For what do we live? 17

Two giants of our civilization, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, prescribed Christianity – specifically Russian Orthodox Christianity – as The Solution to the moral maladies of the human race.

The moral malady Dostoyevsky wrote against in his novel The Possessed (also translated as The Devils or The Demons) was the mood of anarchist rebellion, underlain by nihilist despair, that was spreading through Russia in his time. His last novel The Brothers Karamazov implicitly prescribes Orthodox Christianity as the great alternative to existential despair and universal moral turpitude.

Russia ignored Dostoyevsky’s prescription – the Orthodox Christian way to national salvation – so it was not tested (yet again). Rather, the rebellious mood, infecting Russian society high and low, fomented vicious acts of terrorism, harbingers of the revolution that would condemn the country to seventy-three years of Communism.

Solzhenitsyn was one of the millions of victims of the Communist regime.

He wrote this at the end of his story Matryona’s House, indicating what moral failings he most despises and implicitly prescribing his preferred alternative:

She [Matryona] made no effort to get things round her. She didn’t struggle and strain to buy things and then care for them more than life itself.

She didn’t go all out after fine clothes. Clothes, that beautify what is ugly and evil.

She was misunderstood and abandoned even by her husband. She had lost her husband, but not her sociable ways. She was a stranger to her sisters and sisters-in-law, a ridiculous creature who stupidly worked for others without pay. She didn’t accumulate property against the day she died. [Only] a dirty-white goat, a gammy-legged cat, some rubber plants. …

We had all lived  side by side with her and never understood that she was that righteous one without whom, as the proverb says, no village can stand.

Nor any city.

Nor our whole land.

Solzhenitsyn is praising Matryona, a poor, humble, kind, cheerful, self-sacrificing person, as an exemplar of the most virtuous, most praiseworthy person possible or imaginable. An indispensable type who justifies the existence of the human species. Rare, but a model for all of us. That is, “in the eyes of God” – he intimates. The “proverb” he mentions is an obvious euphemism for the Christian message. Repeatedly in his works he blames the wretchedness of Russia on Russians “forgetting God”.

And all his works excoriate Socialism and Russia’s Socialist regime. “Socialist” or “Communist” – the regime used the terms interchangeably.

He does not seem to notice that the type he holds up as a model and the virtues he praises, are the very type and the very virtues that Communism holds to be the highest and the best, and that Communist regimes require and demand. 

The Matryonas of our world are the models of both the perfect Christian and the perfect Communist.

Such people are valued by their fellows wherever they occur. Who would not value, who does not want someone in their family, or their neighborhood, or at least on their speed-dial, who will always help, always give whatever she’s asked for, even all that she has, including her life? Such people are useful among us. But are they models for us? Should all human beings be Matryonas? Would such a race build monuments of thought and skill and beauty, discover what the universe is made of, provide the drama and the laughter that we cannot do without? Is the Dostoyevsky-Solzehnitsyn-Christian-Communist way the best way to go or not?

Another Russian, Ayn Rand, protests most emphatically that the Matryona virtues are not virtuous at all. Her model is the man or woman who says (in Atlas Shrugged):

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

Ayn Rand had no children. Parents can feel that their child is worth living for; can love the child’s life more than their own. And others too can hold another life more precious than their own. But in general, Ayn Rand’s anti-Christian anti-Communist message – that living first for ourselves and only in that condition contributing to our society – is a triumphant affirmation of the individual’s moral right to self-esteem and all the choices of freedom.

 

Jillian Becker   June 17, 2021

Posted under Christianity, communism, liberty by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 17, 2021

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Laughing at religion 4

One of our readers complained recently that everything we post is gloomy. He asked, couldn’t we post something to make readers smile?

We could.

Here’s Dave Allen:

 

Posted under Christianity, Humor by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 14, 2021

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How desires become ideologies – and a rumor became a religion 10

What explains the success of anti-white racism, a cult spreading rapidly throughout the Western world?

How could it happen when “the entire edifice of [anti-white] critical racialism sits on a foundation of fakery and fiction, storytelling, and superstition”?

Stanley K. Ridgley explains how:

If you’ve any interest at all in the current roiling contretemps over “critical race theory” then you’ve seen “The List”,  which is a compendium of 15 qualities that purportedly constitute “white supremacy culture”.

The List is ubiquitous, in workshops on campuses, in corporate diversity sessions, in secondary school programs, and in New York City education workshops for teachers. Versions of the List appear on government websites, on “anti-racist” nonprofit sites, and have made it onto the Race, Research, and Policy Portal of Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center.

Who generates this racialist material, where, and why? Is it the result of sophisticated theorizing? Did this “White Supremacy Culture” emerge in the findings of an extensive, multi-year social science study?

Of course, the most obvious question is: Where did this list originate?

As with all of critical racialist material, it’s traceable to the unsubstantiated opinions of a mere handful of critical racialists.

The author of the List is Tema Okun, a would-be academic. Okun has been trading in the lucrative racialist workshop industry since at least the mid-1990s when she was a disaffected corporate trainer.

But as for the List itself, where did Okun get it? What was the source Okun used for the List in the original article?

Let’s allow Okun to tell us in her own words, found on page 29 of her dissertation.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, I arrived home after a particularly frustrating consultation with an organization I was working with at the time.  In a flurry of exasperation, I sat down at my computer and typed, the words flowing of their own accord into a quick and dirty listing of some of the characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up in organizational behavior.  The paper I wrote in such a frenzy on that afternoon so many years ago lists 15 behaviors, all of them interconnected and mutually reinforcing—perfectionism, a sense of urgency, defensiveness and/or denial, quantity over quality, worship of the written word, the belief in one ‘right’ way, paternalism, either/or binary thinking, power hoarding, fear of open conflict, individualism, progress defined as more, the right to profit, objectivity, and the right to comfort.

Okun simply concocted the list.

She made it up, then put it into an article, then put it into a workbook, then used the workbook as part of her dissertation, then published her dissertation as a book with an obscure independent publisher, and she continues to promulgate this fraudulent List today with the help of hundreds of folks who, most likely, don’t know better and who repeat it in a way designed to legitimize it.

Are you surprised that a disaffected diversity hack scribbled the List in a fit of pique and then cobbled it into an article in 1999, which now appears nationwide in materials presented as fact to the nation’s schoolchildren, teachers, corporations, and college students?

This is how academic fakery enters the popular consciousness to become conventional wisdom. It becomes ritualized, repeated, and unquestioned until its origins become obscured.

Looking for historical precedence for it, Ridgley calls  it “medieval” thinking.

The technique is to simply fabricate something ideologically useful, to pass it off as fact, and then to circulate it with bluff and bluster. It demonstrates the power of medievalist thought, action, and repetition to achieve legitimacy as a ritualized “truth”. 

Only the word  “medievalist” needs to be removed and lo! there is a perfectly explanation of the origin and early spread of Christianity.

Fabrications can always be turned by such means into “truths” because a passionate campaign carried on by a persistent advocate will always persuade others to believe the fantasy if it appeals to their passions too. It was just so that the fakery, the fiction, the storytelling, the superstition concerning “Jesus Christ” were spread in the first instance by the faker, the fictionist, the storyteller St. Paul, wandering preacher and author of (some of) the Epistles, and his side-kick Dr. Luke, author of the Acts of the Apostles.  

Fakery such as the Okun list of “white supremacy culture” becomes part of what anthropologists call a myth-dream or collective story for an ideology.

Ridgley sees that “critical race theory” is a type of “cargo cult”.

The process is like that found in primitive magic-driven societies, which provide excellent examples of communities constructed around a core myth-dream, like the one we deal with here.

Let’s look at the similarities.

Take, for instance, the Pacific Island communities in Melanesia, where storytelling and myth-building are conventional ways of understanding the world. The core myth of a society is eventually ritualized, and it becomes a “historical truth” that is referenced but never challenged as the foundation of a growing corpus of stories and narratives.

The Melanesian cargo cult, for example, has been studied for decades. It’s grounded in magic thinking that exemplifies this process of developing the collective story. As time goes by, the ritualized “truth” enters into the stream of what is commonly believed.

Once a statement or proposition is given consent it becomes True, a part of truth, assuming an existence which is not necessarily contingent on explicit withdrawal of consent. For, having achieved objectivity or truth in a myth a statement may persist in the myth long after those who retail or who listen to the story say they discount its validity for the present. Then the statement becomes a historical truth. And, so it would seem, the longer a statement is contained in a myth as truth the longer it will persist. New truths, or rather, statements which are becoming truths, and which are expressed in the additions of individual storytellers, are extremely vulnerable to, and dependent upon, consent. But once the first tentative consent begins to harden into solid approval [it] becomes more and more secure, more and more independent of explicit consent or inarticulate dissent.

St. Paul was the Tema Okun of his day.

His theory that Jesus was God Incarnate started as just such a cult.

His “statement” – or rumor – became the largest religion in the world.

The danger of benevolence 4

Christianity impoverished, terrified, tortured, and killed uncountable multitudes. And so does Socialism.

Why then are so many who earnestly desire the happiness of humankind drawn to either or both? Because both advertise benevolence as their purpose. And it sells.

But while many, perhaps most, are seduced by Socialism’s imagined benevolence, its political pimps understand how to use its attractive image to gain the power of government.

Roger Kimball, writing at American Greatness, points out:

The party of benevolence is always the party of big government. The imperatives of benevolence are intrinsically opposed to the pragmatism and common sense that underlie the allegiance to limited government.

And –

For centuries, prudent political philosophers have understood that the lust for equality is the enemy of freedom. That species of benevolence underwrote the tragedy of Communist tyranny. The rise of political correctness has redistributed that lust over a new roster of issues: not the proletariat but the environment, not the struggling masses but “reproductive freedom” [aka abortion on demand – ed.], gay rights, the welfare state, the Third World, diversity training, and an end to racism and xenophobia. … Such attitudes are all but ubiquitous in modern democratic societies. Although of relatively recent vintage, they have spread rapidly.

Socialism “flatters the vanity of those who espouse it”.

Even though it “actually creates more of the poverty and dependence it was instituted to abolish” …

The intoxicating effects of benevolence help to explain the growing appeal of politically correct attitudes about everything from race, sexuality, and “the environment” to the fate of the Third World.

Which is why …

… the consistent failure of statist policies [do] not disabuse the advocates of the statist agenda.

And he asks rhetorically:

Where else are the pleasures of smug self-righteousness to be had at so little cost?

*

These signs decorate many front lawns in our heavily Socialist Democrat town:

“Virtue” Boasting

Posted under Christianity, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 22, 2021

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Religion and atheism argue in the labyrinth of good and evil 9

Dennis Prager is a brilliant advocate for conservatism. We agree with him on political issues.

But he is religious.

He writes, and we comment:

Conservatives often speak of Judeo-Christian values and how the current civil war in the United States and the rest of the West is essentially a battle between those values and the Left, which rejects Judeo-Christian values.

They are right.

But they rarely explain what Judeo-Christian values are. Yet, without an explanation, mentioning Judeo-Christian values is useless.

So, let me do that now.

First, a word about the term. Some Jews and Christians find the term confusing, if not objectionable, since Judaism and Christianity have different theologies. But no one speaks of Judeo-Christian theology, only of Judeo-Christian values.

Judeo-Christian values are essentially another term for biblical values. Judaism and Christianity are both based on the Old Testament—its God, its Ten Commandments, its admonition to love one’s neighbor as oneself, to love God, to lead a holy life, etc. Christians also believe in the New Testament, but only an opponent of Christianity would argue that the New Testament negates the values of the Old.

For our comment on all that, see our critical discussion of “Judeo-Christian values” here.

Here they are:

1) Objective moral standards come from God. As I have written and spoken about in a PragerU video and elsewhere, if there is no God who declares murder wrong, murder can be subjectively wrong but not objectively wrong. So, while there can certainly be nonbelievers who hold murder, stealing, and other actions wrong, without God, those are opinions, not moral facts. Without the God of the Bible, there are no moral facts.

No. People do not want to be hurt, robbed, or killed. For a society to make laws discouraging people from hurting robbing and killing is common sense, and such laws were made before any religion laid down moral rules as divine injunction

Besides which – and in answer to all following points – no god ever spoke to a human being. All religious moral laws are human-made. 

2) God judges our behavior, and we are therefore accountable to God for our behavior. Outside of a religious worldview, there is no higher being to whom we are morally accountable.

We need no “higher being” to judge us. We are responsible for what we do and bear the consequences of our behavior. As we say in our “Articles of Reason” (see under Pages in our margin), “justice may be elusive, but judgment is inescapable”.  

3) Just as morality derives from God, so do rights. All men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” declares the Declaration of Independence.

If your “rights” are violated, will “God” come to your aid? Rights are granted by man-made law, and justice must be sought in accordance with laws. 

4) The human being is uniquely precious. While the Bible repeatedly forbids cruel behavior to animals … only human beings are created in God’s image.

Presumably he means “God’s moral image”. In theJewish scriptures, God is vengeful and cruel to the innocent (“unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”), puts temptation in the way of his creatures and then punishes them for succumbing to it (Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), capricious (alternately making Pharaoh relent over the release of his Hebrew slaves and then “hardening his heart” again and keeping them, time after time), permits Satan to inflict terrible suffering on human beings to test their faithfulness to him (Job). And in history, the Jewish God allows millions of his “chosen people” to be tortured to death (the Holocaust).  And the Christian God, according to his scriptures, made humankind eternally indebted to him for sacrificing himself for them – for which at the same time, and as a double burden of guilt, they must be held to blame. So – no.  In both the Jewish and Christian bibles, the divinities set no model of good behavior.    

5) The world is based on a divine order, meaning divinely ordained distinctions. Among these divine distinctions are: God and man, man and woman, human and animal, good and evil, and nature and God.

Distinctions – as between man and woman – exist by nature. That God is distinct from nature is true enough. He exists only in human minds as a supernatural being. Humanity made God, not God humanity. There is no reason to believe that nature exists because a supernatural being made it. 

6) Human beings are not basically good. Therefore, the most important moral endeavor is making good people. Religious Jews and Christians understand that the greatest battle in life is with one’s nature. For the opponents of Judeo-Christian values, the greatest moral battle is not with one’s nature; it is with society (specifically, American society).

We agree that “human beings are not basically good”. But we say that self-interest requires their decent behavior and most people understand this. The law helps to make people good. It is fear of others and fear of the law that prompt restraint, not biblical values.  

7) Precisely because we are not basically good, we must not trust our hearts to lead us to proper behavior. The road to hell is paved with good hearts. Feelings make us human, but they cannot direct our lives. This alone divides the Bible-based from those on the left.

It is a false dichotomy, the religious on the one side, “the left” on the other. Millions of Leftists are religious Christians and Jews.   

8) All human beings are created in God’s image. Therefore, race is of no significance. We all emanate from Adam and Eve, whose race is never mentioned. That many religious people held racist views only testifies to the almost infinite ability of people to distort what is good.

This confirms that it is “God’s moral image” that is meant. The various races are characterized by physical differences.    

9) Fear God, not man. Fear of God is a foundation of morality. In the Book of Exodus, Egyptian midwives were ordered by the Pharaoh to kill all newborn Hebrew boys. They disobeyed the divine king of Egypt. Why? Because “the midwives feared God”.  In America today, more people fear the print, electronic and social media than fear God.

We advise a sensible fear of the media. And of kings and other tyrants.

10) Human beings have free will. In the secular world, there is no free will because all human behavior is attributed to genes and environment. Only a religious worldview, which posits the existence of a divine soul—something independent of genes and environment—allows for free will.

Whether we actually have free will or not, we have to live as if we have it, so to all intents and purposes, we have it. It has nothing to do with having “a divine soul”. 

11) Liberty. America was founded on the belief that God wants us to be free. On the Liberty Bell is inscribed just one thing (aside from the name of the company that manufactured the bell). It is a verse from the Bible: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” The current assaults on personal liberty—unprecedented in American history—emanate from those who reject the Bible as their moral guide (including more than a few Jews and Christians who have joined the assault, having been indoctrinated with anti-religious views in high school and college).

We reiterate that millions of Leftists are religious. Belief in the supernatural does not logically bring liberty. Often quite the contrary (examples: the Inquisition’s Spain, Calvin’s Geneva).   

When Judeo-Christian principles are abandoned, evil eventually ensues.

In the name of the Hebrew god in ancient times, and in the name of Christianity for many hundreds of years,  great evil was done – mass slaughter, extreme cruelty, which surely are evils. 

One doesn’t have to be a believer to acknowledge this. Many secular conservatives recognize that the end of religion in the West leads to moral chaos—which is exactly what we are witnessing today and exactly what we witnessed in Europe last century. When Christianity died in Europe, we got Communism, fascism, and Nazism. What will we get in America if Christianity and Judeo-Christian values die.

Communism, fascism, Nazism are also religions, without gods or with them. (Many Nazis worshipped Nordic gods.) 

We are getting evil rule in America by many who say they are Christians. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi claim to be  “good Catholics”. 

Leftism is a child of Christianity. (See our articles here and here.) 

In conclusion: “Judeo-Christian values” or religious beliefs of any sort are not a cure for America’s calamity.  

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Judaism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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God and Covid-19 1

God, the three-in-one Lord and King of Christians, is becoming ever more unpopular in America.

Republicans of Earth most Americans have been, but at the same time Monarchists of the Universe. Now that is changing, at increasing speed.

America has continued to be God’s acreage for longer in post-Enlightenment times than any other Anglophone country. Now even here his sway is under threat.

Although there are religious optimists prophesying a church-going revival after the long period of social distancing during the Covid pandemic, others read statistics and reason that a further shrinking of God’s base is more probable.

David Gibson writes at Religion & Politics:

As a stir-crazy nation slowly emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, debates about what our “new normal” will be like are intensifying. Will the shock of the lockdown bring a transformative moment of social solidarity? Or tear us apart in tribal strife? …

The future of our national religious life is also the subject of growing speculation, with the sunny-side-up view arguing that we are primed for a new “Great Awakening” of the sort that have periodically transformed American culture. …

To many, the prospect of a resurgence in religious observance is an enticing vision, because faith communities can be anchors of social solidarity, which has been steadily eroding for decades.

The data and history tell a different story, however, and, much like the economic outlook, the forecast for religion looks more like recession than resurrection.

The percentage of Americans who say they belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque is down 20 points over the previous two decades, sitting at an all-time low of 50 percent as of 2018, according to Gallup. Actual church attendance is even lower, while Americans who profess no religious affiliation—the so-called nones—have become the single largest “denomination” in the U.S., according to Pew Research surveys, numbering more than both Catholics and evangelicals.

American Christianity has not been drastically harmful to the nation. (Nor has Covid-19.) But generally, religion has been a destructive force throughout recorded history.

The retirement of God and all gods from the human mind would be a huge benefit, but not enough.

We also urgently need to see a mass abandonment, everywhere in the world, of the godless religion variously named Leftism, Socialism, Communism, Social Democracy, Democratic Socialism, Progressivism, Marxism, Black Lives Matter, Intersectionality, the Great Reset …

Posted under Christianity, communism, Leftism, Marxism, Progressivism, Religion general, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 11, 2021

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Putting out the lamps of learning 39

Romans had at least made a serious attempt to construct a civilization founded on reason, not myth. Then came Christianity, profiting, vulturelike, from decay, preserving ideas that deserved to perish, and stamping out ideas that deserved to survive. In its early history, its very origins, there was something unsavory about Christianity. Significantly, it flourished in an age of decadence and among the lower orders, among men and women sunk in ignorance, vice, and despair. Significantly, too, it hammered out its doctrine, its discipline and organization, amidst undignified wranglings, inane debates in endless assemblies, angry conflicts over trivial matters, mutual slanders and persecutions. Christianity claimed to bring light, hope, and truth, but its central myth was incredible, its dogma a conflation of rustic superstitions, its sacred book an incoherent collection of primitive tales, its church a cohort of servile fanatics as long as they were out of power and of despotic fanatics once they had seized control. With its triumph in the fourth century, Christianity secured the victory of infantile credulity; one by one the lamps of learning were put out, and for centuries darkness covered the earth. – Peter Gay, The Enlightenment, Chapter Four.

With the teaching of critical race theory, the anathematizing of mathematics, the banning of books, the attack on free speech, Christianity’s offspring, Leftism, is now putting out the lamps of learning again.

Darkness is descending again on the West, where despotic fanatics have seized control.

Posted under Christianity, Leftism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 9, 2021

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America goes 4

As the Catholic Church did in ages past, and Islam still does, the Left strives to bring every nation, and every last member of every nation, under its rule: a rule not of law but of lawyers, law-makers and law-breakers; bureaucrats, bankers, communication controllers, billionaires.

In America there are still tens of millions who refuse to comply, and they are being treated as heretics, infidels, and pariahs. If you are a Trump supporter, or in the least degree opposed to the Leftists who have seized the executive branch of government and now control both houses of the legislative branch, you are likely to be forced into conformity and unquestioning obedience. The means to be employed will be cutting you off from the services you need to live a normal life.

Through institutions of government and enormously powerful corporations, the heresies of patriotism, populism, anti-tribalism, individualism, and defiant defense of free speech, private property, arms bearing, and the teaching of reading writing reckoning and history to your children, will be punished.

You will be denied the services of banks, credit card companies, the internet, social media, insurance companies, the national health service, schools, universities. It will be very hard for you to find a job.

There will be degrees of deprivation. If you are a mild offender, you may be allowed some health care, for instance, and a low-paying job. If you are a grave offender – one who goes so far as to persist in speaking well of Donald Trump – you may face long imprisonment. An active attempt to reinstate him could be ruled a capital offense.

If you capitulate and submit, your life will not be easy. Your record will be held against you.

Even if you always supported the Left and voted the totalitarians into power, you will receive only the information that the rulers choose to allow you. You will have no way of knowing – unless by chance you personally witness a reported event – whether what you are being told is true or false.

Bruce Bawer writes at Front Page:

I’ve been ranting for years about the perfidy of the left. At times I’ve been accused of exaggerating. On rare occasions I feared – or hoped? – that perhaps I was exaggerating. In fact I can now see that these people are worse than I ever imagined. Worse than most of us ever imagined.

Worse than even Donald Trump “with all his insight” imagined.

He went into office determined to clean up the swamp. He was tireless. But not tireless enough. No mere mortal could have been tireless enough. Trump had denounced the swamp in apocalyptic terms, but it proved to be even deeper and more extensive than he knew. It reached into the upper echelons of the intelligence community and the military, into cabinet departments and the judiciary.

Not only did the Democrats try to derail his campaign and then his presidency. Even people whom he appointed to White House jobs proved unreliable. Far from being too suspicious, he’d been too trusting. He’d appointed two-faced D.C. insiders. He’d trusted people who turned out to be snakes in the grass.

The news media, with very few exceptions, made it their task to thwart his progress and poison his name with a constant flow of disinformation. They said Trump had told people to drink bleach. They said he’d called neo-Nazis “good people”. They said many other outrageous things that they knew were outright lies. They relentlessly repeated the charge that he did nothing but lie, lie, lie, when in fact it was they, the media, who were constantly feeding us lies. …

When enemies of Trump, and of freedom, created violence and mayhem in cities around the country, they were whitewashed, protected, and even praised by the media, by Democratic politicians, and by police officials. In a debate with Trump, Biden said Antifa was an idea, not an organization. Congressman Jerrold Nadler called it a myth.

Meanwhile Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave BLM $3 million. While the leftist gangsters went unpunished, citizens who tried to protect their homes and businesses from destruction by them were arrested by the police and demonized in the media. If you tried to spread the truth about all this on social media, you were shut down by Silicon Valley bosses who said you were lying.

And then the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Republican officials in the states affected by the steal sat on their hands. State legislatures, ditto. Even the justices he’d named to the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania, absurdly maintaining that a state didn’t have standing to challenge the conduct of a presidential election in another state.

Trump’s supporters, ever civilized, waited patiently while every possible means of stopping the steal was dutifully exhausted. When it came down to the final vote certification in Congress, an army of [between 600,000 and 2,000,000!) MAGA folk gathered peacefully in Washington to show that they had Trump’s back.

Then a tiny percentage of them foolishly entered the Capitol building. And a tiny percentage of that tiny percentage – at least some of whom seem to have been Antifa goons – caused minor damage. Most of them appear to have milled harmlessly around the building, leaving paintings and statues untouched. The contrast with the conduct of Antifa and BLM insurgents during the previous year could hardly have been more striking. …

One of those people, an Air Force veteran named Ashli Babbitt, was shot dead by a Capitol Hill policeman. She didn’t do anything to provoke the shooter. It was impossible not to think of George Floyd, the career criminal who, on May 25 of last year, died while resisting arrest after committing a crime. Floyd was black; the arresting officer was white. In the ensuing months, Floyd’s death was used to justify rioting, arson, and vandalism by Antifa and BLM agitators, none of whom ended up being killed by a cop.

But nobody’s making a martyr out of Ashli Babbitt.

I’m not saying anybody should. I’m just saying that after four years of reportage that routinely demonized Trump, sugarcoated his opponents, and cruelly mocked his supporters, and after an election that was blatantly stolen yet described in the media as eminently fair, those supporters could hardly be expected not to explode – especially since they’d seen, during the previous few months, one leftist explosion after another rewarded with praise.

But they did not explode.

On January 6, Biden, oozing faux solemnity, addressed the ongoing situation on Capitol Hill. After months of referring to Antifa and BLM thugs as “protesters”, he called the non-violent people who’d entered the Capitol a “mob” of “domestic terrorists” who, in an action bordering on “sedition”,  had made an “unprecedented assault…on the citadel of liberty….This is not dissent, it’s disorder”.

He wasn’t alone. In one voice, people who’d spent months cheering leftist violence expressed horror at the breach of the Capitol building and blamed it on Trump. Once the Capitol was secured, the planned challenges to the vote steal were scuttled and the election of Biden and Harris duly certified.

Whereupon the left – and not just the left – moved with the swiftness of lightning.

Accusing Trump of having incited the Capitol breach, [Speaker] Pelosi and [Senate minority leader] Schumer raised the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to deny him his last few days in office …

And she absurdly introduced a proposal to impeach him for a second time, though he had only a few days more as president. .

Republicans who were never strong Trump supporters to begin with were quick to profess outrage at Trump’s purported provocation. Cabinet members Elaine Choi and Betsy DeVos quit. The Wall Street Journal called on Trump to resign. Senator Pat Toomey gave a thumbs-up to impeachment. Forbes warned companies not to hire anybody with a Trump connection.

Both Twitter and Facebook deplatformed Trump, and when he shifted from his personal Twitter account to the POTUS account, Twitter silenced that one, too. Other enemies of the left were also kicked off social media – among them Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon. Facebook ejected the WalkAway movement, in the process deleting countless heartfelt posts by ordinary citizens explaining why they’d quit the Democratic Party. YouTube took down a video by Rudy Giuliani. Amazon, Google, and Apple removed Parler, a “free-speech” alternative to Twitter and Facebook, from their app stores. The CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox browser, wrote an essay entitled “We Need More than Deplatforming.”

(Yet the social-media accounts of the Chinese Communist Party and Ayatollah Khamenei remained untouched.)

Pelosi tried to get the military to stop taking orders from the President. …

She urged the Chiefs of Staff to mutiny against their commander-in-chief! (They refused.)

The director of ABC News spoke of “cleansing” the Trump movement after January 20, whatever that might mean. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who’d taken the lead in challenging the vote steal, to be expelled from the Senate. Simon & Schuster canceled Hawley’s contract for a book about cancel culture. Biden likened Cruz to Goebbels. …

There’s no intrinsic magic about America that protects it from becoming Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia. Only utopians believe in the perfectibility of man. People are people. And some of the people who are now, or are about to be, in power in the United States would, if accorded enough power, do far more to those of us who falter in loyalty than merely take away our social-media accounts.

Indeed, as scary as the situation may be right now, one thing’s for certain: worse is on its way. The Democrats now control both houses of Congress and are about to be handed the executive branch. The totalitarian-minded elements in that party are on the ascent, backed up by Silicon Valley, the legacy media, and much of corporate America.

Bruce Bawer thinks that by “listing, arresting, and imprisoning ‘enemies of the state'” – as, he reminds us, was done in the terrible reign of Stalin, and under the brutal tyranny of Mao –

These people will overreach. Their lists will grow so long, their cancelations so widespread, that, as happened with the Reign of Terror, everyone who isn’t clinically insane will finally realize that things have gone too far and will, in one way or another, put an end to the madness.

He asks:

But how far will things have to go before that happens? How long will it take? And how many lives will be destroyed before it’s over? These, alas, are the all too sobering questions that have yet to be answered.

In the meantime, those of us who care about liberty will simply have to do our best to keep enduring the daily tsunami of evil ideology, fake news, and contempt for decent people, and to continue hoping that the true and good will yet prevail.

Much as we would like his optimism – such as it is, sorrowful and tentative – to hearten us, we are less sure that such a realization will come, or that “the true and good will yet prevail”.

What has happened seems to us to demonstrate that there is a tragic weakness in freedom and tolerance. They permit those who value neither to exploit them to gain the power to abolish them. 

A Sunday story 4

… from the annals of Christianity:

On a raw March afternoon in 1314, a scaffold stood in the shadow of Notre Dame. The people of Paris knew what macabre show was imminent. Seven years before, the King’s constables had stormed all the Templar estates in France and arrested 5000 knights of the order, much to the astonishment of the people. Now the curtain was about to drop on a bizarre tragedy, one scripted by the king himself.

The Knights Templar were a smelly lot – they didn’t wash. A common expression of their time was “stink like a Templar”. They were brave soldiers – crusaders in Outremer – and brilliant bankers. The order was very rich.

King Philip the Fair of France owed them a huge sum of money and coveted their wealth, so he destroyed them. He had to get them to confess to crimes and acts of blasphemy as an excuse. They might in fact have been heretical by the rules of the Catholic Church. There is some evidence that suggests they were secret Gnostics, but to a rational humane mind, nothing they did surely deserved the punishments the good Catholic king devised for them.

Here is an account of what they confessed to and what King Philip (grandson of Louis IX, known as Saint Louis) had done to them:

The things the knights confessed under torture defied belief: trampling and urinating on the Crucifix, secret rites of obscene kisses, sodomy, usury, treason, idolatry, and heresy. After the arrests came seven years of inquisition, then hundreds and hundreds of public executions by burning.

These confessions were extorted from them under extreme torture.

Stripped of their habits, chained, and cast into dungeons, the old men were tortured with rack and thumbscrew. The soles of their feet were smeared with animal fat and then held over hot coals. Their weary frames were crushed under iron weights.

Sometimes the accused was tied down, a cloth stuffed in his mouth. Water poured into the cloth caused it to swell: The choice was to confess or drown. A more creative option was to place a man into a pit no wider than himself, where he would be left to stand in his filth and starve. The rack was used to dislocate shoulders and hips.

Subtler methods of interrogation worked as well. Denied sleep and the chance to void his bowels or bladder, the accused could be subjected to a constant battery of bewildering questions by an endless string of interrogators, some cruel, some appearing compassionate. Rare is the man who could withstand this to the point of death, which would be his only relief. Under such conditions, hundreds and hundreds of Templars confessed to appalling crimes.  …

The last five of them, having been imprisoned in a dungeon for six years, were burnt to death on the Île de la Cité in Paris on March 18, 1314.

As a large crowd closed around the scaffold, the last Master of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem, 70-year-old Jacques de Molay, stood alongside four of his brothers in arms, listening as the papal legate read their crimes in horrible detail.

However, mercy would yet be theirs if they repeated to the people of Paris the guilt they had confessed before the inquisition. Five stakes piled high with brushwood and faggots awaited them if they did not.

Two [three?] of the knights, eyes cast downward, mumbled their guilt. Then de Molay and Geoffrey de Charney of Normandy stepped forward.

“On this terrible day,” shouted de Molay, his gaze meeting the eyes of the crowd, “in my final hour, I shall let truth triumph and declare, before heaven and all the saints, that I have committed the greatest of all crimes.”  The crowd pressed in. “But my crime is this: that I confessed to malicious charges made against an order that is innocent so that I could escape further torture. I shall not confirm a first lie with a second. I renounce life willingly. I have no use for days of sorrow earned only by lies.”

The King’s police seized the two knights and chained them to the stakes. Brush and branches were set aflame. As the old men were roasted alive, they shouted their innocence and their love for Jesus Christ before falling silent. Thus the last Master of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem was reduced to ashes.

Then Pope Clement V abolished the order and the “beautiful” King Philip availed himself of their assets. He did not enjoy them for long. He died on 29 November, 1314, eight months after burning the old Knights to death – because, it was popularly believed, de Molay had cursed him. If “God” took note of a curse spoken by de Molay and acted on it in the case of Philip’s death, what – you may be tempted to ask a Christian – had “He” been doing when the same man was being tortured and burnt? Don’t expect an answer. Though the believer may go so far as to say in reply that “He has mysterious ways”.

“Of what use is religion?” 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take the claim that being “colorblind” is racist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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