Archives For June 2019

An alleged Google email leaked to investigative journalist organization Project Veritas, claims to show Google employee, Liam Hopkins, labeling PragerU, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro among others, as Nazis.

The Washington Times reported that the message was part of an ‘apparent chain to the company’s transparency and ethics group’.

The alleged email from within Google read:

“Today it is often 1 or 2 steps to nazis, if we understand that PragerU, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro et al are nazis using the dog whistles you mention in step 1 […] I can receive these recommendations regardless of what I’m looking at, and I have recorded thousands of internet users sharing the same experience.” (see below)

If the email is as legitimate as Project Veritas claims, Google apparently equates anything conservative with being far-right. The redacted email also included a suggestion that Google identify content that the company deems to be far-right, in order to direct people away from far-right content.

Few would disagree with Google restraining Nazi propaganda or websites from appearing on their search engine, or in its list of suggestions. The problem is Google saying with one hand that they are against hate speech and inciting people to violence, and then with the other hand, Google appearing to label people as Nazis. (It’s worth noting, that Shapiro and Prager are both Jewish, so is PragerU’s CEO, Marissa Streit.)

The alleged email leaked from within Google isn’t the only reason for concern. It just happens to be one example in a list of other examples that are raising questions about whether or not there is a double standard at Google, such as Youtube’s censorship of conservative content, in particular censorship of PragerU videos.  A double standard, which in essence, says, “we’re superior” therefore it’s okay for Google to breach rules it sets for others, because when it comes down to deciding on what is and isn’t “hate speech”, and on deciding who is, and isn’t a nazi, Google knows best.

As I’ve pointed out in the past crying wolf about Nazism dehumanizes others, and diminishes the heinous crime of Nazism. Recklessly calling someone a “Nazi” is a shaming technique designed to control the opponent in an attempt to discredit, and silence them. The same goes for those who would paint all white people as racist. It’s blatantly self-seeking and manipulative.

This is what Republican Senator, Dan Crenshaw called out yesterday, when he articulated the dangers of calling someone a Nazi to Google’s Global Director of Information Policy, Derek Slater,

“When you call somebody a Nazi or you can make the argument that you’re inciting violence and here’s how, as a country, we all agree that Nazis are bad. We actually invaded an entire continent to defeat the Nazis. It’s normal to say Hashtag punch a Nazi because there’s this common thread among this in this country that they’re bad and that there yeah, evil and that they should be destroyed. So when you’re operating off of that premise and it’s frankly, it’s a, it’s a good premise to operate on. Well, what you’re implying then is that it’s okay to use violence against them when you label them, when one of the most powerful social media companies in the world labels people as Nazis, you could make the argument that’s inciting violence. What you’re doing is wholly irresponsible. [And yet] It doesn’t stop there.“ (see below).

Link both the reckless labeling of people as Nazis and the slogan “all white people are racist” together, and the cocktail of hate is complete. All that’s needed are chambers filled with the pesticide Zyklon B, cyclone fencing, and everyone determined by Leftists, to have “life unworthy of life”.

Any well-informed reader who knows the history behind the genocidal rampaging in Rwanda, of the Hutus against the Tutsis, will see that there is good reason for serious concern.

Email (click to enlarge):

Crenshaw:


References:

Lampard, R.  6th March, 2019. Crying Wolf About Nazism, Caldron Pool. Sourced 28th June, 2019

Project Veritas, 25th June, 2019. New Google Document Leaked Describing Shapiro, Prager, as ‘nazis using dogwhistles’, sourced, 28th June, 2019.

Richardson, V. 25th June, 2019, Project Veritas posts alleged Google email comparing Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson to ‘nazis’ Washington Times. Sourced 28th June, 2019.

Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 30th June, 2019, ‘Google allegedly calls conservatives Prager, Peterson and Shapiro ‘Nazis’, US Senator fires back: ‘You are inciting violence’ 

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Madonna’s promoters are firing back at the New York Post for allegedly lying about poor ticket sales for the artist.

In the beginning of June the New York Post’s Richard Morgan reported that ticket sales for Madonna concerts promoting her latest album, ‘Madame X’, were lagging and had ‘tarnished’ the tour. Morgan went on to compare previous ticket sales in much larger venues with current ticket sales the smaller venues chosen for the concerts, suggesting that the comparison indicated ‘Madonna was struggling to sell them’.

Chris Willman from Variety magazine cautiously came to Madonna’s defense, citing promoter, Arthur Fogel, (Live Nation’s chairman of global music), who roughly called the report fake news, saying it was “absolute lies”.

Fogel also went on to point out the pattern of negative coverage that the NYP seems to give to Madonna, stating,
“There’s something really amiss there. If you go back in history, each of her last four tours, they’ve gone on full attack mode on Madonna.”

Willman said that ‘on the surface, the Post is not wrong that there are tickets still available for most, if not all, of Madonna’s upcoming shows in 2,000-3,000 seat halls’. He then gave three reasons for the slower than expected ticket sales being where they were. First noting a discrepancy cause by a new system used to ‘weed out scalpers’, ticket prices and location.

However, the New York Post wasn’t the only outlet to report the news. Terry Zeller of The Daily Mail wrote a piece discussing mixed reactions to the soft-porn album art, and quoted an “insider” as saying that ‘despite Madonna’s team and promoters informing media that several shows were ‘sold out’ during a multi week lottery ticket sale, the shows and their remaining tickets hit Ticketmaster today. And it’s a mess.’

Dave Brooks from Billboard fired back with the headline: ‘Madonna’s 17 Madame X Shows In New York Are More Than 90% Sold Out, So Everybody Chill’. Brooks leaned on the same justifications as Variety, adding that ‘a lack of sellouts for what some would consider a once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn’t mean that Madonna’s tour is “tarnished”.

On the 21st Variety once again came to the artist’s aid defending her decision to play smaller venues. Mackenzie Nichols stated that the decision was based on ‘Madonna’s desire to maintain intimacy with her fans.’

Also worth noting is Nichols’ special mention of Madonna’s admiration for Joan of Arc, citing the artist as saying:

“They accused [Joan of Arc] of being a heretic, a lesbian, a witch, a boy, a freak, and of course I can relate to all of those things; and so, in the end, she was burned at the stake, and then she became a saint, and of course, this is what we always do. We destroy our prophets and our sages and then we put them on pedestals. We have to stop doing that and appreciate people while they’re still alive.”

Even with lower ticket sales and smaller venues, album sales are doing well for the artist in both the United States and Australia – according to ARIA, Madonna’s ‘Madame X’ is currently number 2 here, and according to Billboard, it’s number 1 in the U.S – but the MTV era that gave longevity to artists is long over. We now live in a social media age, where new is old after 24 hours. This is the culture Madonna helped create. Her relating to Joan of Arc may also include a sense of rejection due to lower turnover from tickets, and a disappointment at the fact that she is playing smaller venues, when she once packed stadiums.

If Madonna’s popularity is waning, chances are it has nothing to do with martyrdom, or her being a prophet or a sage. In all probability it’s related to her anti-Trump, and pro-abortion, activism.

During a speech given at the Women’s March in January, 2017, Madonna, joining a chorus filled with dissonance and hate, declared to Americans that she had given an awful lot of ‘’consideration into blowing up the Whitehouse”. This was in response to Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 United States election to Donald Trump.

Then last week in an interview with Andrew Denton, Madonna, suggested that Jesus would be okay with abortion. The MTV golden girl claiming that ‘she wanted an interview with the Pope to convince him that he was wrong on abortion’ because, ‘don’t you think Jesus would agree that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body?”(W.T)

Madonna joins Elton John in attempting to lecture the world, particularly Christians, on biblical theology. This week, Elton John made a bizarre statement suggesting that all reasoned Christian criticism of LGBTQIA+ ideology and activism was abusive, violent and an affront to God (Daily Wire).

By their words and actions, it appears that Madonna and Elton John – both MTV demigods of a bi-gone era – consider themselves to be closer to Joan of Arc and Jesus Christ, than the rest of us.


Originally posted as Madonna and Elton John slam Christians, claim Jesus would be Pro-Abortion and Pro-LGBTQ on Caldron Pool, 27th June 2019.

Photo Credit: Luis Alfonso Orellana on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

An Emily’s Voice promotional which featured the words, “a heart beats at four weeks”, on four Newcastle buses[1] has been removed. The action was taken after an outraged Newcastle resident accused the pro-life promotional material of being “dangerous propaganda; a guilt driven directive on what [a woman should] do with their body.”[2]

The complaint was posted on Facebook to the NSW Transport minister’s page and “action was immediately taken’[3] to tear the material down.

Emily’s voice is an organization that seeks to encourage people to consider alternatives to abortion. Their mission is to help Australians fall in love with the unborn, and to support women with an unplanned or crisis pregnancy’[4].

The current Emily’s Voice campaign is to encourage a rethink about abortion. Paul O’Rourke, the CEO of Emily’s Voice, told the Herald Sun that,

“There are Govt. campaigns to reduce smoking, the road toll, cancer and heart disease. Surely there’s a place to reduce abortion which claims more Aussie lives each year than any other cause?”

O’Rourke’s complete explanation was posted in full onto the Emily’s Voice website,

‘[Emily’s Voice] is seeking to restart and reshape the life conversation in a sensible, sensitive way free of guilt and condemnation so women make an informed choice.
We are pro-women and for-children.
The ads promote notbornyet.com containing relevant and timely information for women experiencing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, including where to get practical, free support.
Most Australians are unaware there are an estimated 70,000 abortions, 95 per cent of which are performed on healthy women carrying healthy children.”

There are four toxic messages being reinforced by the Government’s reactionary removal of such benign campaign material.

First, is the double standard that says it is okay to demand that the government fund and support abortion, but not okay for the government to support awareness about alternatives to abortion.

Second, the false belief that conceiving a child is equal to having contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Consequently, abortion is reduced to being equal with the treatment to remove an STD. If you openly disagree with this, you’re harming women.

Third, the false claim that only pro-abortion people care about women.

Lastly, educating people about biology and implicitly reminding them of their responsibilities and humane obligations, in response to the natural biological consequences of sex, is apparently now regarded as “hate speech” and propaganda.

Jean Elshtain, feminist and mother of four, one of whom was a disabled child, noted,

‘without allowing Right-to-Life women to speak the truth as they understand it, without engaging them from a stand that respects uncoerced dialogue […] we will continue to treat them in distorted, presumptuous, and prejudicial ways.’[5]

In other words, if outraged individuals continue to suppress dissenting voices and opinions that they find offensive, or simply just don’t want to hear, those individuals will never hear anything other than the sound of their own voices. This is the very definition of an echo chamber.

There is an alternative to abortion. Emily’s Voice wants to not only give a voice to that, they want to stand with, by and alongside women who chose to take up that alternative.

This isn’t “dangerous propaganda or guilt driven directives”. It is respect for human life in all of its stages. This is the active ‘appreciation of biological facts; a radical feeling of awe at the mystery and value of all human life made in the image of God’; and it is the honest recognition that ‘every deliberate interruption of pregnancy, whatever the circumstances, is a taking of human life.’[6]

What is dangerous is elected officials giving directives based on a Facebook comment (as appears to be the case in this instance). In this the discerning citizen faces the same heavy rod on their backs that has been thrown down by the whim of the ruler in centuries past.

Instead of Transport minister, Andrew Constance being “appalled” by Emily’s Voice, he should have applauded the care in which they took to communicate such a difficult topic in a positive way.

de Vivre Selon Dieu


References:

[1] Jeanette, Heartbeat bus ad to controversial, Emily’s Voice, 21st June 2019, Sourced, 24th June 2019

[2] Phoebe Malony, 2019. Emily’s Voice Anti-Abortion advertising removed, Herald Sun Sourced 24th June 2019

[3] Ibid, 2019.

[4] Emily’s Voice, Mission Statement sourced 24th June 2019

[5] Elshtain, J.B. 1981. Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political thought, Princeton University Press (p.312)

[6] Karl Barth, 1961. CD. 3:IV Freedom for Life: The Protection of Life, Hendrickson Publishers, (p.419)

Originally published on Caldron Pool 24th June 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

In what the U.K Telegraph called an ‘unlikely alliance  Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has backed an Afrikaner lobby group ‘to fight the South African government’s plans to take land from white owners without compensation.’[1]

The U.K Times reported that King Zwelithini’s ‘motivation in working with “the Boers” was their shared concern for the country’s food security, which he feared would be threatened if President Ramaphosa (of the longer ruling ANC) pressed ahead with his controversial expropriation plans.’[2]

Zulus are a Nguni people. They make up 22% of the 45 million people who live in South Africa. They are part of the southern Bantu ethnic group[3]. The majority of Zulu’s are Christians. Others hold to a syncretistic version of Christianity; where old world tribal customs and beliefs are fused with Biblical Christianity.

Zulus (people of the sky) have played a key role in South African history. Under Shaka Zulu they nationalized and became ‘one of the mightiest empires the African continent has ever known’[4]. The Zulu kingdom lasted for ‘about 60 years’[5].

The majority of Zulus are not wealthy, but they are fiercely independent[6]. According to Political Science professor, Jungug Choi, part of Zulu identity is its warrior tradition. Fused with Zulu nationalism this ‘not only allows political activists to employ violence as a means of overcoming their political obstacles, but also legitimizes violent political actions in the name of the Zulu nation’[7].

The Zulus fought against the British and the Boers and later made up a large part of the South African workforce, creating some of the first worker unions[8].

In 1908, they initiated an uprising known as the Bambatha Rebellion against unfair taxation by the then colonial government.

Political violence carried out by the Zulus during the 1994 transition, which saw South Africa free itself from fifty years of apartheid, was a reminder of the political power of the Zulus. Their opposition was based on concerns about social instability and a worsening of economic conditions that the transition might bring with it.[9]

The ‘unlikely alliance’ between Zulus and Afrikaans puzzles onlookers because to them such an alliance is incomprehensible. It was Anglo Europeans who divided the Zulus and ‘waged the biggest war against them’[10]. Common sense dictates that it should be Zulus supporting other Black groups, not Zulus supporting White Afrikaners.

In addition, Zulus don’t appear to be the kind of people who would ignore injustice without a fight, or forgive injustice without having a good reason to do so.

There are explanations for the unlikely alliance. Despite the clashes, Zulus and Afrikaans seemed to enjoy a fractured, yet somewhat mutually beneficial relationship.  Zulus enjoyed ‘limited autonomy under apartheid.[11]’ This, according to Choi, gives reasons for why the Zulu leadership and the “White” government worked together. They were ‘driven by some common interests, particularly in confronting the ANC[12] as an enemy[13] over concerns about regional autonomy’. [14]

As Choi explains, any move towards a majority rule Democracy meant a possible change to heredity rule within the Zulu nation. Post-apartheid ANC policies were a potential challenge to Zulu land and identity.

As nationalists, Zulus are proud of their land and history and they are not afraid to defend it. This is primarily why Zulu leaders defiantly protested against centralization, in 1995. They clashed with Nelson Mandela and ‘threatened to abandon the GNU’.[15]

The news that King Goodwill Zwelithini is backing Afrikaner farmers is an encouraging sign and he isn’t alone. In April this year, Zimbabwean Paramount Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni spoke out against the planned eviction of Brian and Carol Davies, from land where they operate a photographic safari and farm, which employs and houses 2,000 people.  Chief Ndiweni criticized the plan as inhumane saying,

‘I’m not talking about the high level of morality for the land reform programme, we are talking about base corruption […][16] a good administration would never in a million years proceed with such an eviction, which is a disaster for the family concerned and the local people. It is an eviction that will never be accepted and will continuously be challenged on the ground, locally, regionally and internationally.’[17]

The Davies had been granted permission to build on Ntabazinduna Hill, as well as being made custodians of the historical site, by Chief Ndiweni’s father. In response the family promised to preserve it.[18]

Zimbabwe is now notorious for its economic collapse after kicking 4,000 white farmers off the land. It’s safe to assume that the Zulu leadership does not want to see the same thing happen in South Africa.

Social problems already exist and drastically destabilizing the country’s food production for the sake of politics, would only add to them. According to an ABC report from Jonathan Holmes in late 2018, the rise in violence against white farmers is attributed to both ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigration) and racial politics. However, violence attributed to ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigration) from the North is also affecting Black South Africans, not just White farmers. Holmes states that this is because of an inability to police shanty towns on the edge of Johannesburg or process the influx of ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigrants)[19].

Violence against White farmers is on the rise, but it’s obvious that not everyone in the South African nation backs the policy of eviction which sees Afrikaan farmers kicked off the lands they were raised on. What’s more to the point, some highly respected traditional land holders see land grabs by the state as disastrous to their own communities.

All of the above tells us that food and social instability isn’t the only concern the Zulus have about the A.N.C kicking White farmers off their lands. For the Zulu leaders, if land expropriation becomes law, it’s not a matter of if the Zulus will be next; it’s a matter of when.


References:

[1] Flanagan, J. 2018. Zulu King Backs Afrikaners in fight against Cyril Ramaphosa’s land grab, The Times, U.K. sourced 19th June 2019

[2] Ibid, 2018.

[3]South African History, 2011 Zulu sourced 19th June 2019 from https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/zulu

[4] Ibid, 2011

[5] Choi, J. 2008. The Political Origins of Zulu Violence during the 1994 Democratic Transition of South Africa,  Journal of International and Area Studies Vol. 15, No. 2 (December 2008), pp. 41-54 (14 pages)

[6] Choi, J. 2008 (p.44)

[7] Choi, J. 2008 (p.47)

[8] Britannica, Zululand

[9] Choi, 2008. (p.47)

[10] Ibid, 2008. (p.48)

[11] Ibid, 2008 (p.49)

[12] African National Congress, Nelson Mandela. Also South Africa’s ruling party since the end of Apartheid.

[13] Choi, 2008. (p.48)

[14] Ibid, 2008. (p.48)

[15] Inkartha Freedom Party (IFP) Sourced from South African History Online 20th June 2019

[16] Zimlive. 12th May 2019. Sourced 20th June 2019

[17] Ben Freeth, 2019. Eviction of white photographic safari operator and farmer angers local chief, The Zimbabwean 23rd April, 2019. Sourced, 20th June 2019. See also Moses Mudzwiti’s  IOL article dated 23rd April 2019

[18] ibid, 2019

[19] Holmes, J. South African Farm Murders The ABC, 19th September 2018. Sourced 20th June 2019.

Photo credit:  Ban Yido on Unsplash

Originally published on Caldron Pool, 21st June 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

The opening sentence of Jacques Ellul’s, ‘Islam and Judeo-Christianity: A Critique of their commonality’, reads, ‘For nearly a decade, French intellectuals, generally speaking, have been seized with an excessive affection for Islam.’ (p.3)

What follows is a ninety-four page treatise on the reasons for why this excessive affection is not only dangerous, but misguided. Ellul acknowledges the existence of a disproportionate tolerance of Islam. He then compares that to the disdain of how French intellectuals have been interacting with Judeo-Christianity (Biblical Christianity), since the 1960s’.

The reason for this excessive affection is due to Islam’s[1] proximity to Marxism (“scientific” socialism). Roger Scruton, not a novice on both subjects, states: ‘like the Communist Party in its Leninist construction, Islam aims to control the state without being a subject of the state.’[2] Scruton’s own analysis of Islam, and the West, implies that excessive affection for Islam is connected to how close many academics in the West, are to Marxism.

Commonality between Islamism and Marxism includes the downgrade of Jesus Christ. Under both Marxist and Islamist rule, the Church is eradicated and the State is made god[3].

American (first wave) Feminist and Political scientist, Jean Bethke Elshtain’s work on Just War theory points in the same direction. Elshtain noted that Quranic Islam ‘condemns all who disagree’.  Quranic Islam is also a ‘militant theocracy that insists there can be no distinction between civil law and the strict, fundamentalist Shari’a law, the ancient Islamic holy law.’[4]

In other worse, even with a distinction between the interpretations of Islamic holy law, Shari’a law (infallible and unchangeable) and Fiqh (fallible and changeable), within Islam, there still is no concept of a separation of Mosque and State. Nor is there any concept of Just War – restrained violence – there is only jihad (War against the unbeliever). Quranic Islam and Marxism both look to violence as the necessary means to an end – total conversion and compliance.

Like Marxism, Islam shows no real affection for Classical Liberalism. Nor do Islamists and Marxists show any genuine acknowledgement that the precious freedoms birthed and nurtured in the West, were born from, and under the Light the Church carries. Even if Christians sometimes have carried that Light awkwardly, or have, from time to time, dropped it entirely.

Although Marxists are happy to borrow from the Bible[5], and the Quran speaks about Jesus and Mary, both the Marxist and Islamist deny the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Marxism and Quranic Islam downgrade Christ’s uniqueness to that of a righteous prophet, or a sage, proletarian rebel.

Marxism and Islam also show complete contempt for Christianity. The reasoning for this usually involves citing the Crusades (without reference to Islamist militant expansionism , or Missionaries and Imperialism, (without reference to Missionaries helping the poor, or preserving the language of many tribal groups).

Differences between Islam and Marxism do exist. Such as, the Islamic practice of female genital mutilation, and the oppression of women[6]. These differences, however don’t appear to dissuade academics from their affection for Islam. What unifies them is stronger than what distinguishes them from each other. Contempt for Jews and Christians, unjust restrictive laws[7], cruel punishment of any opposition, jihad (war against the infidel) and oppression, are the primary means of achieving the goal of each respective utopian ideal.

It’s worth noting that the great and fallible, Winston Churchill, noted similarities between Quranic Islam and Socialism. In a passing comment he made known his view that there are certain parallels to the Quran and Mein Kampf. He called Hitler’s book, the ‘new Koran of faith and war; the granite pillars of Hitler’s policy included, use of the sword, the conversion of Germans into soldiers, anti-Semitism, fanaticism and hysterical passion.’[8]

This partially meets with the observation made by Scottish Theologian, T.F. Torrance:

‘I had been in Palestine, as it was then called, in 1936 when the Grand Mufti came back to Jerusalem from visiting Hitler and spread the terrible poison of anti-Semitism all over the Middle East.’[9]

Swiss, anti-Nazi theologian, Karl Barth’s famous refutation of natural theology, unpacked in tedious detail, within his Gifford Lectures in 1937 and 1938, was in large part a refutation of Nazism. His “nein” to natural theology[10] was built on a keen awareness of man and woman’s rebellion against God, when, like Narcissus, man and woman turn to their own image and build religion on the sand of human imagination, ideas and superstition. For Barth, there is no other revelation of God outside where God has already made Himself known. This meant that the führer could never be Our Father. Hitler was not, and could never be, a second revelation of God. The State could never be God. Deus Dixit: in Jesus Christ, God has already spoken!

This is primarily why Barth saw Quranic Islam as idolatry, stating that ‘the God of Mohammed is an idol like all other idols […]’[11]

It’s with this in mind that we see how Quranic Islam and Marxism are more aligned than we are taught to think. For the Marxist and the Islamist, the command of the state is equal to that of the Supreme Being.   There can be no denying that like Islamists, the Bolsheviks, and later the Soviets, converted by the ‘sword of the revolution for arbitrary use at the regime’s demand’[12].

Simone Weil, herself once an ardent Marxist, criticized Marxism for being

‘a badly constructed religion […]   Marx was an idolater; he idolised the Proletariat and considered himself to be their natural leader’ (p.151); Marx made oppression the central notion of his writings, but never attempted to analyse it.’[13]

Furthermore, György Lukács, the father of modern Marxism stated without reservation that “you cannot just sample Marxism […] you must be converted to it.”[14]

What lies at the heart of this excessive affection from academics for Islam is deconstructionism (or revisionism). Like romanticism, revisionism is essentially built on lies. It builds its own facts out of the very thing it just deconstructed. Facts are distorted and sometimes reversed. Revisionism calls that which is good, evil and that which is evil, good.

Deconstructionism inflicts violence on language through redefinition. It ends up policing speech, undermining reason and civil rights. It reduces all discourse to propaganda[15].  For example, the depraved “logic” of deconstructionism reverses a claim like “the Nazis oppressed the Jews,” showing instead that the Jew cooked in a Nazi oven was really the Nazis’ oppressor…”[16]

Jacques Ellul was no debutante to Marxism or Islam. Not a lot unlike Roger Scruton, Jacques Ellul was part of the early Leftist establishment. His critique of the excessive affection from academics for Islam, is in line with Karl Barth’s rejection of Natural theology.

Such excessive affection is tantamount to believing that the best way to overcome sin is to reject the concept of sin; to ignore it, and treat sin as if it never really existed. According to this view, you can’t be a sinner if sin doesn’t exist.

However, relabelling or denying sin doesn’t make sin disappear. All this does, is allow self-justification for sin. The same goes for the academic establishment’s treatment of Islam. Calling Islam a “religion of peace”, doesn’t make it so.

Quranic Islam and Marxism view violence as a primary means to reach their respective utopian ideals. With its totalitarian: “convert, pay a tax, or die”, Islamism has proven to be much the same as Marxism. This makes them both the ultimate tool for totalitarian oppression.

What seems to explain the excessive affection from academics for Islam is the affection academics have for Marxism. As I’ve said before, those who chose to entertain Marxism, big bureaucracy or crony capitalism, ride the backs of monsters. We have to be ready and willing to ask whether or not Islamism should be added to this list.

Ideology is a good servant, but a cruel task-master. We either submit Christ to Mohammad, or Mohammad to Christ. We either submit Christ to the State or the State and Church to Christ. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and three’s a crowd.

If we give academics the benefit of the doubt we could conclude that such affection is simply just foolish romanticism.

It, however, isn’t that simple. The policing of speech, the increasing exclusion of conservatives and Christians from academia; the reckless labeling of opposing views as hate and bigotry; and the diagnosing of those who hold to scientific facts as phobic, all lead us to ask, whether such open affection isn’t just an innocent flirtation, but is in fact appeasement, or worse, a calculated naiveté and sinister wishful thinking, where Marxists use Islamists, and Islamists use Marxists for their own ends.

If the latter is true, it must be addressed. Non-critical thinking and appeasement gives Quranic Islam (and we could add the LGBT religion) the same free ride that it gave to Nazism and still does with Marxism. If we are not free to give gracious criticisms about Islamism and Marxism; if we are paralyzed by political correctness, we are dooming our children to fight a war that can still be avoided by honest intellectual engagement and open dialogue.

As David, W. Gill (retired Professor, President of the IJES, ethicist and theologian) noted,

Nothing is gained by cowardice and avoidance. All is lost by arrogance and accusation. As Paul writes, we must “speak truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) […]’  (p.vii)

Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi[17].


References:

[1] Islamism or Islamist Fundamentalism

[2] Sir Roger Scruton, 2002. The West & The Rest: Globalization & The Terrorist Threat, p.6

[3] See Alan Woods’ 2001 essay, Marxism & Religion, where Wood’s offers a dishonest account of Christian belief, but does talk about the atheism of Marxism. He also, rightly, condemns the oppression of women under in Islam. Sourced from Marxist.com 16th June 2019.

[4] Elshtain, B.J, 2003. Just War Theory: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World, (p.3) Also see Elshtain’s discussion on Islamic Supremacism and anti-Semitism.

[5] See Jesus & Marx: From Gospel to Ideology, 1988.

[6] Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 2006. Infidel. Free Press

[7] Khan, Muqtedar M.A. 2006. Islamic Democratice Discourse: Theory, Debates, and Philosophical Perspectives, Lexington Books

[8] Churchill, W. 1948. The Gathering Storm Rosetta Books

[9] Torrance, T.G. 1994. P.C.T: The Gospel and scientific thinking (p.28).

[10] Natural theology ejects the need for the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ as the starting point of faith. Barth rejected such dependence because it rejected God’s own decisive action and humanity’s only anchor of hope for salvation. Barth saw this as the main reason for the ease at which even the discerning voter was sucked in by National Socialism.

[11] Barth, K. The Knowledge of God and the Service of God According to the Teaching of the Reformation: Recalling the Scottish Confession of 1560 (Gifford Lectures 1937 & 1938) (p. 21). Wipf & Stock, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers

[12] Service, R. 1997. A History of Twentieth Century Russia. Harvard University Press, 1998 (2nd Edition) p. 74

[13] Weil, S. 1955. Oppression and Liberty. 2001. Routledge Classics (p.154)

[14] Lukacs, G.  1971. Record of a Life, The Thetford Press Ltd. 1983 (p.62)

[15] Veith, Gene Edward. 1993. Citing Ward Parks,  Modern Fascism: Threat to the Judeo-Christian Worldview . Concordia Publishing House

[16] Ibid, 1993

[17] As we pray, so we believe, so we live.

Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

(Originally published at The Caldron Pool, 17th June 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The contents of Sun-Tzu’s, The Art of War and The Bible are unrelated.  They are, by any quick comparison, worlds apart. The Art of War is a masterpiece in military organisation and strategy. Tzu is a sage, giving the wealth of a sage’s advice to all who would follow his counsel closely.

The Bible is a collection of books, filled with multiple genres, following centuries of the same consistent theme: Yahweh’s faithfulness to His people and His war against the human made gods and idols of the Ancient Near East.

Written by multiple authors the witness of the Biblical authors often jars us because of its contrasts between God’s faithfulness and humanity’s infidelity; an unfaithfulness that includes humanity turning on itself, as much as it turns against the faithfulness of God. Through poetry, proverbial wisdom, historiography; prophecy, a litany of apocalyptic fulfilment and predictions, historical letters and genealogies, the Bible is the unique testimony of God’s decisive interaction with humanity.

Where these testimonies differ:

The Art of War is a manual and an impersonal memoir. In it the wisdom and experience of Chinese Army veteran, Sun-Tzu is encapsulated in a list of haiku like principles. Whereas The Bible, from start to finish moves from point to point, through very human voices, who testify to this unique encounter with the revelation of God. What we hear is God fighting for us, embracing us, raising and continuing to raise humanity, through the promise and fulfilment of His Covenant (Treaty with humanity). What we see is God raising men and women up out of sin and its grip on humanity, as sin hurtles humanity like a projectile towards inhumanity and total self-annihilation.

Where these testimonies share common ground:

What The Art of War and parts of The Bible share in common is the way in which truth and experience is communicated through metaphor, simile and poetic syntax.

TAoW:

‘A rushing torrent/carries boulders/on its flood; such is the energy/of its momentum’ [i] (Sun-Tzu, The Art of War)

The Bible:

‘Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 19:24, ESV)

Truth and experience is camouflaged in metaphor so as to make an impact that will be easily memorised, if not understood right away.

The relationship between The Art of War and The Bible is established in its use of poetic language to recall history and communicate truths, through narrative and poetic prose.

If there is a commonality of literary technique, is there be any relevance between the two? Can The Art of War help us better understand The Bible?

My answer is yes.

Though, it’s cultural setting, ethnicity, context, authorship, and in most areas its contents are worlds apart, sections of The Art of War lights up our perspective of ancient society, politics and warfare.

Much like Machiavelli’s, The Prince, The Art of War gives us insight into areas of human behaviour, organisation, rule and movement. These include leadership, social organisation, paradox ( + dialectic)[ii], relationships, management, hierarchy, strategy and, in a few specific places, the value of human life.

For example:

‘[Force] March ten miles for some gain/and two in three men will arrive’[iii] (Sun Tzu, The Art of War)

Commonality between the Bible and The Art of War can be found. Much of the first five books of the Bible, (the Pentateuch; Torah) discuss the state of the human race, God’s creation, liberation, government and ordering of humanity, centred within and viewed through the lens of His people.

God’s ordering, this governing, His leadership through a close friendship with Moses, is exemplified in the post-Exodus wilderness dwelling Book of Numbers.

Here Yahweh’s request under the Covenant He established with Israel is His way of bringing the Hebrews FULLY out of Egypt. The Hebrews had not completely left subservience to Egypt and its gods behind. As evidenced by the Golden Calf, one coup attempt, a number of formal protests and general disgruntlement about how much better things were under Egyptian rule. In other words, how much better things were under the rule of Egypt’s hybrid animal-human gods. Psychologically & culturally, God’s liberation of the Hebrews was as much reformation of the heart as it was God’s revolution and His emancipation of an oppressed people.

Yahweh’s leadership is brought to trial. The just God is thrown unjust criticism and all manifestations of his grace through the miraculous provision and care given towards His people are forgotten.

The confrontation causes conflict. Yahweh seeks to take the focus of the people off the creature and put it onto the Creator; and in doing so God shows just how far He has to go in order to bring His people completely out of Egypt. This is to teach them that they are no longer Egyptians, but are His, living under His grace, guidance, blessing, leadership; fatherhood. All this things are given in order to bring about the fulfilment of prophecy. The promise of the Covenant, and the transforming determination of God, sees the Hebrew slaves become the nation of Israel. The gods humans made are directly challenged by the God who made humans.

In a sense, even though the victory is won, Yahweh is still fighting against the gods of the Ancient Near East. He is still fight for those He made in His image. Yahweh, the One who is free, putting Himself between us and the house of slavery, despite our flirtation with the worship of nature that characterises all gods and idols man and woman makes in their own image.

Yahweh is the model of a perfect General (Exodus 15). He avoids Sun-Tzu’s list of pitfalls for a General, whilst His people (and even Moses from time to time) falls right into them:

        1. Recklessness – leading to destruction
        2. Cowardice – leading to capture
        3. Hot temper (manipulated or triggered into reacting poorly) – prone to provocation
        4. Delicacy to honour (concern for reputation; perfectionism) – tending to shame
        5. Concern for his men (easily swayed/influenced, people pleasing; concerned about offending them) – leading to trouble.

The book of Numbers teaches us that God perfectly hears us, has perfect self-control, can be provoked to anger, but is patient, quick to restraint and shows mercy by way of warnings and provision.

The Gospel of Mark testifies to the healings and deliverance so engrained in the fabric of Jesus Christ’s ministry, up to the point where He reaches for the Leper, stills the wind and waves, is feared and mocked by demons, joyfully dignifies the woman with uterine bleeding and despite the mockery of a crowd of mourners, in the presence of her parents, resurrects a 12 year old girl.

God places Himself between us and our fears, between us and our sin, all with the intention of not allowing His people to advance into the jaws of their enemies, both without and within.

Paul understood this, writing:

‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ (Paul, Galatians 2:20, ESV)

The Bible and The Art of War teach us to be aware of the pitfalls of human leadership and the arrogance of power. Only God is the perfect General. We actively seek out failure, when we fail to acknowledge and follow Him in all our ways.

The Art of War:

‘These five perils to leadership demand the most careful attention’ Sun-Tzu, The Art of War.

The Bible:

 “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? – Jesus Christ, Luke 6:39

 


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Sun-Tzu, circa 500 BC. The Art of War: Potential Energy Penguin Ed. 2008 (p.26)

[ii] For example: ‘Orderly disorder is based on careful division; courageous fear on potential energy; strong weakness on troop dispositions’.

[iii] Ibid, pp.40-41

Artwork: Rembrandt

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The Barr Effect: Why the U.S Attorney General is bring under reported.

Since releasing a redacted version of the famed Mueller report, America’s current attorney general, William Barr, has been at the centre of much speculation and contention. The drama centers on the fact that Barr has so far refused to release an un-redacted version of the Mueller report. Barr, 68 and a Roman Catholic, was nominated by Donald Trump in December and confirmed as Attorney General in January, after a grilling Senate vetting process involving both Democrats and Republicans.

He isn’t a novice to how politics works[1]. Given the divisive, ravenous dissonance of the “hate Trump, love trumps hate” modus operandi since 2016, Barr’s refusal to just hand over the conclusion, in complete trust that the information would be used honorably, is smart.

As a result of his refusal to release an un-redacted version of the Mueller Report, Barr is accused of covering for President Trump as head of the Department of Justice, in order to use the Mueller report to make Donald Trump shine, and make “Russian Collusion” Democrats look like tin foil hat crusaders. A recent New York Times op-ed cited, Paul Rosenzweig, a former prosecutor, who accused Barr of “putting his thumb on the scale” for Mr. Trump.”[2]

Ironically, it’s not Barr who’s painting a picture of Quixotic Democrats as tin foil hat crusaders. After nearly three years of hyper-partisan hysteria, “never Trump” Democrats are doing well enough by themselves. The theory that Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 election because Donald Trump colluded with Russia continues to be a widespread belief amongst H.R.C’s cheer squad. This is despite the costly 400 page conclusion from a two and a half year investigation that found no evidence of “Russian collusion”.

Barr’s decision, not to issue an un-redacted version of the Mueller report, is clever. Especially in an era where militant Leftist partisans, and “Never Trump” conservatives, are looking for any excuse to take down the man, even if this involves a biased reading of the facts, weakening the constitutional republic and compromising the Presidential office.

Trump’s appointment of William Barr caught people of guard. This is the Barr Effect. His appointment appears to have been a masterstroke of political acumen. Barr replaced Jeff Sessions, and has had many in a tailspin wondering who Barr is and why he took the job. William Barr is respected by both houses of politics and is famously objective.

According to the New York Times, he’s tenacious about facts and in 2016, ‘Jeb Bush, not Donald Trump, was his first choice for the Republican nomination. Barr also refused to represent Trump as a private criminal lawyer, saying, “I didn’t want to stick my head into that meat grinder”’.

The Barr effect became obvious after his May interview with CBS[3]. Barr stated he doesn’t care about his reputation and called the Russian collusion theory bogus. He also stood by Mueller, stating that Mueller had presented the facts, which showed no evidence of collusion, but that Mueller could have reached a decision in favor of Trump, on the charge of obstruction of justice[4].

On the Mueller Report:

“In my four-page memo, I said that Mueller did not reach a decision. He gave both sides – then I quoted that sentence which is, while we didn’t find a crime, we didn’t exonerate the president. That was in the four-page letter.”

On obstruction of justice:

“Mueller could have come to a conclusion…We analyzed the law and the facts and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined that both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction.”

On Russian Collusion:

“Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus”

When asked about foreign interference and government abuse of power, Barr was adamant that both were as equally ‘troubling’.

On U.S intelligence agencies spying on the Trump campaign:

“Republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state.”

When asked whether or not Barr thought that this is what happened during the 2016 campaign, he plainly stated:

“I just think it has to be carefully looked at, because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed. There were counterintelligence activities undertaken against the Trump Campaign. And I’m not saying there was not a basis for it that it was legitimate, but I want to see what that basis was and make sure it was legitimate.”

This isn’t the Barr you’re looking for:

Given that Barr has been steadfast in his commitment to the law of the land, releasing an un-redacted version of the Mueller report would be a compromise of his convictions. It’s not likely to happen any time soon. If ‘hate Trump/love trumps hate’ Democrats are looking for an insider who will undermine Trump unlawfully, Barr isn’t the person they’re looking for.

Barr’s integrity is only one aspect of the Barr Effect. Balance and respect for objective truth also rate highly. So much so that Barr has commentators in a bind, about whether to hate on him, or hold their breath in suspense about whether he’ll turn on Trump, or in their case, worse, expose evidence of an Obama/Clinton abuse of power, where the Obama Administration may have turned the intelligence community into a wing of the Democrat party, unlawfully sanctioning them to interfere in an American election. As the Russia Collusion theory is discredited and evidence mounts, this seems more and more likely.

What is newsworthy, but not being highlighted by reporters, is Barr’s investigation into whether or not spying on the Trump campaign, by U.S. intelligence agencies, was justified or whether it was an abuse of power. If Barr finds evidence of an abuse of power, it won’t be Donald Trump who is indicted on criminal charges, but those who came after him in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election in H.R.C’s favor.


References:

[1] The New York Times, op-ed by Sharon LaFraniere, Charlie Savage & Kate Benner, ‘Who is William Barr?’ 9th June 2019, Sourced 11th June 2019

[2] Ibid, 9th June 2019

[3] CBS News, Jan Crawford, 31st May 2019, William Barr interview: full transcript Sourced, 11th June 2019

[4] Mollie Hemingway, 3rd June 2019 ‘Top 28 Moments From Bombshell Barr Interview The Federalist Sourced 11th June 2019

Photo by Em Taylor on Unsplash

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 11th June 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019