taken to be an attack on the US president.)

Because internationalism is in itself a good thing to Macron, he praised the League of Nations (!), the UN (!), and the EU(!). (But not empires.)

And he is passionately keen on every country in the world signing on to the Paris Agreement which would commit them all to saving the planet from burning up in, say, a hundred years’ time. For this they must  give up burning fossil fuels to provide their energy for light and heat, industry, business, transport and communication, and let the wind blow it to them instead. To maintain this utopian ideal over the entire globe, UN sponsors of the Agreement frankly admit that world government will be necessary.

The biggest of all possible international organizations that would be, and so the most desirable to internationalists like President Macron. (It’s too soon to aspire to a Federation of Galaxies. That will come when someone finds how to use wind or solar power for intergalactic travel.)

As well as the global warming alarmists, there’s another group aspiring to world government, not as a federation of nations or creeds, but under its own absolute power – Islam.

Islam does not put its own interests first, allowing others to pursue theirs with equal concentration; it wants to rule humankind all by itself.

To attain its end, it will use force whenever it can. For Islam, force is not a last but a first resort. It will use other, non-violent means, such as infiltration and indoctrination of infidel societies, only when force – outright hot war – is not likely to succeed. But force is never to be abandoned. Intermittently, small acts of violence to terrify enemy societies can, must, and do accompany the non-violent efforts.

The cry is often raised that it is because Christian values have been abandoned in the West that Islam has been able to spread in it, filling as it were a religious vacuum.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While it is certainly true that Christianity as such has lost its hold over most people in the West – which is to say Western Europe and the countries of the New World, with the exception of a large group of Americans – Christian values are dominating the actions of Western leaders as strongly as ever they did.

Indeed, it is those very Christian values that are betraying the West to Islam.

President Macron speaks for all the globalist Western leaders when he says that to put one’s own country’s interests first is “a treason of our values, a betrayal of all moral values”.

The moral values that he means – that they all mean, including the self-confessed Communists in the EU government – are Christian values: self-denial, self-abasement, serving others before, or rather than, oneself.

Whether or not those are good values for individuals to live by is a matter of opinion. (We say they are not. We say that every one of us is his own, not other people’s, responsibility. Our “own” including our natural dependents.)

But the question here is whether those values ought to be the principles of a state.

It cannot be good for a state to be unselfish; it will fall to the enemy that covets it. It cannot be good for a state to be generous with money; the state has no funds of its own, it holds the money taken in taxes from its citizens in trust, and the obligation of a trustee is to be frugal.

Yet the aspirants to world government, the secular Leftist globalist rulers, are yielding their countries to Islam – in  the name of Christian values.

And the actual Christian leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, in the spirit of Christian selflessness, universal love, forgiveness of enemies, and willing martyrdom, are urging them to do so, bowing to a creed that preaches supremacy and vengefulness –  and the duty to despise Christians.

Christianity bowing to Islam? Yes, all the way down to the execution block. We are witnessing a willing martyrdom of an entire “faith”. Of what used to be called Christendom. (Though many individual Christians, particularly in America, will not comply.)

Andrew Jones writes at Jihad Watch, in the first article of “a series examining ‘Islamist’ influence and infiltration into the various branches of the UK establishment: Church, Monarchy, Military, Security Services, Police, Prison Service, Judiciary, Legislature, Civil Service, state media and banking/corporate interests”. (Read the whole of this article here.)

The UK’s state religion is the Church of England and as such is a centuries-old branch of the political establishment. Now largely bereft of political power, it nonetheless still exerts some soft-power in terms of moral influence in British public life. Headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Church of England has a track record of interfaith dialogue with extremist Muslims.

A former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, advocated the absorption of aspects of Sharia law into UK legislation. Some Muslim groups supported Williams in this, for instance, the Rochdale-based Ramadhan Foundation, an educational and welfare body. They said Williams’ advocacy was “testament to his attempts to understand Islam and promote tolerance and respect between our great faiths”. The same foundation has a history of making outlandish and delusional comments, including referring to Israel as “the new Hitler”. Williams also made the claim at a 2014 conference organized by the supposedly integrationist and progressive Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), that Islam is rejuvenating British values. …

As well-meaning liberals, Williams and Welby engage in interfaith dialogue aiming for a “draw” — they aim for the common ground of understanding among equals. However, Islamic supremacists enter such dialogue with the aim of “winning” — as religious exclusivists, it could not be otherwise, whether they are honest about it or not. Moreover, as Samuel Westrop has noted, “honorable activities do not only attract those with honorable intentions”, and the involvement of extremists poisons the entire interfaith exercise — extremists such as Inter Faith Network members, Jamiat Ulama e Britain (JUB), who are “directly affiliated” with Pakistani seminaries that have close ties to the Taliban. The error of the interfaith template is therefore similar to the equally misguided attempt to engage “Islamists” in the democratic process.  Islam, in the purist 7th century form, advocated by the Muslim Brotherhood and others, is a totalitarian theocratic system and therefore sees democracy as haram. For “Islamists”, engaging with the democratic process is only a means to the end of destroying it from within.

Welby has, in recent years, made numerous pointless attempts at dialogue with those for whom dialogue has a foregone, supremacist conclusion. In 2016, he welcomed Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman to Lambeth Palace to counter “the narrative of extremism and terrorism”, despite Rehman having openly praised acts of terror in Pakistan. In July 2018, Welby hosted the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Shaykh Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyeb, for the “Emerging Peacemakers Conference”. Given the conference title, it is grimly ironic that this is the same al-Tayyeb who in 2015 refused to condemn Islamic State [ISIS] as un-Islamic. Welby, in his capacity as an amateur scholar of Islam compared to al-Tayyeb, contradicted this a year later with his claim that ISIS had “nothing to do with Islam”. Al-Tayyeb also considers apostasy punishable by death and, as head of Al-Azhar, the world’s foremost Sunni university, is party to both incitement against Egypt’s much-persecuted Coptic Christian minority and the promulgation of Sunni jihadism’s ideological underpinning. …

Welby has done much work in the interfaith field with his “friend”, MCB Assistant Secretary General, Ibrahim Mogra. Although moderate in his public pronouncements, Mogra regularly re-tweets posts from the “extremist” advocacy group, Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), and, as a senior MCB member, is formally linked to many who have openly supported the likes of Bin Laden and Hamas. Furthermore, Mogra has promoted “Islamist” narratives within the British education system by writing a Teacher Handbook on Islam. The handbook includes justifications for amputation punishments, violent jihad, polygamy, slavery and — casting doubt on Mogra’s interfaith work — Islamic supremacist thinking.

It is therefore reasonable to conclude that Archbishop Welby is willingly blind to Islamic extremism and is actively covering for it, for instance, with the false-equivalency that “many faiths, not just Islam” have a problem with radicalisation. Moreover, Welby asserts that it is an irrational “fear of Muslims” among the public which is tearing British society apart, rather than Islamic extremism, which he downplays by warning against “hysteria”. Furthermore, he claimed the number of young Muslims travelling to Syria to fight for Islamic State and other jihadist groups was “extraordinarily small” — it was approximately 800 (including family members).

The UK now faces an ongoing severe terror threat from around 400 fighters who have returned, adding a combat-hardened core to the pool of up to 35,000 potential jihadists already in the country. For Welby, the public is not to believe its lying eyes that it is his interfaith partners who sow the ideological seeds which sprout into sectarian apartheid and acts of terror.

So the leaders of one of the largest Protestant denominations, Anglicanism, “cover” for Islam. In other words, they capitulate to it.

So do other Protestant churches, but they don’t all influence government policy as the Anglican leaders do in Britain.

The leader of the world’s Catholics, Pope Francis, courts Islam in the person of prominent Imams. (See here and here.)

Broadly, the Christian response to militant, advancing, conquering Islam is to yield to it, and to support governments that yield to it.

And almost all the secular rulers of the West (the most important exception being President Trump), are yielding to it. Because Christian values have soaked the spirit of the West for two thousand years, and every secular ideology the West has embraced, even and especially Communism, claim those values as their own: Put others – the group – before yourself. Put the foreigner before your own people. Give your countries to those who want them. Give them to Islam.

Blame yourselves when they slaughter and terrorize your citizens. Do not blame them.

But those who rule would rather you did not call this Christianity.

Call it anti-racism. Or globalism. Or internationalism.

Muslim judges set a Christian woman free 4

This is very good news.

A death sentence hung over Aasiya Noreen – called “Asia Bibi”, meaning “Asia Woman”, by Muslims and the international press – for blasphemy against Muhammad. But today (October 31, 2018) an appeal court in Pakistan set her free.

She has not gone unpunished. She has been in solitary confinement in a dark prison cell for eight years.

We posted her story recently here.

And here is our Facebook summary of the Channel NewsAsia report of the court ruling and its immediate consequences:

Pakistan’s Supreme Court today freed a Christian woman from a death sentence for blasphemy against Islam and overturned her conviction, sparking angry protests and death threats from an ultra-religious party and cheers from human rights advocates. Asia Bibi, a mother of four, had been living on death row since 2010 when she became the first woman to be sentenced to death by hanging under Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws. She was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after Muslim co-workers objected to her drinking water from the same cup as they drank from because she was not Muslim. The case has been a source of division within Pakistan, where two politicians who sought to help Asia Bibi were assassinated. Supporters of the Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP), which was founded to support blasphemy laws, immediately condemned the ruling and blocked roads in major cities, pelting police with stones in the eastern city of Lahore. The TLP’s leadership called for the death of Chief Justice Saqib Nasir and two other judges on the panel. Street protests and blockades of major roads were spreading by mid-afternoon, paralyzing parts of Islamabad, Lahore and other cities.

Chief Justice Saqib Nasir and the other two judges are brave men. Their lives are now in jeopardy.

Posted under Christianity, Islam, Law, Muslims, Pakistan by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tagged with , ,

This post has 4 comments.

Permalink

Secret sacraments of rape and sodomy 8

Religion is the prostitution of reason and the pornography of the intellect.

Why then is it to be wondered at that priests are lechers?

Christianity teaches hypocrisy. It commands that Christians love everybody and forgive all offense – against human nature. Priests of the Roman Catholic Christian denomination are required to be celibate – against human nature. Christians do not of course love everybody, do not forgive all offense; and Roman Catholic priests indulge in every variety of concupiscence.

St. Paul, the author of the Christian religion and its first moral instructor, had this to say about marriage, sexual intercourse, chastity, and homosexuality:

1 Corinthians 7:1,2,7-9 King James Version:

7  Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. …

For I would that all men were [celibate] even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

And this:

2 Corinthians 11:2 King James Version:

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

And this:

1 Corinthians 6:18 King James Version:

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

And this:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 King James Version:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind … will inherit the kingdom of God.

That last quotations is made more explicit on the sin of homosexuality in other translations from the original Greek:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men …  – New International Version

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality …  – New Living Translation

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality … – English Standard Version

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts …- Berean Literal Bible

Or do you not know that the unrighteous ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals …  -New American Standard Bible

Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males …  – Christian Standard Bible

Have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites … -Young’s Literal Translation

It’s quite clear. Homosexuals will go to Hell.

Do Catholic priests believe it?

Seems not.

Vox (along with numerous other news outlets) reports:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court made public one of the broadest-ever investigations into Catholic clerical sex abuse of minors in the United States … The document, a 1,400-page grand jury report, is the result of an 18-month probe by Pennsylvania state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and names at least 300 priests accused of child sex abuse by more than 1,000 victims throughout the state. …

Shapiro told reporters at a news conference that the report details “systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican”. 

The latest revelation comes at the end of a summer already marked by scandal for the Catholic Church. Last month, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, previously the archbishop of Washington, DC, and among the highest-ranking Vatican officials in America, was forced to resign his cardinalship following numerous accusations of sex abuse from both adult seminarians and children. …

Earlier this year, Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s highest-ranking official, took a leave of absence to face criminal charges of child sex abuse in his native Australia.

These numerous high-profile cases have cast a wider media spotlight on an ongoing story of abuse, secrecy, and cover-up that dates back decades.

The Pennsylvania files, though, represent the most wide-ranging investigation yet into Catholic clerical child sexual abuse in the United States. Despite the fact that the report covers just six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses — just a fraction of the dioceses in America overall — it suggests a widespread and large-scale operation on the part of church hierarchy nationwide to cover up the behavior of offending priests and help them escape punishment.

The report, which is often graphic and disturbing, details widespread sexual abuse and rape by priests of both female and male minors, many of whom used the language and rhetoric of their office to convince their victims that their sexual abuse was “holy” or desired by God. …

The charges detailed in the report go back as far as 30 years, and implicate 300 priests in the abuse of more than 1,000 victims. (The report stresses that the actual number of victims and abusers in the state is probably much higher, given how common it is for victims to refuse to come forward.)

The report also implicates senior priests and bishops in knowingly reshuffling offenders from parish to parish, allowing them to continue their abuse unchecked. …

The report details a number of disturbing and lurid cases, including a priest accused of raping a 7-year-old girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils removed, and a ring of priests in the Pittsburgh area who traded pornographic photographs of their victims. …

For more on horrific cases, see the NYT report here.

Example:

The grand jury reported that it had uncovered a ring of predatory priests in the Pittsburgh diocese who “shared intelligence or information regarding victims”, created pornography using the victims, and exchanged victims among themselves. “This group of priests used whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims,” the report states.

What is the reaction of the Marxist Pope Francis to the report?

Breitbart tells us:

Pope Francis is reportedly “embittered” by allegations that he knowingly promoted a serial sex-offending cardinal but has no plans to retire.

The Italian news agency ANSA cited “close collaborators of the pope” Wednesday in its report of the pontiff’s reaction to an explosive 11-page testimony by the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

In his report, the archbishop said that at least since 2013 Pope Francis knew of the serial homosexual abuse perpetrated by U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, along with sanctions imposed on his ministry by Pope Benedict XVI, and yet lifted those sanctions and promoted McCarrick to a position of influence, consulting him for the naming of future bishops.

Confronted with the charges by the media, Pope Francis has adopted a strategy of silence, refusing to utter a “single word” about the veracity of the allegations. …

While avoiding the subject of the grave allegations leveled against him, the pope instead returned to one of his favorite topics: care for the environment.

About which St. Paul had nothing to say.

At the end of his General Audience on Wednesday, Francis announced that next Saturday is “the fourth World Day of Prayer for the care of creation”.  In this year’s Message, which will be released Saturday, the pope said he would focus on “the question of water, a primary asset to be protected and made available to all”.

By pivoting from sex abuse to the environment, Pope Francis confirmed recent statements by the archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who told NBC News Tuesday that answering the allegations brought by the former nuncio was not a priority for the pope since he had more important things to worry about, such as the environment and immigration.

“The pope has a bigger agenda. He’s gotta get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the Church,” the cardinal said.

Never mind the suffering of children at the hands of his clergy. Never mind the breaking of priestly vows. Francis is a Marxist before he is a Catholic. And the proper concern of a Marxist is “the environment” and the protection of the Muslim hordes now raping Europe.

Nasty as the revelations of the report are, there is nothing surprising in them.

Nor is there anything hard to understand in a Pope’s unconcern for the victims of his Church and his religion. ‘Twas ever thus. And how could it be otherwise?

Older Posts »