Ayaan Hirsi Ali renounces reason and grasps faith 433

It is with strong – undiminished – respect for Ayaan Hirsi Ali that I now feel compelled to argue with her.

She is brilliant, courageous, principled. But she has turned from rationality and atheism, where she found intellectual asylum from the cruel and preposterous religion of Islam, back to superstition in the form of the no-longer-cruel but still preposterous religion of Christianity.

She writes (in part – please read it all) under the title Why I Am Now a Christian:

During Islamic study sessions, we shared with the preacher in charge of the session our worries. For instance, what should we do about the friends we loved and felt loyal to but who refused to accept our dawa (invitation to the faith)? In response, we were reminded repeatedly about the clarity of the Prophet’s instructions. We were told in no uncertain terms that we could not be loyal to Allah and Muhammad while also maintaining friendships and loyalty towards the unbelievers. If they explicitly rejected our summons to Islam, we were to hate and curse them.

Here, a special hatred was reserved for one subset of unbeliever: the Jew. We cursed the Jews multiple times a day and expressed horror, disgust and anger at the litany of offences he had allegedly committed. The Jew had betrayed our Prophet. He had occupied the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem. He continued to spread corruption of the heart, mind and soul.

 

 As an atheist, I thought I would lose that fear. I also found an entirely new circle of friends, as different from the preachers of the Muslim Brotherhood as one could imagine. The more time I spent with them — people such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins — the more confident I felt that I had made the right choice. For the atheists were clever. They were also a great deal of fun. 

 So, what changed? Why do I call myself a Christian now?

Part of the answer is global. Western civilisation is under threat from three different but related forces: the resurgence of great-power authoritarianism and expansionism in the forms of the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia; the rise of global Islamism, which threatens to mobilise a vast population against the West; and the viral spread of woke ideology, which is eating into the moral fibre of the next generation.

 

So far, good. No argument. She goes on:

But we can’t fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites us? The response that “God is dead!” seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in “the rules-based liberal international order”. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Leaving aside the question of whether there is something that can be justifiably labeled “the Judeo-Christian tradition” (I do not think there is – for my reasons see here), let’s consider the point she is making.

That legacy consists of an elaborate set of ideas and institutions designed to safeguard human life, freedom and dignity — from the nation state and the rule of law to the institutions of science, health and learning. As Tom Holland has shown in his marvellous book Dominion, all sorts of apparently secular freedoms — of the market, of conscience and of the press — find their roots in Christianity. 

I have not read that work by Tom Holland and I am not now arguing with him.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes he is right that “all sorts of apparently secular freedoms” – she notes in particular “of the market, of conscience and of the press” — “find their roots in Christianity”. It is with her I am arguing, and reasons to reject that claim leap to my mind. Freedom of the market? Doesn’t Christianity deny that rich men can “enter heaven”? Of conscience? Who can count the number of “heretics” put to death in war, on the rack, at the stake for holding opinions that Christians in power objected to? How many who put those opinions in writing before and after there came to be such a thing as “the press”? Christian persecution of its critics came to an end only with the Enlightenment, the European movement that broke the power of the churches and raised reason over irrational faith.

She writes:

To me, this freedom of conscience and speech is perhaps the greatest benefit of Western civilisation. It does not come naturally to man. It is the product of centuries of debate within Jewish and Christian communities. It was these debates that advanced science and reason, diminished cruelty, suppressed superstitions, and built institutions to order and protect life, while guaranteeing freedom to as many people as possible. Unlike Islam, Christianity outgrew its dogmatic stage. It became increasingly clear that Christ’s teaching implied not only a circumscribed role for religion as something separate from politics. It also implied compassion for the sinner and humility for the believer.

No, no, no, no, and no. Freedom of conscience and speech came after centuries of no debate with Jewish and Christian “communities”. It came from thinkers of the Age of Reason. Many of whom were atheists, and all of whom were skeptics. “Free thinkers”. The idea that such freedoms ought to be allowed is the product of rational thinking. The Age of Science was born then. Not when Galileo or Giordano Bruno lived and experienced what the Catholic Church deemed to be a Christian correction – threatened torture and forced confinement for the one, the stake for the other. The Churches’ cruelty diminished because reason and freedom became the mood of a certain time. Superstition was hushed – never suppressed, unfortunately – by reasoned argument, critical examination. Institutions were built to protect freedom despite the dogmatism of the Christian churches – all of them, Catholic and Protestant. Christianity has not “outgrown”, will never “outgrow”, its “dogmatic stage”. “Christ’s teaching” can only be guessed at, and none of the known guesses suggest that it “implied …  a circumscribed role for religion”. Religion was most decidedly not “separate from politics” in the Judea of the first Caesars. As for compassion and humility, Christian sages from St. Paul onward have preached one or both – St. Paul stressed humility – but the history of the religion does not demonstrate the habitual observance of either to any convincing degree.

[A]theism is too weak and divisive a doctrine to fortify us against our menacing foes. I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?

Atheism does not ask that question. It is not a reasonable question. What could the meaning of life, of existence, possibly be? Why does it need meaning? Whose purpose? If no one made the universe and life there can be no purpose in their existence. Human beings make their own purposes. Only if you already believe in a supernatural Creator can you seek an elusive purpose or meaning in all “creation”.

The line often attributed to G.K. Chesterton has turned into a prophecy: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

I would say, if you can believe in a god, you can believe in anything. The god hypothesis does not stand up to scrutiny.

In this nihilistic vacuum, the challenge before us becomes civilisational. We can’t withstand China, Russia and Iran if we can’t explain to our populations why it matters that we do. We can’t fight woke ideology if we can’t defend the civilisation that it is determined to destroy. And we can’t counter Islamism with purely secular tools. To win the hearts and minds of Muslims here in the West, we have to offer them something more than videos on TikTok.

A nihilistic vacuum? Freedom, reason, science, technology, material abundance, rule of law nihilistic? Free societies, Western civilization a vacuum? Contains no riches, just videos on TikTok? No, its enemies are the vacuum-makers. Sure, abundance will include silly things; freedom is messy, but you have choice. It is true that a great many people only discover how good their Western way of life was when they  have lost it. Nice that their ignorance gets cured, sad that their loss may be irrecoverable.

Woo Muslims away from their superstition by offering them another superstition named Christianity? Convert all the world to Christianity, which “has it all”, and the world will be again as Europe was between the fall of Rome and the rise of Reason? As good? Rather, as dark. As cruel. An erosion of our civilization more certain, more absolute, arguably even more tragic than the horrors she names that threaten us now: “… the resurgence of great-power authoritarianism and expansionism in the forms of the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia; the rise of global Islamism, which threatens to mobilise a vast population against the West; and the viral spread of woke ideology, which is eating into the moral fibre of the next generation.”

Her diagnosis of what ails our civilization is right enough. Her prescription for curing it is a mistake. Christianity has not been a force for good in history. And what is Christian belief? That a Jewish man who lived in a province of the Roman empire during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius was the Creator of the universe! (John 1:9,10. That [Jesus] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.) How can that be easy, how can it be possible, for an intelligent thinker of our enlightened age to accept? Or the rest of the tale: that he was born of a virgin, performed miracles, came alive again three days after he’d died, and ascended bodily to a material heaven?

And what of Christianity’s moral message? “Resist  not evil” is not helpful advice for us in our present predicament. What of the reason ascribed to his sojourn on earth as a man – to suffer and die for the salvation of mankind? How he came to die an agonizing death by crucifixion – the Roman method of legal execution for crazy daredevils convicted of organizing or attempting insurgency – has a muddled background story and incompatible Christian  explanations. According to the believers, the Jews found him guilty of breaking some suddenly found and quickly forgotten law of their religion and insisted that the Romans execute him. The obliging Romans reluctantly acceded to their demand, so it is the Jews who are cursed forever as deicides. But also that he was born in order to be tortured to death, that it was his mission to sacrifice himself as the means to lift from humankind the original sin of Edenic disobedience (to himself);  so he was inevitably doomed to that extremely painful and prolonged form of  suffering – and a death that was not actually death – by his own decree.

O Ayaan Hirsi Ali, if you can believe all that, you have abandoned not only reason but common sense!

There is no formula for “saving”, let alone transfiguring, the human race. Not a proletarian revolution. Not a global coming to Jesus. It is not faith, not divinity, but doubt – the instrument of vigorous intellectual humility – that promotes and protects tolerance and prosperity; that sustains “human life, freedom and dignity”.

Jillian Becker   November 12, 2023

Update:  Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s husband, Niall Ferguson, has also embraced Christianity.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 12, 2023

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Against religion 29

“When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity.

When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.”

– Robert M. Pirsig

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“Seeing no reason to believe is sufficient reason not to believe.”

– Karl Popper

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“Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.”

– Eric Hoffer  Reflections on the Human Condition

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“The theory that you should always treat the religious convictions of other people with respect finds no support in the Gospels.”

– Arnold Lunn

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“By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth & life scientists) who give credence to creation-science, the general theory that complex life forms did not evolve but appeared ‘abruptly’.”

– Newsweek, June 29, 1987

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“Today, the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority, whose objections are based not on reasoning but on doctrinaire adherence to religious principles.”

– Dr. James D. Watson, winner of the Nobel prize for his co-discovery of the structure of DNA

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“When I hear them praying extra loud, I always go out and check the lock on the smokehouse.”

– Harry Truman

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“There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless, money-grabbing and predatory as it is – in our country particularly, and in all other Christian countries in a somewhat modified degree – it is still a hundred times better than the Christianity of the Bible, with its prodigious crime – the invention of Hell. Measured by our Christianity of to-day, bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the Deity nor His Son is a Christian, nor qualified for that moderately high place. Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilt.”

– Mark Twain  Reflections on Religion

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“In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

– Mark Twain

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“George Washington though he belonged to the Episcopal church, never mentioned Christ in any of his writings and he was a deist.”

– Richard Shenkman  I love Paul Revere, whether He Rode or Not

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“Think how great a proportion of Mankind consists of weak and ignorant Men and Women, and of inexperienc’d Youth of both Sexes, who have need of the Motives of Religion to restrain them from Vice, to support their Virtue, and retain them in the Practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great Point for its Security.”

– Benjamin Franklin

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“A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism.”

– Rev. Donald Morgan, theologian

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“Atheism has one doctrine: To Question.

Atheism has one dogma: To Doubt.

The Atheist Bible has but one word and that word is, ‘THINK’.”

– Emmet F. Fields

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“Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.

Think about it, religion has actually convinced people that there’s an INVISIBLE MAN…LIVING IN THE SKY … who watches every thing you do, every minute of every day.

And the invisible man has a list of ten special things that he does not want you to do.

And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry for ever and ever ’til the end of time … but he loves you.”

– George Carlin, Brain Droppings

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“As an historian, I confess to a certain amusement when I hear the Judeo-Christian tradition praised as the source of our present-day concern for human rights. That is, for the valuable idea that all individuals everywhere are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on this earth.

In fact, the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights in the contemporary sense.

They were notorious not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation, and oppression, but also for enthusiastic justification of slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, and genocide.

          – Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

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“Why have those countries with a strong Church-State alliance displayed such an eagerness to enforce religious dogmas and eliminate dissent through the power of the state?

Why has Christianity refused, whenever possible, to allow its beliefs to compete in a free marketplace of ideas?

The answer is obvious and revealing.

Christianity is peddling an inferior product, one that cannot withstand critical investigation.

Unable to compete favorably with other theories, it has sought to gain a monopoly through a state franchise, which means: through the use of force.”

– George H. Smith, from Atheism: The Case Against God

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“The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer.

This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization.”

– Robert Anton Wilson, Right Where You Are Sitting Now

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“So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would neither be created nor destroyed… it would simply be.

What place, then, for a creator?”

– Stephen Hawking

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“No theory is too false, no fable too absurd, no superstition too degrading for acceptance when it has become embedded in common belief.

Men will submit themselves to torture and to death, mothers will immolate their children at the bidding of beliefs they thus accept.”

– Henry George

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“Convicts register their religious affiliation when they’re processed into prison.

And about 99.5% of the huge U.S.A. prison population consists of inmates who identified themselves as members of religious denominations.”

– Gene M. Kasmar

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“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God.

It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

– Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

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“The history of intellectual progress is written in the lives of infidels.”

– Robert Green  Ingersoll, The Great Infidels (Most probably America’s greatest orator.)

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“According to the theologians, God prepared this globe expressly for the habitation of his loved children, and yet he filled the forests with ferocious beasts; placed serpents in every path; stuffed the world with earthquakes, and adorned its surface with mountains of flame.

Notwithstanding all this, we are told that the world is perfect; that it was created by a perfect being, and is therefore necessarily perfect.

The next moment, these same persons will tell us that the world was cursed; covered with brambles, thistles and thorns, and that man was doomed to disease and death, simply because our poor, dear mother ate an apple contrary to the command of an arbitrary God.”

– Robert Green Ingersoll, The Gods

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“If you don’t think that logic is a good method for determining what to believe, make an attempt to convince me of that without using logic.”

          – Brett Lemoine

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“The idea that a good God would send people to a burning Hell is utterly damnable to me. The ravings of insanity! Superstition gone to seed!

I don’t want to have anything to do with such a God. No avenging Jewish God, no satanic devil, no fiery hell is of any interest to me.”

– Luther Burbank, address to Science League of San Francisco, Dec. 1924

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“Should one continue to base one’s life on a system of belief that–for all its occasional wisdom and frequent beauty–is demonstrably untrue?”

– Charles Templeton, former right-hand man to Billy Graham, in Farewell to God

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“I’m firmly convinced Michael Carneal is a Christian. He’s a sinner, yes, but not an atheist.”

– Rev. Paul Donner, of the St. Paul Lutheran Church, Paducah, Ky., describing accused mass murderer Michael Carneal, 14, in contrast to early reports.

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“The Christian view that all intercourse outside marriage is immoral was, as we see in the above passages from St. Paul, based upon the view that all sexual intercourse, even within marriage, is regrettable.

A view of this sort, which goes against biological facts, can only be regarded by sane people as a morbid aberration.

The fact that it is embedded in Christian ethics has made Christianity throughout its whole history a force tending towards mental disorders and unwholesome views of life.”

– Bertrand Russell

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“Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people.

For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being.”

– Albert Einstein, responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray.

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“If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.”

– Marquis de Lafayette

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“Here and there in the midst of American society you meet with men full of a fanatical and almost wild spiritualism, which hardly exists in Europe.

From time to time strange sects arise which endeavor to strike out extraordinary paths to eternal happiness.

Religious insanity is very common in the United States.”

– Alexis de Tocqueville

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“I fight fire with fire. You shouldn’t treat a crazy religious cult with kid gloves.”

– Ian Plimer, Melbourne University  Professor of  Geology, in reference to legal action challenging the existence of Noah’s Ark

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“The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theology, is not only opposed to the scientific spirit; it is also opposed to all other attempts at rational thinking.

Not by accident does Genesis 3 make the father of knowledge a serpent — slimy, sneaking and abominable.

Since the earliest days the church as an organization has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man.

It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions.

It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings.”

– Henry Louis “H.L.” Mencken

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“Heretics have been hated from the beginning of recorded time; they have been ostracized, exiled, tortured, maimed and butchered; but it has generally proved impossible to smother them; and when it has not, the society that has succeeded has always declined.”

          – Judge Learned Hand

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“Gods are creatures of the human imagination.

Faith in imaginary beings does not prove their existence.

Passionate devotion to a faith does not prove it to be true.”

– Jillian Becker

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“All laws and moral rules are man-made.”

– Jillian Becker

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“Many a belief can survive persecution but not critical examination.”

– Jillian Becker

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“The barbaric religions of primitive worlds hold not a germ of scientific fact, though they claim to explain all.

Yet if one of these savages has all the logical ground for his beliefs taken away, he doesn’t stop believing.

He then calls his mistaken beliefs ‘faith’ because he knows they are right.

And he knows they are right because he has faith.”

– Harry Harrison, said by a character in his novel Deathworld

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“I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”

 – Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 9, 2022

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The Pope and Pelosi 25

The earthly Devil and his ideological mate.

See how lovingly they gaze into each other’s eyes.

They both personify the two evils we exist to oppose: RELIGION AND LEFTISM.

The Pope and Pelosi

Posted under Leftism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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A ruler of the darkness of this world 9

The Catholic Church has lost its own plot.

Paul Joseph Watson justly accuses that very stupid and very nasty Lefty, Pope Francis, of “doing the work of the Devil”, with many examples of how he’s doing it.

We applaud Paul Joseph Watson’s attacks-by-video against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places – to quote Christian scripture (Ephesians 6:12) – even when we don’t agree with him that (as he implies here) there is some form of Christianity which does not deepen the darkness of this world.

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 7, 2021

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The need to oppose “diversity, inclusion, and equity” 482

(This is in part a repeat of  a post we first published on September 3, 2011, under the title The need to knock Islam.) 

The greatness of the West began with doubting. The idea that every belief, every assumption, should be critically examined started the might of Europe. When those old Greek thinkers who founded our civilization learnt and taught that no one has a monopoly of truth or ever will have, they launched the intellectual adventure that has carried the human race – not without a long interval in the doldrums – literally to the skies.

Socrates taught the utility of suspicion. He is reputed to have said, “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.” He was not, however, the first to use doubt for discovery. Thales of Miletos, who was born 155 years before Socrates, dared to doubt that religion’s explanatory tales about how the world came to be as it is were to be trusted, and he began exploring natural phenomena in a way that we recognize as scientific. He is often called the Father of Science. With him and his contemporary, Anaximander, who argued with him by advancing alternative ideas, came the notion – for the first time as far as we know – that reason could fathom and describe how the universe worked.

Science is one of the main achievements of the West, but it is not the only product of constructive doubt that made for its greatness. Doubt as a habit of mind or tradition of thinking meant that new, foreign, even counter-intuitive ideas were not dismissed. Europe, before and after it stagnated in the doldrums of the long Catholic Christian night (and even to some extent during those dark centuries), was hospitable to ideas wherever they came from.

Totally opposed to this intellectual openness were the churches with their dogma. Those who claim that the achievements of our civilization are to be credited to Christianity (or in the currently fashionable and nonsensical phrase to “the Judeo-Christian tradition”) have a hard case to make. It was the rediscovery of the Greek legacy in the Renaissance in the teeth of Christian dogmatism, and the new freedom from religious persecution exploited by the philosophers of the Enlightenment that re-launched the West on its intellectual progress, to become the world’s nursery of innovation and its chief factory of ideas.

Our civilization cannot survive without this openness. Critical examination is the breath that keeps it alive. But it is in danger of suffocation. It is more threatened now than it has been for the last four hundred years by dogmatisms: the old religions still – especially Islam which absolutely forbids criticism – and ever more by Marxism, feminism, environmentalism (especially the myth of manmade global warming), critical race theory (CRT), and the orthodoxy of “diversity, inclusion, and equity”.  

The Founding Fathers of the United States perfectly understood the necessity for an open market of ideas. Every citizen of the republic, they laid down, must be free to declare his beliefs, to argue his case, to speak his mind, to examine ideas as publicly as he chose without fear of being silenced.

There are now two chief sources of doom to free speech:

One is Islam. Its ideas are the very opposite of those on which the USA was founded. It is an ideology of intolerance and cruelty. It forbids the free expression of thought. By its very nature, even if it were not now on a mission of world conquest (which it is), it is the enemy of the West. The best way to defeat it is by criticizing it, constantly and persistently, in speech and writing, on the big screen and the small screen, in schools and academies, in all the media of information and comment.

The second is the orthodoxy of the Left: all its beliefs, and very urgently, “diversity, inclusion, and equity”.  By “diversity” the dogmatists mean non-white supremacy. By “inclusion” they mean the exclusion of whites. By ‘equity” they mean forced uniformity: all equally indoctrinated, all equally compliant, all equally poor.  

The outcome will be an age of lethal conflict, because if defensive words are forbidden, the only other weapons are instruments of death.

How desires become ideologies – and a rumor became a religion 314

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

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

Stanley K. Ridgley explains how:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okun simply concocted the list.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at the similarities.

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

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

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

St. Paul was the Tema Okun of his day.

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

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

America’s state religion 480

Wokeism is fast becoming the American state religion.

Ben Weingarten identifies it as such, writing – surprisingly – at (woke) Newsweek:

Should it overtake our government, in making identity politics paramount it will unmake any semblance of a unifying American identity.

In so doing, it will serve as the ultimate tool of cynical, radically leftist power-grabbers, who will be dividing and conquering under the guise of a fraudulent virtue, justice and morality.

It is the religion of the party that is now in power. The government is woke. It is making identity politics paramount.

The Woke’s core views have been bubbling up from elite classrooms to the commanding heights of society for decades.

What is different is that now such views have been legitimated by the authorities and mainstreamed in our culture. If you dare to challenge them, you are liable to end up excommunicated from American life—canceled. After all, dissenting from the Woke orthodoxy makes you a racist.

Consider some of the signs that indicate the fast-accelerating ascent of Wokeism.

In New York City, at the same time Mayor Bill de Blasio was preventing Jews and Christians from freely exercising their religions—including peaceably assembling—he permitted adherents of Wokeism to assemble en masse in protesting, rioting and looting with impunity. The Woke enjoyed First Amendment rights foreclosed to the [other] faithful.

Mayor de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the relevant health authorities had argued the coronavirus-driven draconian shutdown of New York City, and the rest of the state, was necessary to save lives. If so, by permitting the Woke to flood the streets, were not New York officials conceding that public health was not really the number one priority? Were they not suggesting that they were willing to let people get sick and die because the right to practice Wokeism was absolute, sacrosanct and preeminent—this, incidentally, after instructing citizens to take to the streets in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year in February, coronavirus be damned, in context of a broader campaign against purported coronavirus-related anti-Chinese discrimination? Were they not affirming that Wokeism mattered more than the lives of the Woke—and everyone else?

Certainly, this view would seem to have been reinforced, as, in the face of the Woke, New York reduced police funding, and policing itself, which coincided with a dramatic rise in violent crime.

In St. Louis, menacing protesters by the dozens were able to threaten a couple, the McCloskeys, at their home, without consequence. The police did not rush to the McCloskeys’ aid. In fact, after the husband and wife were recorded brandishing firearms to deter those descending on their home, authorities left them not only defenseless, but threatened to disarm them and throw them in jail.

Did it not appear again as if privileging the Woke was now the highest responsibility of government, over and above protecting our natural rights, including those to life, liberty and property—all of which the Woke threatened?

The religion of Wokeism is the most extreme racist ideology since segregation.

While the “summer of love” may be over in Seattle, with CHOP/CHAZ—the ultimate symbol of government acquiescence to Wokeism—no more, its ideals persist. Seattle recently held a training session for white municipal employees—to be clear, a government training session for those of a specific race—called “Interrupted Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness.” Meanwhile, Washington’s state phase-in plan for public schools calls for giving priority to “students furthest from educational justice first,” specifically including “students of color”—that is, on the basis of race.

Tal Bachmann deplores it at Steynonline:

Wokism is now the official state religion of the United States of America.

By constitutional standards, this means something has gone wrong. The United States isn’t supposed to have a state religion. The First Amendment specifically prohibits the establishment of a state religion. Yet it now has one, and its name is Wokism.

Wokism is now celebrated or taught as Absolute Truth in every elementary school class, every middle and high school class, every university class, every corporate training session, every Capitol Hill political chamber, every Hollywood movie or cable show, every civic ceremony, every law, every political speech, every novel, every awards show, every sports league, every everything.

Government, its corporate allies, and cultural institutions all fund Wokism. They, along with their street troops, all demand Wokist belief and perfect compliance with Wokist commandments and rituals. They all punish those who question Wokist orthodoxy, often by completely ruining their lives. They fire dissenters, ban them from social media forever, initiate global social media pile-ons, and even threaten to kill them. Sometimes our officially Wokist government sends in goon squads to scare, or even arrest, those who dare criticize Wokism.

Wokism, the writer rightly says, is a “bellicose, uncompromising, ruthless, unself-critical, totalitarian movement“.

Does that remind you of anything else? If you say Islam, you win. The fact is that Wokism is now well on its way to becoming to American government and society what Islam is to Iranian government and society.

That this has happened means—can only mean—that something has gone terribly wrong in America (and the rest of the West). America’s original plan was to avoid funding and pushing any particular religious ideology or practice. It was to have full religious freedom. It was to keep government limited to solely protecting a few basic liberties. It was for Americans and their government to live and let live.

But things have changed. Why?

Maybe luxury spoiled us and made us fat and lazy and stupid. Maybe the Frankfurt School communists really did inject a lethal dose of philosophical poison into American thought. Maybe misguided government policies, and socially corrosive movements like sexual libertinism or feminism, really did start the implosion of the family unit.

Somehow or other, we’ve wound up in a total mess. And somehow or other, we need to find a way out of it. This is no way to live. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to live in a society run by frothing ideologues who have declared war on human biology, logic, and mathematics; on unborn children, confused adolescents, and the traditional familial arrangements which raise them; on Shakespeare and Homer; on fairness and decency; on reality itself—on survival itself. These people are all manic, obsessive-compulsive nation-destroyers, community-destroyers, culture-destroyers, family-destroyers, individual-destroyers, love-destroyers, beauty-destroyers, everything-destroyers.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at American Greatness:

If wokeness should continue and “win”, by now we all know where it will end up.

The woke Left seeks a top-down erasure of America.

The public is now increasingly bombarded by 360-degree, 24/7 wokeness in the fashion of the Maoist Red Guard gangs. There appears little refuge from it. Not in television commercials. Not from CEOs. Not from professional sports. Not from movies or television shows. Not from Wall Street, the internet, and social media. Not from the administrative state, and not from the military. Not from the K-12 teachers, much less the professors.

It is largely the well-off professionals, the “privileged” and the rich—CEOs, news anchors, actors, star athletes, college presidents, foundation heads, corporate board retired military brass, Wall Street grandees—who usually do the woke remonstrating (or fund it) to the supposedly non-privileged but guilty un-woke.

The most law-abiding of Americans now seem terrified of the law—the FBI of James Comey vintage, John Brennan’s legacy at the CIA, the same old IRS of Lois Lerner, the Justice Department once branded by Eric Holder, and the predictable court order of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Enlisted men fear their inquisitional officers.

Conservatives especially fear that the once-revered FBI can become analogous to the Stasi, the once indomitable CIA after 2015 began emulating the KGB, and the federal prosecutor has become a vindictive Inspector Javert. And just when you think they are crazier for such fears, another couple is rousted out of bed by agents for supposedly being at a riot they were not at.

The current madness is the stuff of history as we watch it predictably unfold. 

Roger L. Simon writes at the Epoch Times:

An iron-fisted, ideologically extreme minority has our country under its thumb—play along or face excommunication. This is stronger than anything in our history and almost identical to what we see and have seen in totalitarian countries.

All key aspects, most parts of them anyway, of our society “get it” … the media, the corporations, the government bureaucracy, the Democratic Party, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the military (yikes!), entertainment, the university system, the K-through-12 system, the medical community, the scientific community (incredibly), the religious, and on and on.

All, to one extent or another, believe in “woke” except—the people.

What the extremist ideology of “woke” actually provokes is talk of—and not just talk—secession and even civil war.

Few of us have heard anything like that in our lifetimes. But now it’s real. We have been driven apart as never before. We have been awakened indeed.

Anything can happen and some of us, who would never have considered anything like secession and civil war, suddenly do—highly disturbing to us as those thoughts may be.

How long will it be before “considering” comes to decision and “some of us”  – ideally most of us – act?

Religion and atheism argue in the labyrinth of good and evil 79

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

But he is religious.

He writes, and we comment:

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

They are right.

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

So, let me do that now.

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

See our critical discussion of “Judeo-Christian values” here.

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

Here they are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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God and Covid-19 93

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

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

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

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

David Gibson writes at Religion & Politics:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Free thought as heresy again 207

The Left has captured the culture. That’s well known and oft repeated. Education is now religiously Leftist from kindergarten to doctorate. The entertainment industry – stage, film, television –  faithfully carries the sacred messages. The media, both “mainstream” and “social”, are packed with acolytes.

Not only the guardians of the culture have converted en masse to the Church of Marx. Big panjandrums of our capitalist economy are dropping their checks for hundred of millions of dollars into the collection boxes of the Left’s terrorist curates – buying time, they foolishly hope. That would be more surprising if we didn’t have Vladimir Lenin’s (possibly apocryphal but highly plausible) prophecy that “the capitalist will sell you the rope you’ll hang him with”.

And now it is all too horrifyingly possible that the Left will re-capture the legislative and executive branches of the US government. As for the judicial branch, seven of the Supreme Court  justices – all nine of whom were formerly Jewish or Catholic which was not harmful to determinations of law – are dancing arm-in-arm leftwards through a side door into the C. of M., where doctrinal orthodoxy is strictly enforced. Could SCOTUS become the tribunal of the next Inquisition?

A dark age lies ahead. But need we despair? There is consolation to be found in the records of the fast fading era of free thought (roughly 1700-2000), that will still be available to us in books.

Or will they?

Oh, oh! It seems that books by or about the great  – mostly white – scientists, inventors, discoverers, philosophers, visionaries, economists, historians, educators whose ideas debunk the doctrines of the C. of M., are to be removed from libraries, bookshops, even probably our private rooms, and destroyed. Blotted out of human memory. They will not be published  again; or if published by some rogue publisher, not advertised;  or if advertised by some mischance, not sold; or if sold on a black market market of color, confiscated and destroyed.

On the other hand, books supporting the doctrine of the C. of M. (chiefly concerning anti-racism and the evil of being White) will abound. Vast libraries will be built to contain them. There’ll be at least one in every hotel bedside drawer. There’ll be cutely illustrated versions of some on the shelves of kindergartens; thousands to be checked out by students in all grades or else; and subterranean university bookstores will be chockfull of them.

Bruce Bawer, observing the trend, writes at Front Page:

Of America’s most powerful and prominent cultural institutions, it’s quick work naming those that aren’t entirely left-wing satrapies. TV? Fox News, although things are looking less and less encouraging there. Colleges? Hillsdale, I guess, though how many Ivy League faculty members would ever admit to having heard of it? Newspapers? The New York Post (sometimes), Wall Street Journal (kind of)and perhaps one or two others from sea to shining sea. Silicon Valley? Nothing. Hollywood? ¡Nada! Big business? Hmm: what is there, nowadays, honestly, other than that My Pillow guy?

One field in which there’s at least a soupçon of ideological diversity is the book trade. Yes, staffers at the major publishing houses are overwhelmingly on the left. Ditto bookstore employees. Plus the people who give out the major book awards. Not to mention that the heftiest advances for political books go to Democrats. Since the turn of the century, the biggest nonfiction book deal, amounting to at least $65 million, was for Michelle Obama’s Becoming (2018) and for an as-yet-unpublished opus by Barack; second – raking in $15 million – was Bill Clinton’s My Life (2004); third – at $14 million – was Hillary’s Hard Choices (2014).

One more thing about the reflexive leftism of the book scene. Thanks to today’s lethal cancel culture, even classics are at risk. Recently, in an article for the School Library Journal headlined “Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with ‘Classic’ Books That Are Also Racist”, Marva Hinton identified both Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as racist. No, she didn’t just say that they contained racist language, which would have been fair enough; she asserted that these two books – both of them key texts in the history of the American struggle against racism – are in fact racist.

Hinton quoted Julia E. Torres, a Denver school librarian, as saying that when she’s consulted by teachers who want to assign Harper Lee’s novel to their student, she often suggests replacing it with Samira Ahmed’s dystopic novel Internment, “about a teen sent to a U.S. internment camp for Muslim American people”. Alternatively, Torres “suggests they teach To Kill a Mockingbird using excerpts or through a critical consciousness lens, which would include lessons on white saviorism and the weaponization of white women’s tears”. Check, please!

I’m not familiar with the novel Internment – just out in paperback from Little, Brown – but it’s part of a full-court press by the book business to normalize Islam and demonize “Islamophobia”.  Also in on this effort are the major pre-pub reviewing outlets, all of which gave Internment starred reviews that were short on praise for aesthetic values and long on PC drivel. (“Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America…” – Kirkus.  “A very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance…” – Booklist. “An unsettling and important book for our times.” – Publishers Weekly.)

In 2006 I published a highly critical book about Islam. Even then, it was savaged by bien pensant book-world types. But criticizing Islam has become so verboten on the left that I doubt any major publisher today would touch a book like While Europe Slept – even though the problems described therein have grown far, far worse.

Meanwhile, to peruse the latest catalogues from those same publishers is to discover a blizzard of dreary-sounding new or forthcoming novels that, judging from the plot summaries, are drenched in identity politics. (Two quick examples from Knopf, perhaps the most respected of literary publishers: Burning by Megha Majumdar, about an Indian girl who’s falsely accused of terrorism and turns for help to a trans woman; My Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir, a novel that takes on “the legacy of colonialism” and “the abuse of male power”. …

Amazon’s current list of top ten bestsellers includes several far-left books on racism: Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. You might think there’s a market for at least one book criticizing these authors’ views; but I’ve been assured by industry insiders that no major New York house would even consider publishing such a book.

Even in book publishing, then, the left is way ahead. But this isn’t good enough for Alex Shephard, a young staff writer at the New Republic, who in a recent article maintained that the book industry is “overdue” for a major “reckoning”. Here’s his article’s subhead (italics mine):

The industry is facing demands to live up to its stated values. That might mean ditching writers like Donald Trump Jr.

And later there’s this (italics again mine):

…these publishing houses are, like many corporations in the country, being asked by their employees and customers to live up to a set of values. And that would seem to be impossible while also publishing the likes of Tucker Carlson…

What does Shephard mean by “stated values”? Simple: left-wing ideological purity. In his view, conservative books are, with exceedingly few exceptions, “valueless”. (Shephard implies that “quality control” alone would eliminate most conservative titles.) Also by definition, they’re awash in “factual inaccuracies”. Because of course you can’t possibly mount a convincing non-leftist argument for anything without radically distorting the truth. (As Shephard puts it: “Being forced to tell the truth is not an existential issue for most of publishing; it is for conservative imprints.”)

Hence, if book publishers began to be serious about fact-checking, it would, argues Shephard, “make it impossible to publish a great many conservative books”. Indeed, even the “more ‘respectable’ side of conservative publishing”, as represented for Shephard by Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 bestseller Liberal Fascism (note, however, those scare quotes around the word respectable), would be challenged by a responsible fact-checking apparatus.

According to Shephard, another attribute of many conservative books is that their authors aren’t serious. He quotes Kimberly Burns, a book publicist: “I’m OK with books being published from different political viewpoints – in fact, it’s necessary for debate and being able to see a whole picture … The problem is when authors write things only to get themselves attention or to make news, instead of to enhance a dialogue…” Apparently this isn’t a problem with left-wing books.

Bottom line: Shephard really likes censorship of his ideological opponents. And he really admires his fellow “woke” types who put pressure on publishers to cancel books. He notes with obvious satisfaction that Henry Holt, the publishing house, “drew fire for its decision to continue publishing Bill O’Reilly after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him”. (There’s no indication that Shephard believes multiple accusations of sexual harassment should affect Bill Clinton’s publishing career.)

Shephard approvingly mentions Simon & Schuster’s 2016 decision to drop the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he identifies as “a troll known for shallow publicity stunts”. And he tells us that he’s spoken to employees at another publishing house, Hachette, who “expressed discomfort about the company’s conservative imprint, Center Street, which publishes Donald Trump Jr., among others”.

Boy, I’ll bet they did. Since Shephard’s article appeared, Hachette staffers – largely lower-level Gen-Z brats – have said that they won’t work on J.K. Rowling’s forthcoming book because she’s criticized transgender ideology. Hachette is the same house that, in response to workers outraged over unproven quarter-century-old sex-abuse allegations, canceled Woody Allen’s about-to-be-published memoirs in March. Allen was never charged with any crime, let alone found guilty of one; years later he was permitted to adopt two children. Yet thanks to those junior Jacobins – every one of whom should’ve been fired – Allen was unceremoniously cut adrift.

And Shephard fully approves. He actually calls Allen a “pariah”. The ease with which this smug punk swats away the legendary writer-director is chilling. No matter what you may think of Allen or his films, the whole ugly spectacle is just too reminiscent of the way things worked under Stalin and Mao. And it’s all too representative, alas, of the atrocious attitudes of the rising generation of lockstep cancel-culture creeps who, like it or not, are well on their way to becoming our nation’s official cultural gatekeepers.

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