Archives For Jacques Ellul

Salvatore Babone’s 2018 book ‘The New Authoritarianism’ is an exposition on how tyranny and fascism are spawned by the exaltation of civil rights over against civil liberties.

Babones first unpacks populism’s role as an often one-off ‘positive alternative’ wave which breaks society free from ‘the tyranny of the expert class’ (p.xiii), giving constitutional democracy back its buoyancy.

The ‘populist revolt’, if coming against anti-classical liberal authoritarianism, is like a fresh wind filling dead sails, and righting the ship. 

Babones helps us understand that the election of Donald Trump personified a classical liberal revolt against the modern liberal (radical leftist) ‘expert class.’

Many of who hold the view that ‘“positive” rights’ trump ‘“negative” freedoms.’ 

As Babones writes, the ‘philosophy of safeguarding freedoms has evolved into the philosophy of demanding rights.’ (pp.7-8)

The demand that modern liberal authority be recognised and obeyed, without question, has created ‘a tyranny of experts.’ (p.11)

For Babones this ‘New Authoritarianism’ is observable in the increase of restrictions on civil liberties. One example is in how the elevating of civil rights over against civil liberties is creating a protected class of minorities who are given such status by an ‘expert class’ – even if minority groups within society haven’t asked for it, or perhaps even want it.

Minority groups are informed through a variety of deceit filled propaganda campaigns that demand compliance under the expert class-knows-best imperative “it’s for your own good.”

The majority are also bonded to the same cloud of deceit through simple slogans full of falsehoods or half-truths.

This cements a greater reflex in the masses, by which, so Jaques Ellul pointed out, the masses act without thinking and are happy to do so, producing in some an unquestioning fanaticism that will always buy whatever the ‘expert class’ sells them.

Consider the principle of the führerprinzip in 1930s Germany where the word of the ‘expert class’ was to be taken as the Word of God.

No one can dissent. “You are what the expert class says you are. You will do think and work as the expert class tells you to, or else!”

This is propelled forward through sleight of hand political manoeuvring in the halls of power, right down to peer pressure, that is designed by the ‘expert class’ to solidify the loyalties of an entitled ‘protected class’, and forge greater ownership of the masses.

Note Gene Veith’s excellent analysis in ‘Modern Fascism’ about the ‘Nazifying of the Universities.’ Hitler’s elites were in large part University educated.

‘contrary to the myth that the Nazis were uneducated brutes, most of the killers of the death squads had college degrees, including some with Ph.D.s in philosophy, literature, and even theology[.…]‘one study of a local Nazi party organization shows that 43.3 percent were university students […]’

It’s not just Nazism that illustrates the ultimate manifestation of this ‘expert class.’ Communism and Nazism are two wings on the same vicious bird, and as such Communists, despite their counter-claims, share the same tyranny of the elite, bourgeois characteristics.

Babones’ scrutiny joins up with that of Elull, Elshtain and Veith, in urging extreme caution with who those in a society trusts, and in whom society puts its trust in.

Taking into account the Social Darwinian views of the German elite, I would argue that the ideas which led to Auschwitz were the direct consequence of an elevation of civil rights over against civil liberties.

Civil liberties were thrown to the ground, and in the name of social justice, the persecution of the Germans at Versailles manifested into the persecution of the Jews.

This is why civil liberties need a revival. Civil liberties allow for civil rights.

Any dispelling of this necessary order (or sequence) creates disorder.

What remains is a dysfunctional paradigm from which (as the historical record of the 20th century attests) Hell-on-earth is sure to follow.

The dehumanisation and mistreatment of the Jews was justified* by the ‘expert class’ as the addressing of “a great social evil” – the depression, war reparations, etc.

By which the ‘expert class’ pushed a victimhood narrative. This is the very same approach used by cultural Marxists – Radical Leftist Jihadists – who’ve weaponized “civil rights” legislation under the broad, poorly defined umbrella of “social justice.” It’s an eery fit.

Call it designed or the law of unintended consequences, either way, what people need to understand is that the exaltation of civil rights over against civil liberties will eventually negate civil rights.

This is why Classical liberal civil liberties – freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the like – should be protected against the lawfare of modern liberalism’s cultural Marxists. Such as arbitrary “hate speech” and “anti-conversion” laws which are ambiguous and open to misinterpretation and abuse.

In conclusion, Babones’ brief treatise on ‘The New Authoritarianism’ is reminiscent, though not equal to, Jacques Ellul and Jean Bethke Elshtain’s criticisms of modern liberalism and the danger it poses to Western constitutional democracies.

They all direct attention to the fact that constitutional democracies will not survive the replacement of Biblical Christian Classical Liberalism, with the god-of-self, Christless, modern liberal trojan horse.

The ejection of these former foundations in favour of a subjective, thoughtless rush into social justice legislation which exalts civil rights, will mean slavery to, and fanatic devotion of an ‘expert class.’

Constitutional democracies will survive this ‘tyranny of experts’ if civil liberties are protected and guided by authentic Biblical Christian objective morality.

Civil liberties and civil rights share the same platform, and stem from the same place – such as the Imago Dei, the Divine command and the Divine order: “Let us make man in Our image…” (Genesis 1:26) –  but civil liberties and civil rights are not the same thing.

As Babones pointed out, ‘China’s people don’t lack liberal rights like paid maternity leave. What they lack are basic freedoms – and, of course, democracy.’ (p.54)

The protection of civil liberties and therefore also the protection of civil rights, may require a reawakening to the importance of civil liberties; and renewed awareness of how national sovereignty, an embrace of multi-ethnic nationalism, as well as faith based reasoning, and steely-ANZAC determination, has, up until the past two decades preserved them.

What many good little secular humanists concerned about the loss of civil liberties fail to understand is that Classical liberal freedoms only work within the boundary of Biblical Christianity.

The secular humanist rejection of God who is free [vi], and from whom all freedoms flow, inadvertently advocate for the removal of these freedoms by ejecting Jesus Christ.

The result being the enthronement of an anti-christ who rules against freedom in favour of “new social justice moral codes” designated as “civil rights”.

Where civil rights are asserted over and against civil liberties, hell on earth is sure to follow.


References:

[i] Babones, S. 2018. The New Authoritarianism: Trump, Populism, and the Tyranny of Experts, Polity Press.

[ii] Veith, G.E. 1993. Modern Fascism: The Threat to the Judeo-Christian Worldview, Concordia Publishing House

[iii] Elull, J. 1965. Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Minds, Vintage Books

[iv] Elshtain, J.B. 1995. Democracy on Trial, Basic Books

[v] Elshtain, J.B. 2008. Sovereignty, God, State and Self: Gifford Lectures, Basic Books

[vi] See Karl Barth CD.II:1:328-350

*I’m not saying it was justified. I’m expressing how it was viewed as “just.”

First published on Caldron Pool, 21st December, 2020.

©Rod Lampard, 2020

The COVID Reflex & the Mechanization of the Masses

Under the shadow of Democrat encouraged civil unrest, and Covid-19, the 2020 election was always going to be a close call.

Temporarily set aside valid concerns about voter fraud. Then consider the climate of fear that has been battering voters non-stop since January.

Leftist politicians and activists went from attacking pro-active, anti-COVID conservative governments with “that’s racist”, to “they knew and didn’t do anything to save lives.”

Go back to the debates. The Biden/Harris campaign maximized COVID-19 for political gain. Biden was propped up as the adult, taking Covid-19 seriously, while Trump was portrayed by the feckless legacy media as irresponsible, and reckless.

Aided by Big Tech, Doctors were silenced, while keyboard warriors asserted themselves as life-saving experts.

Anyone who presented a well-reasoned argument that countered the approved narrative, was censored.

When this was questioned, with the help of leftist funded “fact-checkers” hiding behind the word “Independent” (not to be confused with impartial), Big Tech told us that this censorship was “for the greater good” because it was about “saving lives.”

As has been suggested by others on various platforms, the consequence of this is that people have voted against Trump as though he was a) responsible for COVID-19 and b) was the virus itself.

Since 2016 the Democrats have been playing a zero-sum game. (Found in the murderous ambition of Antifa and BLM.) It wasn’t beyond them to pave Biden’s road to the White House with fear and the bodies of COVID victims.

Covid-19 may not have been designed to remove Donald Trump from the White House, but the Left was quick to weaponize COVID-19 as a means to do so.

As Amanda Prestigiacomo put it,

‘This election is not like anything we’ve seen before, with well over 65 million mail-in ballots cast, relaxed rules. (COVID panic porn vital here.) The chaos is a feature, not a bug. Trump needs to challenge everything. I think he will. His supporters can’t be disenfranchised.’

COVID-19 propaganda porn created a COVID reflex. Disaster porn has been the bedrock of the Democrat platform since Hillary Clinton failed to move into the White House after Barrack Obama, the leftist lord-of-lords and king-of-kings, ended his tenure.

The “vote for us, or face certain death at the hands of COVID and racists” equation appears to have been a winning formula.

This says nothing positive about American voters who appear to have voted in fear, because of falsehoods and fake news, over against facts, faith, and freedom. Victims of a successful, corrupt Democrat scare campaign.

The COVID reflex is the result of propaganda; vicious political maneuvering. It’s what Jacques Ellul called psychological warfare.

To illustrate this, Ellul pointed to the different levels of aid provided by the United States, and the Soviet Union to under-developed countries in the 1960s.

 ‘The United States gave three times as much assistance as did the Soviet Union; but thanks to propaganda, it is the Soviet Union who is regarded as the great helper and benefactor in whom one can put one’s trust.’ (Propaganda, 1965:134)

Ellul warned that the dangers in doubting the power of propaganda led to propagandists manipulating and implanting within the public a conditioned reflex. 

He deduced that ‘the propagandist seeks automatic responses; to induce action without consideration; mass movement without thought.’ (ibid, 300 & 302)

Enemies of this mechanization of the masses were ‘organic groups.’

This is why genuine dictatorships, and totalitarians undermine families, authentic churches, and traditional community assemblies.

The only way for the masses to be manipulated is to replace these groups with ‘new primary groups’; political action groups, parties, unions, where ‘the individual can be trapped and made ready for propaganda.’

This meant automated mechanization (ibid, p. 98). Examples include the Nazis’ strategy in banning Homeschooling, and undermining Sunday School with laws instructing parents to enlist their children in the Hitler Youth. Moa and Lenin’s political re-education mantra ‘each must be a propagandist for all.’ (ibid, p.82)

The point of this, Ellul states, is ‘to make the masses demand of the government what the government has already decided to do.’ (ibid, p.132)

Come back to the U.S. election, and four years of Democrat scare campaigning. The climate of fear successfully established conditions and controls. Covid-19 just gave the political establishment the impetus it needed to deploy hysteria and its subsequent, “vote for us, or face certain death” brain washing, to move the people against its political enemies.

As economics Professor Gary Galles concluded in his article for the Mises Institute,

‘The 2020 election results will be a test of earlier liberal/progressive “investments” in modifying how Americans think about things. But at this point, perhaps more important will be whether, after the fact, people recognize how much they have been manipulated, which is the first step to thinking more accurately, which must precede learning to effectively resist that manipulation.’

This COVID reflex may have given Joe Biden and the Democrats the edge over Trump. Fear is a powerful motivator. Much more so than freedom.

The globalist elite, and their bureaucratic caste friends in Washington D.C know this, and they strip-mined it for every ounce of political gain they could squeeze out of it.

The COVID reflex is a direct product of Leftist propaganda. More concerning than a Biden/Harris Presidency is this mechanization of the masses, and I’m almost convinced that the U.S. election results are proof of it.


First published on Caldron Pool, 7th November, 2020.

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

The disturbing ease and security from which some anti-conservatives operate on social media often helps reveal cracks in the Left’s masquerade of sinless benevolence.

Overconfident statements, built on the self-righteous belief that they the majority shares their views, often leads to unintended consequences.

Such forthright statements can take the form of confessions showing just how far to the Left, many anti-conservatives have gone.

It’s a form of “Dutch courage.” Where instead of dealing with actions and confessions drawn out by alcoholic inebriation. Actions and confessions are spawned from an intoxicating sense of entitlement to power over others.

This was demonstrated by Philadelphia teacher, author, and columnist, Matthew R. Kay, who tweeted concerns about virtual learning, on the grounds that “conservative” parents might overhear, and therefore interfere with what he was teaching their children.

The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh explained that Kay was ‘worried conservative parents would be able to interfere with the “messy work” of indoctrinating children into critical race theory, gender theory, and other left-wing dogmas.’

The apt Dennis Prager asserted, “They know it’s propaganda. A teacher, who teaches, NOT INDOCRTINATES, wants their class recorded. Why wouldn’t they? […] It’s a betrayal of parental trust to indoctrinate rather than teach.”

WBCK, Michigan talk show host, David Renkiewicz posted a series of questions on air about the assumptions behind Kay’s tweets.

‘Why would a teacher who teaches English be teaching “equity and inclusion work”?’

‘Why is he so ashamed at what he said or why keep it hidden from the world?’

‘What exactly are you doing with or to those children that you must hide your thoughts?’

‘Why would a teacher, any teacher be concerned about parents watching their class lesson on-line?’

‘Why would a teacher, any teacher be worried about “what happens here stays here”? ‘

‘We all know that phrase is commonly used as “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.  When someone says what happens here stays here it is usually someone who is up to no good.’

Renkiewicz shared Walsh’s conclusion.

In essence, Kay telling the world that he wanted to keep parents away from discovering what their kids are being taught in the class room, in particular about sexuality, sounded like a predator, grooming children for sex.

Kay’s “Dutch courage” is a good example of how far to the Left anti-conservatives have gone. His words weren’t a mindless midnight post, later regretted, then deleted. They were a graphic exhibition of the fear, cognitive distortions, hatred and totalitarianism that defines so much of what exists as anti-conservativism today.

With a shared knowledge of 20th Century history, both sides of the political isle should be concerned about this revelation. They’re not. After going viral, conservative media were the only organizations to carry and discuss the implications of Kay’s comments.

Townhall wrote, ‘conservatives have been sounding the alarm about public school indoctrination for years. Kay’s unwitting admission not only shows that these concerns are warranted but demonstrates just how entitled many teachers have become to indoctrinating other people’s children.’

The Nazis epitomized the criminal distortion of a child’s mind through State control, and parentless education.

During the final weeks of the siege of Berlin, war-weary veterans were kept away from the Hitler Youth for fear of “interfering and destabilizing” their fanaticism.

The Nazis wanted to maintain the fanaticism it had created in children raised on SS propaganda, by keeping those children from the truth about how the war was going. [i]

Likewise, Communist Chinese indoctrination of children coincides with learning to read.

The aim, as Jacques Ellul explained,

‘is fixed and precise. The people must become Marxist. Appropriate education for a Marxist is to teach children a Marxist catechism, to give them a Marxist conception of the world in history and science…Child education is completely integrated into propaganda…Little children are conditioned so as to make their subconscious receptive to the verities of Socialism.’ [ii]

Kay’s tweets admit that there are propagandists parading as educators. Such comments echo the dangers of statist control and parentless education.

Homeschool where you can, when you can, if you can.

Education begins in the home.


References:

[i] Best, N. 2012. Five Days That Shocked the World, Osprey Publishing, & Guido Knopp, 2017. Documentary: The Hitler Youth, Amazon

[ii] Ellul, J. 1965 Propaganda

First published on Caldron Pool, 15th August 2020.

Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

Examine some older texts on philosophy, some Freudian psychology, even some theology, and you’ll come across the term proton-pseudos.

Proton-pseudos is described by the International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis as ‘the link between false premises and false conclusions.’ Sigmund Freud borrowed the term from Aristotle and applied to it to the category of hysteria.

In short, the Proton-pseudos is the ‘original error’. The proton-pseudos sits behind and within the lies we tell ourselves, or the lies we’ve been taught to believe about ourselves, society, politics, theology and a whole range of other areas. The proton-pseudos is the outworking of a negative self-belief caused by exposure to trauma, abuse, and agitation, manipulative or sociological propaganda.

The proton-pseudos is a false idea or belief based on limited or distorted knowledge. It’s an assumption lived out as fact, even though it’s a conclusion derived from a broken reality, one re-pieced together, without a relevant tangible factual basis. In other words, the proton-pseudos is a broken lens. It imagines oppression where no oppression exists, created by a negative self-belief long ago triggered by a genuine traumatic event.

The Freudian understanding of the proton-pseudos is exemplified by ‘Emma, who at the age of thirteen fled the laughter of the sales staff in a shop, consciously believing that they were laughing at her clothes. However, Emma’s reaction in the shop was triggered by a repressed first event from years before, a grocer who had sexually touched her when she was eight.’

French intellectual Jacques Ellul’s aggressive critique of helpful and harmful propaganda, from 1965, assists in providing a framework to explain how propaganda relates to the proton-pseudos as an ‘inner control over the individual by a social force.’ Manipulative, agitation and sociological propaganda preys on the collective social consciousness of a society in an ‘age of anxiety’. Fear is used to control, mobilize and permit.

The manipulative use of fear engineers a desensitizing of sensitivities and objections to an idea, in order to implement it.

As Ellul explains, ‘propaganda will permit what so far was prohibited, such as hatred…propaganda offers him an object of hatred for all propaganda is aimed at an enemy. This hatred is not shameful, evil hatred that must be hidden, but justified because propaganda has pointed out enemies that must be slain, transforming crime into a praiseworthy act.’

Propaganda utilizes proton-pseudos to create conformity. According to Ellul this conformity is the consequence of integration propaganda – political reeducation. This means that any ‘statement whatever, no matter how stupid, any “tall tale” will be believed once it enters into the current of hatred’ perpetuated by the prevailing proton-pseudos; the false doctrine, half-truth, outright harmful or blasphemous lie or deception. The collective social consciousness of society can then be controlled through ‘key words of magical import, which are believed without question.’

The proton-pseudos becomes authoritative through an ongoing maintenance of propaganda. Questioning of the proton-pseudos is viewed as irrational. Even though the proton-pseudos is, itself an irrational conclusion held captive by the ‘original error’.

To borrow further from Jacques Ellul, propaganda instills in the person held captive to the proton-pseudos ‘a system of opinions and tendencies which may not be subjected to criticism…the individual has received irrational certainties from propaganda and feels personally attacked when these certainties are attacked’.

Agitation, manipulative and sociological propaganda reinforces the proton-pseudos by way of affirming its grip on the person held captive by it.

Consequently, ‘ironically, the man or woman who has been successfully subjected to a vigorous propaganda will declare that all new ideas are propaganda.’

This comes back to Freud’s story of Emma.  The proton-pseudos sees oppression where there is none. It confuses a past event with current circumstances, magnifying fear and stopping Emma from distinguishing fiction from real thing. Emma’s negative self-belief affects her interpretation of the intentions of the people who surrounded her in the shop. There may have been good reasons for her to be suspicious and feel uncomfortable, but Emma’s consciousness was governed by a lie based on past abuse; the proton-pseudos which she believes and projects onto others, despite her current context clearly saying otherwise.

Ellul and Freud don’t just give us legitimate reasons for a constructive self-critique, they provide a diagnosis for the current malady affecting the socio-political make-up of Western Civilization.

One example is the proton-pseudos which dominates the Left. The proton-pseudos at work here imagines Nazis in every opponent, or behind every politician or journalist not Left of centre.

There’s no doubt that Nazism is evil, but like Freud’s story of Emma, context matters.

As Dennis Prager recently said, “fighting Nazis in World War two makes you a hero. Fighting Nazis today, in the United States, doesn’t”. Why? Because today’s Nazis are largely phantoms created by the Left. Imagined into existence, but based on an historical event, in order to promote fear, take control and justify an inability (or worse, lack of desire) to engage in reasoned debate. The proton-pseudos provoked by propagandist slogans permits all sorts of viciousness and violence against their political opponents.

Take as examples the propagandists perpetuating the proton-pseudos. They create an oppressor, where one doesn’t exist, with terms such as, toxic masculinity, heteronormativity, cultural appropriation, white privilege, islamophobia, Jesus was a socialist, homophobia and mansplaining, unborn babies are a bunch of cells/a parasite, all men are dogs, and all white people are racist, et.al.

All of these and others, as asinine as “love is love”, are designed to incite ‘conditioned reflexes’ (Elull). To ensnare, trap and control the argument through an appeal of the social consciousness of the West which has long embraced the truth of love your neighbor as you love yourself, and long since rejected the evils of racism/fascism.

Anyone who questions the slogan, questions the propaganda, threatening the power of the propagandist and their ability to use the proton-pseudos to feed their own self-interest.

Ellul and Freud share a strong relevance to the current practice in psychology called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The practice of identifying the proton-pseudos, of replacing lies with truth.

They join with Paul of Tarsus in challenging us to discern between the lies we’re told, the lies we tell ourselves and the truth.

For the Christian, and those who heed Paul’s instruction, this will mean wholeheartedly owning the theological truth that ‘the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds; destroying arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, ESV)

Beware the auctioneers: outsmart the propagandists. Challenge the proton-pseudos both without and from within. Be a factivist, a liberator, one who see the lies for what they are and where they originate, and then replaces them with the truth.

As Paul teaches: ‘don’t be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind’ , not the emptying of it. (Romans 12:2)


References:

Ellul, J. 1965 Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Vintage Press (pp.87 & 152)

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

First published on Caldron Pool, 5th September, 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

Bill Shorten’s poorly aimed verbal sucker punch at Scott Morrison draws from the assumption that those who voted “yes” in the LNP’s gay marriage popularity survey are a bankable vote for Labor. This political maneuvere was a bad call. It betrays a deep overconfidence in the Labor political machine and underestimates the intellectual capacity of the discerning public.

Shorten’s goal was clear. Capitalize on the fearmongering and misrepresentations, which he and Pro-SSM advocates were so keen to employ, instead of engaging in rational, respectful debate.

As a servant of that public, he seems to forget that Labor had originally refused to support the survey, and only backed it after being dragged to the table by discerning voters. His alternative was to arbitrarily make Same-sex marriage law, without Australian voters having any opportunity to debate it.

What Shorten thought would give him the presumed “moral high ground” has made him look petty and desperate. His spiteful attempt to score political points was, as Dennis Shanahan put it, part of a “co-ordinated response  to exploit the Prime Minister’s religious beliefs; seeking to revive divisions of the same-sex marriage debate and bring “the millennials back to Labor.”[1]

Shorten’s “low blow” was a vicious attempt to push the Prime Minister down, in order for Bill Shorten to raise himself up. His not-so-subtle call to arms, in an attempt to stock the emotions of moderates who voted “yes”, fits the clinical description of agitprop (manipulative propaganda).

French philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul noted:

‘1. Agitation propaganda unleashes an explosive movement it operates inside a crisis or actually provokes the crisis itself.

2. it’s extremely easy to launch, because it’s based on hatred of a particular enemy.

3. Agitprop succeeds because it designates someone as the source of all misery.

4. Any statement whatever, no matter how stupid, any “tall tale” will be believed once it enters into the passionate current of hatred.

5. Agitprop uses key words of magical import, which are believed without question. [2]

Ambushing Scott Morrison with a loaded question only serves to prove the point. It also shows that Shorten’s verbal sucker punch was motivated by a malicious political attempt to launch a movement of hatred against the Prime Minister in the last week of an election, that Labor are confident they cannot lose.

Shorten’s unfair, on the spot demand that Scott Morrison answer whether he “believes that homosexuals go to hell or not” lead to Morrison’s “declaration” that, “no, he doesn’t believe that homosexuals go to hell”.

Rather than the Prime Minister’s response showing a compromise of his Christian faith, his response proved his strength as a leader. Morrison identified and neutralized a manipulative attempt to undermine the Australian people, and he refused to play political games by pitting the majority Christian community against the minority LGBT community. This was a hard call, but it was the right move.

In refusing to be baited by Bill Shorten, Scott Morrison didn’t dismiss Biblical Christianity, he dismissed Shorten’s slippery attempt to provoke division and hatred within the community through ignorance of Christian theology. In doing so, Morrison showed his political prowess and eligibility to continue to serve as Prime Minster.

Labor’s agitprop aside, theologically speaking there’s also a nuance in Morrison’s response.

Technically, Morrison is right to reject the oversimplistic notion that the sinners are indiscriminately thrown into hell by a tyrannical God. This is the myth Peter Fitzsimmons may believe, but it’s not the God testified to in the Bible, who actively and descively, speaks, and makes Himself known to humanity through His Covenant with Israel and Jesus Christ. Morrison is right to reject the illiterate assumption that unrepentant sinners are recklessly thrown into eternal separation from God. For the most part, the unrepentant sinner goes their willingly.

There is a distinction between sinner and sin; the person and the action. To be transformed into the image of sin, is to willingly engage in a rejection of the image of God.  Though sin is a pervasive reality, sin does not define us unless it becomes something we take pride in, or refuse to turn away from. The consequence being that we are conformed to its dark and corrupt image, rather than God’s, who is the source and fullness of life.

C.S. Lewis stated two things that illuminate this nuance. First, hell is the outer darkness[3], chosen self-annihilation. Secondly, hell is judgement:

‘To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter Hell is to be banished from humanity.[4]

Lewis also pointed out that:

“there are two kinds of people in the end. Those who say to God, “Thy will be done”, and those to whom God in the end says, “thy will be done. All that are in Hell choose it[5]…he has his wish – to live wholly for the self and to make the best of what he finds there. And what he finds there is Hell.[6]

As a side note, when comparing Israel Folau with Scott Morrion, it’s also important to recognize, that there’s a difference in their platforms.

One was an athlete posting on his personal social media account, the other is a sitting Prime Minister, who was ambushed by the media and the Labor opposition leader with a loaded question (logical fallacy).

I think far more than this event shining a light on Morrison (and on a level of consistency, it doesn’t look great), the event reveals a whole lot more about the hostility and preconceived bias, theological illiteracy and prejudice against Christians in the public arena from Labor, and parts of Australia’s MSM. That is what we should be focusing on, not the lack of theological depth in the Prime Minister’s quick reply.

As Shannahan said, ‘it was the only response available’, (The Australian, May 15th)

Hypocritically, Bill Shorten isolated a large section of the Australian Community, all while declaring that Australia “needed a Prime Minister for all people.”

Shorten’s dull and contemptible perception of the Australian public, and the discerning voter, is no match for the much sharper, and more relatable, Scott Morrison. Australian Labor’s co-ordinated attempt at agitprop, along with the division and hatred they tried to incite, not only alienates the 4.87 million (38.4%) who ticked “no” in the Same-Sex marriage popularity survey, it revealed that the opposition leader is willing to divide Australians for personal gain.

Shorten’s theologically illiterate polemic and his deliberate exploitation of Scott Morrison’s Christian faith, proves that Shorten is unfit to serve as the 31st Prime Minister of Australia. To the discerning voter, Christian or otherwise, this is another reason, in a list of reasons to think hard before voting Labor/Green in the upcoming election on Saturday.

As C.S. Lewis put it:

‘In all discussions of Hell we should keep steadily before our eyes the possible damnation, not of our enemies nor our friends, but of ourselves.’[7]


References:

[1] Shanahan, D. Shorten Stoops to new low on leader’s beliefs, The Australian, 15th May 2019

[2] Ellul, J. 1965. Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes Vintage Books Ed. (pp.72-74)

[3] Lewis, C.S. The Problem of Pain (p.130)

[4] Ibid

[5] Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce, (p.75)

[6] Lewis, C.S. The Problem of Pain, (p.126)

[7] Ibid, (p.132)

(Originally published at The Caldron Pool, Does Bill Shorten’s manipulative attack on Scott Morrison’s faith prove he’s unfit to be Prime Minister? 16th May 2019)

Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The tally of the Sri Lankan bombings on Resurrection Sunday now stands at 290 people with around 500 more wounded (many of that number include Sri Lankan Christians).

CNN reported that ‘two (now revealed to be 8) suicide bombers perpetrated the attacks hitting three churches and four luxury hotels.’  The Wall Street Journal noted official statements from the Sri Lankan government, who said that the attacks were perpetrated by an Islamist group known as National Thoweeth Jamath.

Apart from some formal condemnations from countries such as Indonesia, the Muslim world remains largely silent. While there are live updates from news organizations, including CNN, there’s no outrage about Islamism, or widespread sympathy from Muslims.

In addition, as was done to right-wing groups after the Mosque attack in New Zealand, there are no extensive editorials, and little to no panels filled by Leftist academics, sitting down to examine the issues and dangers pertaining to Islamism, and how the Islamic faith is interwoven with political ideology, or how events like the mass murder of Sri Lankans in church celebrating Easter, proves that the political dogma which permeates Islam is a tyrannical antitheses to Biblical Christianity (Judeo-Christianity), it’s progeny Classical Liberalism and Western Civilization[1].

With over 500 wounded and 290 dead, the outpouring of support, outrage and sympathy has been well short of that which was seen after a lone wolf, “eco-fascist”, attacked the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, killing 50 and wounding another 50.

One of the few examples of unprecedented support for Christians, came from Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament President, who hours after the Islamist terror attacks in Sri Lanka, issued a message of condolence, and solidarity. Tajani stated that the “attacks on Sri Lankan churches testify to a real genocide perpetrated against Christians.”

Tajani called a spade a spade, arguing for a renewal of the pursuit for religious freedom. Part of this was an implied condemnation of violent attempts to eradicate Christians from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Tajani’s response is a direct contrast to the begrudging sympathy issued forth by leading Democrats in the United States. Democrats fell in line with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, falsely referring the victims of the Church attacks as “Easter worshippers”.

Certainly not every victim was a Christian, but this deliberate ambiguity is antagonistic, if not snarky, and manipulative. It’s how the Democratic Left does politics and it’s abhorrent.

Not calling a spade a spade, or politicking with half-truths is why the American Democrats are viewed with suspicion in the eyes of many voters. What voters see and observe, doesn’t match what their politicians are selling them.

That leading Democrats are still continuing to play around with words, and blur distinctions, in order to suit their own narrative, shows that these leading Democrats have learnt nothing from Hillary Clinton’s bitter election loss in 2016.

Calling the Christian victims “Easter worshippers” doesn’t just insult the victims of the Islamist attack on three Sri Lankan churches, it rubs salt into a wound felt by Christians all around the world.

Adding insult to injury, some Leftists and at least one Australian Union mocked Scott Morrison, Australia’s Christian Prime Minister, after video emerged of him attending Church. Inferring that Christians were “Nazi worshippers”. Twitter users falsely equated Christians raising their hands in a sign of surrender and openness to God (and as such an act of humility and worship), with the Hitler salute.

One Twitter user referencing an article in The Age stated: “[A] nazi salute. Have a look at the photo – only two men doing it so it can’t be a religious thing.”

Another: “The only difference to this and a Nazi rally from the 30s are the players and the date… except Murdoch is Hitler and Morrison is Goebbels!”

Then another asserted that: “Scott Morrison is not a Christian.”By their works ye shall know them”. Looks like a Nazi salute to me.”

While all of these users were anonymous, that fact doesn’t delegitimize the severity of the act, the accusation, and the negative pattern of behavior attached to it.

Turning Christians into “Easter worshippers” and Christians worshipping in Church, into “Nazi worshippers”, shows the contrast between reactions to N.Z and Sri Lanka.

It’s another example of how the narrative surrounding “white guilt” is built up to force Westerners to remain silent, where there should be outrage, critique and criticism.

The West is told that Islamophobia is racism. Any challenge to Islamic ideology is to be punished. All moral opposition to Islamism is treated as treason. (It’s now much the same with critiques of homosexuality).

For fear of being accused of white supremacism, many in the West become unable to see how terms like Islamophobia are used to slowly bring the World into submission to what could be rightfully be called Islamist supremacism.

For example, British Philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton lost his U.K Government role as Housing Adviser, after criticizing George Soros and asserting that

“Islamophobia was an attempt to control conversation by making any and all criticism of Islam or Muslims a social pathology. (The same is true with all these absurd, politicized -phobias.)”[2]

There have also been calls for Scruton’s knighthood to be revoked.

As Scruton and Muslim writer, Ismail Royer point out.

“[In the minds of the Muslim Brotherhood it’s] impossible for anyone to write critically about Islam, or the deeds of Muslims, in good faith. The only acceptable angle was flattery” (Scruton)
“The Scruton affair illustrates a mindset afflicting many modern Muslims. As @ScholarsInk points out, this is a man who has engaged in substantive dialogue with Islamic scholars. It’s a problem that many Muslims find anything other than flattery to be absolutely intolerable.” (Royer)

Through the Left’s sycophantic political correctness imposed on Western societies, far too many are having their hands tied and mouths gagged, by falsehoods and lies such as the myth that Islam is an oppressed “race”, and that “all white people are racist.”

Add “Easter worshippers” and “Nazi worshippers” to these falsehoods and you’d have to be blind not to see the negative pattern of behavior and the agenda behind it.

Persecution of Christians isn’t subsiding. Terror Attacks on Christians and churches in Nigeria, the Philippines, Syria, Iran, China, India, Egypt and France, are now common place. Every year another country is added to the list.

Although different and a lot less blatant in The West, intolerance and discrimination against Christians is surfacing, e.g.: Roger Scruton, Israel Folau, Margaret Court.

Just as physical attacks on Churches are coordinated and deliberate, so are the intellectual and verbal assaults against Westerners and Christians in general.

There is an obvious discrepancy between the response to Christians after the Sri Lankan Church bombings and the global embrace that was afforded to Muslims, not just in New Zealand, but around the world.

One such example is when leading American Democrats deliberately refuse to call the victims of the church bombings Christians, and instead refer to them as “Easter Worshippers”; an insult that dehumanizes Christians and waters down the threat. This was exhibited by vile diatribes from Leftists, who also inferred that Christians were “Nazi worshippers”.

There is, however, hope. There are those like Tajani (in this case anyway), Scruton, and Royer who see the gathering storm, and instead of cowering in appeasement before it, choose to do everything in their power to respond to it, by educating people in the truth about Islam’s violent historical path and the deceptive nature that hides the destructive all-consuming agenda of Islamists.

If the Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election, Brexit, Lexit, Blexit, #walkaway, Yellow Jackets, Fraser Anning and the list goes on, say anything, it’s that the age of manipulating the truth, of not calling a spade a spade, of sugar coating, and softening truth to fit into people’s lives in order to win votes, instead of speaking truthfully and allowing the truth to correct people’s lives, is nearing an end.

Therefore the work of the church today is to understand and posit an effective resistance within the context of this new and universal Church struggle, not be defined by it. Resisting the storm comes by standing on the truth. The church speaking God’s agenda for the culture, instead of submitting to any culture that seeks to make itself a god and determine the agenda of the Church. Therefore, ‘[our] reaction should be one of a spiritual and psychological nature, and on a scholarly level.’ (Jacques Ellul, 2015)[3]

For Christians, even those who stand before direct hostility, and who face the possibility of annihilation[4], this means continuing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not the spirit of the age.

It’s by this Light that Christians can ‘stand and proceed even when they and their neighbours expect to see themselves fall into the abyss. It’s by this Light that Christians can be courageous and patient and cheerful even where not just appearances, but the massive whole of reality forbids them to be so.’[5]

This means following Jesus Christ, the One who despite the world’s violent opposition, and despite falsehood from without and within, guides us by God’s grace, through God’s providence, and fatherly good will, into all Truth (John 14:6, ESV).


References:

[1] See Roger Scruton’s ‘The West & all the Rest’ 2002; and Jacques Ellul’s, ‘Islam & Judeo-Christianity: a Critique of their Commonality’, 2015.

[2] Rod Dreher, The ‘Islamophobia’ Smear Against Scruton April 12th 2019, The American Conservative

[3] Islam & Judeo-Christianity: A Critique of Their Commonality (p.67)

[4] Such as the Egyptians Coptic Christians and Assyrian Christians in Northern Iraq and Southern Turkey; for more see the excellent Documentary ‘The Last Christians’.

[5] Barth, K., Bromiley, G. W., & Torrance, T. F. (2004). Church dogmatics: The doctrine of creation, Part 3 (3rd ed., Vol. 3, p. 250). London; New York: T&T Clark.

(Originally posted on Caldron Pool, 23rd April 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019