The pursuit of happiness 57

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

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

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

But doesn’t.

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

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

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

Google reveals:

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

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

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

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

Britain? Only 7.23!

China? 9.8

Iran 4.8   The state does most of the killing there.

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

Syria 0.1  Constant civil war rages there.

Pakistan 1.1   People are happy in Pakistan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Dreher,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry. Thanks for listening.

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

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

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

Readers, your comments are needed.

Russia 1

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

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

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

After Communism

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

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

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

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

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

A louder snort. But on:

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

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

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

The Neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priorities and Collusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are Our Interests?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religion versus morality 50

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

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

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

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

 

 

Jillian Becker   August 26, 2019

 

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

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This raging war 9

The fiercest, most intense and most extensive war ever fought is raging now. The battleground where no blood is spilt, no corpses buried, is the abstract sphere of ideas. The weapons are words.

The sides are Globalism versus Nationalism.

The issue is the future of the human race.

The question is, should there be separate self-governing nations or world government?

The Cold War was about the same question. International communism with its world government aspirations sought to conquer nation states defending individual freedom. The communist side lost, but its ideologues lived to fight another day.

Many of them lived in the nation states whose governments opposed the spread of communism. They fight now for their world government ideal from within their free countries.

John Fonte writes at American Greatness:

In 2008, Robert Kagan, then advising the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, declared that the “United States . . . should not oppose, but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty.”

The social-material base of the transnationalists [the globalists – ed] is housed in many institutions and organizations. For example, in the leadership of the United Nations; with bureaucrats from the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank; with judges from the World Court in the Hague, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

The social base certainly includes the leadership of the European Union (which is a model for supranational governance) and its administrators in the European Commission, judges in the European Court of Justice, and other EU officials. It includes international non-governmental organizations (e.g. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, George Soros’s Open Society foundations, etc.); and it includes “the Davoisie,” the global corporate leaders who attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. …

[T]he Obama Administration [promoted] transnational progressivism and diminishing democratic sovereignty. As Obama told the United Nations in 2016:

We’ve bound our power to international laws and institutions . . . I am convinced that in the long run, giving up freedom of action—not our ability to protect ourselves but binding ourselves to international rules over the long term—enhances our security.

With the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of conservative democratic nationalists throughout the West, the global governance project has been seriously challenged for the first time. It appears that the “arc of history” has been altered.

So, what is this conflict between democratic sovereignty and transnational progressivism (or globalism) all about?

It is about the oldest questions in politics, examined by Plato and Aristotle: who should rule and on what basis? Who makes the rules by which we are governed? What is legitimate and what is not?

The program for the National Conservative Conference states that since the fall of the Berlin Wall, many American conservatives have “grown increasingly attached to a vision of a ‘global rules-based liberal order’ that would bring peace and prosperity to the entire world while attenuating the independence of nations”.

Wait! Conservatives have done that? Which conservatives? Why? When? And in what way, then, are they conservative?

So, let us examine this post-1989 “global rules-based liberal order”.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many conservatives embraced President George H. W. Bush’s call for a “new world order”. It appeared to be a consolidation of the West’s Cold War victory and, thus, the building of a Reagan-Thatcher global order based on expanding liberal democracy and free markets.

Ah! Phew! A Reagan-Thatcher liberal order would be just fine.

But the “rules” in this “rules-based” liberal global order began to “evolve” (as academics like to say).

“Evolve” to the “academics” means change into a totally different, in fact an opposite concept.

In the 1990s, the United Nations Landmines Treaty and the establishment of the International Criminal Court were enacted by globalist forces (including European nation-states, American NGOs, and foundations) against the concerns of American sovereignty.

Recognizing this new transnationalist challenge in September 2000, John Bolton, in a University of Chicago law journal article, portrayed a coming conflict between “Globalists and Americanists.” At that time, 19 years ago, Bolton warned that we must take global governance seriously as a threat to democratic sovereignty.

A decade later, the Obama Administration in the name of the liberal global order was strong-arming democratic nation-states into adhering to progressive social policies concerning radical feminism, abortion, LGBT, and gender issues.

Meanwhile, the EU forced the removal of democratically elected leaders in Italy and Greece, and, led by Germany, facilitated mass migration from the developing world without the consent of the people of Europe’s democratic nation-states. It appears that the “rules” have changed as the liberal global order envisioned by Reagan-Thatcher conservatives has morphed into the transnational progressive order of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.

In a “rules-based” global order the crucial question, of course, is who makes the rules? We are always reassured by the foreign policy establishment, dominated by self-styled “liberal internationalists” (who are, in reality, transnational progressives)—“don’t worry, Americans and their democratic allies will be making the rules”.

Yes, it is true that American elites will play an oversized role in the formation of global “rules”. Therefore, we should take a close look at what American elites are saying.

A leading international relations specialist, and supporter of global governance, Princeton University Professor G. John Ikenberry asks how do nation-states “reconcile the international liberal vision of increasing authority lodged above the nation-state—where there is a sharing and pooling of sovereignty—with domestic liberal democracy built on popular sovereignty.” He admits, “This is the unresolved problem in the liberal international project.”

Ikenberry’s answer is buried in several footnotes in his book, Liberal Leviathan. He cites American international relations scholars, Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. Their argument is that national democracies cannot be relied upon to formulate the global “rules” because they disregard the interests of foreigners (Keohane cites the United States and Israel explicitly as major transgressors in this regard.)

Given the “limitations” of democratic sovereignty—of democratic self-government—American international relations specialists contend that the legitimacy of the rules-based order lies with “external epistemic communities” and “external epistemic actors.” You got that? “External epistemic actors.” In other words, for American transnationalists, global experts in international law, human rights, the environment, gender equity, and the like, would have greater legitimacy in the creation of “global rules” than democratically elected officials. This is a prescription for post-democratic rule.

Unelected dictators – among them no doubt some Americans – will be the world’s rulers as they are now of the EU. And like the rulers of the EU, they will be redistributionists, Socialists, collectivists. Their world order will be ruled much as China is. By force and coercion. By the imposition of an orthodoxy of ideas. Heretics will be removed before the contamination of an unauthorized opinion can spread.   

Without a doubt, the American leadership class is crucial to the success of the post-democratic global governance project. Because of the power of the American nation-state, U.S. submission to global authority would have to be voluntary. And that, indeed, is the dream of American transnational progressives (including our corporate elites)—America would provide what they would loudly hail as “leadership” in first creating and then submitting to the “rules” of a supranational legal regime.

This is what the American Bar Association means when it advocates the “global rule of law”. This is what Robert Kagan meant when he asserted that the United States “should not oppose but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty”.

This is what President Bill Clinton meant when he told his confidant Strobe Talbott that “we have to build a global social system” for a world in the future in which America was no longer the leading power. Talbott noted that Clinton was “careful not to broadcast” these beliefs “while in office”.

And this is what President Obama meant when he told the United Nations in 2016 that by “binding ourselves to international laws and institutions” and that by “giving up freedom of action” and “binding ourselves to international rules over the long term” America would actually enhance its security. …

For decades conservative thinking has ignored the globalist challenge. The good news is that the Trump Administration is taking the conflict between democratic sovereignty and global governance seriously.

During his U.N. speech in 2017, President Trump mentioned sovereignty more than 20 times. He began by declaring “In foreign affairs we are renewing the principle of sovereignty”. He stated, “Our success depends upon a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security, prosperity, and peace.”

The following year, President Trump told the United Nations:

[S]overeign and independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom has ever survived and democracy has ever endured . . . so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all . . . We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.

So of course the globalists – aka the Left, the Progressives, the Communists, the Democratic Party, the EU, the UN, and namely Merkel, Putin, Xi Jinping, Corbyn, Pelosi – hate him. Hate him. The savior of freedom.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Brussels, declared “our mission is to reassert sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and exert their sovereignty as well.” The speech was called, “Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order.”

Months later, Pompeo told the Claremont Institute:

Countries all over the world are rediscovering their national identities, and we are supporting them. We’re asking them to do what’s best for their people as well. The wave of electoral surprises has swept from Britain to the United States and all the way to Brazil.

Today, we are witnessing the awakening of a national conservatism that might have been dormant, but has always been with us. …

The old conservative formula, that essentially ignored the transnational progressive challenge externally—and the identity politics-multiculturalist challenge internally—is not adequate to face the contemporary threats from global progressive left-liberalism.

National conservatism (in our country, we could call it Americanism) is needed to frame the two core issues of our time: the external challenge from globalism that I have examined, and the closely related internal challenge from identity-politics, multiculturalism, intersectionality, political correctness, social justice, woke-ism, whatever you want to call it—that the Claremont Institute and several speakers at the National Conservatism Conference have identified as the major adversary facing our nation today.

On both fronts, externally and internally, we are now involved in a conflict that will determine, not simply the direction of politics, but the existence of the democratic nation-state in America, Britain, the West, and throughout the world.

Die Führerin 27

Germany dominates Europe. Now a new German leader of the EU – selected, not elected – is taking over the presidency of the European Commission, in effect becoming President of Europe.

Ursula von der Leyen

She has the instincts of a dictator. 

This time the would-be German dictator of Europe is a woman. Gynocracy is the political fashion among the totalitarians.

Bruce Bawer writes at Front Page:

No sane person could have witnessed the coronation this week of the new grand poobah of the European Union without recognizing just how utterly undemocratic – and dangerous – this institution is.

Her name is Ursula von der Leyen, a name that instantly communicates two important facts: (1) she is German; (2) she is a member of a hereditary elite.

To be sure, the “von” is courtesy of her husband, who belongs to an aristocratic family. But her own blood also runs blue. In addition to having a tony Teutonic lineage – she was born into the patrician Albrecht clan – she’s descended from a couple of the biggest slave traders in the American South. Her grandfather, Carl Albrecht, was a psychologist famous for his studies of “mystical consciousness.” Her father, Ernst Albrecht, was one of the very first bureaucrats to tread the corridors of power in what would later become the European Union.

Raised in Belgium, von der Leyen studied in Germany and Britain, and lived for a while in the U.S., along the way picking up degrees in economics and public health and also becoming a gynecologist. But she eventually settled on politics, hitching her wagon to Angela Merkel and climbing the ladder of power in Germany, getting herself elected to the Bundestag and serving in turn as Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth; Minister of Labor and Social Affairs; and Minister of Defense.

In the last-named position, she didn’t exactly cover herself in glory: as President Trump has pointed out, Germany has consistently failed to pull its weight in NATO; British journalist Andrew Neil recently referred to her as a “failed” Defense Minister and as “the second most unpopular politician in Germany”.

None of which should come as a surprise, because the top Brussels jobs are routinely the next stop for failed, unpopular European politicians. You don’t need to be competent to get tagged for a leadership position in the EU, and you definitely don’t need to be popular. Von der Leyen got picked to be the most powerful official in the EU – with a population upwards of 500 million – by the twenty-eight members of the Council of Europe.

On Tuesday, the European Parliament got to weigh in on her appointment and to vote to ratify [read “rubber-stamp”] her selection, but it was hardly an exercise in democracy: as in the Soviet Union and other Communist states, it was an “election” with one candidate. …

Consequently, as the EU continues its long metamorphosis from a coal and steel community into a hyperstate, the closest thing it has to a president is a woman who has said that she looks forward to a United States of Europe and is eager to build an EU military. Perhaps one reason for her disastrous tenure in the German Defense Ministry (as Andrew Neil put it: “Sixty percent of their planes can’t fly. A hundred percent of their submarines can’t take to the sea”) was that she wasn’t really all that interested in upgrading her own country’s armed forces and keeping NATO strong – her real goal is to establish the EU as a major military power, effectively replacing NATO.

Before the EU Parliament voted on her candidacy, von der Leyen was given a chance to address its members. Her speech was a cavalcade of clichés about “turn[ing] challenges into opportunities” and “tak[ing] bold steps together”,  not to mention developing “frameworks”, creating “mechanisms”, and introducing new “schemes”. Banal stuff.

But the actual content was frankly scary, even for those of us who are already onto these people’s dark intentions. Speaking in the chamber of the EU Parliament, von der Leyen sounded for all the world like a dictator, calling for her subjects to march in unison, to “move together” in “solidarity”, because “we all share the same destination”. She made it clear that there is something called “the European way”, and she knows what it is – it is now her job to define what it is – and everybody had better get on board pronto and move in lockstep into the golden future time.

She promised a new “European climate law”, a new EU unemployment-insurance arrangement, and a variety of other new laws and regulations.

She vowed to order member states to provide equal numbers of male and female EU commissioners – and she vowed that if they failed to comply, she would reject their nominees and force them to bend to her will.

“The world,” she pronounced, “is calling for more Europe. The world needs more Europe….Europe should have a stronger and more united voice in the world.” Note that “more united” bit – this is a canny way of saying that the duly elected governments of supposedly sovereign EU nations should henceforth be even more obedient to her than they were to her predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker. Then there was this: “We must have the courage to take foreign policy decisions by qualified majority and to have the courage to stand behind them.” This is a sheer power grab: what she’s saying here is that she plans to compel member states, whatever the will of their citizens, to subscribe to a single foreign policy to be determined by Brussels.

She even compared the EU to a marriage. Nor was it possible to ignore her fondness for the words “strong” and “strength”.

The idea of herself as Führer of a mighty realm stretching from Portugal to Finland, from Ireland to Cyprus, manifestly gets this woman’s juices flowing.

After the European Parliament confirmed her as President of the European Commission, she gave an acceptance speech in which she actually told the legislators that “your confidence in me is confidence in Europe.” Translation: L’État, c’est moi. What is it about the spectacle of a power-hungry German envisioning an omnipotent European empire – with herself at the helm – that sounds so unsettling? Who was it, again, who said “Ich bin Deutschland, und Deutschland bin ich”?

As Nigel Farage commented in the European Parliament on Tuesday, von der Leyen is plainly out “to take control of every single aspect of our lives … she wants to build a centralized, undemocratic, updated form of communism”. The second the word “communism” passed his lips, the hall was filled with cries of outrage. But it was scarcely an exaggeration. (Imagine if he had said “Nazism”!)

Noting von der Leyen’s enthusiasm for an EU military, Farage pointed out that “what is there for defense can also be used for attack”. Indeed, there can be little doubt that one reason von der Leyen and company are itching to build a European army is that they want to prevent any more Brexits: try to pull your country out of the EU a few years from now and, if she has her way, Brussels will do to you what Moscow did to Hungary in 1956 and to Czechoslovakia in 1968.

There is no comfort in prospect for Europeans who prefer freedom. Change will come, but not for the better. It will not be long now – a few decades – before the indigenous European dictators will be replaced by Muslim dictators. They will be even worse. Less likely to be female, but likely to be more savage.

If the British accomplish Brexit, they will save themselves from humiliating subjugation in this solidifying Fourth Reich, aka the EU. But to judge by the way they are trending – inviting in yet more Muslim immigrants, having few children of their own, punishing criticism of Islam – they too will accept Mohammedan supremacy.

Posted under Europe, Germany by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 22, 2019

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Who governs the rotten European Union? 4

… Crooks, failures, plagiarizers, traitors – that’s who.

The European corruptocracy decides, after much wrangling, who of its in-crowd will get the next innings in the highly rewarded sinecures at the head of the so-called European Union.

Soeren Kern writes (in part) at Gatestone July 8 2019

European leaders on July 2 nominated four federalists to fill the top jobs of the European Union. The nominations  … send a clear signal that the pro-EU establishment has no intention of slowing its relentless march toward a European superstate, a “United States of Europe”, despite a surge of anti-EU sentiment across the continent.

Following are brief profiles of the nominees for the top four positions in the next European Commission …

1.Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, the daughter of a prominent EU official, has been nominated to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission, the powerful bureaucratic arm of the European Union. …

Von der Leyen has called for the creation of a European superstate. …

 She has also called for the creation of a European Army.

At the same time, however, von der Leyen has been roundly criticized at home and abroad for her performance as German defense minister. During her tenure, Germany’s military has deteriorated due to budget cuts and poor management …

“The Bundeswehr’s condition is catastrophic,” wrote Rupert Scholz, who served as defense minister under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, days before von der Leyen was nominated to the EU’s top post. “The entire defense capability of the Federal Republic is suffering, which is totally irresponsible.”

Writing for the Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, commentator Stefan Ulrich opined that von der Leyen is an “unsuitable” choice: “Von der Leyen is unsuitable because after six years as defense minister the Bundeswehr is still in such a deplorable state. She should have resigned a long time ago. As President of the European Commission, she will be overwhelmed.”

In March 2016, von der Leyen was cleared of allegations of plagiarism in her doctoral thesis. In September 2015, the newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that plagiarized material had been found on 27 pages of her 62-page dissertation. The president of the Hanover Medical School, Christopher Baum, said that although von der Leyen’s thesis did contain plagiarized material, the school decided against revoking her title because there had been no intent to deceive. “It’s about mistake, not misconduct,” he said.

Von der Leyen is currently being investigated by the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office for nepotism in connection with the allocation of contracts worth hundreds of millions of euros to outside consultants. One such firm is McKinsey & Company, where her son David works as an associate.

Former European Parliament President Martin Schulz tweeted: “Von der Leyen is our weakest minister. That’s apparently enough to become Commission president.”

2. Charles Michel, President of the European Council

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, the son of a prominent EU official, has been nominated to succeed Poland’s Donald Tusk as President of the European Council. The European Council defines the EU’s overall political direction and priorities. The members of the European Council are the heads of state or government of the 28 EU member states, the European Council President and the President of the European Commission.

Michel became Belgium’s youngest prime minister in 2014 at the age of 38. In December 2018, he resigned after losing a no-confidence motion over his support for the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. It proclaimed basic rights for migrants, but critics said it would blur the line between legal and illegal immigration. He now heads a caretaker government after an inconclusive general election in May 2019. …

Michel is a strong proponent of the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He has criticized the Trump administration for withdrawing from the agreement. …

Michel has also condemned the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. …

3. Josep Borrell, EU Foreign Policy Chief

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell has been nominated to replace Federica Mogherini as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Like Mogherini, Borrell is a well-known supporter of the mullahs in Iran and is likely to clash with the United States and Israel over the nuclear deal with Tehran.

In a February 19 interview with Politico, Borrell, a Socialist, declared that Israel would have to live with the existential threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb

On February 11, Borrell marked the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution by praising the achievements made by women in the country since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini swept to power in 1979. The rights and status of Iranian women have, in fact, been severely restricted since the Islamic Revolution. …

In May 2019, Borrell accused the United States of acting “like a western cowboy” after the Trump administration recognized the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as interim president of the country. Borrell said that Spain “will continue to reject pressures that border on military interventions” to remove from power Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The Spanish Socialist Party has a long history of promoting the Marxist revolutionaries led by Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez.

Borrell has said that “Europe needs a new leitmotiv” and that the fight against climate change “should be one of the great engines of Europe’s rebirth “.

In April 2012, Borrell was forced to resign as president of the European University Institute (EUI) due to a conflict of interest after it emerged that he was simultaneously being paid €300,000 a year as a board member of the Spanish sustainable-energy company Abengoa. In October 2016, Borrell was fined €30,000 ($34,000) by the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) for insider trading after selling 10,000 shares in Abengoa in November 2015.

4. Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank

Christine Lagarde, a former French finance minister the current managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has been nominated to succeed Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank (ECB). Lagarde’s nomination has received mixed reviews. As the head of the IMF, she brings strong credentials in leadership, management and communications. She is, however, a lawyer, not an economist, and she has no experience in monetary policy. …

In December 2016, France’s Court of Justice of the Republic found Lagarde guilty of negligence for not seeking to block a fraudulent 2008 arbitration award to a politically connected tycoon when she was finance minister. The court ruled that Lagarde’s negligence in her management of a long-running arbitration case … helped open the door for the fraudulent misappropriation of €403 million ($450 million) of public funds in a settlement given to Tapie in 2008 over the botched sale of sportswear giant Adidas in the 1990s.

Yes, the court found Christine Lagarde “guilty of charges over a massive [illegal] government payout”, which should have resulted in her being both fined and imprisoned, but decided she should not be punished at all.

Members of the Left elite are above the laws that they make for the putrescent European Union.

What have we allowed to happen to us? 12

Anjuli Pandavar is a British atheist who was raised a Muslim in South Africa.

She was recently shut out of (misnamed!) Free Thought Blogs because, they say:

We have  been receiving complaints [about Anjuli Pandavar] from readers and other bloggers for months — and recent posts [by her] praising Fox News and blaming black Americans for racism were the final straw. … We are skeptics and critics of dogma and authoritarianism, and in addition, we recognize that the nonexistence of deities entails a greater commitment to human values, and in particular, an appreciation of human diversity and equality.”

Pompous nonsense! And dogmatic. And wrong. There is absolutely nothing about atheism that requires one to “appreciate” Lefty dogma about “diversity” and “equity”.

They go on:

We are for feminism, against racism [except when it is against Whites], for diversity, against inequity.

It’s a general sentiment, but if you can’t meet any of it, you don’t belong here. We’ve been agonizing over rejecting Anjuli Pandavar all summer long, and the consensus of the active members of the FtB community was that her continued presence was a betrayal of our principles.

You’ve gotta feel sorry for them. They went through agonies before kicking out a black woman for calling anti-White racism what it is.

 

Anjuli Pandavar writes cogently and incisively at Jihad Watch:

Thursday was 4 July 2019, the 832nd anniversary of the Battle of Hattin, arguably the most symbolic, if not the most fateful, of Christian follies, when the stage was set for the Kingdom of Jerusalem to lose the very city that gave it its proud name, and for jihad to subdue Christian mediaeval backwardness under the yoke of Islamic pre-medieval backwardness. The Crusaders had taken the Cross and by virtue of that fact alone, most believed themselves invincible. Considerations of practicalities such as water, terrain or supply lines, or indeed, Salah ad-Din’s battle plans, were secondary at best, blasphemous at worst. The Crusaders had God, but they lost. It was inconceivable to them that Salah ad-Din, too, had God, and by virtue of that fact alone, the Muslims, too, believed themselves invincible. Relying on God in war is truly a gamble in which the odds are even.

Eight hundred and thirty-two years later, the unholy trinity of the Occident is secular: the god of political correctness; the god of multiculturalism; the god of diversity. Different gods purportedly wielded against the same jihad, except this time straining to subdue modern Judeo-Christian enlightenment under the same Islamic pre-mediaeval backwardness with which it confronted the Crusaders. On this year’s 4 July, we find ourselves in the midst of transition from the jihad of incessant victimhood, incessant taking of offence and incessant demands for special treatment, to the jihad of violent attacks and brutal enforcement of Shari’a by any Muslim, whether obviously “fighting in the way of Allah” or not. The voices that have been warning of this for so long now face more than just shrill denunciations for the blasphemies of “racism”, “fascism”, “intolerance” and “Islamophobia”, and for the heresy of being “far-right”. In chilling enactment of George Orwell’s 1984, they are being erased, and all levels of society are complicit in their erasure. Exactly how bad things have to get before such voices are taken seriously remains to be seen.

Gut-feel and all evidence of what jihad has managed to get away with in the West so far, strongly suggest that these voices of warning and truth will never be listened to. It seems that some of what were once Western societies will be defending Islam even as all manifestations of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and all other religions are destroyed, even as all democracy and all freedoms are obliterated, even as slavery is reinstated … , even as young white girls are shipped off en mass for sale in the Islamic heartlands, even as those who refuse dhimmitude and those who have left Islam are rounded up and publicly beheaded or crucified, even as married women see their husbands murdered before their eyes and are themselves dragged off to be raped, as per Muhammad’s excellent example, they will still be insisting that Islam is a religion of peace, is just like any other religion, and that Muslims are victims who have to be protected from “Islamophobia”.

And what of the God that the Enlightenment had relegated to a personal choice? I disagree with my Christian friends that we find ourselves in this worsening madness because “we have abandoned God”, and must return to him if we are to save ourselves from jihad. We owe our freedom, our equality and our democracy to our ousting God from his throne and lodging him instead in the hearts of those who will have him. God as free choice is the greatest achievement of the Enlightenment and one of the foundation stones of individual autonomy. Christian ideologues … seem not to realise that they argue directly against individual freedom when they seek to re-elevate God to a cosmic imperative. … Do not the perpetrators of jihad account for their own people’s troubles in exactly the same terms as Christian ideologues do? The ummah languishes in backwardness and misery in the face of infidel prowess, according to Qutb, Al-Banna, Maududi, Al-Qaradawi and others, precisely because Muslims have abandoned Islam and must return to it. Inter-religious squabbles over who has God and who hasn’t have always been the one-sided blindness on which religious exceptionalism, not to say arrogance, floundered. That way lies tragedy. … This is not the time for Christians to be stoking turf wars with atheists.

Just to be absolutely clear, I am an atheist … Not only that, I think religion erodes our innate sense of ethics, and that faith can diminish our humanity. But I also accept that belief is a central component of the way many people’s heads work. That, in and of itself, does not make them bad people. My head, though, does not work in that way. I could not function if there were something that I had to accept without question. The problem before us right now is Islam and I do not care if someone leaves Islam to become a Bible-basher or a Hari-Krishna chanter or an atheist. All I care about right now is that as many Muslims as possible leave Islam, that we support the victims of Islam, wherever they are in the world, and that we roll back jihad, by whatever means necessary. Muslims are already raping our daughters and we are already complicit in their deeds. The situation is dire.

We are helpless in face of the jihad onslaught because we have abandoned ourselves. We are no longer the human beings that the Enlightenment created.

We are not even the human beings who vowed to go on to the end, to fight in France, to fight on the seas and oceans, to fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, to defend our island, whatever the cost may be, to fight on the beaches, to fight on the landing grounds, to fight in the fields and in the streets, to fight in the hills; to never surrender. Where are those heroic people now? If they are still with us, it is perhaps the greatest tragedy that they will live to see that they have died for nothing.

We became complicit when we substituted political correctness and identity politics for our common human decency and respect for human life and human freedoms, as if what wasn’t broke needed fixing. We drank from the poisoned chalice of “groups” and “communities” having rights that supersede the rights of individuals and entitlements to protection over the protection of individuals. Britain’s Muslim rape gang crisis stems not solely from Islamic sanction of such behaviour and jihad insistence on it, but from those Muslims who would be inclined to rape finding themselves in the enabling environment created by multicultural Britain. It is both dishonest and dishonourable to refer to Muslim rape gangs as either “Asian” or “grooming gangs”. They are distinguished not by being “Asian” or even “Pakistani”. They are Muslim, and they rape because they are Muslim (anyone with a fully-functioning capacity for language will immediately recognise that this in no way implies anything about Muslims not involved in gang rape). … In 80s and 90s Britain, there was widespread fear of social workers who seized children from parents at the slightest sign of anything that could indicate child abuse. Now social workers aid and abet paedophilia. Then, the residents of entire council estates physically drove paedophiles from their houses. Now, they won’t touch them. Is that because the white paedophile rings of the 80s and 90s did not have a 1.6 billion-strong religion behind them? Is it because then, “racism” still meant “racism,” and those who knew they weren’t racist had no fear of those who would call them that?

It has been a small step from identity politics to so-called “oppressed and oppressor groups”, to “all whites are racist”, to the denial of Muslim women’s oppression, to infidels taking offence at critique of Islam, to our own schools indoctrinating our own children to favour an ideology intent on enslaving them, and of course, to denial of the Muslim rape gang crisis.

In London, the setting of 1984, on 4 July 2019, a trial opened in the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, otherwise known as “the Old Bailey”. It was no ordinary trail, but one in which the British state, by means foul and fouler, once more attempted to turn an innocent man into a criminal, after having failed several times before. A farce played out behind a noble injunction carved in stone over the heads of all who enter upon that august place: Defend the Children of the Poor and Punish the Wrongdoers. The man on trial was Tommy Robinson, and he was on trial for doing exactly that: defending the children of the poor and attempting to have the wrongdoers punished. Robinson, in his own naivete, still believes that the British state observes the rule of law, and fails to understand why mainstream journalists are happy to see the state abuse him. The wrongdoers, as it turned out, were not only the gangs of Muslim men who raped tens or hundreds of thousands of poor infidel girls up and down the land, but the many and varied arms of the state itself, who not only failed to punish the wrongdoers, but went out of their way to protect them and continue to protect them. The Ministry of Truth has shown that just because something is written in stone, doesn’t mean it’s true forever. Right before sending this essay off for publication, I learnt that Tommy Robinson had been “found guilty”. 

And now, in the ultimate ignominy, the pinnacle of our civilisational accomplishment, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is to be subjugated to the strictures of Shari’a, a barbaric seventh-century affront to humanity and decency, with the full support of many who would themselves be destroyed by such a folly. For folly it is to believe that self-righteous appeasement of Muslim powers can win over to coexistence and mutual respect adherents of an ideology that holds at its core the certainty of its own supremacy and a sacred, unshakeable hatred of all others, others whom it must, by divine order, kill, convert or subdue, and that employs the vilest and most deceitful of means to attain its end … This coup is taking place at the United Nations complex in New York, where, in the now non-existent shadow of the now non-existent twin towers, those who survived jihad’s greatest-ever single carnage to date and those who came after, do their best to celebrate The 4th of July. On this day, 243 years ago, they declared their land the protector of the freedom and equality of all human beings, and that from that day forth, no god shall meddle in their affairs.

Doing jihad’s dirty work for it has become an infidel virtue. … By the time the future Antifa Youth gets around to reporting on, denouncing and killing their own parents, there’ll be no one left to listen to the warning voices, for a Dark Age will once again be upon us. All the social, moral and ethical gains so hard-won over the centuries will be abolished overnight, reducing civilisation to that of brutal seventh-century Arabia, a foretaste of which is the Islamic State, Boko Haram, Al-Qaida, Al-Shabaab, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah and a spectacularly long list of others. It is most telling that, once brought into extensive contact with Western society and culture, especially at the height of colonialism, the Muslim middle classes, for whom the benefits were not only obvious but also accessible, adopted Western values and habits with some enthusiasm, there being no question in their minds about which was the superior culture. Many tried to do so without jettisoning Islam. Today they still recognise this, but must pretend not to, under pressure both from jihad, that insists that Islam is superior, and from the Western handmaidens of jihad, who insist that all cultures are good.

Posted under Commentary, Europe, Islam, jihad, Leftism, Muslims, Race, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 8, 2019

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The vast migration of the 21st century 19

In the dark ages before the Internet, what did the masses of the hellish Third World know about the First World?

Not much, unless the First World came colonizing, which turned parts of the hellholes into pockets of civilization.

The Internet changed everything. The dwellers in darkness saw the light. From their huts, their slums, their shanty towns, their hovels, they viewed the great cities of the West, the goods in the stores, the size of the houses, the millions of cars on smooth roads; they saw the plenty, the ease, the pleasantness, the manifest wealth. And they wanted to go and live there.

So they did, by the thousands and tens of thousands. And so they continue to do.

Tides of people are flowing from the lands of poverty into the lands of plenty. They flow from south to north, into the lands of “the West”. (And into its branch, Australia.) They will not ebb away again.

What fools they would be not to go where the grass really is greener.

I, the migrant, know that the journey will not be easy. I have a perilous sea to cross. Or a desert.

I may have to work and save for years to pay for a passage over the sea or a guide over the desert.

I know that I risk drowning. Of dying of heat and exhaustion. Of being robbed. If I, the migrant, am a woman I will almost certainly be sexually assaulted.

But it is worth taking the risks to get there.

If I can just get there, it will not be hard to get in. There are no barriers to speak of.

There, I will be given a house, and money without working for it. There, my children will go to school free of charge. There, if I get sick, I will be cured free of charge.

Clearly, from the point of view of the immigrant, coming from hell to western Europe or Canada or the United States is a highly rational decision.

But why is the First World letting them in, the millions of them? Is the decision of First World governments to do so also rational? What benefits do they reckon accrue to them, to their countries through this demographic tsunami?

Here’s someone with an explanation –

Sean Byrne wrote in February 2018 on the RTÉ (Ireland’s National Television and Radio) website:

Over the past three years, Europe has experienced the worst refugee and migration crisis since World War II.  While the flow of refugees from Syria has diminished as some eastern European countries have closed their borders and the EU has given €6 billion to Turkey to persuade it to keep Syrian refugees within its borders, the flow of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa across the Mediterranean continues unabated.

The number of refugees entering Europe peaked in 2015 at just over one million. Half were Syrian, 20 percent from Afghanistan and seven percent from Iraq, with most of the remaining 33 per cent coming from Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, 3,771 people drowned while crossing the Mediterraneancrammed into unseaworthy and overcrowded boats by traffickers. Most of the migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are trying to reach Europe through Libya. The lack of an effective government in Libya has enabled people traffickers to operate almost unhindered out of Libyan ports and there are reports that some migrants are being sold as slaves in Libya. …

The hopeless poverty of sub-Saharan Africa, where populations are growing faster than output, causes many people from the region to risk their lives to reach Europe. …

The writer believes that the massive immigration into Europe is a Good Thing:

As Europe’s population declines and ages, it must accept significant immigration or face economic and social decline.

We should all appreciate that. Economic and social decline! That (does he mean? or hasn’t the question crossed his mind?)  would be far worse than losing our countries to an alien population. Yet some of us are – he thinks – hard-heartedly and stupidly against it.

Even when the immigration was “limited” we were already fussing about it:

Yet the limited immigration that has taken place over the past 30 years has already led to the rise of anti-immigration political movements and some of these, including Germany’s Alternativ fur Deutschland are achieving electoral success. The new Austrian government includes the vehemently anti-immigration Freedom Party, while Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are all refusing to take their share of the refugees that the EU has agreed to accept from Syria. …

But what of the …?

He knew what we were about to protest and answers us:

Because of the inexorable decline of birth rates, Europe will need large numbers of migrants over the next 50 years. Some of these migrants will want the economic benefits of living in Europe while maintaining their own cultures, including such practices as forced marriages, honour killings, female genital mutilation and the persecution of gay people. Many immigrants to Europe will reject the rights and freedoms painfully achieved by western democracies over the past 200 years. Resolving this conflict of cultures will be the greatest challenge facing Europe over the next 50 years.

It’s a challenge. That’s all. A little courage, some planning, lots of tolerance and humility are all we need to … what?

Byrne’s defense is no defense at all.

Is there another? Can someone else tell us why we must adapt ourselves cheerfully to a huge change in our culture and tolerate (among other appalling practices of the Third World) forced marriages, honor killings, female genital mutilation and the murder of homosexuals?

Yes. Here’s one.

Matthew Boose writes at American Greatness:

The New York Times recently published an op-ed advancing a rather peculiar argument. Author Suketu Mehta builds on the familiar, hackneyed debate over reparations for slavery to make an even bolder, but more politically contemporary proposal: as penance for colonialism, the West should open its borders to the Third World.

Mehta suggests immigration quotas for Western countries that correspond with their respective historical sins. Mehta categorizes the nations of the world into “creditors” and “debtors,” according to their legacy as oppressors or oppressed within roughly the past 500 years.

By this token, “Britain should have quotas for Indians and Nigerians; France for Malians and Tunisians; Belgium for very large numbers of Congolese”. The West should accept 12 million African laborers, one for every African enslaved by the colonialists of the past.

While audacious, this argument expresses what many on the Left believe, but are often careful to avoid stating frankly: that mass migration should be seen as a form of just punishment for the West’s history.

We interrupt to state firmly that the era of Western colonialism on the whole brought more good than harm to the “underdeveloped” world. That is certainly true of the British Empire (though in the case of the American Revolution right was on the side of the rebels). The British took the rule of law, impartial justice, a free press, and higher standards of living to their colonies. On the other hand, we grant, German colonial rule in South West Africa (now Namibia) was oppressive and murderous. And Belgian rule of the Congo in the time of evil King Leopold was a horror story, told memorably by Joseph Conrad in his story The Heart of Darkness. Later the Belgians did better. Now the Congo has reverted to what it was in Conrad’s story. The plight of the African peoples in general is, in all but a few cases, worse now than under colonial rule.

As for the slave trade, it is important to remember that the victims were first enslaved by Africans and Arabs before Christians bought them.

In general, immigration activists try to disguise their malice as sympathy for “refugees”, many of whom are in fact economic migrants seeking a better life. Of course, one need not be so cynical as to imagine that their concern for the well-being of would-be immigrants is entirely fake. But once in a while, the mask will slip, and it becomes apparent that they are motivated at least as much by resentment towards the destination countries as they are by compassion for migrants.

From the “walls are immoral, but we don’t really want open borders” denialism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to those openly calling for immigration as a form of reparations, there is a growing consensus on the Left that all restrictions on migration are motivated by xenophobia, borders are immoral because they are exclusionary, and Western countries are morally obligated to accept an unlimited number of migrants because of past wrongs.

How would these immigration quotas be drawn up? As with slavery reparations, the price is levied indiscriminately and with great prejudice. People who had nothing to do with the negative effects of colonialism are saddled with collective, generational guilt for the sins of distant, forgotten ancestors.

Mehta mentions more recent ravages as well, such as the Iraq War. National sovereignty doesn’t absolve America’s leaders from the responsibility of making smart, and ethical, foreign policy decisions. The United States should not invade the world and then expect the world to stay behind in the blast crater. But why should American workers pay for Iraq, when it is America’s irresponsible leaders who deserve the blame?

An exact accounting of who the “debtors” are, and what they owe, is beside the point. How would one go about determining who deserves to pay for King Leopold II’s brutal exploitation of the Congo? The enterprise is no more workable than figuring out which Americans living today should pay for slavery. Never mind the specifics; all Westerners are assumed guilty for the wrongs of all Western history.

The classes that comprise America’s elite are pushing this narrative. Journalists, academics, educators, entertainers, and activists are all popularizing academic, anti-American histories that invert the story of America’s founding and legitimize unlimited migration as a form of just deserts.

This new radicalism marks a shift from traditional American heritage, history, and identity. No one can deny that immigrants have had a profound impact on American history and society. But until recently, immigration has been understood as adding to, not defining, American identity; as something that should occur within legal and reasonable boundaries, not endlessly and without consideration for the economic welfare and social fabric of the existing nation.

Put simply, immigration always has been regarded as a privilege. Immigrants would come to America through a legal process. They would be vetted and accepted as American citizens, with certain expectations. They would assimilate to American society and pledge loyalty to their new home. They would contribute more than they would take. The would learn English, and be good neighbors and citizens.

In sum, immigration worked best when it had benefits for America and the migrants it accepted alike. There was no malice or malevolence toward the United States or its existing people involved.

This is a path that countless migrants have followed and continue to follow. But for numberless thousands of migrants coming more with the mindset of invaders than immigrants, a set of powerful interests exists to justify their illegal entry as an entitlement. …

Lawful process has been replaced with lawlessness, gratitude and respect with brazen entitlement.

For the Left today, immigration is a universal human right that can brook no restrictions, whether by national sovereignty or mere economic realism. …

To justify this universal right of entry, the Left employs a foundational myth. In this myth, America, and the West broadly, is the villain and debtor to the suffering masses around the globe. Citizenship is not a privilege but a right owed by Westerners to every “citizen of the world”. 

In this founding myth, the settlers of America were illegitimate brutes who despoiled the verdant plains and stole the birthright of today’s rightful heirs to the continent. American history begins not with 1492, but with the beginning of the struggle for social justice and the rise of modern progressivism in the 20th century, particularly the mid-century. The American “history” that has been written is illegitimate and needs to be written anew, by the erstwhile, rightful occupants of the land. In fact, the real Americans need not have any historical ties to the American continent at all, other than having been on the receiving end of America’s might.

This academic narrative typically writes off the Founders as irredeemable racists, discrediting their nobility, wisdom, and efforts to build a lasting constitutional republic. Once relegated to humanities departments in America’s universities, this “de-colonialist” ideology has seeped into the wider public consciousness through various left-wing channels. Today’s students learn more in K-12 education about what is wrong with America and its past than what made it great.

At its core, this anti-founding myth denies that America has a core identity at all. There is nothing greater about American life than the sum of the countless job seekers searching for a better life from abroad. America has no history, since that history is illegitimate; it has no culture that rises above what can be bought on the market, including the various commodified “cuisines” brought from afar and sized down to American palates; it has no border, since borders are restrictive. America is simply a giant  casino in which all and sundry may seek their fortune, with special preference given to those shut out by the prejudices of the past.

In this narrative, migration, being a right rather than a privilege, comes with no obligation for the migrant.

What nation would there be to render any obligation to, anyway, when America is merely a “nation of immigrants”? …

In an excerpt of his book, This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, Mehta argues the West is being “destroyed, not by migrants, but by the fear of migrants” and describes fears of mass migration as “irrational”. Millions of Westerners somehow have been duped into working against their own interests by populist strong men playing off atavistic hatred.

But if immigration is a form of punishment, payment of the “debt” for the West’s wrongs, is this not an admission that those “irrational fears” are simply clear perceptions of the costs of mass migration?

When they’re not forwarding shallow, disingenuous arguments for mass immigration as a boost to the GDP, today’s most ardent proponents of open borders—however much they might deny it—agree in their most honest moments that mass immigration, rather than being a net boon, brings burdens that Americans may be loath to accommodate—but must bear, as payback. How, then, are the fears of immigration restrictionists irrational?

In their haste, the open borders proponents are giving the game away. Does their confidence stem from a belief that they have already won? That through their combined institutional powers, the media, activist judges, the administrative state, academia, an education system thoroughly co-opted by anti-American ideology, and corporate interests seeking cheap labor, dissenters are powerless to resist their agenda?

Can anything stop the vast migration from the impoverished and wretched south into the prosperous north? Will walls do it? Will laws do it?

Perhaps only the economic ruin of the north will put a stop to it. So will the migration itself cause economic ruin? Or keep the welfare states going, as the Merkels and Macrons and Trudeaus and Newsoms who hold the gates open insist that it will?

A dummy’s guide to the abuse, exploitation, and abolition of children 30

The Democratic Party is promoting abortion as the defining right of women. The enfranchised woman must have a right not to be forced into a woman’s “gender role” – which is to say, not to be a mother

The Left considers it a health right to have free contraception provided under insurance policies. Though male and female must be equal in sexual behavior, women can change their minds after intercourse and ruin the reputation of men through meetooism, an auxiliary right to special women’s justice which does away with due process

Democrats will probably not go as far as the mandatory, forced abortions of China. The one child policy there resulted in mass female infanticide. It is more important to abort boys in the “patriarchal” West. There is no need to feel compassion for the babies. Compassion should be kept for black murderers of white cops. 

Tucker Carlson said on his Fox News show (Monday May 14, 2019): “We have a political party that believes having children is a punishment.” It’s true. When Barack Obama was president, he said he didn’t want his daughters to be “punished with a baby”. Many “progressive” intellectuals, including spokesmen for the medical profession, argue for abortion at any stage of a pregnancy and even advocate infanticide. A movie actress asks women to adopt absolute chastity as a form of protest because some states are not allowing abortion at any stage of pregnancy on demand.

A  female Democrat in the House of Representatives, said: “There is a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult, and it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question. Is it OK to still have children?” That same Democrat, referring to the same “scientific census” (which does not exist) believes that the world is coming to an end in 12 years from now. It would be so unfair to give birth to a child who will have less that a dozen years to live.

Such a laudably unselfish view, that. But not common on the Left. The view that abortion is the defining right of women is the politically correct orthodox Democratic position. Children are invaders who would enter the world through the womb, occupying a woman’s body without her permission. Even though she knows how the invader gets in there, and almost always opens the door herself, she is being exploited. The invader must be evicted.

Those children who are so impudent and far-right, so bigoted, xenophobic, undiverse, uninclusive and Trumpian as to get born despite all efforts to abort them – or if their mother in collusion with a Democratic doctor does not kill them when they actually arrive in the world – then they must be made unhappy.

If they are white, they must be made to feel bad about it. Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi – an exemplary anti-human – has said that she is proud of her grandson for saying that he wished he was brown like his friend.

If they are male, it is worse.  If they are male and white they are the guiltiest of the guilty and must be accused, abased, cut up, punished.

Boys should be changed into girls. Or at least a parody of girls. And why should not all girls be changed into boys? Or at least a parody of boys. Start the process when they’re 4 years old. (A British judge just overruled a school’s objection to a 4 year old being treated as a transgender.) They hold that “gender” is only a “social construct”.

So feed them on hormones. Mangle their sexual organs. Make them sterile. Make them wretched.

And since the curse of children is upon the nation, make use of them. Have them vote – for the Democrats. The party that knows it can rely on the votes of felons, illegal aliens, and lunatics, believes just as reasonably that it will get the votes of children.

There are many other uses for children too. The Left recommends that they be taught how to make their parents worried about “climate change”. (And to report the parents to the Totalitarian Authorities if they are obstinate?)

On the Mexican border, migrant men rent children and pretend to be part of families that are not theirs in order to enter the US.

Hamas, the terrorist organization passionately supported by two Congresswomen, uses children as living shields against Israel’s retaliatory bombs and guns. The Palestinians train children to be suicide bombers.

Of course (we hope) the Left will not go as far as Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, who made children kill and eat their own parents and then be footsoldiers and sex slaves.

Children can even take the initiative in leading campaigns that advance the agenda of the Left. A Swedish teenager named Greta Thunberg, 16, is leading a children’s crusade against the mythical curse of “man-made global warming”. She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

So we can be optimistic and surmise that the Democrats will probably not make it illegal to have children.

Jacob Chamberlain versus Tommy Churchill 19

For the first time in history (or so it seems to us – if we’re wrong, please tell us the precedent we’re overlooking) a working-class man is leading an angry protest of vast numbers of ordinary people against their country’s rulers.

The working-class man is Tommy Robinson. The people are the English. Probably with Welshmen, Scots and Irishmen among them.

They are angry that the ruling class is handing over their country to a corrupt European oligarchy which is scuttling European civilization by inviting millions of Third World migrants to occupy the continent and the British Isles.

Bruce Bawer, that clear-sighted commentator on the decline of the West, has a view much like ours.

He writes at Front Page:

In the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham … so-called Islamic “grooming gangs” were responsible for the repeated rape of about 1400 non-Muslim girls, mostly from the working classes, from the late 1980s on. Although local politicians, child-protection officials, police, and journalists were aware of the problem, they kept silent about it for decades, partly out of cowardice, partly out of political expediency, partly out of a misguided fear of inciting “Islamophobia,” and partly out of a classist disregard for the victims and their families. As a result, the perpetrators did not begin to be identified, arrested, and prosecuted until earlier in this decade.

We must put in a small correction here. The cowardice is fear of the Muslims who are taking over Britain and Western Europe. Fear of Islam. Not of “Islamophobia”, which does not exist because fear of Islam is entirely rational, as the writer himself goes on to show.

There is nothing unique about Rotherham, of course: it just happens to be the place where the dam burst first. The list of British towns where similar gang activity has been uncovered  continues to grow longer, and the number of perpetrators and victims is increasing apace.

Meanwhile, on July 7, 2005, Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people and wounded about 700 in London. On May 22, 2013, two Muslims slaughtered a British soldier, Lee Rigby, in Woolwich. On March 22, 2017, on Westminster Bridge, a Muslim behind the wheel of a car mowed down about four dozen pedestrians, four of whom were killed. On May 22, 2017, a Muslim suicide bomber took 22 lives at Manchester Arena. On June 3 of the same year, three Muslims with a van killed eight people on and near London bridge.

In addition, every so often during the past few years, some British newspaper has dared to publish a news story like the one that appeared in the Daily Mail on Saturday: according to a secret government report, more than 48 Islamic madrasas in Britain, all of them run by the Darul Uloom (“House of Knowledge”) network, are staffed by followers of the Deobandi movement, which produced the Taliban.  The students, who are preparing to be imams, are thus “being taught that music and dancing comes  from the devil and that women do not have the right to refuse sex to their husbands”.

Even as all these rapes and terrorist acts have been taking place and all these future imams being schooled in Koranic principles, the Islamic population of Britain has been on the rise, and with it the aggressiveness of the religion’s adherents and the readiness of powerful people in government, the academy, news organizations, cultural institutions, social-media companies – and, not least, Britain’s EU overlords in Brussels – to appease them and harass their religion’s critics. More and more ordinary British citizens feel that their country and their freedoms are slipping away. This is a big part of the reason why they voted three years ago to leave the EU – a decision that both parties in the House of Commons have shamefully conspired to thwart.

Now, in a development that seemed inconceivable the morning after the Brexit vote, the British are preparing to go to the polls on May 23 to elect new members of that Soviet-style rubber-stamp body known as the European Parliament. Two non-establishment parties are vying for the support of “Leave” voters who are outraged at Westminster’s betrayal of Brexit: one of them is UKIP, which led the Brexit campaign in the first place, and the other is Brexit, a new party formed by former UKIP head Nigel Farage. Also running for MEP – as an independent candidate in the North West – is Tommy Robinson, the working-class lad from Luton whose years-long effort to warn his fellow Brits about the dangers of Islam and, in particular, to sound the alarm about the grooming gangs, has won him the admiration of millions and the contempt of the political and media establishment. 

The man who arguably represents that establishment more surely than anyone is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the natty Conservative MP from Somerset who (of course) went to Eton and Oxford, whose father was the editor of the Times of London, and whose accent is so ridiculously posh that it makes the late Sir John Gielgud sound like Andrew Dice Clay. Rees-Mogg voted for Britain to leave the EU, but is such a party loyalist that, until just the other day, he remained rock-solid in his support for Tory Prime Minister Theresa May, a “Remain” supporter who, though she insisted otherwise, was obviously out to sabotage Brexit. In the event, she ended up damaging her own party, which, if the polls and call-in shows can be believed, is set to lose the votes of millions of people who, though loyal Conservatives all their lives, now swear that they feel so betrayed that they will never support the party again.

It must be said that Rees-Mogg, the establishment man par excellence, is immensely articulate and comes off as intelligent and witty. Like most of his fellow MPs, however, he seems not to grasp the scale of what is going on in his country. “Anti-Islamic comments have no place in society,” he tweeted on April 18. Two days later, speaking to BBC Radio 4, today, he expanded on this statement, saying: “Anti-Islam comments are deeply disgraceful….I oppose them, I disapprove of them, I reject them.” He added: “I think that Islam is an important and interesting religion and that people in this country of the Muslim faith are as patriotic as Catholics are.”

It is worth pointing out that while Rees-Mogg has taken the trouble to weigh in against “anti-Islamic comments”,  he has said nothing – nothing! – about the outright threats (not just “comments”) made by violent Muslims and their infidel allies against Tommy Robinson, who announced on Sunday that police had refused to arrest three people who had assaulted him, that South Wales police had “liked a tweet celebrating an assault on me,” and that police were now telling him that “they have credible intelligence that someone is going to attempt to murder me on my campaign route and live stream it.” On the contrary, even as he has rushed to the defense of Islam, Rees-Mogg has consistently put down Tommy Robinson, telling the Express on April 19, for example, that Robinson “reflects a type of politics that is unattractive and not usual in Britain.” In his usual laconic manner, he warned the British electorate against taking the “extremist route”. 

Yes, you read that right: in Britain in 2019, according to Jacob Rees-Mogg, Islam – which has inspired grooming gangs and suicide bombers and intimidated authorities into curbing centuries-old British freedoms – is “important and interesting” and Tommy Robinson, whose life has been threatened repeatedly by Muslims, embodies an “extremist” type of politics that is – horror of horrors – “unattractive and not usual”. 

Rees-Mogg seems blithely unaware of it, but his nation is standing at a historical crisis point that calls for Churchillian resolve – and Churchillian rhetoric. It calls, that is, for rhetoric that is eloquent and stirring and tough – not for deliberately low-key, upper-class utterances of the sort that bring to mind some brandy-sipping Edwardian toff in some Merchant Ivory film. Yes, Islam is certainly “important and interesting.” It is also, like Nazism and Communism, a totalitarian ideology – and an existential threat to a free Britain. (Imagine Churchill, in the 1930s, giving speeches in Parliament in which he blandly referred to Nazism as “important and interesting”!)

And, yes, Tommy’s approach to politics is “not usual”. So are the times in which the people of the UK are now living. The last thing that Britain needs is politics as usual. Asked by an interviewer the other day about the electoral threat that UKIP and Brexit represent to his party, Rees-Mogg replied, “I would  encourage all people at all time to vote Conservative in all elections.” He might as well have said simply, “I always put party ahead of country.”

If Tommy symbolizes a kind of politics of which Rees-Mogg disapproves, Rees-Mogg himself symbolizes exactly what Britain no longer needs: government by Oxbridge snobs who give belligerent Muslims the kid-glove treatment while showing nothing but contempt for their own working-class countrymen. Rees-Mogg is often waggishly referred to as “the member for the eighteenth century”, and he seems to take it as a compliment, a way of saying that he represents time-honored values and traditions. In fact he represents the very worst of English traditions – namely, the matter-of-fact assumption that some people are, by accident of birth, superior to others. It is because of this tradition, which many working-class Brits still reflexively countenance, that people in places like Luton and the East End – people who have had to live with the results of mass Muslim immigration, and who thus understand the challenges facing their country far better than their fellow citizens in Kensington and Knightsbridge – have virtually no influence over the decisions made in their name by the likes of Rees-Mogg.

Tommy Robinson is changing that – or, at least, trying to. Like President Trump in America, he is taking on the establishments of both of his country’s major parties in the name of the people – and, like Trump, he is being vilified for it by a legacy media that is aligned with the political elite and that has convinced millions of low-information citizens that he is a bigot, a fascist, a Nazi. While Trump’s enemies, moreover, sought to take him down by pinning on him baseless charges of collusion with the Russians – even though it’s his #1 enemy, Hillary Clinton, who has the dodgy foreign ties – Tommy’s enemies conspired to send him to prison, supposedly for imperiling a trial of Islamic rapists, when, in fact, he has done more than anyone else in the country to bring Islamic rapists to justice.

Briefly put: Rees-Mogg postures as a champion of British values, but, in his tepid, temperate way, not only refuses to take the bold action required to defend those values but frames Tommy Robinson, who has risked his life to defend them, as their enemy. When he looks in the mirror, Rees-Mogg may think he sees an heir to Churchill, that great Tory PM of the last century; when he looks at Tommy Robinson, he plainly sees an upstart, a guttersnipe, a lower-class council-flats type who has no proper place in the councils of state or, for that matter, in any of the exalted locales where Rees-Mogg lives his life.

In fact, though he may not look or sound the part, Tommy Robinson is the closest thing that today’s Britain has to Winston Churchill. And Rees-Mogg, who looks down his nose at Tommy? He’s Neville Chamberlain. At best.

Posted under Britain, corruption, Europe, Islam, jihad, Law, Muslims, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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