Archives For Political Theology

“The Titanic is unsinkable. Therefore we don’t need the extra lifeboats.We’ll get there faster without them.”

“But…”

“Oh. Shut up will you. You have a hidden bias. You’re bigoted and intolerant; a complete fool who doesn’t believe in ‘progress’.”

Karl Barth:
.
“There is a lie to be seen in the contrast between all the fuss and bother [the luxuries & arrogance] on board this ship and the helpless way in which it then had to submit to a very elementary force of nature.
 .
The catastrophe brought this lie to light. God will not be mocked. He certainly intends us to work and to achieve something in the world. But He does not intend us to act as though we were done with working, and could now go fooling around.
 .
…If we have to say of the Titanic and its 1500 victims today…the blame for this lies with humanity.”
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(On The Sinking of The Titanic, 21st April 1912)

Related reading:

A Slow Turn To Starboard

Let The Pharaohs of Our Age Also Learn: Pride Comes Before a Fall

XYZ’s David Hiscox recently posted about the XYZ team’s growing affection for the term ‘Unintentionally Hilarious’.

David then went on to define this as:

“When someone on the left is so blind to their own bias that they fail to realise that their argument exposes this bias, and reinforces a narrative counter to that of the left. One might even call this “unconscious bias”

I decided to take up his invitation and compile a list of examples characteristic of this ludicrous phenomenon, its dissonance and general drag on democracy:

1. Hate Trump, loves trumps hate

(Hmm. But Love is love right? Can’t someone love Trump? Hashtag: justsayin’)

2. “No borders!! The Right are xenophobic racist bigots. You’re not an American, stay out of American politics”

(This strange anti-Trump hypocrisy was exhibited when an Indian friend of mine came under attack for posting a pro-American, pro-Christian article in a Facebook academic discussion group, largely dominated by American liberal-protestants [theological leftist progressives]. I defended him and the wolf pack turned on me. Doing their best to pin bigot, racist, ignorant etc. on me.  Right up to throwing my contributions to the SSM debate here in Australia, in my face, by falsely accusing me of living off “bashing gays on the internet”. In a move I protested, sometime later, an admin made the unfortunate decision to delete the post. Thereby, giving vindication to their abuse and insults, which aimed at shutting down those who disagreed with them.)

3. “You’re a Nazi; anyone my political group says is or looks like a Nazi, is a Nazi, so find a Nazi and punch one…”

(But, in dehumanizing people you don’t agree with or dislike, or think you are superior to, via reckless labels, simplistic slogans and misguided hate, aren’t you doing what the Nazis actually did?)

4. “You’re a fascist scumbag. You disagree with me; I’m calling that hate speech and silencing you.”

(This one is self-evident, so no comment necessary)

5. You’re white and therefore racist. It’s in your DNA

 (Hmm. Isn’t the very definition of racism, unjustly judging someone by the colour of their skin?)

6.Capitalism is evil, white pride is not the same as other kinds of pride – it’s an evil kind, therefore it’s okay for other people to love and take pride their country, culture, skin colour and faith, but not you. “

(Huh…okay. But, you just tweeted support for #LOVEisLOVE, #pride, on the latest smartphone, shared it to Facebook while drinking a $7 decaf, latte, reading the free press before going shopping without fear of harassment by government sanctioned moral police or the government itself?)

7. Then there was the time when academics united to protest the outlawing, and removal, of Soviet & Nazi symbols in the Ukraine because it contradicts the right to freedom of speech” 

(This was the very same year the Dukes of Hazard  reruns were axed because the iconic ’69 Dodge charger was considered to be a symbol of racism.)

Although, I understand the XYZ affection for the phrase “Unintentionally Hilarious”,  not all of these are all that humorous. They’re outright dangerous.

Consider the issue of recklessly labelling someone a Nazi.  If you can pin someone down to being something as evil as a Nazi, you can justify hurting them, or worse.

The dark and twisted irony of this? The word Nazi is utilised in the way the word Jew was, by the Nazis.

This goes beyond the rhetoric of Godwin’s Law. In any debate, calling your opponent a Nazi without reasoned qualification, dehumanises your opponent. Turning that opponent, without justification, into an inhuman enemy.

The danger should be clear enough. From a psychological point of view this rampant ad hominem is recognised as emotional manipulation. 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.

Link both the reckless labelling 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 all those determined by the Left as having “life unworthy of life”.

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

Thankfully, I think most independent free thinkers are able to see these dangers. This, however, lasts, for as long as they are allowed to remain independent free thinkers.

Something brilliantly exemplified by the lengthy discussion hosted by Joe Rogan, between Professor of psychology, Jordan B Peterson and Jewish Evolutionary Biologist, Bret Weinstein. The latter is the subject of an ongoing dispute. He was suspended after being falsely accused of being a racist. His crime? Trying to stop Evergreen College from forcing all white people to take a day of absence, as part of an annual ritual held by the college.

I hold to the view that all of this ‘unintentional humour’ is rooted in pride. The power handed to the Left has made most of them drunk; so much so that their logic and reasoning has become incoherent and absurd.

I also believe that anything with pride in it needs serious critique. As I’ve stated in some of my work shared with XYZ, pride is the enemy of grace and will always be so.

Pride repels self-restraint, honest, free critique and authentic humility. It stops us from thinking clearly. Numbs us to the pain of others and dangerously over-inflates a healthy sense of ego.

This is as much a reality for the Right as it is for the Left.

Even XYZ is not exempt. Sure enough, it’s a fresh voice in a land of fake smiles, lies, high-fives and ignorant compliance. If it is to be taken seriously,  however, XYZ’s authors have to apply this very same self-restraint, honest, free critique and authentic humility. Attributes that are lacking in much of society today.

One example of this is in how far XYZ carry, and how well they define, what some call “pro-white nationalism”.

They need to counter the gross historical baggage of “pro-white national socialism”, countering it with a carefully communicated definition of what XYZ authors mean when they talk about ‘’pro-white nationalism”.

This isn’t an attack on XYZ’s authors. It’s an honest example of where, how and why, the Right need to be smarter, more aware, more gracious and more humble. Self reflection is a good thing.

Since the Left give us permission to do so, if a group of people calling other people Nazis, are doing exactly what Nazis did, shouldn’t those being called Nazis, have the right to punch a Nazi?

The answer is a tentative “no”. Those who stand opposed must do better than employ the same tactics used against them. Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Thatcher didn’t bring about an end to the Cold War by feeding the status quo.

If the excesses of the Left are to be responsibly countered; or if any attempt at stopping the worst that Leftist ideologies want to impose on the West is to succeed, then those countering it, will need to trust not in their own wisdom or strength, but in God’s.

Reason will win battles only if it is governed by humility. That humility starts with the recognition that we are not God. It recognises, even if it has to strain itself to do so, that God is God and we are not. Faith seeks understanding and to follow this, in our day and age, is to follow the road of cultural resistance. We have, because God gives. Out of this we in turn live and move and have our being.

Pride is not confidence, it’s an overbearing self-reliance that arrogantly trusts in flawed human structures. It ‘is a universal human problem and everyone suffers from it to some degree.‘ Pride leads us to obsess over power, and drags us into unjust conflict.

False humility is pride. False solidarity is self-seeking. It is an enemy of grace.

And it is the Achilles heel of the Left.

Solomon’s wisdom that echos down through the ages, both encourages and warns us:

‘Pride goes before destruction and an arrogant, haughty spirit comes before a fall.’
(Proverbs 16:18)

 

Here’s an important Heritage foundation panel discussion held in the United States a couple of days ago. The panel contributors include Ryan Bomberger who I have a growing admiration for, because his work through the Radiance Foundation.

The group discusses how anti-discrimination laws are being used as a sword, rather than a shield to impose an ideology and punish those who stand opposed to it.

The panel also addresses the false equivalency that is made between the abhorrent Jim Crow laws, and someone declining to serve/make/create based on a conscientious objection to gay marriage.

I’m in agreement with them.

I especially liked the reasons for a defence of traditional marriage, and the response to government involvement given by Heritage Foundation’s William E. Simon senior research fellow, Ryan T. Anderson, at the close of the discussion [see 46:25 – 47:18].

“Man-made law should recognise the natural law, which looks to human nature and what marriage is. That marriage is based on three secular truths.
First, anthropological truth, that man and woman are distinct and complimentary. Second, the biological fact that reproduction requires a man and a woman; and finally a social reality that children deserve a mum and a dad.
You put those three pieces together and you going to have a basic understanding of what marriage is and our man-made laws should reflect that.
Apart from that it’s not clear to me why the government is consenting ratification of romance business. Once we get away from the man-woman, husband and wife, mother/father understanding of what marriage is, I don’t see what role the state has in regulating consenting adults sexual or romantic relationships.”

In September, I contributed four articles to the Same-sex marriage debate in Australia. All graciously republished by the up and coming conservative/libertarian platform for free speech, edgy, online news magazine XYZ.net.au

1. Nein: Why I will be voting “No” To Same-Sex Marriage 

2. Still Nein: A Response To Janet Albrecthsen’s Libertarian Conservative “Yes” To SSM

3. Biology Is Not a Social Construct: Why “p” Cannot Equal “q” Without Perpetual Revolution

4. A “No” To SSM, is a “Yes” to Freedom, Not a Denial of it

It’s okay to vote “no”.

Sir Thomas Sowell?

October 5, 2017 — Leave a comment

If Thomas Sowell were British, I’d say, “Knight the man!”

Then raise a glass in his honour.

Reason A.

Reason B.


References:

Sowell, T. 1994. Race & Culture

Positive advances in communications technology drive the functionality of information. Its delivery is like a viaduct.

Information is carried along at a fast pace. Which means that we find ourselves living in an era of information deluge. Words, thoughts and opinions rain down on us from everywhere.

In this downpour, writers can be too easily tempted to reach for the fastest way to keep people reading their work.However, putting something together that’s worth a reader’s time, takes time.

In this environment, writing can be hard. Gimmicks and stunts; shock and awe, are all potential roads writers can go down.Simply because time poor people need fast facts, fast entertainment and fast news.

Selling drama buys sympathy, or in this day and age, at least a like, share or a twenty-four hour hashtag trend, triggered by a bubbly questionable logic that says, “like, wow! hashtag riots really do make a difference.”

It’s safe to say that we now live in a tabloid age. Words are thrown like darts at constructed targets of opportunity. For instance, people comment in ways they never would if the conversation they were part of was held face to face in a physical public forum. We would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have that one “friend” on social media, who always seems to take their own level of intelligence more seriously than others.

Think of the beauty and vibrancy of the democratic process presently underway in Australia. The same-sex marriage debate is misrepresented as a circus; a waste of money and time. Partly because, no doubt, some of it is.

As a result of this debate, however, we are shown the vibrancy of the Australian democratic process. It mustn’t be overlooked. Even if the beauty of it is pushed to the sidelines. For sure, the system is in need of some reform. But guess what? Review and reforms are part of adult life. They’re also a chief reason for why democracies still exist.

For the most part, the gratitude that should stem from an awareness of what we still have, is subsumed by a deep anxiety about what we’re told the other side wants to take from us.

As a consequence, thankfulness for having such responsible freedoms and a responsibility to uphold those responsible freedoms, becomes pretty much non-existent. Apathy and abdication from the democratic process soon follows.

The danger of this is self-evident: If the people aren’t interested in Governments, Governments will govern outside the interests of the people.

Like writing, good democracy takes time and effort. Participation in a physical public forum requires planning. It involves preparing beforehand what you are going to ask, say or discuss. Unlike the ersatz community of the virtual realm, decorum and respect, in the presence of others trumps the temptation to make off the cuff comments. These comments online are designed to impress and deceive. They perform a duty, not to the community involved in that forum, but to the ego of the person commenting.

Commenting online is easy. But, words in this environment tend to have no real benefit, outside serving the owner’s ego and those who applaud him. Such as his followers or friends who rejoice upon seeing a target hit by a cheap shot.

As a result, words are reduced to noise. This noise is amplified by the commerce of Social Media and the superficial, transactional relationships upheld by it.  Vanity metrics rules the debate, not a fair and democratic exchange. Which is why the mechanic [for the sake of the bottom line] is programmed to sell an idea of community as if it’s the real thing.

‘Sad it is, when men [& women] stupefy their understandings with strong doses of their private [self] Interest, as to become insensible of the Public’s.’ [i]

This is something foreseen in the lamentations of Jean Bethke Elshtain[ii], who, not without her critics, acknowledged in 1995 and later, in 2012, that the trajectory of technology, empowers mobs via technology, to hinder participation in the democratic process.

For Elshtain, the inevitable outcome is the decline of democratic debate. The hindering of authentic participation is the hindering of democracy. Of which there now exists numerous examples, such as the defamation of “no” voters.

As Elshtain noted,

‘we often hear more about the folly of the right, than we do of the left.’[iii]

Cynicism abounds. Responsible commentary is paralysed by the attraction of sensationalism.

Under the dark smile of Machiavellian logic, certain elements, through a facade of compassion seek dominance, if not total rule. Fear of offending others is utilised by the few to control the many.

We can begin to fix this by seeing that our reliance on technology cannot replace the need for careful comment and face to face interaction.

Being physically present and visible in the democratic forum upholds the democratic forum.  It is the rock of genuine relationship. All of which requires communication – the respect for representation, convention, conversation, and planning; elements that not only contribute to the idea of democracy, but are part of the very fabric of real democracy.

Democracy takes time. It means wading through the hard stuff. Asking the difficult questions and then allowing room for those questions to be answered.  If the way forward for democracy is to be taken seriously, it cannot begin with the mob, its unrestrained fury, facade of compassion, its hysteria or unruly anxiety. It begins with deep gratitude and a respect for the democratic process, which includes room for debate, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of association.

As an American friend said to me a few weeks ago:

 “Well, at least we still get to vote on something.”

References:

[i] Penn, W. 1644 – 1718, The Political Writings of William Penn, Liberty Fund, Inc.

[ii] Elshtain, J.B, 1995 Democracy on trial, (Amazon)

[iii] State of Democracy: Maxwell School of Syracuse University Lecture 2012 (Source)

See also, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s, 1978, Harvard Speech {Transcript available here: American Rhetoric}

Israelis Know…

September 20, 2017 — Leave a comment
‘The Israelis and the West are mortally threatened by the same enemies. [The difference between the two is that] Israelis know it. We don’t.’
(Colin Welch, cited by O’Sullivan, 2006) [i]

 

 


References:

[i] O’Sullivan, J. 2006. The President, The Pope & The Prime Minister: Three Who Changed The World Regnery Publishing

Full text of Trump’s speech can be found here (as a side note, the word “great” is only used 15 times): politico.com

The shape of things to come?:

‘Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) was constantly battling an [oppressive totalitarian] Polish government that was seeking to harass the Church and reduces its influence over the Catholic population of Poland.
[…] Priest were taxed excessively, and often followed and beaten up; students were denied admission to universities if their parents were churchgoers; permits for the building of churches were withheld when new towns developed;
the state abolished old religious holidays and invented ersatz national ones; and there was a constant ideological compaign of lies in the media designed to weaken religion and reduce it to an expression of patriotic nostaligia. Wojtyla  resisted all these pressures by evading them inventively as much as by challenging them boldly.’
(O’Sullivan, 2006. )[i]

Czech playwright, poet, President, and political dissident, Václav Havel:

“Anything that in any way opposed the vision of the world offered by Communism, thus calling that vision into question or actually proving it wrong, was mercilessly crushed. Needless to say, life, with its unfathomable diversity and unpredictability, never allowed itself to be squeezed into the crude Marxist cage.
All that the guardians of the cage could do was to suppress and destroy whatever they could not make fit into it. Ultimately, war had to be declared on life itself and its innermost essence.
[Having come from a country once ruled by Communism] I could give you thousands of concrete examples of how all the natural manifestations of life were stifled in the name of an abstract, theoretical vision of a better world. It was not just that there were what we call human rights abuses. This enforced vision led to the moral, political and economic devastation of all of society.”
(Havel, 2002) [ii]

 

What should our response look like?

Jesus:

“Be as wise as a serpent, & as gentle as doves” (Mt.10:16)

Martin:

“God is neither hardhearted nor soft minded. He is toughminded enough to transcend the world; he is tenderhearted enough to live in it. He does not leave us alone in our agonies and struggles. He seeks us in dark places and suffers with us and for us in our tragic prodigality.” (MLK, 1963) [iii]

Never give up.

Even when they try to kill you:

P.J.P II: assassination attempt, St. Peter’s Square, 1981.

Reagan: assassination attempt, 1981, Washington D.C.

Thatcher: assassination attempt, Brighton, 1984

‘[In the 1970’s] All three were @ or near the peak of their careers. All three were handicapped by being too sharp, clear, and definite in an age of increasingly fluid identities and sophisticated doubts. Put simply, Wojtyla was too Catholic, Thatcher too conservative, and Reagan too American.’
(O’Sullivan, 2006. ) [iv]

 


References:

[i] O’Sullivan, J. 2006. The President, The Pope & The Prime Minister: Three Who Changed The World Regnery Publishing, (p.14)

[ii] Havel, V. 2002 Preface to Karl Popper’s ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’, Routledge

[iii] King, M.L. 1963. Sermon: A Tough Mind & a Tender Heart; A Gift of Love, Beacon Press

[iv] O’Sullivan, ibid, 2006. (p.2)

Related reading:

Karl Barth, 1939: “Dear France,” Appeasement, Eschatological Defeatism & Resistance

Reagan’s Reminder: “The Martyrs of History Were Not Fools.”

The Confessing Church Is A Church of Martyrs: Church, Sleep No More!