Thursday, September 01, 2011
Right in Our Own Eyes
“In those days, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” -- Judges 17: 6 (ESV)
You have to hand it to the British… they don’t mince words. Speaking of the violent civil unrest that erupted across London in recent weeks, Prime Minister David Cameron offered a frank assessment of the motives – or lack thereof – behind the chaos:
"These riots were not about race," he said. "These riots were not about government cuts ... And these riots were not about poverty. No, this was about behavior ... people showing indifference to right and wrong; people with a twisted moral code; people with a complete absence of self-restraint."
In America and most of the western world, where political correctness rules, such conclusions strike a dissonant chord. How dare Mr. Cameron dismiss the certain sociological, cultural, and political underpinnings of the civil unrest! How dare he ignore the obvious culpability that he and the rest of the government bear for inciting what is clearly just a cry for help from London’s masses? What’s needed is a study, not a crackdown! These people need help in the form of government assistance, and above all, understanding.
Of course, this is balderdash, and Mr. Cameron deserves credit for saying so. He is absolutely correct when he says that the reigning cult of moral relativism that has begun to erode civil society from the inside out must be countermanded. Champions of a postmodern society in which “anything goes” like to imagine they are advocating a noble and just view of human liberty and dignity, but in their quest for absolute autonomy, they cast aside the moral obligations inherent to our humanity.
Of course, what more can we expect from a society that increasingly embraces a materialist worldview, in which man is not a Created Being but a biochemical product of random chance? Having rejected the idea of any metaphysical significance, the only thing left to define human society and the individuals that comprise it is the material world, where virtue is moot, might makes right, and values are in the eyes of the beholder. In such a world, there is no basis for rational discourse. Everything in the moral arena is subject to dispute; it’s all relative, whatever floats your boat. All we can know is that which can be quantified and verified, and since we can do neither with so-called moral and spiritual truths, there are no absolutes in those arenas of life.
Therefore, if you feel unhappy about your life, or are merely bored and decide you don’t want to work but would prefer to riot in the streets, assault peace officers and violate private property, who’s to tell you that it’s wrong? Who’s to tell you that you ought to respect the rule of law regardless of how you feel about it at the time, or whether there is anyone to stop you from breaking it?
Our culture is paying a price for such nonsense. As we lose our cultural consensus on basic questions of right and wrong, the fabric of society is unraveling. There was a time, not too long ago, when shared cultural conceptions forged the basis for our interactions with others and the way we ordered ourselves. It was understood that there is a God to whom every man is ultimately accountable; that human beings are created in God’s image and of infinite worth, value and dignity and that we should treat each other as such; that because of our special nature, we have been endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator; that government exists to secure those rights and is to operate with the consent of the governed.
Because this consensus was widely shared, ordered liberty flourished and the role of government was limited. Thanks to notions of moral relativism however, the social consensus is unwinding. As Mr. Cameron has pointed out, notions of radical individualism are prevailing and we are losing any sense of larger social obligations. If it feels good do it; if the baby is inconvenient, kill it; if you want it take it; if you want to marry it, be my guest! As the social consensus erodes, chaos ensues until ultimately, the people look to government to restore order and Hobbes’ Leviathan is born.
It’s not too late to turn things around, but it will take a monumental effort on the part of every person to live lives of responsibility, dignity, and virtue and to teach their children to do the same. Failing this, we’re slowly but surely weaving the web of our own destruction.
English football fans must not display the English flag
For almost 130 years the proud supporters of Berwick Rangers have revelled in the fact that they are a British team playing in the Scottish Football League. They call themselves The Borderers, and proudly display both the St Andrew's cross and the St George's cross on their scarves and merchandise.
But now the club's supporters have been told that they can't show the St George's cross when attending away games - because it incites sectarian tension.
The call comes from Stranraer FC, a rival of Berwick in the Scottish Third Division. Officials at Stranraer told The Times that there had been escalating tension at their ground, Stair Park, and that Berwick supporters would from now on be asked not to bring Union flags or the St George's cross into the stadium.
The decision has naturally angered fans, with one calling it a 'ludicous over-reaction'.
Tom Maxwell, who wrote The Lone Rangers about the club's history, said: 'It seems particularly ridiculous when no Scottish fans get told to take down the saltire when they come to Berwick.'
Berwick-on-Tweed, in Northumberland, is the northern-most town in England. The old town is on the Scottish side of the traditional border, the River Tweed, and Berwick was at one time part of Scotland.
The club prides itself on being able to draw both English and Scottish fans - Berwick is a little over two miles from the current border.
Who Are the Real Religious Bigots?
As the 2012 presidential race gears up, leftist Christophobes are showing some signs of hysteria -- or political opportunism; it's sometimes difficult to tell.
The New York Times' executive editor, Bill Keller, in a piece in The New York Times Magazine, argues that presidential candidates should be asked tough questions about their faith. Keller wants to know whether a candidate will place "fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon ... or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country" and "whether a president respects serious science and verifiable history." He wants to make sure "religious doctrine" does not become "an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises." His colleague, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, followed up with a hit piece on "Republicans Against Science."
Keller is insatiably curious about whether Rick Perry subscribes to beliefs of certain pastors who endorse him and about Michele Bachmann's "mentors who preach the literal 'inerrancy' of the Bible, who warn Christians to be suspicious of ideas that come from non-Christians, who believe homosexuality is an 'abomination,' who portray the pre-Civil War South as a pretty nice place for slaves and who advocate 'Dominionism,' the view that Christians and only Christians should preside over earthly institutions."
It doesn't bother me if the media vet presidential candidates on their religious beliefs and associations, provided equal scrutiny is applied to all of them, including closet secularists. One's worldview invariably informs his political views, and information about those worldviews can't hurt.
But Keller's concern isn't with the religious beliefs of all candidates, only Christians, and not all Christians, just those who take the Bible seriously. He doesn't seem to have any problem with the religious beliefs of non-Christians or about charlatans who opportunistically pass themselves off as Christians. Wouldn't an objective reporter have as much interest in someone fraudulently proclaiming a certain faith as he does in one who sincerely professes a faith he finds repugnant?
Did President Obama, for example, subscribe to the noxious political and religious beliefs of his pastor Jeremiah Wright? If not, why did he attend church there for 20 years and have his children baptized in that church? If so, shouldn't Keller's leftist ilk have followed up on why Obama agrees with Wright? Is it merely accidental that Keller's candidate-faith anxiety is centered on conservative Christian candidates Bachmann and Perry?
Kellerian leftists shudder at the prospect of "irrational" and "reality-challenged" conservative Christians who question leftist dogma on global warming and evolution and who, they ludicrously believe, would turn America into a Christian theocracy. They want them nowhere near the seats of governmental power.
But what's irrational is their fear that Christians are enemies of religious liberty and advocates of theocracy. Never mind the strong Christian influence on America's founding. Never mind that most of America's presidents have been professing Christians. Liberty has no greater ally than believing Christians of all stripes.
If reality is their concern, why don't these leftists, instead of focusing on fantastic fears that a certain type of Christian president might shut down religious liberty, turn their attention to a president who is shutting down the economy? That's reality. Why don't they inquire into the realism of Barack Obama and his team of economic advisers, what's left of them, stubbornly clinging to an economic agenda that is manifestly destroying our economy and bankrupting our nation? Why don't they question the stability and rationality of a president who won't take responsibility for his policies, continues to scapegoat his predecessor and is preparing yet another speech, even as we speak, to promote the very same reckless spending policies that have driven this nation into a financial ditch?
I doubt that Keller is much interested in the answers to the questions he demands be raised of Perry and Bachmann. He thinks he already knows the answers but wants to incite fear in us about them. He seems more interested in smearing certain candidates with the slanderous innuendo of his questions, such as the preposterous ones designed to suggest that certain candidates are theocrats who believe Southern slavery was a good thing.
The reality is that throughout our history, the halls of American government have teemed with Bible-believing Christians, and they've never pushed for theocracy. Ironically, it is leftists who are far likelier to use the power of government to selectively suppress political and religious liberties. They are the ones behind the Fairness Doctrine, network neutrality rules, campus speech codes and preventing certain ideas from being presented, alongside all others, in public classrooms.
Once again, our leftist friends are projecting. They are the ones showing their religious bigotry and proselytizing us to adopt their secularist worldview.
Israel -- an "Apartheid" State?
Next month, the UN-sponsored hate-Israel festival known as Durban III takes place. Under the heading "anti-racism," the great bulk of the conference, like Durban I and Durban II, consists of condemning Israel for racism and equating it to an apartheid state.
Of the world's many great lies, this is among the greatest. How do we know it is a lie? Because when South Africa was an apartheid state, no one accused Israel of being one. Even the UN would have regarded the accusation as absurd. Israel has nothing in common with an apartheid state, but few people know enough about Israel -- or about apartheid South Africa -- to refute the slander. So let's respond. First, what is an apartheid state? And does Israel fit that definition?
From 1948 to 1994, South Africa, the country that came up with this term, had an official policy that declared blacks second-class citizens in every aspect of that nation's life. Among many other prohibitions on the country's blacks, they could not vote; could not hold political office; were forced to reside in certain locations; could not marry whites; and couldn't even use the same public restrooms as whites.
Not one of those restrictions applies to Arabs living in Israel. One and a half million Arabs live in Israel, constituting about 20 percent of that country's population. They have the same rights as all other Israeli citizens. They can vote, and they do. They can serve in the Israeli parliament, and they do. They can own property and businesses and work in professions alongside other Israelis, and they do. They can be judges, and they are. Here's one telling example: it was an Arab judge on Israel's Supreme Court who sentenced the former president of Israel -- a Jew -- to jail on a rape charge.
Some other examples of Arabs in Israeli life: Reda Mansour was the youngest ambassador in Israel's history, and is now Consul General at Israel's Atlanta Consulate; Walid Badir is an international soccer star on Israel's national team and captain of one of Tel Aviv's major teams; Rana Raslan is a former Miss Israel; Ishmael Khaldi was until recently the deputy consul of Israel in San Francisco; Khaled Abu Toameh is a major journalist with the Jerusalem Post; Ghaleb Majadele was until recently a Minister in the Israeli Government. They are all Israeli Arabs. Not one is a Jew.
Arabs in Israel live freer lives than Arabs living anywhere in the Arab world. No Arab in any Arab country has the civil rights and personal liberty that Arabs in Israel enjoy.
Now, one might counter: "Yes, Palestinians who live inside Israel have all these rights, but what about the Palestinians who live in what are known as the occupied territories? Aren't they treated differently?"
Yes, of course they are -- they are not citizens of Israel. They are governed by either the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) or by Hamas. The control Israel has over these people's lives is largely manifested when they want to enter Israel. Then they are subjected to long lines and strict searches, because Israel must weed out potential terrorists.
Otherwise, Israel has little control over the day-to-day life of Palestinians and was prepared to have no control in 2000 when it agreed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to which it gave 97 percent of the land it had conquered in the 1967 War. The Palestinian response was to unleash an intifada of terror against Israeli civilians.
And what about the security wall that divides Israel and the West Bank? Is that an example of apartheid?
That this is even raised as an issue is remarkable. One might as well mention the security fence between the United States and Mexico as an example of apartheid. There is no difference between the American wall at its southern border and the Israeli wall on its eastern border. Both barriers have been built to keep unwanted people from entering the country.
Israel built its security wall in order to keep terrorists from entering Israel and murdering its citizens. What appears to bother those who work to delegitimize Israel by calling it an apartheid state is that the barrier has worked. The wall separating Israel from the West Bank has probably been the most successful terrorism-prevention program ever enacted.
So why, then, is Israel called an apartheid state?
Because by comparing the freest, most equitable country in the Middle East to the former South Africa, those who seek to Israel's demise hope they can persuade uninformed people that Israel doesn't deserve to exist just as apartheid South Africa didn't deserve to exist.
Yet, the people who know better than anyone else what a lie the apartheid accusation is are Israel's Arabs -- which is why they prefer to live in the Jewish state than in any Arab state.
There are lies, and then there are loathsome lies. "Israel is an apartheid state" falls into the latter category. Its only aim is to hasten the extermination of Israel.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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