Myths of our time 15

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.

Good, bad, and abominable cultures 33

The assertion, frequently heard, that “all cultures are equal” is sheer nonsense. Are they equal in achievement? Obviously not. Since all the races (or correctly speaking sub-races, humankind being one race, members of every sub-race able to reproduce with members of all other sub-races) are equally old, there is no such thing as a culture that hasn’t had enough time to develop as others have. But while some are developed to the point that they can send a man to walk on the moon, there are some that never invented the wheel. There has been the same amount of time for the development of both the space-exploring culture and the wheel-less culture, and in that time-span one developed much further than the other. It is so plain a fact it doesn’t really need saying. But there are those who will cry “Racism!” – the sin of sins to Leftists – if it is said.

Well, we are saying it.

And it is not “racism”. Generalizations can be made about cultures. But the generalization cannot be applied to individuals. An individual whose parents moved away from an illiterate culture can become (say) a professor in an American university, given the necessary education.

Not only are there inferior cultures, there are positively bad cultures that the human race would be better without. They practice abominable customs and are unworthy of tolerance. It’s absurd to want the worst of them to be preserved as scientists want to preserve species. (Some scientists protested against the last of the small-pox virus being destroyed!)

Eminently qualifying for destruction are such cultural customs as (to give just a few examples) those that: Burn widows on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands. Kill girls for “dishonoring” their families by their choice of husband. Kill women as a punishment for having been raped, and stone people to death – as Islamic law prescribes. Bury people alive – as the Islamic State (ISIS) does. Mutilate women’s genitals and flatten their breasts with hot rocks, as is done routinely in parts of Africa (and by Africans in Britain). Murder children for their organs to make the disgusting “remedies” of South African witchdoctors. Own slaves. Judicially punish a man who has wronged another by ordering that his sister be raped by his victim, as happens in India and Pakistan. (See here, here, and here.)

Many such abominations are sanctioned or commanded by religion, or are essential aspects of an ideology. They are rooted so deep in this or that culture that they are hard to eradicate.

After the British had put an end to the custom of widow-burning among certain castes in India, widows were instead kept imprisoned in their houses for the rest of their lives. If they were to live on, they had still to be kept from ever re-marrying. Rudyard Kipling wrote about them. A kind husband, he found, would leave instructions that his widow be allowed a small peephole through which she could glimpse the outside world.

Western feminists refuse to condemn such practices on the grounds that no culture is inferior. One argument often produced by them and other Leftists to explain why a culture that does evil things should not be called evil is, “We do evil things too”.

No we don’t. Not by law. Americans once owned slaves, but not now. If the same standards are applied, ours is a good culture. (Though it wouldn’t be if the Socialist Democratic Party were to get complete control of the federal government.)

However, within our culture there are differences which, measured by different, higher standards, are to be judged better and worse.

Professor Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and Professor Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego wrote an article, in August 2017, discussing good and bad culture within America. (They were furiously condemned for it by fellow academics, accused of “racism” of course, though there was not the least trace of race prejudice in it.)

They wrote:

Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more are raised by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.

The causes of these phenomena are multiple and complex, but implicated in these and other maladies is the breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture.

That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

These basic cultural precepts reigned from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. They could be followed by people of all backgrounds and abilities, especially when backed up by almost universal endorsement. Adherence was a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.

Did everyone abide by those precepts? Of course not. There are always rebels — and hypocrites, those who publicly endorse the norms but transgress them. But as the saying goes, hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. Even the deviants rarely disavowed or openly disparaged the prevailing expectations.

Was everything perfect during the period of bourgeois cultural hegemony? Of course not. There was racial discrimination, limited sex roles, and pockets of anti-Semitism. However, steady improvements for women and minorities were underway even when bourgeois norms reigned. Banishing discrimination and expanding opportunity does not require the demise of bourgeois culture. Quite the opposite: The loss of bourgeois habits seriously impeded the progress of disadvantaged groups. That trend also accelerated the destructive consequences of the growing welfare state, which, by taking over financial support of families, reduced the need for two parents. A strong pro-marriage norm might have blunted this effect. Instead, the number of single parents grew astronomically, producing children more prone to academic failure, addiction, idleness, crime, and poverty.

This cultural script began to break down in the late 1960s. A combination of factors — prosperity, the Pill [birth control], the expansion of higher education, and the doubts surrounding the Vietnam War — encouraged an antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal — sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll — that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society. This era saw the beginnings of an identity politics that inverted the color-blind aspirations of civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into an obsession with race, ethnicity, gender, and now sexual preference.

The writers do not mention “the New Left” with its agenda of a “long march through the institutions”, but it belongs among the causes of the cultural breakdown. 

And those adults with influence over the culture, for a variety of reasons, abandoned their role as advocates for respectability, civility, and adult values. As a consequence, the counterculture made great headway, particularly among the chattering classes — academics, writers, artists, actors, and journalists — who relished liberation from conventional constraints and turned condemning America and reviewing its crimes into a class marker of virtue and sophistication.

All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-“acting white” rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans. If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all.

Would the re-embrace of bourgeois norms by the ordinary Americans who have abandoned them significantly reduce society’s pathologies? There is every reason to believe so. Among those who currently follow the old precepts, regardless of their level of education or affluence, the homicide rate is tiny, opioid addiction is rare, and poverty rates are low. Those who live by the simple rules that most people used to accept may not end up rich or hold elite jobs, but their lives will go far better than they do now. All schools and neighborhoods would be much safer and more pleasant. More students from all walks of life would be educated for constructive employment and democratic participation.

But restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture will require the arbiters of culture — the academics, media, and Hollywood — to relinquish multicultural grievance polemics and the preening pretense of defending the downtrodden. Instead of bashing the bourgeois culture, they should return to the 1950s posture of celebrating it.

Is that likely to happen? We’re inclined to say sadly, no.

Posted under Africa, Arab States, Asia, Ethics, Feminism, India, Islam, Leftism, Slavery, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 10, 2019

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Blood lust of the Democrats 66

Applause for murdering little children? With extreme cruelty?

Yes. The state of New York has passed a law allowing little children to be tortured to death. And when the (Catholic) governor signed the act into law, the legislators who had passed it – about a quarter of them women – laughed with glee and applauded.

Dr. Michael Brown writes at GOPUSA:

New York was already doing a fine job of slaughtering its unborn, especially its black babies. Why, then, did it need to pass a new, more extreme abortion law? …

New York was already the abortion capital of America, aborting babies at twice the national average … managing to kill one baby for every two babies born. …

Today, a perfectly viable baby of nine months, ready to be born at any minute, can be slaughtered by the will of the mother.

That is blood lust.

New York’s new law … is fully exposed [for the evil thing it is] in the last phrase of this sentence: “an abortion may be performed by a licensed, certified, or authorized practitioner within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or [if] there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.”

Yes, the baby may be terminated “at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.”

And what, exactly, does that mean? What if the mother’s mental health needed to be protected? What if she felt, the day before her due date, that she just couldn’t take the stress of having a child. Would that merit abortion? …

Under the new law, yes.

The baby could easily be delivered and adopted. We’re talking about a totally viable baby! A baby who, under normal circumstances, would soon be crying and nursing outside the womb.

Today, however, that baby’s well-being is at risk until the moment of the birth.

This is madness. This is murderous. …

Murderous? It is murder.

Princeton professor Robert P. George … wrote:

“A huge irony: The NY law authorizing the killing of babies in the third trimester PROVES that the aim of the abortion lobby is NOT the protection of maternal health in circumstances of hazardous pregnancy, but is rather the right to destroy an unwanted child whose existence poses no risk to maternal health (in any sense of the term ‘health’ that amounWhy do we say th ts to anything other than a rationalization for killing unwanted babies). The only reason to kill rather than deliver a child in the third trimester of pregnancy and gestation is that the woman (or someone who is pressuring her to abort) wants the child to be dead rather than alive. It’s the child’s existence, not the pregnancy, which poses the alleged ‘health’ risk. The pregnancy can be ended (‘terminated’) by delivering the baby alive, rather than killing him or her. So do you see the see the sophistry in the argument for abortion here? It’s glaring.”

Yes, why not simply deliver the baby? If the mother’s health is allegedly at risk and the baby is viable outside the womb, why not deliver it?

Plenty of [would-be] parents would love to adopt the child.

Why kill [the child]?

Why do we say that the child is tortured to death?

Dr. Brown quotes:

As noted by Steven Ertelt (with reference to a former abortionist):

“… The baby is injected with a poison directly into his skull or torso. He then suffers a hideously painful death, which he will certainly feel because of his developed nervous system. The mother carries the corpse around in her womb for a day. The next day, there is an ultrasound to check if the baby is dead. If he isn’t – if he has been writhing and suffering in agony for the past 24 hours, clinging onto life – then he will be injected again. The following day, the mother delivers her dead child. Sometimes she delivers him at the clinic, but if she can’t make it on time, the clinic is perfectly happy to recommend that she give birth into her toilet.”

How can this possibly be for the good of the mother? And under what moral code is this not barbarous and inhuman? Or should we mention the grisly details of partial-birth abortion, where the child is delivered feet first, then the skull is pierced with scissors and its brains sucked out – while still alive?

And if a baby somehow survived the murderous attempts of the abortionist, who does not even have to be a doctor? What if it was still born alive? Under previous New York law, efforts would be made to care for the child. But no longer! Under this new law, those provisions have been removed. The baby must die!

Yet New Yorkers were celebrating this moral madness. They were shouting for joy!

And in a final statement of depravity, [by Governor Cuomo] the 400-foot spire of One World Trade Center [among other “state monuments”] was lit up in pink …

Governor Cuomo is a Democrat. Democrats are the majority in both houses of the New York state legislature.

Needless to say.

Flirting with evil 17

In Judaism and Christianity, Satan is the personification of evil. And “evil” is understood to imply “a cause of suffering”.

But to tens of thousands of healthy, schooled, well heeled persons in the Western world the name means something entirely different. Joined together in cults, they worship a good Satan – good in ways that are conventionally understood to be good.

The Daily Mail reports on one such cult, The Satanic Temple.

Since TST’s founding in 2012 [by Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry], the organization has increased from a handful of members to tens of thousands, with chapters all over the US and the globe, from Stockholm to London and Los Angeles to Texas. And their “pranksterism” … has given way to a well-conceived ethos, forming an organized “religion” for a “group of contrarians” opposed to any organization at all. …

“Contrarians”? Doing shocking, but not illegal, things – the way teenagers do or say something defiant to challenge their parents, or Communists to “spite the bourgeois”?

They say they are against “tyrannical authority”.

A member of the cult explained it to Sheila Flynn, the Daily Mail reporter:

“Modern Satanism is a non-theistic religious practice that uses the literary symbol of Satan as a kind of symbol against tyrannical authority.”

In fact, as Satanists – they will have it known – they do really good things:

“In reality, what’s going on here is nice people gathering in their communities who organize charity events …”

Their stated doctrine hardly defies convention:

The seven tenets of The Satanic Temple [are]:  

One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason

The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions

One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone 

The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own

Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should never distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs 

People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused

Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word

So these “Satanists” are for nobility in action and thought: compassion; empathy; wisdom; justice; rectifying harm; reason; pursuing truth through science; respecting freedom and the inviolability of the person.

Occasion for defiance of convention is suggested by their principle that the pursuit of justice should “prevail over laws and institutions”. No objective determination of what is just, then? Rather a matter of what you feel to be just? A preference for subjective justice? If so, reason – though declared to be the guide of “compassion and empathy” – is demoted here.

To hold that the body should be inviolable is a fine idea, a noble thought; but violators abound, not only human but bacterial, viral, animal, and inanimate, and defending the body from violation is the business of law and institutions as well as science.

Reason is reinstated in the statement that belief must depend on scientific understanding. The only trouble about that is that there are different understandings of what science proves – differences that at present make for passionate controversy.

Is there anything that links them to more recognizably Satanic cults?

Well, they adhere to the known symbolism:

The Satanic Temple … is not afraid to take legal action when it feels that representations of Baphomet and other Satanic icons are not accurate reflections of its ethos and organization.  When Netflix released its new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series last autumn, for example, the show featured a goat-headed statue of Baphomet – very similar to a sculpture commissioned by TST – which the Temple contended was portrayed as evil. The Satanic Temple sued Warner Brothers and Netflix – and in November announced that it had ‘amicably settled’ the lawsuit …

So they are for Baphomet, as they are for Satan, but against evil.

What of their rites and rituals? The Daily Mail shows pictures from a video in which a black mass is being performed in one of their temples.

But, “They’re as likely to run charity blood drives or collect sanitation products for homeless women as they are to take part in any sort of dark ritual.”

Do its acolytes consider it to be a religion?

“The Satanic Temple,’ [says] religious studies professor R. Andrew Chesnut, “actually present themselves as atheistic and really see Satan more as a metaphor.”

More than what? A god?   

“They’ve actually been criticized by other old-school Satanist groups – how on earth can you say you’re Satanists, but at the same time claim to be atheistic? Because if you believe in Satan, Satan is a supernatural figure. So they’re really kind of a new generation of Satanists, and I think more than actual veneration of Satan, this is really about much more kind of politicized.” 

He [Professor Chesnut] adds: “They don’t really seem engaged in the kind of organized rituals and worship that the older-school Satanist groups do.”

And one member, Jex Blackmore, confirms the professor’s understanding that the TST is primarily a political movement. She says:

“If you’re godless , free-thinking and are a rebel, then you are a Satanist in the eyes of many in our community and society and, certainly, by people in your government, whether you like it or not. … Before I decided I was a Satanist, it was really the Bible that said, ‘This is what a Satanist was like.’ The story of Adam and Eve is a story of Eve’s original sin. Eve was very curious, as her nature was as a woman. The devil appeared in the form of a snake and offers the fruit of enlightenment. We are taught to fear that, but at the same time, it seems the most liberating – because if we did not have that opportunity, we would have to be in total servitude, without free choice. Ultimate servitude is slavery; reframing it in the light of salvation is probably one of the greatest tricks ever played on humankind. Satanism is about embracing that Satanic status, rather than being controlled by it. … The devil directly challenged God, so – as a Satanist – I believe that directly confronting injustice and corrupt authority is an expression of one’s Satanic faith – and I believe activism is a Satanic practice. Traditionally, Satanists practice very privately, closed doors, black candles, black metal music, but with the Satanic philosophy being where Satanism represents rebellion against arbitrary authority, we believe it requires a level of political participation. I think that we need to go into the public sphere and announce ourselves without shame.”

That’s exactly what the temple has done over the past nearly six years. It’s fought for a statue of Baphomet … to be displayed on government grounds alongside the Ten Commandments to demonstrate the pluralism and religious diversity of the United States.

It planned a Black Mass on the Harvard campus in Boston – one of the most Catholic cities in America – to directly contravene the teachings and traditions of one of the world’s largest religions (though it was postponed and moved to a Chinese restaurant/comedy club when the Boston Archdiocese staged a massive counter march).

To act out against the Westboro Baptist Church – perhaps one of the most reviled religious factions in America, which protests soldier funerals, denounces gays and basically thinks that everyone is going to hell except members – the Satanic Temple held an unholy ceremony at the grave of [Westboro Baptist Church’s] founder Fred Phelps’s mother.

Penny Lane is the maker of the film about the TST titled Hail Satan! She says:

“There’s a growing, rapid disenchantment with the institutional religions. I think that we live in an era which is increasingly secular, especially amongst younger people. People do research from here to here; there are more and more younger people who are separating themselves from that kind of religious tradition of religious institutions. And there’s something really lost with that. You lose a lot.

“Religion provides a way of healing, meaning, and organization and narrative, coherent and community and ethical kind of standards or ways we consider difficult problems of how to live your life. That’s heavy stuff. So when you lose religion, you get a whole lot of people like myself who find themselves casting about for that kind of organizing principle.

“In The Satanic Temple kind of reincarnation of Satanism, they set up a kind of answer to that problem that resonates for a lot of people. It’s not for everyone; it’ll never be popular, per se. If it was, it would obviate the need for its own existence. I mean, they’re supposed to be the outsider; they’re supposed to be the outsider. They’re supposed to be the kind of minority.

“They’re not going to take over the world or anything, but there’s obviously people who see themselves as being part of that marginalized outsider status [who] still want to be able to engage society and find brethren and organize themselves. That’s what they do, and they’ve really hit upon something that really does resonate for a lot more people than maybe I thought at the beginning.”

Professor Chesnut says:

“In many ways [the TST Satanists] are more Christian than a lot of parts of the Bible – and so what a lot of us would think about Satanism is definitely not reflected there. And advocating social justice and compassion and nobody has the right to tell you what to do with your body and everything – and I would say, also, putting it into a larger context, we’ve seen the proliferation in general of paganism and Wiccanism, witchcraft and stuff. … I think this also is part of this kind of burgeoning interest in alternative pagan religions, particularly among millennials and Generation Z and stuff. The most important trend on the American religious landscape is the very rapid rise of the religious “nones” – those who have no formal religious institutional affiliation – which is now 25 percent of the American population, which is now more than Catholics.”

While looking wicked, they are – by their own lights – doing good.

And apart from everything else, the Satanists have a lot of fun.

In John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, Satan says: “Evil be thou my Good!” The TST Satanists’ slogan could be: “Good be thou my Evil!”

If their name, rites and symbols shock the churches, no harm done.

We have yet to discover on which side of the great political divide they stand. Their stated respect for freedom and reason, justice and science, suggests they may be on our side.

But one of their two founders, Lucien Greaves, says in the documentary film about them: “This is the infancy of The Satanic Temple. In our own humble little way, we are changing the world.” Which suggests they are unaware what evil really is, that it is a constant of the human condition – or else that they are heedless of the danger of flirting with it.

Posted under Ethics, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 24, 2019

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You are a monster, a disease, a criminal, a fascist 1

Pat Condell explains why.

Don’t protest that it isn’t true. The truth is incorrect and inadmissible.

Posted under Commentary, Ethics, Leftism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 18, 2019

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On human nature 2

Human beings are not “fundamentally good” or even “generally decent”. To say they are is to mouth Hallmark card sentiments, not express conclusions of observation and thought.

There is a small minority who are naturally fair-minded and humane. If you live long enough, chances are you will come upon a few.

Others, also a minority but much more numerous, commit atrocities.

The rest of us are standard rogues.

Most of us restrain ourselves from doing our worst most of the time. That much we can fairly claim for ourselves in the way of virtue.

Laws are the best bridle, though far from infallible.

Does nothing else hold us in check? Yes –

Fear that they might do unto us what we would like to do unto them. 

.

Jillian Becker

January 3, 2019

Posted under Articles, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 3, 2019

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The new tyranny 11

An imminent and severe threat to freedom is the policy of certain businesses and ostensible facilitators of business that suddenly see themselves as arbiters and dictators of moral rectitude rather than what they are needed to be and essentially are – profit-makers.

To be in business to make a profit is enormously useful, supremely  important, and highly moral. 

Visa and Mastercard are among those that have decided otherwise. They are refusing their services to people and organizations with whom they have political disagreements.

As once it was religious disagreement that the powerful punished, now it is political disagreement. In both cases the punishers believe their views are  morally correct. It is not dissent, they believe, but immorality that they are punishing, for the long-term good of all humankind. 

It is very short-sighted of them. If they stick to a policy of selling their services only to their political like-thinkers, and implement it efficiently, they will be excluding as clients half the population of every Western country. We wonder if they have understood and accepted that consequence.

Among the people and organizations they are punishing are Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center. Both are politically conservative. So we presume that the people making the decision to deny them service are Leftists, and we must look at the issue through a Leftist lens to understand why they are thinking this way.

A Leftist lens is one that picks race, color, ethnic origin and sex as prime measures of virtue and deservedness. (The Left is obsessed with race and sex.) 

So who are the people at Mastercard and Visa who are punishing conservatives by refusing to serve them? 

The Management Committee of Mastercard is made up thus: 

26 members, of which 

5 are women, including the Vice Chair 

6 are Asian 

4 are Hispanic

11 are white men

The Management Team of Visa consists of :

11 members,  of which 

4 are women all bearing  the title of Executive Vice President and 1 more who is Vice Chair   

2 Asians 

5 white men including the CEO

(Who will wager us a dollar or two that they all vote Democrat and contribute to the Democratic Party?) 

Wallace Nunn writes at Front Page, a Freedom Center website: 

Every day there is a new report about how Facebook, Google,Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other giants of social media censor content, banish certain commentators for incorrect views, and otherwise work in a steady if unsystematic way to homogenize political opinion within an acceptably progressive bandwidth.  Ideas are scoured for “racism” — as contentiously defined by the intellectual stylebook of the hard left Southern Poverty Law Center, which the media have set up as an “authority” on hate speech; freedom of speech is seen as a nuisance rather than a guarantee of personal liberty and true diversity of opinion.

But there is an even more sinister threat to the first amendment than the social media, a threat that operates in a stealth way in the most crucial arena of our economic system.  It is corporate giants MasterCard and Visa, which now use their unparalleled financial power to determine what speech should be allowed and what speech should be silenced.

Most Americans use a credit or debit card every day and take these two corporations as much for granted as the light switch or the automobile ignition. We buy things with their cards ranging from the annual vacations to the daily groceries. These two interlocked corporations are the drum majors marching us into a cashless society. They are powers unto themselves, but their eminence rests on our money and the fees they exact to accommodate our transactions. 

The cards they issue are even more critical to the vendors whom they pay. Without the ability to accept charges to these cards as payment many businesses would in effect be out of business.

Unlike the comparatively clumsy and very public efforts of the social media to erase “offensive” — all too often a synonym for conservative — opinion, the cognate machinations of Visa/Mastercard take place more remotely and without response in the dark space of the mundane financial transaction.

It is as simple and as faceless as a lethal injection: An individual who wants to support an organization online makes the digital donation and is then informed that Visa/Mastercard will not process it. Neither the individual nor the organization he wishes to support are told that they are on a blacklist, let alone informed how they got there or how to get off.  The donor is denied his right to put his money where his mouth is. …

The Freedom Center had such an experience a few months ago when online donations were overnight peremptorily refused by Visa/Mastercard with no reason given and no protest accepted.  We were able to create enough noise about this injustice — in the media and with the threat of legislative attention — that the credit card giants turned the power back on just as capriciously as they had turned it off.

We were lucky. Robert Spencer, whose jihadwatch.org is one of the indispensable sites for understanding the intentions and the threat ofIslamic terrorism, has been shut down from receiving supporters’ donations for several weeks now, and is forced to try to keep Jihad Watch going on a shoestring while Visa/Mastercard imperiously ignores demand letters and threats of court action from his attorneys

The anti-Semitic Nation of Islam’s credit card donations are processed; the anti-Islamist Jihad Watch’s are not.

This oligopoly acts with the faceless finality of an IRS lien when it sets itself up as lawmaker, judge and jury with the power to decide which speech should be allowed and which should be shut down.  It kills free speech not by arguing against the ideas it disapproves of, but by the silence of the arbitrary act, using the financial system to accomplish the deed.

Over half the people of the United States who own a debit or credit card use it as their sole method for paying bills. (Most of the other half use them too, just not as frequently.) In 2015 there were 69.5 billion debit card payments with a value of $2.56 trillion and 33.8 billion credit card payments with a value of $3.16trillion — together adding up to around 6 trillion in an economy of 19 trillion.

This is a very sizable public accommodation. More importantly it is immense power, power that can be and is being used to shutdown the civil rights of people who want to support the speech of the Freedom Center, Jihad Watch, other conservative groups and anyone else in our political universe. … 

We have come to a point in our history when government must once against step in to preserve rights and prevent wrongs just as it did in 1964. Civil Rights are as much imperiled now as they were then. The technology revolution has undeniably brought much that is good and fruitful, but as it has evolved, this revolution has developed a dark side that concentrates increasing power in the hands of fewer people. …

We too are exasperated by Visa/Mastercard, but we are not convinced that  government should step in. It’s better to keep government out. The cure is surely to be found, as always, in the free market. Competition is the right way to bring companies that exploit near-monopolies to their commercial senses – and will keep them morally clean and decent.   

Posted under Business, Economics, Ethics, Leftism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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Prize lies 2

Obama claims that the eight years of his presidency were free of scandal. In fact, the scandals were many and appalling.

Obama claims to have stopped Iran becoming a nuclear power. In fact, he entered into a deal that permitted Iran to become a nuclear power.

Obama claims to have improved race relations. In fact, he worsened them. 

Obama claims to have launched an economic boom. In fact, he never achieved even 3% GDP growth.

In sum, he was a weak and destructive president. The harm he did would not be easy to repair, and America is lucky to have found the man to succeed him who could not only mend what he had broken, and is doing so, but is going much further, turning the failure round and achieving success. Even some unprecedented successes. And all in record time.

Obama sees the repair as an undoing of the changes he wrought. As he puts it, “The status quo pushes back.”

The complaint comes from a speech he made at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill., on Sept. 7, 2018, when the university honored him with the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.

The speech he gave on the occasion of receiving the prize included these claims:

Each time we painstakingly pull ourselves closer to our founding ideals, that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; the ideals that say every child should have opportunity and every man and woman in this country who’s willing to work hard should be able to find a job and support a family and pursue their small piece of the American Dream; our ideals that say we have a collective responsibility to care for the sick and the infirm, and we have a responsibility to conserve the amazing bounty, the natural resources of this country and of this planet for future generations, each time we’ve gotten closer to those ideals, somebody somewhere has pushed back. The status quo pushes back. Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, if wrongly, fearful of change. More often it’s manufactured by the powerful and the privileged who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep us cynical because that helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege. …

To which political party does that last sentence most aptly apply? We say the Democratic Party? But then, the Left has a habit of accusing its opponents of the faults, failings, bad emotions, plots, conspiracies, evil intentions, underhand actions, and failures of which itself is guilty.

Most of you don’t remember a time before 9/11, when you didn’t have to take off your shoes at an airport.

Did he mention who was responsible for 9/11 and for us having to take off our shoes at an airport? No. Because he never did and never will blame Islam for its acts of terrorism.

Most of you don’t remember a time when America wasn’t at war, or when money and images and information could travel instantly around the globe, or when the climate wasn’t changing faster than our efforts to address it.

A strange combination of references. No one living remembers a time when America wasn’t at war, if the Cold War is counted. About the money and images he probably meant “remember a time when they could not …”  And then he throws in as a certainty that there was a time when climate was not changing fast, but it is now.

And this was all before a change. What change? Have the wars stopped?

The only change he almost got right was a change to faster communications than ever before.

He claims that all three factors together brought about this consequence:

This change has happened fast, faster than any time in human history. And it created a new economy that has unleashed incredible prosperity.

Only, of the three phenomena he mentioned, could the faster communications be said to have promoted prosperity.

Actually, he just gabbled nonsense. And all to get in a claim to an “unleashed incredible prosperity” – the prosperity he claims as hid own achievement.

He goes on to say how he rescued the economy from wicked men.

[T]he reckless behavior of financial elites triggered a massive financial crisis, ten years ago this week, a crisis that resulted in the worst recession in any of our lifetimes and caused years of hardship for the American people, for many of your parents, for many of your families. Most of you weren’t old enough to fully focus on what was going on at the time, but when I came into office in 2009, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. 800,000. Millions of people were losing their homes. Many were worried we were entering into a second Great Depression. So we worked hard to end that crisis, but also to break some of these longer term trends. And the actions we took during that crisis returned the economy to healthy growth and initiated the longest streak of job creation on record. And we covered another 20 million Americans with health insurance and we cut our deficits by more than half, partly by making sure that people like me, who have been given such amazing opportunities by this country, pay our fair share of taxes to help folks coming up behind me.

While it is true that employment rose before he left office, his claim that higher taxes (on “people like me”) were a formula for prosperity is false. President Trump’s tax cuts (for all tax payers) prove it. Furthermore, Obama heavily regulated business, and President Trump’s lifting of many Obama regulations has been a factor in creating the very real present economic boom.

And by the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high and the uninsured rate had hit an all-time low and wages were rising and poverty rates were falling. I mention all this just so when you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.

He came on then to his foreign policy.

Even though we took out bin Laden and wound down the wars in Iraq and our combat role in Afghanistan, and got Iran to halt its nuclear program, the world’s still full of threats and disorder. …

And even though your generation is the most diverse in history …

Nonsense! No generation is more “diverse” than any other.

… with a greater acceptance and celebration of our differences than ever before, those are the kinds of conditions that are ripe for exploitation by politicians who have no compunction and no shame about tapping into America’s dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division. …

[O]ver the past few decades, the politics of division, of resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.

Remember when a Republican Attorney General refused to prosecute a bunch of white people although they were breaking the law, on the grounds that he would not act against “his  people”? No. Neither do we. But we do recall Eric Holder- Obama’s black AG – saying something like that in a case of the Black Panthers …

This Congress has … embraced wild conspiracy theories, like those surrounding Benghazi, or my birth certificate.

The trick: he throws out, in passing, that the (factually accurate) report of his failure to send help to a US ambassador and three servicemen who were killed by Muslim terrorists in Benghazi was a “wild conspiracy theory’, and associates it with an unproved, unlikely, and petty story that he was not born in the United States. But the horrible events in Benghazi were proved and profoundly important.

He comes to his own party’s wild conspiracy theory:

[The Repulicans in power are] undermining our alliances, cozying up to Russia. What happened to the Republican Party? Its central organizing principle in foreign policy was the fight against Communism, and now they’re cozying up to the former head of the KGB, actively blocking legislation that would defend our elections from Russian attack.

And he calls the partial repeal of his unworkable health legislation “sabotage”:

Their sabotage of the Affordable Care Act has already cost more than three million Americans their health insurance. And if they’re still in power next fall, you’d better believe they’re coming at it again. …

He defends the media who gave him uncritical support in all he did, and never stp attacking President Trump. What is indefnsible in his eyes, is Trump hitting back at his media enemies. To do this, he lies again:

I complained plenty about Fox News – but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people.

We did hear that his administration “spied on members of the media, illegally seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists. Fox News reporter James Rosen called Obama ‘the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation’ after being threatened with possible jail time for refusing to reveal one of his sources”. (See our quotations from Matt Margolis below.)

Next, he endorses the lie that President Trump sympathizes with Nazis:

We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers.

How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad.

How hard can it be to say that Islamic terrorism is bad? That Communism is bad? Too hard for him, it appeared.

Then comes the most blatantly impudent accusation of them all:

And we won’t win people over by calling them names, or dismissing entire chunks of the country as racist, or sexist, or homophobic.

Who, every minute of every day, calls whom “racist, or sexist, or homophobic”? Or all three?

Matt Margolis comments at PJ Media:

Today we saw just how far academia is going to perpetuate the myth of Obama’s “scandal-free” administration when he was awarded the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government by the University of Illinois. Not since the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize has Obama been so undeserving of an award. But, I submit that this award is even worse than the Nobel Peace Prize he didn’t deserve. In 2009, the Nobel committee was at least ignorant of what Obama’s record would turn out to be. There is simply no excuse in 2018 for Obama to be receiving an Ethics in Government award. … The Paul H. Douglas Award is now forever tainted.

What, exactly, did the committee at the University of Illinois think Obama did to earn an Ethics in Government award? The Obama years were plagued by scandal and defined by a hyper-partisan government.

Last month I cited six Obama scandals where a special counsel should have been appointed to investigate but was not. Unlike Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Obama’s attorneys general, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, were partisan lackeys who did everything they could to protect Obama from being held accountable. Obama, Holder, and Lynch knew that if they left the investigating to Republicans in Congress they could write them off as partisan witch hunts and use any and all tactics possible to obstruct and stonewall those investigations, or in some cases, run their own sham investigation that cleared them of any wrongdoing.

I document thirty different scandals in my book The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. Each scandal on its own makes the idea of Obama receiving an ethics award laughable. All of them together make this award blasphemous. From the moment Obama took office he was under a dark cloud of scandal, having been involved in illegal negotiations with [the condemned criminal] Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to give him a cabinet position in exchange for Blagojevich nominating an Obama-preferred candidate to his vacated Senate seat … yet Obama just received an Ethics in Government award? What a joke!…

There are plenty of well-known scandals that the committee that decided to award Obama had to have been aware of but chose to ignore. There was the Fast and Furious scandal, which involved sending guns to Mexico in the hopes of tracking them to drug cartel leaders. Not only did they lose track of a large number of guns, but one gun was found to have been used in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The Obama administration tried to cover it up, and they stonewalled a congressional investigation, resulting in Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents. Is this what constitutes “ethics in government” to the University of Illinois?

The Obama administration also abused the Espionage Act to target reporters and their sources. They even spied on members of the media, illegally seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists. Fox News reporter James Rosen called Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation” after being threatened with possible jail time for refusing to reveal one of his sources.  Is this what constitutes “ethics in government” to the University of Illinois? …

There were also –

The Solyndra scandal [see here], the Benghazi cover-up, Uranium One, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the covering up of thousands of deaths of veterans waiting for care at VA hospitals, manipulating intelligence, paying ransom money to Iran, Project Cassandra [see here], spying on Donald Trump, the Hillary email scandal, which I should add, also implicated Obama, who communicated with Hillary via her private email address and used a pseudonym himself.

It’s bad enough when Obama claims he was scandal-free. But, when he receives an ethics in government award, it diminishes the meaning of ethics. It’s time to stop pretending Obama was scandal-free or ethical. … I’ve only scratched the surface of Obama’s scandalous and unethical presidency. 

The only reason why Barack Obama was elected president was that he was black. He had nothing else to offer. A sufficient number of white Americans voted for him to get him into the White House for no better reason than that they needed to feel good, to prove to themselves, and the country and the world, that they were not “racist“.

Barack Obama, for all his expensive education, was ill-informed and strangely ignorant – and he embraced ideologies inimical to America. He seemed not to know how many states there were in the country he governed. He thought Austrians spoke a language called Austrian. He did not know how to pronounce “corpsman”. And he was a follower of the Communist “community organizer” Saul Alinsky, and a lackey of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He lied and commanded others to lie. Under his leadership, his party worked an elaborate plot, which it still pursues, to destroy the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump with false and slanderous allegations of treason.

If prizes were awarded for lying, Obama would deserve them all.

The injustice of “social justice” 9

Now that the Democratic Party has “come out” as proudly Socialist, the American electorate has a clear choice: vote Trumpist Republican and be free and prosperous OR vote Big Brother Democrat and be collectivized and poor.

Nobody has ever explained why the free market is “just” AND creates wealth, better than the great economist Friedrich von Hayek. Here he is explaining why to William F. Buckley Jr. in 1977, supported in his argument by George Roche III, president of Hillsdale College.

Hayek explains that in order for a ruling power to make people economically equal, it would have to “treat people very unequally indeed”. (Some would have to work and be robbed of their wages,  while others would be able to sit back, do nothing, and receive the bounty of the stolen funds).

Buckley, who was actually strongly conservative, plays “devil’s advocate”, putting the (sentimental) case for Socialism to his two interlocutors.

We would have preferred Hayek to use the word “fair”, or “equitable”, rather than “just”, because justice can only apply to the individual. George Roche’s argument for freedom on moral grounds comes close to making this point, if not very clearly. We understand that Hayek had to say “just” because “Social Justice” is the subject and title of the discussion.

Posted under Economics, Ethics, liberty, Socialism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 10, 2018

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Conspiracy, collusion, corruption condoned? 1

It is past time for the vindictive conspirators against the president of the United States to be brought to justice.

Evidence of their guilt continues to pile up, and still they are not prosecuted.

Are these conspirators and colluders exempt from the law? Are their crimes to be condoned?

Investor’ Business daily provides an outline of their scandalous plot, stressing the “stunning” revelation by one of the conspirators that President Obama was behind it:

As the saying goes, a fish rots from the head down. Well, so do bad governments. Recent revelations about the behavior of President Obama and his CIA director John Brennan in pushing the bogus Russian collusion investigation suggest that’s been the case. The release of the FISA application by the FBI to investigate alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign and recent comments made by top officials are eye opening.

Not only did President Obama know about the investigation, he seems to have pushed it from the very beginning.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, the nation’s former spy master, James Clapper, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper:

If it weren’t for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of event which are still unfolding today, including Special Counsel (Robert) Mueller’s investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place.

Why didn’t this get more attention in the media? Obama and [John] Brennan [Obama’s CIA chief] not only knew the dubious nature of the allegations against Trump, but pushed them anyway.

As Kimberley Strassel wrote in the Wall Street Journal, Brennan in particular has revealed himself to be a total anti-Trump partisan to an extent that’s shocking for a public official. His animus is raw and deep, as his actions suggest.  She wrote:

The record shows (Brennan) went on to use his position — as head of the most powerful spy agency in the world — to assist Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and keep his job).

Brennan’s manic partisanship could be seen last week in an over-the-top, bizarrely unhinged tweet following Trump’s press conference after his mini-summit with Vladimir Putin. Brennan called Trump’s remarks”nothing short of treasonous” and said they exceeded “the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors'”.

While Brennan’s hate for the GOP nominee may be public now, it wasn’t in the summer of 2016. His evidence for collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was so weak neither the FBI nor Clapper would commit to it.

Knowing his role as CIA head forbade him from intervening in domestic spying and trying to take the investigation from a low simmer to a high boil, Brennan got the ball rolling in August of 2016 by telling thenformer Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a tale of Russians interfering in our election on Trump’s behalf.

It worked. Pushed on by Brennan, Reid, then the most powerful person in Congress, wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey citing “evidence of a direct connection” between the Trump campaign and seeking an investigation.

Not only did Brennan share intelligence with the FBI, but soon after, the Democrat-linked opposition research firm Fusion GPS began leaking the “Trump Dossier” to the media. The fix was in.

As the [recent] release … of the FBI’s FISA court application used to spy on former Trump aide Carter Page indicates, the dossier was used extensively for the application. That’s contrary to what the FBI had maintained.

Moreover, an influential article written by Michael Isikoff detailing the dossier’s contents and Harry Reid’s letter to the FBI were likewise used to get approval for the FISA court application.

What do they all have in common? They all go back to the same phony dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele for Fusion GPS. It was never verified or validated by the FBI. It was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and her pals at the Democratic National Committee, solely to smear Trump.

… Hillary … was adept at insinuating her phony oppo research document into the public record and at using it to weaponize U.S. intelligence agencies on behalf of her failed campaign.

But then, we all knew this had happened. What’s stunning is the casual way Clapper let us know that President Obama “was responsible” for the whole shebang.

If that’s so, there are really only two possibilities:

One, that a gullible Obama was fed phony information from Brennan and the Hillary Clinton campaign. He then over-reacted by tasking the intelligence community to look into it.

Or, two, that Obama knew he was dealing with tainted information. Instead of halting a bogus investigation, he let Brennan carry it forward. Why? He thought it would help elect Hillary Clinton — and cement his own presidential legacy for posterity.

At a minimum, what seems obvious is that the deep state triad of Obama, Clinton and Brennan colluded. They did it to damage Trump’s campaign with allegations of Russian interference in the election. And they got the FBI and, later, a special prosecutor, to conduct a high-profile investigation.

Instead of investigating Trump, shouldn’t we investigate those who subverted our democracy for rank partisan purposes to influence a presidential election? That’s Obama, Brennan and Clinton.

Removing security clearances for those in the Obama administration who lied or were guilty of misconduct and political bias would be a minimum.

The crimes of the plotters “are bigger than Watergate”, the IBD editorial declares. Yes, they are hugely bigger.

When will the perpetrators answer for them in a court of law?

Is it conceivable that a Republican administration, its Department of Justice, and a Republican-majority House and Senate will let them go unpunished?

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