Nor piety nor wit 3

To be a political conservative and also an atheist in America may be uncommon but it isn’t difficult.

Our conservative principles are: individual freedom, small government, strong defense, free market economics, rule of law. Belief in them doesn’t need belief in God as well.

We find it perfectly easy to agree with the political opinions of religious conservatives. We just don’t share their faith in the existence of the supernatural.

We don’t take offense when one of our fellow conservatives talks about his or her religion, though we may be embarrassed for them if they become mawkish. We are thinking of courageous, principled, competent Sarah Palin, witty Ann Coulter, vigorous defender of freedom Glenn Beck, and above all Brit Hume, whom we have long listened to on Fox News with respect and gratitude for his political knowledge, insight, and judicious wisdom.

Actually, so unmawkish is Brit Hume, so seldom does he say anything about himself, that we didn’t even know he was a devout Christian. Then, on Fox News Sunday, speaking about the disgrace of poly-adulterous Tiger Woods with kindness and sympathy, and intending only to suggest a source of comfort for the great golfer, he said:

The extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be: Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.

To this, we hear, the ‘secular left’ took exception. Some of them absurdly spoke of a Constitutional requirement that ‘church and state’ be kept separate as a reason why it was wrong for someone to recommend his religion when appearing on television.

Conservatives leapt to Hume’s defense, and the defense of Christianity. –

Here’s Cal Thomas:

That is a message shared for 2,000 years by those who follow Jesus of Nazareth. It apparently continues to escape the secular left that Christians feel compelled to share their faith out of gratitude for what Jesus has done for them (dying in their place on a cross and offering a new life to those who repent and receive Him as savior). In a day when some extremists employ violence to advance their religion, it is curious that many would save their criticism for a truly peace-bringing message such as the one broadcast by Brit Hume.

And here’s Ann Coulter:

Hume’s words, being 100 percent factually correct, sent liberals into a tizzy of sputtering rage, once again illustrating liberals’ copious ignorance of Christianity.

On MSNBC, David Shuster invoked the “separation of church and television” (a phrase that also doesn’t appear in the Constitution), bitterly complaining that Hume had brought up Christianity “out-of-the-blue” on “a political talk show.”

Why on earth would Hume mention religion while discussing a public figure who had fallen from grace and was in need of redemption and forgiveness? Boy, talk about coming out of left field!

What religion — what topic — induces this sort of babbling idiocy? (If liberals really want to keep people from hearing about God, they should give Him his own show on MSNBC.)

Most perplexing was columnist Dan Savage’s indignant accusation that Hume was claiming that Christianity “offers the best deal — it gives you the get-out-of-adultery-free card that other religions just can’t.”

In fact, that’s exactly what Christianity does. It’s the best deal in the universe. (I know it seems strange that a self-described atheist and “radical sex advice columnist f*****” like Savage would miss the central point of Christianity, but there it is.)

God sent his only son to get the crap beaten out of him, die for our sins and rise from the dead. If you believe that, you’re in. Your sins are washed away from you — sins even worse than adultery! — because of the cross. …

With Christianity, your sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and your eternal life is guaranteed through nothing you did yourself, even though you don’t deserve it. It’s the best deal in the universe.

We cannot understand how any intelligent person can believe in God. We are baffled that even unintelligent people can believe in the immaculate birth of Jesus, or that he came alive again after dying (what does ‘death’ mean if not the end of life, what does ‘life’ mean if not that which can die?), or that a certain Jew born in the time of Augustus Caesar was divine. We wonder at (inter alia) the way Christians can overlook inconvenient passages in their scripture, such as (Matt 10.34) ‘I come not to bring peace but to bring a sword’; ignore the fact that Christianity invented Hell (for whose eternal torment if Christ is forgiving and if his crucifixion saved mankind?); bluff themselves that you have only to believe that Christ died for you and your sins are ‘washed away’.

Whatever wrong you’ve done you’ve done, people: live with it, try to learn from it and try not to do it again. It can never be ‘washed away’ from you. Tough for Tiger, tough for all of us. But when you die you won’t go to hell, you’ll be dead.

As Omar Khayyam, an atheist apostate from Islam (or his translator Edward Fitzgerald) wrote, being, to use Ann Coulter’s words, 100 per cent correct:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

For once we dislike something Brit Hume has said, but we defend – if not quite to the death – his right to say it.

With the radiance of rising suns 0

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin have, in an amazingly short space of time and with the radiance of rising suns, become, at least for the present, the de facto leaders of the opposition to the collectivists who have lied and conned their way into power.

Intellectual conservatives may find them, or at least may find  Beck and Limbaugh, too populist for their taste; but they must surely welcome as we do the millions of voters they are winning over to a voluble and potentially highly active resistance. Beck often makes remarks we disagree with, but we consider them unimportant compared with everything he says that rings true, and that tolls the death-knell – with any luck – of the would-be totalitarians in power.

We confess to looking forward every week-day to watching Glenn Beck expose the people in power as the America-hating Marxists they are. The red telephone that never rings, only the White House having the number so it can correct anything wrong or inaccurate in what he tells his vast audience; Joe sitting beside it dressed as Mao Tse Tung whom Anita Dunn likes to ‘turn to most’ for wisdom; the charming, harmless, floppy, bitch puppy he holds up to show us what the Press Watch-Dog looks like now … they are funny, unforgettable, entertaining, apt, brilliant.

That the Democrats and their supporters in the media have had to invent quotations from Rush Limbaugh to support their smear that he’s ‘a racist’, and that they bully and persecute Sarah Palin and her children, are clear indicators of how much the left fears these brightening stars.

Also rising brightly is the impressive Liz Cheney, who is obviously well informed and extraordinarily perceptive in matters of foreign affairs and defense. Now there’s someone to please the intellectuals! (Contrast with poor old John McCain, whose undoubted heroism in war fails to compensate for his insufficient intelligence in politics.)

Another confession: among the many important reasons why we’d be glad if Sarah Palin or Liz Cheney became president, an extra small one is that her election would intensely annoy the lefty feminists.

Mao in the White House 2

Yesterday the Fox News star Glenn Beck, in the course of a gripping solo performance, showed a video clip of Anita Dunn, the White House Communications Director, telling school children that one of her favorite philosophers, one whom she ‘turns to most’, was Mao Tse Tung, and recommending that they take his advice.

She joins a long line of Western admirers of Mao and Maoism: the sort of people Lenin called ‘useful idiots’.

What sort of man was Mao Tse Tung? What did he think, say, and do? What was the ‘philosophy’ of the man Anita Dunn admires? What made Mao so heroic a figure to her, whose opinions are valued by the president of the United States, that she commends him as a mentor to American school children?

Here are passages – some quoted, some summarized – from the biography Mao, by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, published in 2005:

During ‘the Great Leap Forward’, Mao enslaved the ‘entire rural population’, took away from them everything they possessed, and demanded ‘a feverpitch’ of work. He organized them into ‘People’s Communes’, to make slave-driving more efficient. He ‘even toyed with getting rid of people’s names and replacing them with numbers’. His aim was to ‘dehumanize China’s 550 million peasants and turn them into the human equivalent of draft animals.’ … ‘Total control over food gave the state a terrifying weapon. … Undernourishment and overwork quickly reduced tens of millions of peasants to a state where they were simply too enfeebled to work. When he found out that one county was doling out food to those too ill to work, Mao’s response was: “This won’t do. Give them this amount and they don’t work. Best halve the basic ration, so if they’re hungry they have to try harder.”’

Hungry peasants would ‘steal’ their own harvest, and for doing so –

Horrific punishments were widespread: some people [including children] were buried alive, others strangled with ropes, others had their noses cut off. … A child had four fingers chopped off … Two children had wires run through their ears and were then hung up by the wire….

People starved in the cities too … Most urban dwellers could barely survive on the rations they got … People were told to eat ‘food substitutes’. One was a green roe-like substance called chlorella, which grew in urine and contained some protein. After Chou En-lai tasted and approved this disgusting stuff, it soon provided a high proportion of the urban population’s protein.

Nationwide famine started in 1958, peaked in 1960, and lasted until 1961.

People were just driven crazy by hunger. … Some resorted to cannibalism. … One couple strangled and ate their eight-year-old son …

While all this was happening, there was plenty of food in state granaries, which were guarded by the army. Some food was simply allowed to rot. A Polish student saw fruit ‘rotting by the ton’ in southeast China in summer-autumn 1959. But the order from above was: ‘Absolutely no opening the granary door even if people are dying of starvation’.

Close to 38 million people died of starvation and overwork in the Great Leap Forward and the famine, which lasted four years. Mao knowingly starved and worked these tens of millions of people to death. … To the May 1958 congress that kicked off the Leap, he told his audience they should … actively welcome dying as a result of their Party’s policy. … ‘Death,’ said Mao, ’is indeed to be rejoiced over. … We believe in dialectics, and so we can’t not be in favor of death.’

When Mao was in Moscow in 1957, he had said: ‘We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution.’

In the single year of 1960, ‘22 million people died of hunger. This was the largest number in any one year in any country in the history of the world.’

In that year Mao told his inner circle:

The goal for now was ‘to propagate Mao Tse-tung Thought’ round the world. … The resulting propaganda campaign brought the world ‘Maoism’. The idea of promoting China’s experience as a model when the Chinese were dying of starvation in their millions might seem a tall order, but Mao was not perturbed: he had watertight filters on what foreigners could see and hear. … Mao could easily pull the wool over most visitors’ eyes. … [When he] told barefaced lies to France’s Socialist leader (and future president) François Mitterrand during the famine in 1961 (‘I repeat it, in order to be heard: there is no famine in China’), he was widely believed. The future Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau came in 1960 and co-wrote a starry-eyed book, Two Innocents in Red China, which did not say a word about famine. Even the former chief of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, Lord Boyd-Orr, was duped. In May 1959, after a trip to China, he opined that food production had risen 50-100 per cent over 1955-8 and that China ‘seems capable of feeding its population well’. Britain’s Field Marshal Montgomery, a much more gullible figure, asserted after visits in 1960 and 1961 that here had been ‘no large-scale famine, only shortages in certain areas’, and he certainly did not regard the ‘shortages’ as Mao’s fault, as he urged Mao to hang on to power: ‘China … needs the chairman. You mustn’t abandon this ship.’

Mao had no problem covering up the famine, and was confident he could promote himself as a credible international leader. For this job he brought in … dependable writer-journalists. …

*

One of these dependable types was Felix Greene (cousin of the novelist Graham Greene), who made documentary films about China for the BBC in the 1950s. Their message was that ‘nobody starves in Communist China’. These words were repeated like a mantra by Western intellectuals of the left to rebuke all criticism of Mao, and to excuse whatever he ‘had to do’ – the torture, the mass murder, the enslavement of the peasants, rumor of which reached the ears of the West even though hands were clasped over them – as if merely to be kept alive was a favor for which the Chinese should be grateful to their master. But even if it could be counted an achievement so great that it would justify everything, it wasn’t true.

Does Anita Dunn know the truth about Mao?

Which would be worse: that she does not know it and commends him, or that she does know it and commends him?

If the first, should she be speaking to American school children?

If the second, should she be speaking for the president?

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