Putin is entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly City of today and command post of the counter-reformation against the new paganism. Putin is plugging into some of the modern world’s most powerful currents. Not only in his defiance of what much of the world sees as America’s arrogant drive for global hegemony. Not only in his tribal defense of lost Russians left behind when the USSR disintegrated. He is also tapping into the worldwide revulsion of and resistance to the sewage of a hedonistic secular and social revolution coming out of the West.
In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.
“Equality incurs tolerance, and tolerance has become but another word for nihilism. It’s easy to be tolerant, if you don’t believe in anything. A civilization practicing high standards must perforce be highly intolerant, becoming more and more intolerant as it becomes better and better.” Tito Perdue, in his talk to the H.L. Mencken Club.
The above is just one of numerous sizzlers in an insightful, no-holds-barred speech. You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing.
Same-sex marriage? That’s SOOO last year. Polygamy is now on the horizon, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge (naturally!)
Now if I’m reading Volokh’s analysis correctly, polygamy has NOT been declared a right, like abortion or health care; the judge has only ruled that one particular State prohibition against polygamy is unconstitutional. But the ruling in Brown v. Buhman does seem to make it inevitable. After all, Western attitudes against polygamy are based on disdain for its practice in Africa — therefore, it’s “racist,” and therefore, it must be wrong.
Looks like Nelson Mandela’s heir, Jacob Zuma, with his four wives, will indeed be a model for us all. We have seen the future.
This video is dedicated to the proud legacy of Christopher Columbus. The soaring music of Vangelis is the perfect tribute to the courageous explorer who opened the Americas to Western civilization.
In a recent open letter to the American people, Russian president Vladimir Putin assured us he likes and respects us, but asked us to realize we’re embarrassing ourselves and doing a lot of harm with our delusion of “American Exceptionalism.” Both the mainstream American left and right rushed to prop up our most beloved myth against this iconoclastic Cossack.
What’s interesting is that both wings of accepted American thought agree on what “exceptionalism” means–and more significantly, that both, though supposedly rivals, are actually in lockstep on all other major issues as a result.
For example, liberal columnist Dana Milbank shot back at President Putin with this bristling retort:
When we say we are exceptional, what we really are saying is we are different. With few exceptions, we are all strangers to our land; our families came from all corners of the world and brought all of its colors, religions and languages. We believe this mixing, together with our free society, has produced generations of creative energy and ingenuity, from the Declaration of Independence to Facebook, from Thomas Jefferson to Miley Cyrus. There is no other country quite like that.
Americans aren’t better than others, but our American experience is unique — exceptional — and it has created the world’s most powerful economy and military, which, more often than not, has been used for good in the world.
Miley Cyrus? Really? My pride floweth over.
And former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, now president of The Heritage Foundation, also defended “exceptionalism” by invoking the image of America as the Multi-Culti Empire that roams the globe doing good:
We are, in other words, not a nation based on ethnicity, but on beliefs, and not coincidentally, that is why we attract people of all ethnicities and they become proud Americans…. When we have used our power, however, we have done it for good.”
Both echoed what Madeleine Albright said as secretary of state:
It is the threat of the use of force [against Iraq] and our line-up there that is going to put force behind the diplomacy. But if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.
That self-image still inspires the Obama regime’s global aggression:
In their more honest moments, White House officials concede they got here the messiest way possible — with a mix of luck in the case of Syria, years of sanctions on Iran and then some unpredicted chess moves executed by three players Mr. Obama deeply distrusts: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and Iran’s erratic mullahs. But, the officials say, these are the long-delayed fruits of the administration’s selective use of coercion in a part of the world where that is understood.
“The common thread is that you don’t achieve diplomatic progress in the Middle East without significant pressure,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said Thursday. “In Syria, it was the serious threat of a military strike; in Iran it was a sanctions regime built up over five years.”
If your identity is that of a polyglot hegemon endowed with greater wisdom than the rest of the world, how can you NOT support open borders? Or the invasion of Iraq? Or Iran? Or Syria?
First of all, the US was NOT founded as a unique blend of whatever ethnic group decided to elbow its way in; it was founded as an outpost of Western civilization.
More important, the notion that the American people have always been committed to a never-ending global war to impose democracy and equality is a pure lie, and a fairly recent one at that. Previous “Wars of Liberation,” including Lincoln’s invasion of the South, the Spanish-American War, Vietnam, and Iraq, later turned out to be based on massive propaganda and misinformation.
The core idea expressed in “American Exceptionalism” is that the role of America’s elite is to serve as the global mind bringing reason and order to a chaotic, degenerate world. That is Gnosticism, an anti-Christian concept that explicitly glorifies abstract knowledge while scorning the physical. I argued here that Northern thought degenerated from its Puritan roots into militant Gnosticism, while Southerners upheld and lived by a balance between the spiritual and the physical.
Author John C. Wright said this of the Gnostic foundations of today’s statists and their leftist enablers:
In sum, they are idolaters who substitute the worship of Caesar for the worship of Christ; they are Gnostics in the posture of eternal rebellion both against God in Heaven and civil society on Earth. They are chameleons who adopt any ideals or values or party lines needed for so long as needed to destroy them, including Pragmatism, including Worldliness. They are Politically Correct and factually incorrect.
They seek to destroy civilized institutions here on Earth and drag Utopia down from heaven to replace them, indifferent, or even glorying, in the bloodshed required.
To avoid confusion, let us call them Ideologues. They are utterly unworldly, rejecting the pragmatism of the Worldly Man as cold and loveless and unspiritual.
The Ideologues are as nearly a pure evil as mankind has ever produced or can imagine, but please note that their motives are the highest and noblest imaginable: they seek things of the spirit, peace on earth, food for the poor, dignity given to all men, and all such things which are the only things, the holy things, that can electrify dull mankind and stir him to take up the banner and trumpet and shining lance of high and holy crusade.
Ever wonder why leftists see “education” as the cure to all ills? Or why they fancy themselves superior to those they see as living in the darkness of tradition and irrationality? Their contempt for the physical explains their hatred of heritage and tradition–and of life itself. But as John C. Wright pointed out, there’s a terrible price to pay for the spreading of their concept of the good. When Madeleine Albright proclaimed the death of a half-million Iraqi children as “worth it,” she was expressing what all Gnostics believe.
By their fruits ye shall know them.
What killed the Soviet Union? Communism: The regime’s central ideology condemned its people to poverty and mediocrity. One day, they’d had enough.
What’s killing the DC Empire? Its other-worldly fixation on equality. Here’s the latest update on our own slow-motion suicide:
Senior military personnel are considering new giving women different military training than men, The Washington Times reports.
The effort was proposed by Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Niki Tsongas at a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing because so far, she says training systems do not “maximize the success of women.”
Though the armed services have promised that combat standards will be the same regardless of gender, senior officers are considering initially separate training systems.
That second paragraph is a killer: Tsongas couldn’t come right out and say that women couldn’t compete with men as soldiers — instead, Political Correctness® dictated that the problem be expressed in terms of the training failing to “maximize the success of women.” Got that? After all, the whole point of military training is validating equality, rather than creating a fighting force that can defend the nation.
Every day the bucket goes down to the well. One day the bottom will drop out.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has become something of a hero to conservative Christians of Europe and her colonies (such as the USA), so I’m saddened to read of his suffering a divorce. Russia Today quotes him with:
President Putin elaborated on his decision: “All my activities, all my work is being done in the public sphere, with absolute publicity. Someone would like it, someone would not, but some people are just absolutely incompatible with this,” he said, adding that his wife had been “standing the watch” for nearly nine years.
It sounds like Putin has become a workaholic, devoting his life to Russia, and Lyudmila didn’t enjoy the resulting lifestyle, as well as publicity. The marriage was sacrificed as a result.
I fear workaholism is a serious affliction of the US and Europe, most lacking the worthwhile cause Putin serves. Unlike many though, Putin did produce two daughters, who are now in their mid-20s. And 30 years of marriage is something.
Laurel Loflund put it well at Faith and Heritage:
Only you must think past today, think past the days when your present or future children prepare to leave the nest and begin their own families. What is the best use of your time, your money, when looked at through the lens of family survival and growth?
Too many Americans are workaholics, devoting themselves overmuch to causes or to monetary pursuits. A proper balance is needed.
My head is still spinning from Jacob Hornberger’s reply to my post on the Founders and immigration. In my intitial post, I countered his assertion that the Founders embraced open immigration with a reference to the 1790 law restricting American citizenship to whites. Here’s his rebuttal – (better brace yourselves.)
And all are entitled to praise whenever they follow human nature by ruling others and end up behaving more justly than their actual power dictated.
We certainly think that anyone else taking over our position would make it clear whether we are moderate or not, but in our case even fairness has unreasonably resulted in more blame than praise.
In defence of colonialism more than slavery I quote Thucydides’s Peloponnesian War (Athenians speaking).
This is to say: Western Civilisation should be praised for having been so moderate. It could have behaved far worse, and others in our position would likely have done so.
1. Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. Trans. Steven Lattimore. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1998. 38. Print.
First, the leftist fantasy that white supremacists murdered Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife was upended when it turned out the actual killers were a disgraced justice of the peace and his wife who killed the McLellands out of revenge.
Then, when the FBI released pictures of light-skinned Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the anti-white left whooped for joy. David Sirota at Slate openly hoped the culprits were white, and Tim Wise bloviated that the real lesson of the tragedy was, like everything else in the Tim Wise Alternate Universe, all about “white privilege.”
Over at Little Green Footballs, the FBI pictures were the object of much anti-white ridicule. One commenter noted the hat worn by one of the suspects and wondered, “Could that be a Dale Earnhardt hat?” Oh, if only a Christian Southerner did it!
Now comes word that the Boston terrorists are (were?) Chechnyan Muslims.
Showing once again that leftism isn’t so much an ideology as it is a pathology.
“I’m from the Federal Government, and I’m here to protect you”
In the latest National Review Online, Charles Krauthammer, that anti-gun, pro-amnesty, pro-global democratic revolution, big-government “conservative,” defends Obama’s drone program:
Once you take up arms against the United States, you become an enemy combatant, thereby forfeiting the privileges of citizenship and the protections of the Constitution, including due process. You retain only the protection of the laws of war — no more and no less than those of your foreign comrades-in-arms.
Lincoln steadfastly refused to recognize the Confederacy as a separate nation. The soldiers that his Union Army confronted at Antietam were American citizens (in rebellion) — killed without due process.
The operative idea in Krauthammer’s argument is that the commander-in-chief is all-powerful. If he chooses to ignore the right of self-determination, or the Bill of Rights, or whatever, then those who oppose him deserve to be in the crosshairs.
Of course, that attitude effectively negates the very principle of the American Revolution:
Legal scholar Ryan Alford observes that the 13th century marks “the last time when the executive branch of any country governed by the common law had asserted that it was legal to kill a citizen on the basis of an executive order.” Obama’s “executive death warrant” is more than a breach of the Fifth Amendment’s due process guarantee, he argues, it’s an affront to the entire Anglo-American constitutional order.
Problem is, overthrowing the “entire Anglo-American constitutional order” is just part of the process of overthrowing the rest of our Anglo-American culture, which DC is actively implementing as official policy. It’s what they call “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” I call it “a death spiral into a Third-World banana republic,” but then, I’m a hopeless conservative.
The following is taken from Richard M. Weaver’s classic The Southern Tradition at Bay: A History of Postbellum Thought, first published in 1968.
4. The Character of the Enemy
Thus the majority of Confederate officers looked upon themselves as Christian gentlemen, and in the recognized calling of war they sought to maintain that character, often to the point of nicety. The style and spirit of their warfare was a source of great pride to them, but that of the enemy provoked criticism and condemnation, on what grounds we must see. It is well to proceed cautiously here, for as an early English poem says, “In broyles the bag of lyes is ever open,” and the enemy is likely to be represented as barbarous in proportion as he proves stubborn and difficult to conquer. But after all precautions have been taken and all corrections have been made, there remains considerable foundation for the assertion that the United States is the first government in modern times to commit itself to the policy of unlimited aggression. This was one of the many innovations which came out of the American Civil War. It is true, of course, that no war is wholly free from atrocities, but a distinction must be drawn between those excesses committed by soldiers who have broken discipline and those which are a part of the determined policy of commanders. Generals Hunter, Sheridan, and Sherman put themselves on record, both by utterance and practice, as believing in the war of unlimited aggression, in the prosecution of which they received at least the tacit endorsement of the Lincoln administration.
This is a matter of prime importance in the history of the American past, because the real significance of the war of unlimited aggression is that it strikes at one of the bases of civilization. As long as each side plays according to the rules of the “game,” with no more infraction than is to be expected in any heated contest, the door is left open for reconciliation and the eventual restoration of amity. But when one side drops the restraints built up over a long period and commits itself to the total destruction of the other by any means, no longer distinguishing between combatants and noncombatants, then the demoralization is complete, and the difficulty of putting relationships back on a moral basis is perhaps too great to be overcome. In war, as in peace, people remain civilized by acknowledging bounds beyond which they must not go. Even in military combat there must be a supreme sanction, uniting those who in all else are in opposition, and if this is disregarded, then the long and painful business of laying the foundations of understanding must be recommenced from the very beginning. The expression “Christian civilization,” when examined, denotes just this body of fundamental concepts and allegiances, which one may not drop without becoming “un-Christian” and so, in the meaningful sense of the word, excommunicated. When this is understood the term “Christian soldier” ceases to be paradoxical. The Christian soldier must seek the verdict of battle always remembering that there is a higher law by which both he and his opponent will be judged, and which enjoins against fighting as the barbarian.
It is not unusual to read in Southern accounts of the rejection of some procedure as “unworthy of a Christian soldiery.” Indeed, by the standard of modern practice, which represents a revolt against all civilized restraints, the matter of regard for rule was carried far.78 Exceptions were found, naturally, among the disorderly elements which made up parts of the Western armies, but few outrages can be ascribed to the armies of Johnston, Lee, and Bragg, and none of them was condoned.
We have occasionally covered the BNP here, especially when The American Conservative dissed them, so I thought this article on the travails of the BNP might be of interest. I haven’t been following their situation closely, but I have been vaguely aware that they were struggling.
A lesson for conservative Americans in all this is to note how often third party politics is fraught with schism, personality issues, etc. Also, there seems to be a critical mass that a third party must maintain or it crumbles. The BNP seems to have fallen below that point. Look at the history of the Reform Party in the US for an example.
Everyone should read this essay in its entirety:
When Treason Becomes The Norm: Why The Proposition Nation, Not Islam, Is Our Primary Enemy
Fjordman, Gates of Vienna
In 2009 it was revealed that the ruling Labour Party had purposefully flooded Britain with several million immigrants, without consulting its citizens, in order to socially engineer a “truly Multicultural” country. The huge increases in migrants over the previous decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt to radically change the country and to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity,” according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair. He said mass immigration was the result of a deliberate plan, but ministers were reluctant to discuss this for fear that it would alienate the party’s “core working class vote.”
Lord Glasman — a personal friend of the Labour Party leader — in 2011 stated that “Labour lied to people about the extent of immigration… and there’s been a massive rupture of trust.” He admitted that the Labour Party had sometimes been actively hostile to the white natives. In particular, they tended to view white working-class voters as “an obstacle to progress.”
To my knowledge, these shocking revelations of a Western government virtually launching a full-front attack to crush its own people have so far not caused a single word of protest from political leaders or mass media in any other Western country, although these acts could be construed as a policy of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing targeting the white majority population. In my country’s mass media, these public admissions from Neather were hardly mentioned at all, although journalists never miss an opportunity to warn against the dangerous tide of “white racism and xenophobia” that is supposedly sweeping the Western world today.
Here’s a must-see video on the disturbing ties between the Southern Poverty Law Center and the FBI. For more on the background and significance of Bill Ayers, click here.
… is more government surveillance, says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Why? Because the country is crawling with people like Wade Michael Page:
Perhaps it’s finally time for Napolitano to take this problem seriously and rebuild and strengthen Homeland Security’s intelligence capabilities to face a clearly mounting threat. That might not have prevented the tragedy in Milwaukee, but it could very well save the lives of untold numbers of other Americans targeted by the racist right.
And just who is the “racist right” Potok fears so much? It’s any person or group that opposes open borders.
The SPLC website makes that very clear. Here’s a recent example: In response to two radio personalities who defended the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the SPLC blog counters with this damning indictment:
FAIR’s “suggested reading” on immigration, which includes white nationalist Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation, a book whose central thesis is that America should remain a country dominated by whites.
FAIR also recommends Pat Buchanan’s State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, which argues that America’s shift away from being white-dominated is “one of the greatest tragedies in human history.”
So yes, John and Ken, FAIR is a hate group. Not because it promulgates “facts” and “truths” its opponents would rather ignore but because it promotes hatred of immigrants, especially non-white ones.
By defending racism, encouraging xenophobia and nativism, and giving its all to efforts to keep America white, FAIR has more than earned its place in the pantheon of hate groups.
So. Wanting to preserve one’s civilization is “hate.” Demanding that the government enforce existing immigration laws is “racist.” And if you don’t embrace open borders and the inevitable demographic upheaval that would follow, you suffer from “xenophobia,” an irrational fear of foreigners.
In other words, the SPLC seeks to demonize and silence any opposition to the open borders agenda backed by big business and big government, and opposed by the majority of the people. Despite the constant and heavy-handed propaganda from the government and its supporters in the media, 78 percent of Americans want to defend their country from illegal immigrants. Like the vast majority of people in Mexico, Israel, or any other country, Americans want to preserve their traditional identity and defend their way of life from invaders who would radically transform their country. That’s patriotism. It’s part of being human. Free debate, the right to dissent, and the right to privacy are essential to republican government.
And that’s what hired guns like Potok want to supress.
Dr. Michael Hill, League of the South President
Eventually, amnesty for millions of non-white illegal aliens will become reality. Many think this is the beginning of the end of Western Christian civilization in North America. Why have the elites sold us out? Why are they committed to the destruction of the West by the promotion of multiculturalism? And why is multiculturalism the poison that will ultimately prove fatal to Western Christian civilization unless an antidote is quickly administered? Unless we understand exactly what we are dealing with when we bring up the subject of multiculturalism, The League of the South and our allies can never hope to successfully combat the enemies who are sworn to our – white Southerners–destruction as a people.
What exactly is multiculturalism (which, for short, I will simply call MC)? Its advocates cast it in innocuous terms, claiming that it is merely justice and the recognition and celebration within the borders of the West of non-Western peoples and cultures. A proposition based on simple fairness, they say. Moreover, the MC crowd claims the superior moral mantle of anti-racism (which is really only a coded term for “anti-white”). The white, Christian West, they posit, bears much guilt for having built its prosperity and civilization on the backs of the poor, dark-skinned races of the world. It is only just, then, that the West share its wealth – including its land and produce – with its myriad poor brothers and sisters from the Third World. Pity and sympathy have become their most potent weapons turned against a West that has lost its ability to think correctly about the question of its very survival.
In our day, virtually every Western institution – church, government, the academy, the media, big business – mimics the cry of left-wing utopian humanism. From the Civil Rights movement in America to the Universal Rights of Man, the demand is the same: “Western man, give up your ill-gotten Kingdom for the good of all.” We Westerners are browbeaten in the name of MC to take in millions from the Third World in order that we not only might share our wealth and way of life with them but also to prove that we are not “racists.” In short, we are asked to sacrifice all we have at the altar of egalitarianism.
But MC is really not about ushering in equality among all races, religions, and cultures; rather, it is about destroying Western Christian civilization, the world’s premier unmitigated evil. And because the South is the strongest enclave of this civilization, it finds itself square in the crosshairs of the MC crowd. Why do you think the Feds are not willing to lift a hand to stop our dispossession by a floodtide of illegal immigrants? It is the continuation of Reconstruction to the ultimate degree. We are being replaced as a people.
Any attempt by Western man to defend himself and his civilization is called “racism,” and is designed to paralyze him completely (even when no malice is shown toward any other group). This agenda points up the fact that the proponents of MC seek not fairness, justice, or equality but demonization and destruction of the white, Christian West. Only whites, and white Southerners in particular, are not allowed to have a country all their own. Asia for Asians, Africa for Africans, but no South for white Southerners!
All indications point to the success of the MC agenda of paralyzing the West through guilt manipulation. Though we never had any sort of debate about whether we wanted to be a MC polity, it has been forced upon us anyway. Anyone who protests is silenced by the usual epithets. Even opposition to illegal immigration is enough to get you called a “racist” or a “xenophobe.” If you don’t believe me, check out the Southern Poverty Law Center’s rants on the subject.
Why do we allow this to happen? I suppose the bigger question is: why are we voluntarily swallowing the poison of MC and committing suicide? Former President Bill Clinton was effusive in his praise for the coming day – around the year 2050–when whites of European descent would become a minority in North America. Well, if getting rid of the white majority is such a good thing, why wait until 2050? Why not just drop all pretence of enforcing immigration law and roll out the red carpet for the Third World? If all men are brothers and America is indeed a Proposition Nation, then what are we waiting for?
If the scenario of the South (and the rest of America) being overrun by hordes of non-white immigrants does not appeal to you, then how is this disaster to be averted? By the people who oppose it rising up against their traitorous elite masters and their misanthropic rule. But to do this we must first rid ourselves of the fear of being called “racists” and the other meaningless epithets they use against us. What is really meant by the MC advocates when they peg us as “racists” is that we adhere to ethnocentrism, which is a natural affection for one’s own kind. This is both healthy and Biblical. I am not ashamed to say that I prefer my own kind and my own culture. Others can have theirs; I have mine. No group can survive for long if its members do not prefer their own over others.
If the South – the most important remaining bastion of Western Christian civilization – is to survive the MC onslaught, then it must fight doggedly against everything that threatens its existence. If we cannot do this, it is proof that we are a dying civilization. To live, we must re-cultivate our common cultural bonds that historically have made us a distinct people, repent of our sins, and pray to God that he will spare us for ever letting things get this bad in the first place.
J. Michael Hill
The problem with leftist ideology is that it cherry-picks various ideas from different cultural norms and blends them into an unworkable, abstract ideal based on nothing that actually exists, or could. Without a foundation in reality, leftism must command unlimited, unnatural power to prop itself up. It couldn’t exist otherwise.
No wonder liberals ALWAYS take the side of the all-powerful, unitary state, and oppose dispersed power and individual liberty. That’s why communism can only arise in a totalitarian state – it is such an anti-human monstrosity that it can only exist in a regime based on fraud and force.
Egalitarianism, a crucial component of Marxist ideology, has a seductive appeal in very limited circumstances. But when people grasp its implications, they run from it, and rightly so.
While the call to “equality” might pick up a few supporters for race hustlers demanding reparations and affirmative action, it falls flat when it’s taken to its logical conclusion to require an imagined right to same-sex “marriage.” So it’s amusing to see the leftist agenda so thoroughly denounced by those who are SUPPOSED to support it without thinking. Unfortunately for the left, black Christians think, and they think poorly of this latest far-left edict:
Bishop Phillip Davis had not planned to talk about marriage and politics, but five minutes into his sermon at Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte he changed his mind.
“You know, we got this amendment on the ballot,” Davis said, walking to the back of the church stage, then throwing his arm around a member of the men’s choir as laughter grew. …
Thirty-one states – in 31 tries – have approved amendments to block gay unions. Based on the polls, North Carolina is a good bet to extend the streak May 8, due in part to African-American congregations like Nations Ford.
The Achilles heel of leftist ideology is leftist ideology.
In a discussion of Ron Paul’s politics, Peter Laarman, writing in Religion Dispatches, frowns at the Establishment’s universal condemnation of Ron Paul for his politically incorrect statements about race and the South. Laarman wonders why we must conclude that Paul has nothing to add to the political discourse because of certain taboo notions he’s expressed in the past. Are we that rigid in our thinking?
He notes that the Western tradition does not concur:
We are compounded, the Bible seems to say. We are all compounded of bits of good and bits of evil in a complicated amalgam. And so trickster Jacob is not ultimately damned on account of his trickery in displacing his older brother’s inheritance, nor is King David ultimately damned for arranging to murder the warrior husband of his desired inamorata.
The great European-American epic poets and novelists who inherit both the Hellenic and Hebraic traditions tend to favor the Hebraic mode of shadow and inference. They are not especially interested in presenting us with any “pure” types: in giving us unalterably evil or incorruptibly good characters who never vary, never change it up.
The Establishment Thought Police, on the other hand, maintain that the world IS black and white. The unrighteous among us must be shunned. Any deviation from Approved Thought disqualifies one from discussion. Paul has no legitimacy as a result.
Look at what Approved Thought says about the Civil War: Because the South practiced slavery, it had no valid claim to self-government. Plus, we are not to shed a single tear for the suffering and death Southerners endured. They had it coming. And as for the military rule imposed on Southerners during Reconstruction? Tough.
But as Mr. Laarman points out, the Biblical and Western literary tradition is enriched with a more nuanced view of people and cultures. The most interesting fictional characters, from Emma Woodhouse to David Copperfield to Scarlett O’Hara, were complex, with both noble and selfish traits. As a kid, I preferred the flawed, more interesting Marvel comic book characters to the goody-goody Superman. When Marvel’s signature superhero, Spiderman, used his powers to make money and impress girls rather than devoting himself to saving the world, I thought, “That’s what I would do!”
I think Laarman’s insight helps us understand why the South is home to so many literary giants, and why we’re so religious. Richard Weaver once observed, “The Southerner accepts the irremediability of a certain amount of evil and tries to fence it around instead of trying to stamp it out and thereby spreading it. His is a classical acknowledgment of tragedy and of the limits of power.”
That’s also why Southerners are not going to jump on board a campaign to immanentize the eschaton. We know better.
I published this article at Sharper Iron recently. Despite the title, it is really more about the nature of Christianity than it is the nature of Islam, although the latter serves to initiate the discussion. My thoughts are bound to be controversial. I don’t expect everyone to agree, but I do hope it makes you think.
I’m a long time veteran of the intra-conservative interventionism vs. non-interventionism debate. I was a non-interventionist before Ron Paul made non-interventionism cool. So I have seen all the recycled arguments over and over and over and over … I say this not so as to debate interventionism vs. non-interventionism here. That is not the purpose of this essay. I say it to provide background as to what brings up the real subject of this essay.
As a veteran of these debates I have seen all the arguments, but one that I have seen increasingly recently is the contention that Islam is not a religion. The idea being that Islam is not “just” a religion but is instead an all-encompassing political ideology that impacts government, law, education, social organization and convention, etc. of which religion is only a part. The more maximalist proponents of this theory will add that establishment of a world Caliphate, domination of those who refuse to go along, intolerance of other religions, etc. is an inherent part of Islam. This “Islam is not a religion” argument is often seen in conjunction with concerns about the imposition of Sharia law at home.
While seldom directly stated, the implication of this line of reasoning is that Islam cannot be treated as simply another religion deserving of tolerance but must be treated as an alien ideology that threatens the very American way of life. (As I will illustrate below, this is a curious line of reasoning. Essentially the argument is that Islam is dangerous because it is illiberal and thus requires an illiberal response.) This argument seems mostly to imply that Islam is a potential problem domestically within our shores, but given that the argument is usually made within the context of debates over foreign policy, it usually has unstated but implied foreign policy implications as well; namely that since Islam is inherently aggressive and bent on world domination, it must be met with an aggressive and forward military response.
Actually, I do believe that there is much truth to the contention that Islam is a broadly encompassing worldview, but the facts of that are not what are in contention here. The issue is whether Islam’s ideological breadth disqualifies it from being a religion. I have two problems with this line of reasoning, the first semantic and the second much more profound.
First, semantics. Islam is a religion by any reasonable definition. It deals with a divine being, the afterlife, norms of behavior in this life; it has a holy text, etc. Stating that Islam is not a religion is simply semantic game-playing—and to what end? What difference does it make whether we call Islam a religion or not when we’re asking whether we should invade Syria or institute a burqa ban at home? Clearly the point is to rhetorically strip Islam of its protected status as a religion so as to justify illiberal measures toward it whether at home or abroad. But this presumes the righteousness of liberalism to begin with which leads me to my second point.
I should clarify at this point that when I speak of liberalism I am not talking about Obama- or Hillary-style government regulation, social programs and wealth redistribution. I am speaking of liberalism in its original sense, that post-Enlightenment philosophy that enshrines the virtues of individualism, free-choice, religious tolerance, pluralism, non-establishment, etc. When I speak of illiberalism I mean, roughly, religious particularism whether Islamic or Christian.
So my second objection is philosophical, historical and theological. What the “Islam is not a religion” crowd is doing, whether they realize it or not (and most don’t), is imposing on the definition of religion a philosophical concept that is relatively novel (historically speaking) and that potentially binds theology beforehand. Per their reasoning, in order to be a religion a religion must embrace modernist liberalism. This would have been news to anyone—Christians included—who lived, say, more than 300 years ago, give or take. One commenter I was debating with said that Islam is not a religion because it doesn’t embrace separation of church and state. Really? Are we that historically myopic? Neither did the whole of Christendom until a couple of centuries ago.
By their definition of religion, the Judaism of the Old Testament was not a religion. Was not the Judaism of the Old Testament an all-encompassing system that mixed church and state, had religion-based laws, had a social order dictated by the religion, frowned on pluralism, etc.? The Catholic Church, especially before Vatican II, is not a religion by this definition. Arguably, and it would be hard to argue otherwise, the Protestantism of Luther and Calvin wasn’t a religion either. Was Calvin’s Geneva a bastion of modernist liberalism? The Puritans certainly were not. One would have to look back no further than the Radical Reformation to find widespread Christian denominations that would meet the exacting liberal standards of the “Islam is not a religion” proponents. (And even some of the products of the Radical Reformation, such as the Mennonites, were quite illiberal in many ways internally.)
I hope you see the problem here. I would argue that liberalism is a modern philosophical concept that most modern Christians have read into the pages of the Bible (addressing this idea fully would require a separate essay). I do not think this liberalism is a theological concept that flows from a natural reading of Scripture. The Bible insinuates, if it doesn’t outright dictate, Christian particularism. Christianity should be the broadly encompassing worldview that Islam is accused of being (in type, not in detail of course) and it represents a failure of the modern Church that it is not.
A small but vocal group of Christians are coming around on this. There has been renewed debate in recent years, especially among Reformed believers, between “Two Kingdoms” advocates and those who reject the Two Kingdoms approach. The latter often refer to their opponents as “Radical Two Kingdoms” (R2K for short), although I have never been able to figure out myself what distinguishes Radical Two Kingdoms from plain ol’ Two Kingdoms since all Two Kingdoms advocates are generally referred to by their opponents with the Radical adjective.
This coming around is also occurring in a softer way among many evangelicals, whether they realize it or not, in their embrace of the concept of “Christian worldview” thinking. And the anti-Christian and secularist left has seized upon the rising menace to modernist liberalism that they see in Christian “Dominionism,” a theological term they don’t understand and almost always use incorrectly. (This too is a subject for another essay.)
This idea that Islam is incompatible with America and the West (what used to be called Christendom) because it is illiberal, implies that what truly distinguishes the West from the rest is its liberalism not its Christianity. This may be true and would go a long way toward explaining the sorry state of modern Christianity, but it is to be bemoaned if it is, not celebrated.
I believe modern Christianity is in desperate need of more illiberalism and more adherents who are willing to take it seriously enough that it becomes the broadly encompassing worldview for them that Islam is accused of being for Muslims. Likewise, the problem with Islam is not that it is illiberal. It will not be fixed by embracing liberalism. The problem with Islam is that it is false. It is not Christianity. The hope is not that Muslims will reject their illiberalism and assimilate to become good little liberal Westerners; it is that they will accept Christ. (Again to be clear, when I speak here of illiberalism I do not primarily mean fundamentalism vis-a-vis theological liberalism. I mean Christian particularism vis-a-vis pluralism.)
The implications of my argument are broad, and I plan to flesh them out, God willing, in future essays.