Matthew Roberts suggests that there are presently two understandings of Christianity on the real right. One is the view taken by youthful neopagans, critically tracing our democratic egalitarian politics and culture back to primitive Christian sources. The pursuers of this fashion are happily reviving Nietzsche’s critique of Christianity, as a particularly long-lasting form of slave morality. The other view, recently championed by Thomas Fleming, and the one that Matthew Roberts prefers, is that the Enlightenment and Christianity are clean different things. If I understand Roberts and Fleming, the two world historical forces are so antithetical that we are forced to assume that Christianity was radically uprooted in order for the Enlightenment to take over.
Presumably our present-day politics of human rights, global democracy, and social equality have nothing to do with anything faintly resembling Christianity; and only an aging Jewish intellectual or a “guru” (yours truly) surrounded by metrosexual Nietzscheans and eliminationist anti-Semites would argue differently. Or so Fleming suggests while trying to destroy several birds all at the same time: my reputation, the honor of my disciples and friends, and any identification of Christianity (particularly in its preferred Catholic form) with leftist, democratic beliefs.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have never held the view that is ascribed to me. Two of my books, one on multiculturalism and the other on the post-Marxist Left, should make this clear. My writings present my perspective on the relation between Christianity and the Enlightenment and between both of these and our current neoconservative and multicultural afflictions. What I do not deny in my work is the obvious. There is, indeed, an egalitarian, universalist side to Christianity, unlike Judaism or Hinduism, and it can be found in the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. This remains the case, however much Fleming’s confession incorporated Roman hierarchical structures and distinctions and however much the Protestant Reformation became identified with European nationalist movements. Nor does the recognition of these anti-elitist elements signify the belief that Christianity is reducible to them. A specific divine revelation and the very unprogressive doctrine of Original Sin most emphatically distinguish Christianity from modern political dogmas, although here attention must be paid to the usability of the belief in inborn sinfulness in its transformed version as the doctrine of inherited social guilt. It is this transformed sense of individual and collective culpability that characterizes most current forms of Political Correctness.
The important thing to note here is that I have never condemned Christianity because of its anti-elitist elements. In fact these elements have occasionally led to human amelioration, seen in the humane treatment of women and children, the gradual abolition of torture as a method of extracting confessions, and the transformation of the ancient institution of slavery, as Father Francis Canavan used to point out, into medieval serfdom and finally into a more generalized human liberty in the nineteenth century. Without Christianity, it is unlikely that any of these developments would have occurred.
Grant Havers in his carefully nuanced study Lincoln and the Politics of Christian Love argues that Lincoln opposed the institution of slavery, by appealing to a distinctly Protestant understanding of the politics of Christian love. Havers does not defend Lincoln’s decision to invade the seceded South or the destruction that decision caused. And he most certainly does not fault Lincoln for not being a modern liberal or neoconservative. To the contrary: he finds his opposition to both slavery and full citizenship rights for former slaves to be consistent with his notion of “Christian charity.” In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln hoped to put slavery on the road to extinction, but his concept of Christian charity did not require him to treat the former slaves as political or social equals.
I would further note that contrary to what some have suggested, my book on multiculturalism is not a blistering indictment of Calvinist theology. My work attacks the collapse of Calvinism into the American politics of guilt. It most definitely does not consider Luther and Calvin, who were brilliant and learned Christian theologians, as precursors of our current antiracism or antisexism. Although certain Protestant attitudes and sentiments have survived in modern leftist reformulations, it would be foolish to assume a close continuity between this replacement theology and what it replaced.
But what seems to me undeniable is that some degree of connection does exist between Protestantism in its purest form and its current American liberal manifestations and between Christianity in general and the Enlightenment. Muslims or Jainists did not develop Enlightened or democratic ideas, except to the extent that they borrowed them from Western Christian cultures. Most of the leaders of the French Enlightenment were Jesuit-educated; and as Carl Becker shows to my satisfaction in The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers, the leaders of the Enlightenment in both Catholic and Protestant countries drew their millennial view of earthly rationality after a period of struggle from biblical visions of the end times. The only noteworthy living person who argues for a different position, that is, one closer to Fleming’s albeit from distinctly different premises, is the Jewish leftist anti-Christian Peter Gay in his volume The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism (1969). But Gay’s view of paganism is so fraught with modern progressivist values and his picture of the Enlightenment so radically de-Christianized that his book seemed to me a hoax when I first picked it up forty years ago.
The Western Left may be unthinkable without a Christian reference point, unlike neopagan forms of fascism, which are unmistakably non-Christian in their inspiration. One may try to hide those radical elements in Christianity by focusing on the Germanic or Roman institutions that blended with historical Christianity. But they are there nonetheless; and if in the past these constituent elements occasionally encouraged sound moral achievements, by now they have turned into a raging heresy from which the Christian world cannot seem to recover.
About two years ago, a Catholic intellectual told me that he had come to accept the notion that the modern Left is a Christian heresy but one that is still identifiably Christian. Although I have been credited with this perception, it is not my own view but one that the Protestant theologian Karl Barth expressed after the Second World War. My Catholic friend seemed to embrace Barth’s value judgment about the greater moral acceptability of the Left as opposed to the real Right, given the Left’s Christian derivation. Note that Barth became a Communist fellow-traveler once he had come to identify the Left with the Gospels. My friend also assumed that the ultimate enemy for Christians must be the Right, to the extent it was not totally Christianized. What this skewed perspective ignores is political reality. Heresies destroy religious institutions much faster than an entirely different set of beliefs, and the heresy that my young friend was cozying up to, or at the very least condoning, is consuming the Christian world much faster than neopaganism, racism or sexism.
For the record, it is hard for me to imagine how the Western world could be anything other than Christian. Even now it seems to be identifiably Christian, in a more traditional or in an utterly debased updated form. But I”ve already said all these things multiple times. It is therefore distressing to note how a white-bearded critic has misrepresented my views, while counterfactually depicting me as the guru of would-be Nazi killers.
The tale of Tiger Woods and his car crash is entirely fascinating: not for the story itself, but for the story we’ve been presented with and asked to believe.
The straight facts we’re asked to swallow are that Tiger Woods got in his car at 2.30 am or so at his home in Florida and while driving slowly away from his house he hit first a fire hydrant and then a tree in the garden of his neighbor’s house. We know he was driving slowly (under 33 mph) because the airbags did not deploy. We also know he was sober, for the local police force has stated that alcohol was not involved.
After the crash, he was then rescued by his wife who used a golf club to smash a back window and drag him out. Which is where it all starts to get a little bizarre, really. For who attends the scene of an accident with a golf club in their hands? Yes, I know the Tiger Woods household and all that. But really. And if the club was in the car then, well, if she could get the car open to get that then why smash the window? And would you really need to smash a window to get someone out of a car that had hit something going less than 33 mph? And in an American SUV like an Escalade?
Then we find out a little more: both the National Enquirer (not always the most accurate of newspapers but then again, they did get John Edwards) and The Star have been reporting that Tiger has been having an affair with one Rachel Uchitel (no, I don’t know either, a nightclub hostess apparently). She denies this, saying it’s just some vague aquaintances of hers making up stories for the journalists” brown envelope of cash.
Surveying the various newspaper stories on the subject you can read a little between the lines. There’s something that they’re sure they’re not being told as yet but they’re not quite sure what it actually is.
So let’s go back and tell the story without the famous names. Good looking, very famous and rich young man has been married a few years and has two young children. He travels a great deal for his work while the wife and the children stay home (most of the time, at least). The arrival of young children is when male eyes start to rove. Whether our good looking young man is, indeed, doing this or not isn’t the point: the young wife, in this modern world where celebrity is all it takes to get a quick invitation to putt on an away green, would be somewhat foolish not to at least suspect that something might be going on. Suspicions that may or may not be founded, of course.
Then two muckraking mags announce that, yes, our young man is, indeed, driving where he promised he wouldn’t. I think we can then all recreate the next scene in our heads can’t we?
A screaming match between a young wife betrayed and quite possibly (given the third party’s insistence on this matter, Ms. Uchitel above) the young husband protesting his innocence. Tempers do indeed get frayed in such circumstances. Rather than escalate matters with the enraged wife our hero decides to leave, go for a drive and let everyone calm down a little. At which point one of the ever present golf clubs is thrown through the window as he drives away, the surprise making him crash the car, the by-now-worried-rather-than-angry wife coming to his aid.
Now, of course, all of that is speculation of the purest and possibly basest sort. But that is what TMZ (yet another muck raking site and possibly even less accurate than the Enquirer) is alleging is the full and correct story. But it is a more interesting story, isn’t it?
The fourth and last time I debated at the Oxford Union was three or four years ago, and it was a total disaster. The motion was that Katrina’s aftermath was Bush’s fault, and I was against it. A quarter of a century before that, Auberon Waugh and I had wiped out the opposition under the leadership of a very young—in his twenties—Charles Moore. Another victory followed some years later, but the subject escapes me as if in a dream. A beautiful young student asked me if it were true I went to Annabel’s every night and whether I would take her there—which I did, and we spent the next week hiding from her outraged father. Charlie Glass and I made mincemeat out of Lord Parkinson and Nicholas Soames about five years ago, and then I hit a snag with Katrina.
I was up last and blaming Louisiana’s crooked politicians for having pocketed the federal funds allocated for flood protection, when an extremely obese African-American student asked to be recognized. “I almost starved to death waiting for the government to help,” she began, when I interrupted her interruption with “well, you could do with a bit of a diet..” Well, I never! Had I streaked in front of Queen Victoria’s funeral cortege, the reaction would have been milder. Young people booed and some walked out. A particularly annoying type in front of me—yes, he was wearing an anorak—screamed that I was drunk—he was half right—and the lady in question burst into tears. For once I was at a loss for words. It was all downhill after that and I haven’t been invited back.
Which brings me to the point I wish to make. You can pee on an icon of our Lord Jesus, as a comedian did last month on an American TV show, and pretend that our Lord was crying, and people find it funny, but God forbid when young Taki makes a joke about a fat black woman. The grievance brigades are out in force and watching us. When the beautiful Kate Moss said that nothing tastes as good as skinny, the brigades began shooting as if it were the glorious 12th. The tabloids went ballistic, and lambasted Kate for saying what we all know to be true: It’s better to be thin than fat. Although she never mentioned the word anorexia, the hysterics went on until poor Kate ate humble pie, without throwing it up, mind you.
My, my! We all know that PC is a persistent form of untruthfulness, a pretension that things are different from what they are, but lately it has become so coercive, it’s threatening the way we think and the way we behave. As everyone knows, in a P.C. world, humour is a capital offence, and although I left Oxford with my head still connected to my neck, it will be a long time before I try telling a 300- pound African-American woman that she should try dieting. No siree, no Sir Thomas More for me.
And no Sir Thomas More for Dave, either. This is why he’s already in poo, six to eight months before the election. Dave Cameron is a smart fellow but he is outsmarting himself by reverting to the kind of cynical opportunism the British public is so sick of, the kind of contempt for the public Tony Blair and his ilk have been practicing from the day they conned themselves into power. It doesn’t take great brain power to know that posing for the cameras in front of crosses for dead soldiers on Remembrance Day is what a spiv would do, not a statesman. Photo ops are what spivs thrive on, or Paris Hilton types. Cameron should ditch his PR advisers and play it by ear. It’s an easy thing to do. Follow your instincts, dickhead, and do the opposite that PR sharks tell you to do.
For example: Answer questions about the EU, don’t be slippery or vague. Recognise the fact that the British people are desperate for honesty, not spin, and give them some. Denounce human rights as defined by unelected Brussels bureaucrooks, answer truthfully what you plan to do about mass immigration, and most importantly, what you will do about the loss of sovereignty to Brussels. Wear a necktie, stop holding hands with your wife as if you were Siamese twins, and start earning the trust of the people. Tell the press to go to hell, especially the BBC, and stop hounding anyone who thinks Enoch Powell was a very great man. Which he certainly was. Far, far greater than you will ever be. Do what young Taki advises you to do, and you might be a man someday, my son.
Oh, I almost forgot. What about Herman Van Rompuy, pronounced “Ram pow,” as in pow, right on the kisser. The EU men in grey sure did us a favour by slapping down Tony Blair, but then another pow, right on our kisser, when they stuck us with that Blair baroness, whatever her name is, kiss my Ashton or something. These two will truly stop traffic, especially in a merry-go-round at a fair. I am so excited I can’t wait to get back to Europe and attend their coronation. Ram Pow right on the kisser and Baroness Kiss my Ashton. It’s brilliant, it’s delightful, its delirious, it’s de-lovely.
It has been suggested that Sarah Palin is a sort of Rorschach test for Americans. The attractive, religious and fertile White woman drove the ugly, secular and barren White self-hating and Jewish elite absolutely mad well before there were any questions about her qualifications. The loyalty she inspires in the White masses is similarly based on gut feelings rather than rational analysis.
The latest chapter in the Palin saga is her book Going Rogue: An American Life. I usually don”t like to read these kinds of ghostwritten works by politicians who still have ambitions for higher office. You”re not hearing the candidate speak about what he believes or getting a sense of his own style, but reading what he thinks he should say to be politically acceptable to the masses filtered through the diction of a nobody.
Indeed, there is much in this book that would be hard to imagine coming out of the author’s mouth. Take the second sentence.
With the gray Talkeetna Mountains in the distance and the first light covering of snow about to descend on Pioneer Peak, I breathed in an autumn bouquet that combined everything small-town America with rugged splashes of the Last Frontier.
At other points the author quotes Plato and Aristotle. Near the end, she even discusses economics with Bristol, the kid who got knocked up. We’re informed that this daughter dreams of opening a coffee shop with her cousin. After Palin explains to the teenager that Obama is destroying capitalism, Bristol the economist replies:
“You’re always preaching that government ‘can’t make you happy, healthy, wealthy, or wise.’ Business owners are smarter than politicians give them credit for, and President Obama is wrong to think more government control is the answer. Pay attention to the tea parties, Mom. You’re not alone in this. That’s what they’re saying.”
Bristol’s barista wage: $7.25 an hour.
Her advice to the president (and her mom): priceless.
Despite the drawbacks inherent in a book like this, the Palin phenomenon says so much about modern day America that ignoring her autobiography would be to miss a major cultural event. And combing through Rogue may shed light on who has the ear of the lady who may very well be our president in a few years.
The first three chapters tell the story of Sarah Palin’s life up until she was selected to be John McCain’s running mate. Chapter four is the 2008 campaign and five is what has happened since. Chapter six is a short fourteen pages that sum up the author’s political philosophy.
Sarah Heath was born in Idaho. Her father was a schoolteacher and the Alaskan gold rush had created a demand for professionals to serve the growing population of the 49th state. She arrived in Skagway, population at the time 650, as a three-month-old. From then on she had a typical American upbringing.
Sarah met Todd when she was a senior in high school. He had come to Wasilla for his last year of school to play on the basketball team. Sarah admired his work ethic and was impressed by how polite he was to her parents. But then she tells us that he chewed tobacco, didn”t go to church and cussed. When Todd informs Sarah that he”d been baptized at a sports camp a few years before meeting her, she knows that he’s the right man for her.
Sarah graduated from high school with the goal of being a sports journalist. She took five years to finish college not because she was dumb, as some have suggested, but because she had to pay her way and would occasionally take a semester off. At eighteen she supposedly read the platforms of both the major political parties and decided to become a Republican due to her love of America, beliefs in individual rights and capitalism, and her “respect for equality.”
According to Sarah, Todd was the first and only boy she ever kissed. When he tried to put the moves on her for the first time she jumped out of the car. The Palins got married at a courthouse and had their wedding dinner at Wendy’s. Unlike the Obamas, as young adults they had real jobs. Finding one that paid $14 an hour would be a cause for celebration. Years later when accused of having a conflict of interest because her husband was employed by the oil industry, Governor Palin would explain to her state that “Todd’s not in management. He actually works.”
As a politician, Palin claims to always have been looking out for the best interests of her constituents. She rose to become the mayor of her hometown and from there went on to the governorship of the state. The way she tells it, Palin was a completely disinterested public servant who fought corruption wherever she found it.
There seems to be some truth in her account. In 2006 the FBI served almost twenty search warrants on the offices of state legislators, most of whom were Republicans. Palin herself would be untouched during the corruption investigations and no impropriety was found after she came back to Alaska after the 2008 campaign. This is despite the fact that she and her family would go $500,000 in debt defending herself against ethics complaints, which could be filed at no cost to the accuser.
Less believable are Palin’s claims that when her family moved into the Governor’s Mansion they fired the private cook to save the state money. If this is true and it wasn”t a gimmick, the woman is a saint.
It’s quite charming to hear accounts of how Palin balanced her numerous pregnancies and the needs of her children with her political duties. When Frank Murkowski was elected governor of Alaska in 2002, he had to resign his Senate seat and pick a replacement. Mayor Palin was on the short list. Todd drove her out to Anchorage to interview for the position and rode around the parking lot to keep the Ford Bronco warm as his wife met with the governor. She didn”t get the job, but the parents got home in time to watch Bristol’s basketball game and Track’s hockey practice. Governor Palin had an approval rating in the 80s when she joined the McCain team.
Palin went to Arizona in the summer of 2008 to interview for the number two spot of the Republican ticket. She met with senior campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, who had also worked for W. His favorite issue was the Iraq war and he would give Palin books and videos on the subject. There was an assumption that the conflict would be the center of the McCain campaign. The only thing more disturbing than the fact that the McCain team thought they could win on this issue is that they actually believed in the war.
Schmidt asked her about gay marriage. Palin said that her college roommate was a lesbian and that even though she thought that marriage was between a man and a woman, she loved her friend dearly. Then they asked about evolution. Palin replied that she believed that although there was evidence for microevolution, there was none for macroevolution.
I didn”t believe in the theory that human beings … originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea. Or that human beings began as single-celled organisms that developed into monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees; I believed we came about through a random process, but were created by God.
The last sentence makes absolutely no sense, but then again, it’s coming from a woman that doesn”t believe in evolution.
Palin’s reputation would take its biggest hit in her interview with Katie Couric. Someone on the campaign convinced the governor to do it by explaining that Couric had low self-esteem and simply wanted to be liked.
Palin throws cheap shots like this throughout the book at those that have crossed her. Here’s some more: The McCain people were completely cynical and scared to death of unscripted moments. An Alaskan Democratic state legislator was laughed at by soldiers for claiming to have had experience in the army after taking a few weeks” military course. Schmidt wore sunglasses on the top of his bald head in the middle of the night.
As for the famous CBS interview, Couric and her team shot hours of footage and then unfairly decided what fraction went on TV. Palin would accuse them of picking the worst of the worst to broadcast. It sounds like a just criticism until you realize that twenty minutes out of a few hours is a pretty significant portion. If you picked out the worst sixth of my writing, it wouldn’t be representative but at the same time it wouldn”t be the disaster that was the Palin interview. Granted, if you took my worst sentence I may look like a fool, but CBS News didn”t do anything close to that.
Couric famously asked Palin which newspapers she read that formed her worldview. Here’s how Palin explains her humiliating answer.
It’s not that I didn”t want to “ or as some have ludicrously suggested, couldn”t “ answer her question; it was that her condescension irritated me. It was as though she had suddenly stumbled on a primitive newcomer from an undiscovered tribe.
You can watch the segment for yourself on YouTube and decide if Palin’s characterization of Couric’s tone is correct. The question isn”t unreasonable and the interviewee’s answer says more about her insecure and paranoid nature than anything else.
Palin is like a Black person who responds to normal human interactions with “It’s because I”m Black, right?” Except with her, it goes “It’s because I”m not from New York and don”t have an Ivy League degree, isn”t it?”
This isn”t to absolve the McCain campaign of anything. I have nothing but contempt for people who would work for that disgusting and horrible man. Nor do I have any love for the liberal elite.
But Palin doesn”t have the IQ to run an effective political campaign or be a passable representative for White America. In fact, part of the reason that the proles relate to her is that they”re also resentful of those smarter than themselves. Sure, they dislike the liberalism of the ruling class, but there’s still old fashioned jealousy.
Picking a president isn”t like choosing a doctor or an engineer. A political leader decides what his agenda is going to be. You don”t have to be a genius to read and believe in the 10th amendment. Palin mentions it twice favorably in her book.
On the other hand, it does take some intelligence to not consistently embarrass and discredit the ideology you represent. After eight years of a Republican president who couldn”t put a grammatical sentence together, the last thing conservatism needs is a creationist with an IQ a standard deviation below those she disagrees with ideologically and must debate.
Sarah Palin writes that the media picked on her and her family. She asks us to
imagine if your family were the subject of relentless attention from a hostile press. Surely there is at least one person or incident the press could seize on to embarrass your loved ones…. If your extended family doesn”t fit that description, count your blessings. I”ve never met anyone like you.
The reason that she hasn”t is because everybody she knows is a prole. They didn”t need to go to the extended family to find disgraced relatives either. Bristol was pregnant at 17. Her sister’s husband tasered his 11-year-old stepson. Palin takes John Kerry to task for his joke about those who don”t study getting “stuck in Iraq,” but the story of her own son proves that he was right (or would”ve been, if insulting soldiers was actually his intention). Track joined the military after deciding that he didn”t want to bum around after high school like his friends. This implies that he wasn”t smart enough for college. He got two tattoos before he left: a Jesus fish and the state of Alaska. Maybe this sounds heartwarming at a town hall meeting in Wasilla, but to the educated public it’s trashy.
As far as Palin’s ideology goes, she does embrace the too-many-loans-to-poor-people explanation for the housing crash, without the racial aspect of course. And in the final chapter she names Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions as a work that influenced her.
But the most important thing of all is that there isn”t a word about either legal or illegal immigration in the book. And even if she managed to have her way on taxes and welfare, it would eventually be repealed by the soon-to-be majority of Mexicans and other NAMs.
She says we have a responsibility to “complete our missions” in foreign lands and ensure America remains the strongest military power in the world. And the always innocent and wonderful state of Israel is singled out twice as a foreign country that especially deserves American support. (Here’s a recent video of Palin saying that Israel should build even more settlements on Palestinian land because, after all, Israel has a rapidly growing population. If only we had politicians to consider the demographic future of the majority people of America!)
Although one would have a hard time telling from this review, I really like Sarah Palin. She is as good a person as can get on a presidential ticket in today’s America. But that isn”t enough. There will never be a rising up of “Middle American Radicals” who seize power. If the American elite is ever to be replaced, it will have to be done by people of comparable ability.
Palin takes the McCain campaign to task for not emphasizing Jeremiah Wright during the campaign. She was told to be quiet on the subject. The girl has guts and unlike McCain would”ve cared more about winning than not being called racist.
But the end result of a Palin victory in 2012 would simply be a globalist that the masses relate to instead of one whom they resist. That’s the problem with hoping for the “Joe the Plumbers” to save the White race. Being deficient in intelligence, they”re easily led in any direction. Whites voted for the Bush that promised a humble foreign policy in 2000 and they died for him in the sands of Iraq from 2003 on.
If there’s one lesson from the last Republican president, it’s that if someone has the loyalty of conservative Whites, it’s important that he actually carry out policies that are good for Whites. It’s too easy to fall under the spell of a pretty face and then wake up to find that your country is gone. Not for nothing did Sam Francis refer to the failure of conservatism under Reagan.
Sarah Palin would make a wonderful neighbor or midlevel manager. But a Palin presidency would give us little more than “invade the world, invite the world.”
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And when the country goes under thanks to these foreign wars and increasing number of low-IQ welfare dependents, “conservatism” and maybe even nativism will be blamed.
In the end though, I”ll be rooting for Palin just so I can watch liberals” heads explode after the goddess of implicit Whiteness beats their messiah. Anyone who thought seeing Kerry lose to Bush was tough on the Left hasn’t seen anything yet.
If it’s going to be a long time until a White awakening, we may as well be entertained while we wait.
Originally published at The Occidental Observer.
With the House debate on health care at its hottest, the U.S. Catholic bishops issued a stunning ultimatum: Impose an absolute ban on tax funds for abortions, or we call for defeat of the Pelosi bill.
Message received. The Stupak Amendment, named for Bart Stupak of Michigan, was promptly passed, to the delight of pro-life Catholics and the astonished outrage of pro-abortion Democrats.
No member was more upset than Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, son of Edward Kennedy, who proceeded to bash the Church for imperiling the greatest advance for human rights in a generation.
Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin responded, accusing Kennedy of an unprovoked attack and demanding an apology. Kennedy retorted that Tobin had told him not to receive communion at Mass and ordered his diocesan priests not to give him communion.
False! The bishop fired back.
He had sent Kennedy a private letter in February 2007 saying that he ought not receive communion, as he was scandalizing the Church. But he had not told diocesan priests to deny him communion.
As Rhode Island is our most Catholic state, Kennedy went silent and got this parting shot from Tobin: “Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.”
The clash was naturally national news. But Tobin’s public chastisement of a Catholic who carries the most famous name in U.S. and Catholic politics is made more significant because it seems to reflect a new militancy in the hierarchy that has been absent for decades
Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., just informed the city council that, rather than recognize homosexual marriages and provide gays the rights and benefits of married couples, he will shut down all Catholic social institutions and let the city take them over. Civil disobedience may be in order here.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York sent an op-ed to The New York Times charging the paper with anti-Catholic bigotry and using a moral double standard when judging the Church.
During the “horrible” scandal of priest abuse of children, wrote the archbishop, the Times demanded the “release of names of abusers, rollback of the statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records and total transparency.”
But when the Times “exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuses in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish Community … 40 cases of such abuses in this tiny community last year alone,” wrote the archbishop, the district attorney swept the scandal under the rug, and the Times held up the carpet.
Dolan singled out a “scurrilous … diatribe” by Maureen Dowd “that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish or African-American” faith.
Dowd, wrote Dolan, “digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription … into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics and his recent welcome to Anglicans.”
Dowd, said Dolan, reads like something out of the Menace, the anti-Catholic Know Nothing newspaper of the 1850s.
The Times’ refusal to publish the op-ed underscores the archbishop’s point.
Nor are these the only signals of a new Church Militant.
The Vatican has reaffirmed that Catholics in interfaith dialogues have a moral right if not a duty to convert Jews, and reaffirmed the doctrine that Christ’s covenant with his church canceled out and supersedes the Old Testament covenant with the Jews.
When Abe Foxman, screech owl of the Anti-Defamation League, railed that this marks a Catholic return to such “odious concepts as ‘supercessionism,’” he was politely ignored.
The new spirit was first manifest last spring, when scores of bishops denounced Notre Dame for inviting Barack Obama, a NARAL icon, to give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree.
Among the motives behind the new militancy is surely the wilding attack on Pope Benedict for reconciling with the Society of St. Pius X, one of whose bishops had questioned the Holocaust. The pope was unaware of this, and the bishop apologized. To no avail. Rising in viciousness, the attacks went on for weeks. Having turned the other cheek, the church got it smacked.
In his May address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said, “In a culture which embraces an agenda of death, Catholics and Catholic institutions are necessarily counter-cultural.”
Exactly. Catholicism is necessarily an adversary faith and culture in an America where a triumphant secularism has captured the heights, from Hollywood to the media, the arts and the academy, and relishes nothing more than insults to and blasphemous mockery of the Church of Rome.
Our new battling bishops may be surprised to find they have a large cheering section among a heretofore silent and sullen faithful who have been desperate to find a few clerical champions.
Republican members of Congress and what masquerades as a “conservative” media are outraged that the Obama administration intends to try in federal court Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of Sept. 11, and four alleged co-conspirators.
The Republican and right wing ranting that a trial is too good for these people proves what I have written for a number of years: Republicans and many Americans who think of themselves as conservatives have no regard for the U.S. Constitution or for civil liberties. They have no appreciation for the point made by Thomas Paine in his “Dissertations on First Principles of Government” (1790): “An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
Republicans and American conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists. They assume that police and prosecutors are morally pure and, in addition, never make mistakes. An accused person is guilty, or government wouldn’t have accused him. All of my life, I have heard self-described conservatives disparage lawyers who defend criminals. Such “conservatives” live in an ideal, not real, world. They desperately need to read The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Even some of those, such as Stuart Taylor in the National Journal, who defend giving Mohammed a court trial do so on the grounds that there are no risks, as Mohammed is certain to be convicted and that “a civilian trial will show Americans and the rest of the world that our government is sure it can prove the 9/11 defendants guilty in the fairest of all courts.”
Taylor agrees that Mohammed deserves “summary execution,” but that it is a good Machiavellian ploy to try Mohammed in civilian court, while dealing with cases that have “trickier evidentiary problems” in “more flexible military commissions, away from the brightest spotlights.”
In other words, Taylor and the National Journal endorse Mohammed’s trial as a show trial that will prove both America’s honorable respect for fair trials and Muslim guilt for Sept. 11.
If, as Taylor writes, “the government’s evidence is so strong,” why wasn’t Mohammed tried years ago? Why was he held for years and tortured—apparently water-boarded 183 times—in violation of U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions? How can the U.S. government put a defendant on trial when its treatment of him violates U.S. statutory law, international law and every precept of the U.S. legal code? Mohammed has been treated as if he were a captive of Adolf Hitler’s Gestapo or Joseph Stalin’s KGB. And now we are going to finish him off in a show trial.
If the barbaric treatment Mohammed has received during his captivity hasn’t driven him insane, how do we know he hasn’t decided to confess in order to obtain for himself for evermore the glory of the deed? How many people can claim to have outwitted the CIA, the National Security Agency and all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, NORAD, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, airport security (four times on one morning), U.S. air traffic control, the U.S. Air Force, the military joint chiefs of staff, all the neocons, Mossad and even the formidable Dick Cheney?
Considering that some Muslims will blow themselves up in order to take out a handful of Israelis or U.S. and NATO occupation troops, the payoff that Mohammed will get out of a guilty verdict is enormous. Are we really sure we want to create a Muslim Superhero of such stature?
Originally, according to the U.S. government, Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of Sept. 11. To get bin Laden is the excuse given for the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which set up the invasion of Iraq. But after eight years of total failure to catch Osama bin Laden, it became absolutely necessary to convict some culprit, because the Sept. 11 Truth Movement is becoming too strong.
If Mohammed is really the mastermind who defeated the best that America has to offer, including the thousands of intelligence agents and strategic thinkers with the responsibility of protecting our country, Mohammed is a first-class genius. What a waste to execute him! Shouldn’t we first try to turn him? If we had a guy like Mohammed on our side running Homeland Security, we would forever be safe.
Allegedly, Arabs are corrupt and easily bribed. If we can pay the rulers of Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan to operate in our interest against their own kind, how do we know we can’t sign up Mohammed? I can see this guy as a highly paid consultant to Homeland Security. In addition to money, we could make some other concessions, such as ceasing to persecute Muslim charities and the innocent people who contribute to them. Using Stuart Taylor’s reasoning, this would be a good “pragmatic” move.
Unfortunately, there will be no such sensible outcome. David Feige in Slate.com on Nov. 19 has told us what the outcome will be. The prosecution doesn’t need any evidence because no judge and no jury is going to let the demonized “mastermind of Sept. 11” off. No judge or juror wants to be forever damned by the brainwashed American public or assassinated by right-wing crazies.
Keep in mind that the kid, John Walker Lindh, termed “the American Taliban” by an ignorant and propagandistic U.S. media, was guilty of nothing except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite the complete trampling of his every right, he got 20 years on a coerced plea bargain.
The price that Mohammed will pay will be small compared to the price we Americans will pay. The outcome of Mohammed’s trial will complete the transformation of the U.S. legal system from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state. Feige writes that Mohammed’s statements obtained by torture will not be suppressed, that witnesses against him will not be produced (“national security”), that documents that compromise the prosecution will be redacted.
At each stage of Mohammed’s appeals process, higher courts will enshrine into legal precedents the denial of the constitutional right to a speedy trial, thus enshrining indefinite detention; the denial of the right against damning pretrial publicity, thus allowing demonization prior to trial; and the denial of the right to have witnesses and documents produced, thus eviscerating a defendant’s rights to exculpatory evidence and to confront adverse witnesses.
The twisted logic necessary to disentangle Mohammed’s torture from his confession will also be upheld and will “provide a blueprint for the government, giving them the prize they’ve been after all this time—a legal way both to torture and to prosecute.”
It took Hitler a while to corrupt the German courts. Hitler first had to create new courts, like President George W. Bush’s military tribunals, that did not require evidence—using, in place of evidence hearsay, secret charges and self-incrimination obtained by torture.
Every American should be concerned that the Obama administration has decided to use Mohammed’s trial to complete the corruption of the American court system. When Mohammed’s trial is over, an American Joe Stalin or Adolf Hitler will be able to convict America’s Founding Fathers on charges of treason and terrorism. No one will be safe.
The charade is up. It’s now apparent that Nidal Hasan was acting upon the Islamic doctrine of holy war when he carried out mass murder at Fort Hood. But will this fact, like so many others, make any appreciable difference in our future course? Almost a decade has passed since the September 11th attacks, but Americans are more confused than ever on the origin, meaning and intent of Muslim militancy. We deceive ourselves with our own false vision of humanity; in doing so we race further toward destruction.
Through the evil he willed, Hasan delivered news the post-Christian West can”t bear to hear: modern universalism, the movement toward a secularized, borderless world of voters and consumers, is an unsustainable fraud. Witness the delusion that reigns at the highest levels of power. The U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, gave us a perfect display of the elites” unswerving dedication to its ideological program:
It would be a shame—as great a tragedy as this was—it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.
Given the establishment’s response to the atrocity, its representatives prefer death (not their own, of course, but yours will do well enough) to facing not only the reality of jihad, but the bankruptcy of the liberal project.
Hasan also reminded us about the very nature of the centuries-long war waged by Islam against Dar el-Harb (the House of War, i.e. the world outside Islamic power). Actions ranging from full-blown invasions to smaller-scale operations that would today be termed “crime” or “terrorism” form the original basis of this faith’s expansion. Today’s West has actively facilitated the other key component of the growth of Islam, migration. With little regard to vital cultural and historical context, our elites have sown the ground for the current conflict by importing Muslim peoples en masse, a feat of recklessness without precedent.
This is not to imply a special animus against Muslims. But we must be cognizant of an enduring antagonism between civilizations that cannot be explained away by fashionable theories. Only an ignorant and fevered imagination would deem violence carried out in the name of Islam worldwide as some sort of contemporary anomaly.
Those who shrug about the growth of Islam in the West will obfuscate their way to an apology for multiculturalist policies at home and interventions abroad. Favorite terms used by officials and media commentators to expel all clarity from discussion include “extremist” and “Islamist.” It would be laughable to think about Mohammed and his followers as they fought to dominate the Arabian Peninsula and beyond as “Islamist extremists.” Were the Moors who overran Spain and threatened France also “extremists”? Or the Turks who captured Constantinople and ravaged their way deep into Europe? They were warriors fulfilling the imperatives of conquest laid out by their religion’s founder.
9:29. Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
We are confronted with a belief system that since its inception has claimed nothing less than dominion over the entire earth. Liberal society cannot admit this, for to do so would subvert its organizing principles and its very own pretense to universality.
Liberalism celebrates our common humanity in the most superficial manner (individual desire), while denying the essences of cultures and peoples. The exaltation of “human capital” as interchangeable and “enriching,” no matter the country of origin, has led to the phenomenon of Londonistan. America attempts to lay the foundations for Main Street in places like Kandahar and Mosul, and with its blood and debt buys only disaster.
All these frenzied exertions to assert the universal validity of the liberal ideal are speeding its demise. The pseudo-religion of the philosophes, bourgeois revolutionaries, and today’s managerial class was designed to destroy Christianity by mimicking and supplanting it. Yet it has now encountered an alien faith against which it possesses few defenses.
Modern Westerners have no historical context, no notion of the centuries of Islamic campaigns against Christendom because they have forgotten their faith and cultural heritage. Only a decadent society would invite waves of immigration from a culture with a well-established record of hostility. And only a society truly unhinged would then undertake military interventions in those nations for the sake of an ideological chimera. The Fort Hood massacre is an acute symptom of our civilization’s suicidal tendencies.
How can America and the West step back from the brink?
Honesty would make for a fine start.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—It’s good to be in Texas. To a European like me, Texas is why we came to America. It’s a huge state, but more important, it’s a state of mind. It is a fount of freedom and imagination. For most of the inhabitants of America’s two coasts, Texas is worse than flyover country. Texas represents everything they hate about America: Texas is big, loud, white, Republican, Christian; it produces fossil fuel, its citizens drive big cars that use up a lot of fuel, they eat a lot—starchy, fatty foods—they carry guns. The so-called elites in the Bagel, inside the Beltway, and in El Lay turn Orlando Furioso whenever the word “Texas” comes up. They see it as a stronghold of religious fundamentalism, homophobia, racism, sexism, and mindless patriotism. And now Texas is tainted through its association with George W. Bush and the neocons who conned him, two disastrous unnecessary wars, bank bailouts, and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Mind you, I loved the place the moment I set foot on its soil. It was my first time. And I walked straight to the Alamo.
Here’s a bit of historical background from Professor Taki of the University of Texas: In 1846, ten years after the Alamo, President James Polk took office with the intention of seizing all Mexican territory between Texas and the Pacific, including California. He sent General Zachary Tailor to grab land north of the Rio Grande, provoking a shoot-out with Mexican troops. War was declared by Jimmy Polk (I call him Jimmy because I once slept in his family bed in Virginia, hence the familiarity) and he invaded Mexico. A bit like looking for WMD’s in Iraq 157 years later, but what the heck. Although the Mexicans fought bravely the Gringos prevailed, and in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico gave up—get this—all claims to Texas and what is today California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Arizona, Wyoming, and New Mexico. No wonder Mexicans are known to mug Gringo drunks and steal their wallets. They feel entitled. And now to the Alamo. It’s the American Thermopylae and San Antonio’s prime attraction. Texas being Texas, there are two of them. The real one and that of John Wayne. The real one and its walled-in, landscaped grounds are a green oasis in the heart of busy downtown San Antonio. The city of 1.2 million was built around the old Spanish mission known as the Alamo. All that remains of the original fort are the church and part of the walls of the convent. The guns used to repel Santa Ana are there, the same guns which were turned against the gallant defendants once the Federales had overrun the outer walls. When John Wayne came down to shoot his film, he realized the original mission was no good. You couldn’t very well have Mexican troops in plumes charging up through skyscrapers and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, which surround the real thing. So he went out to the desert some fifteen miles and threw up the Hollywood version. It outdraws the original by three to one I am told.
I loved the Duke’s movie, but then I love all lost causes. President Monroe had given up any claim to Texas during Mexico’s war of independence from Spain, the latter giving permission for some 300 Americans to settle there. The new Mexican government went along with it and the new Texans swore allegiance to Mexico. Which in a way is like swearing allegiance to Brussels. The Gringos were too pro-U.S. and General Santa Anna marched on San Antonio with 2,500 troops to teach them a lesson. 189 Americans, most of them recently arrived, decided to fight in the Alamo. Santa Anna’s troops were tired and had obsolete weapons. The Gringos were sharpshooters and had better cannons and arms. After a 13-day siege, the Mexicans breached the north wall of the fort and in a 90-minute fierce hand-to-hand battle every defender was killed. William Travis, of South Carolina, died early on from a bullet to the head. James Bowie of Tennessee died in his sickbed, fighting to the last with his famous Bowie knife, no one knows how the great David Crockett fell, but fall he did. 600 Mexicans died, one, Jose Maria Torres, while raising the Mexican flag after tearing down the Texan banner. His hand was still on the flagpole when Santa Anna came in to review the massacre. One slave, one Mexican, and a few women were allowed to go free and spread the word. Remember the Alamo became the slogan for the Mexican-American war that followed ten years later. Santa Anna died a pauper, and not a billionaire, probably the only Mexican president (as he became later) to do so, .
The names of Bowie, Travis, Crockett and the rest are all carved on the monument in front of the mission. They are all Anglo-Saxon and German names, with two Hispanic ones. In the speech I gave to the Rockford Institute, I mentioned the fact that they died in vain, because they were fighting for Texan independence, not for the Union. If Texas was independent today it would be an even greater state and far richer than it is. In fact I would move there tomorrow and even wear a ten gallon hat and date a cheerleader. But it was not to be. Like Britain in the EU, Texas is being slowly strangled by the socialist monster of DC.
Apparently not in the twin capitals of liberalism, D.C. and New York.
In a ranking of 50 states and D.C. by how much each spent per pupil in public schools in 2005, New York ranked first; D.C. third. The state spent $14,100, and New York City just a tad less.
And the bountiful fruits of this massive transfer of taxpayers’ wealth?
In D.C., nearly half of all black and Latino students drop out. Of those who graduate, nearly half are reading and doing math at seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade levels. D.C. academic achievement ranks 51st, last in the U.S.
Yet last week came a report from New York that makes D.C look like M.I.T. Some 200 students, in their first math class at City University of New York, were tested on their basic math skills.
Ninety percent could not do basic algebra. One-third could not convert a decimal into a fraction.
If this was a representative sampling, nine in 10 CUNY students not only do not belong in college, they do not qualify for their high school diplomas. As for that third who can’t do decimals and fractions, they should not have been allowed into high school until they could do sixth-grade math.
As 70 percent of all CUNY students are graduates of city schools, a question arises: What are the taxpayers of New York getting for the highest tax rates in the nation?
If a private business annually turned out products that were of inferior quality than the year before, management would be thrown out by the board. Yet, the education racket has been shaking us down for four decades, and turning out graduates that know less and less.
Scholastic Aptitude Test scores peaked around 1964. Ever since, the national average has been in an almost unbroken descent.
So embarrassing did it get that, a few years ago, the SAT folks retooled the test to produce higher scores. Now there are more 1600s. But the national average continues its decline, and the gap between blacks and Hispanics, and Asians and whites, endures.
Is it not a time for truth?
Just as there are many kids who do not have the athletic ability to play high school sports, or the musical ability to play in a high school band, or the verbal ability to recite poetry well or star in debate, not every kid has the academic ability to do high school work.
By the end of the first two months in first grade, an alert kid can tell you who are the smart ones and who are the athletes.
No two kids were ever created equal—not even identical twins. The family is the incubator of inequality, and God is its author. As the parable teaches, each of us is given different and unequal talents.
Given equality of opportunity, the brightest will inexorably rise, and the less talented—athletically, artistically, academically—will fall behind. All things being equal, the fastest kid will always win the race.
This campaign to equalize test scores among unequal students is utopian and unattainable, and amounts to a scam by the education industry.
How many times have they promised progress? And how many times have they delivered?
It is time to look not only skeptically, but cynically, on further demands for billions for education.
Rather, follow the money. Look for who is getting the jobs, the TV appearances, the consulting contracts, the grants, the titles, the limo drivers. Because, at bottom, that is what it is all about—the transfer of wealth and power from those who earn it and those who produce it, to those who produce little or nothing.
The city colleges, now the City University of New York, were once municipal jewels. They nourished an intellectual elite from the ethnic groups that came in the great immigration wave before 1924. As open admissions—letting in every high school graduate in the city who applied—was being debated, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew weighed in against.
“If these quality colleges are degraded, it would be a permanent and tragic loss to the poor and middle class of New York, who cannot afford to establish their sons and daughters on the Charles River or Cayuga Lake. New York will have traded away one of the intellectual assets of the Western world for a four-year community college and a hundred thousand devalued diplomas.”
Agnew quoted historian Dan Boorstin:
“In the university, all men are not equal. Those better endowed or better equipped intellectually must be preferred in admission, and preferred in recognition. … If we give in to the … demands of militants to admit persons to the university because of their race, their poverty, their illiteracy or any other nonintellectual distinction, our universities can no longer serve all of us or any of us.”
The limousine liberals knew better.
Now, they have CUNY students who can’t handle fractions.
No one can accuse Mandolyna Theodoracopulos of not being provocative, and I read her recent post “Jon and Kate Plus Hate” with interest. I entirely agree with her criticisms of in vitro fertilization, and indeed would go well beyond them: Just because science allows us to do something does not mean that we should, and one does not have to accept (as I do) the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual morality to recognize that there are sound reasons for believing that procreation should not be separated from the sexual act itself.
Of course, we should note that, unlike the “Octomom” whom Mandolyna rightly excoriates, the Gosselins did not engage in in vitro fertilization but in fertility treatments, which resulted in the release of multiple eggs, with their subsequent fertilization through entirely natural means. The only way to “select” a single embryo, then, would have been through the abortion of the other five.
Whatever I may think of the Gosselins’ later actions—and I agree with Mandolyna that “They sold their souls, and their children’s souls” in going on TV—I find it hard to criticize a woman for not being able to bring herself to end five tiny lives growing in her womb. Her doctors advised “selective reduction,” but she chose to carry all of the children to term at great risk to herself. If only she and her husband had continued to put their children’s welfare ahead of their own, their story might well have turned out differently.
Yet despite the situation in which their parents have placed them, Jon and Kate’s eight will always have one another. Which is why I must disagree with Mandolyna when she writes, “No child could possibly get what he or she needs in a two parent family with seven other siblings.”
Let me admit to having a certain interest in that statement. My wife, Amy, and I are the parents of seven beautiful, happy, and healthy children, and we have an eighth on the way. (I’ll let the reader pause and recall his favorite Catholic joke here.)
As hard as it may be for some readers to believe, every last one of those children was expected and welcomed—not just by Amy and myself, but by their older siblings. As late as ten years ago, when our third child was born, we would have laughed if someone had told us that we would one day be expecting our eighth. But our willingness to have more children has as much to do with our children’s openness to life as with our own.
This is the point at which the reader might expect me to insert some words about how, of course, we go without certain things, or how the quality of our time with each child makes up for any lack of quantity. In our case, though, that would be pure rubbish. Though I work for a nonprofit and Amy stays at home (and homeschools), our children have all that they need and probably too much that they don’t. Yes, it may be hard at times for them to find a little quiet time for themselves, but that was true in my own home, and I had only two sisters.
And our children have certain things that those in smaller families lack, such as the constant presence of friends and companions. Perhaps more importantly, they have a sense of hope for the future, an optimism that I remember having as a child (though there were only three of us in my immediate family, I had many cousins, most of them close by) but that I find missing in too many children today. In the desire to provide children with everything that they “need,” too many parents today schedule every last moment of their children’s lives, unintentionally smothering the sparks of spontaneity and creativity and individuality. No parents of eight could have enough control over their children’s lives to do the same.
There is something more, too, something deeper and more lasting. Amy and I believe in our Catholic Faith, but our children simply naturally live it. Hope is a theological virtue, infused by grace, but such grace flows through our home in abundance. It is the duty of Christian parents to pass the Faith on to their children, and particularly of the father to model Christ for them. But seeing the love of our children for their brothers and sisters and the sacrifices that they make for one another sometimes puts me to shame.
I am no sentimental lover of childhood for childhood’s sake, but I love children (especially my own). The size of our family is no accident, nor is it a reflection of some selfish desire, but rather of faith, and of hope, and of love.
When I look at my children gathered around the table at night, I cannot help but think that God knew what He was doing when He told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth, and subdue it.” If there is hope for our civilization, it lies in those who take His words to heart.