Archives For Anti-intellectualism

In her[1] last round of public appearances, Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) blamed America for the suffering of Venezuelans, and managed to alienate the majority of Americans with the provocative statement, “this is not going to be the country of the xenophobics. This is not going to be the country of white people.”

As Omar failed to clarify who she meant by the term “white people”, one can only presume that Omar was either loosely referring to those of Caucasian ethnicity, or more broadly, anyone who supports President Donald Trump. Since those on the far-Left consider anyone not living within the Leftist head-space of modern liberalism, or anyone not in orbit around planet Marx, as being far-right, it’s plausible to think that Omar meant the latter.

Omar’s comments were made during a rally hosted by the Movement for Black Lives[2]. The event was hosted in support of Omar, who they allege was “misrepresented”, after she reduced the Islamist attacks on the United States in September 11, 2001 to simply being, “some people did something”. For context, The Movement for Black Lives by all appearances, are a Black Nationalist organization. Part of their platform includes the demand for reparations for slavery and self-determination for Black people. Omar is also one of America’s first Muslim senators and has been consistently antagonistic towards the Trump administration, and anyone seen to be not in agreement with her political ideology.

Omar’s xenophobic[3] remarks about fighting xenophobia in America are paradoxical. There’s a sharp irony exposed by the fact that her comments against “white” Americans were made from a “Black” Nationalist platform, and she is supported by a “Black” Ethno-Nationalist political movement.

The rookie Democrat also managed to show her lack of experience when on a panel discussing the crisis and suffering of the Venezuelan people, Omar blamed the United States for contributing heavily to the suffering, because of sanctions imposed on the socialist totalitarian regime in Venezuela[4], stating:

“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela, and we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today, this particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”[5]

Omar doesn’t understand how, just sanctions, work from a diplomatic level. Just sanctions are equal to boundaries designed to redefine relationships in order to encourage positive change by correcting abuse, with the hope creating a healthier relationship between two people.  Just like exercise and medical intervention. Boundaries may hurt for a bit, but the ultimate goal is to encourage health and healing.

Socialism and Venezuela’s Marxist politicians have failed the Venezuelan people, not America or Capitalism.

The same gradual decline happened in Guinea after its independence from France in 1958. According to Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, ‘I was able to observe how much Guinea was suffering under a dictatorial regime that offered it no hope. Lies and violence were the favorite weapons of a system that was based on a destructive Marxist ideology. The economy of the country had collapsed, and the inhabitants of the villages experienced extreme poverty.’ (God or Nothing, 2015)

Omar’s racially charged statements made from a “black” ethno-nationalist platform follow a series of divisive remarks, and movements, designed to mythologize oppression and take control over what it means to be oppressed.

This Leftist dogma has even penetrated the Church. Writing for Stream.org, Mike Adams made an astute analysis of “Wokeness” and the division it promotes. Adams critiqued Ps. Eric Mason, an urban preacher and author for his incoherent advocacy of what Mason calls the “Woke” Church.

“Is it fair to blame white Christians for the sins of earlier generations? Today, it’s hard to find conservative Christian anywhere expressing support for segregation. But the same leftist policies that decimated the black family are still in place. Mason boasts about his “woke-ness.” But he writes as if he has been asleep for fifty years.
Mason’s resentment toward white conservative Christians today over the omissions of other Christians yesterday is made worse by his own apparent racial prejudice. Consider this statement: “I fear that if we partner with whites that they will find a way to subjugate blacks and make us dependent on them in a way that kills our freedom of a truly black institution […] He expresses resentment over white conservative Christian apathy toward segregation in the past, then rationalizes and defends black self-segregation today. It is hard to grasp why Mason is angry and what his goals are — aside from eliciting white guilt. ”[6]

Outside Ps. Eric Mason’s “Woke Church”, his other books are down to earth, straight-up biblical. I like Mason and have followed him closely on Social Media. I lament that he’s followed Leftism down the Woke road, and strayed from the balanced, solid theological teaching, for what seems to me to be a quest to appear relevant for of fear of missing out. Whether my own brief assessment is accurate or not, Mason’s advocacy of “wokeness” seems to me to be too close to the dissonance of the irrational and volatile anti-Trump movement, as exemplified this week by Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Speaking as a Pentecostal, who has experienced, and witnessed the disastrous consequences of how bad theology can permeate through a congregation, and divide a denomination, the “Woke Church” movement should be treated with as much caution and Biblical theological critique, as the Charismatic “Toronto Blessing” movement was. Theology should be a critique of ideology, not a slave to it – God’s Word confronting and correcting mans’. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Adams is right to ask Mason to properly define what his real concerns are, and how we can all work towards addressing them. The same principle applies to Rep. Ilhan Omar. Provide more evidence; give a reasoned argument, not just divisive rhetoric that ignores 50 years of progress built on the faith and fairness of Civil Rights advocates such as the mighty Dr. John Perkins, and the unforgettable, Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr.

The irony of Omar’s words, along with her own xenophobia about Caucasian people, and Mason’s incoherent activism prompts the question:

Why are some American Democrats so fixated on the colour of your skin, sex & gender? Who benefits from this?

This doesn’t feed the poor. This doesn’t raise people beyond their inherited circumstances. This doesn’t provide the homeless with the ability to find shelter for themselves. This doesn’t comfort the wounded or heal the broken. This doesn’t encourage families by empowering them through employment and education.

Those Democrats and their fixation on skin colour, sex & gender achieve none of these things. What it does do is divide, provoke and antagonize. What it does do is incite fear, violence and suspicion; doing exactly what they’re constantly accusing the American President of doing.

Whether Omar and Mason are woke to it or not, they are making themselves complicit with the Leftist narrative. “Nazi” no longer works, so they’ve gone full “only those on the right are racists; white supremacists/anti-Semites.”

This is a politics of evasion. It’s very subtle, very dangerous, but also very clever. All of it done so as to paint the far-left as holy warriors, pure, sinless, freedom fighters; Jihadists fighting a spiritual enemy in the physical realm. If this trend is not stopped by discerning citizens of the West, the political tactic described above may win the Left approval for militant action under all who are not ideologically aligned with them, under the guise of “just war theory.”

In responding to his recent Facebook and Instagram ban, Paul Joseph Watson correctly noted: “This looks like the end […] They’re now removing people’s ability to have bank accounts and credit card because they have the wrong opinions they’re literally trying to remove your right to buy and sell this is biblical no right to commerce unless you have the mark; and what is the mark? Total intellectual castration and obedience.”[7]

Herein lies the problem with Social Justice Warriors, they’re not fighting for equality of outcomes, or the betterment of their neighbors, they’re fighting for equality with God. This puts them on the same level as Judas Iscariot, not Jesus Christ.

Both Omar and Mason are essentially tilting at windmills, ignoring 50 years of change, dialogue and reform. Instead, they’ve taken the road of blame, prejudice and perpetual victim hood.

In fighting what they think is the dragon; they’ve failed to get woke to Nietzsche’s warning, “Be careful, lest in fighting the dragon you become the dragon.”(Paraphrased)[8]


References:

[1] Disclaimer: I’m assuming Omar identifies as a woman based on the fact that Omar refers to herself as a woman on Twitter and being part of the “sisterhood”.

[2] Democracy Now! Hands Off Ilhan Omar, sourced 3rd May, 2019

[3] In this case Omar’s comments fit within what is a fear of white-people.

[4] Democracy Now! Omar Speak out Against Sanctions & Bipartisan Support sourced 3rd May, 2019

[5] Caroline Kelly, ‘Omar partially blame US… CNN.com sourced, 3rd May 2019

[6] Mike Adams, The Woke Church is More Informed by Leftist Cliches than Gospel Truth, Stream.org. Sourced, 4th May 2019

[7] Paul Joseph Watson, PJW: Banned by Facebook & Instagram Summit.news. Sourced, 4th May 2019

[8] Beyond Good & Evil. #146 Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (p.69)

(Originally published at the Caldron Pool under the same title, 6th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

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)

 

johnabigailPart of the beauty of the ‘Letters of John and Abigail Adams’ is that every sentence suggests careful consideration.

There are sentences for example, where John cautions Abigail against openly sharing his letters for fear of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. They reveal a husband and wife, both loving parents who are also very much the exemplary, one for the other, each for God.

‘Their mutual respect and adoration served as evidence that even in an age when women were unable to vote, there were nonetheless marriages in which wives and husbands were true intellectual and emotional equals.’ (History.com)

I picked this book up out of curiosity about its historical and theological significance. As I continue to casually read through them, I am more and more convinced about the gravity of their contents, context and the important message they carry to the world, not just Americans.

Part of a letter written to John in May, 1775, from Abigail, further clarifies my point :

‘The Lord will not cast off his people; neither will He forsake his inheritance. Great events are most certainly in the womb of futurity; and, if the present chastisements which we experience have a proper influence upon our conduct, the event will certainly be in our favour’[i].

The Adams family epistles have contemporary relevance. The most pertinent of which is that they challenge Christians to steer clear of anti-intellectualism. They encourage Christians to engage; to understand current events in light of the biblical texts, and move away from disengaging in informed debate, dismissing it as uninteresting, convoluted and/or unnecessary.

Here are a people on the cusp of necessary conflict; a people not yet prepared for what they hope to avoid; a people who understand the danger of the mob; a people who acknowledge that they bear the burden of responsibilityand are God’s participants in necessary decisions that will require courage, faith, hope, prudence, calm justice and fierce mercy.

The same people who, under God, will stare down the supposed divine right of a king, and challenge his exercise of freedom without restraint.

The same people who will instead assert that under God all are created equal, and that authentic freedom can only come with the caveat of authentic responsibility.

One example is that both John and Abigail looked unfavourably on slavery, made clear by Abigail’s rebuke: ‘I wish most sincerely there was not a slave in the province. It always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me— to fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have. You know my mind upon this subject.[ii]

Both husband and wife lived out their faith – not in a cloister, reserved pew or in pious appearances.

A constant in the letters are references to biblical texts. Used comfortably, they form an important part of the extraordinary exchange. It might not be so wrong to suggest that these letters read like small sermons, shared between a loving, overburdened husband, and his equally loving and overburdened bride.

Unfortunately, the letters are not without theological issues.

Gaps exist. Such as Abigail’s allusion to a form, of what Shirley Guthrie called, the ‘common heresy’ of Pelagianism (Christian Doctrine, 1994:127) – an ancient misinterpretation of God’s salvation, grace and the role of the responsive sinner.

‘God helps them that help themselves, as King Richard says; and if we can obtain the Divine aid by our own virtue, fortitude, and perseverance, we may be sure of relief.[iii]

In addition, I’m uncertain as to whether or not the countless references to ‘Providence’ are in fact veiled 18th Century Congregationalist references to the Holy Spirit. The context implies they are.

‘I pray for you all, and hope to be prayed for. Certainly there is a Providence; certainly we must depend upon Providence, or we fail; certainly the sincere prayers of good men avail much. But resignation is our duty in all events.[iv]

Nevertheless, reformed theology appears to dominate the politics, parenting philosophy, orthodoxy and sociology. Prayer and references to God’s care, wisdom, provision and guidance are ever-present.

This is not something that is the result of a cultural Christian appendage. To begin with Abigail Adams is openly critical of appearance only faith.

‘General John Burgoyne practices deceit on God himself, by assuming the appearance of great attention to religious worship, when every action of his life is totally abhorrent to all ideas of true religion, virtue, or common honesty.[v]

John affirms this in a similar way stating that:

 ‘The man who violates [destroys] private faith, cancels solemn obligations, whom neither honor nor conscience holds, shall never be knowingly trusted by me. Had I known, when I first voted for a Director of a Hospital, what I heard afterwards, when I was down, I would not have voted as I did. Open, barefaced immorality ought not to be so countenanced.[vi]

The Adams family epistles are unique in that they present an organic living relationship between husband and wife, grounded in God’s freedom. What has caught me by surprise is that God is not reduced to second place. Alongside great concerns, God is still in the forefront of their thoughts, and as a result a good deal of theology permeates the wisdom that informs their actions, wit and dialogue .

One thing grasps me as I read through these letters. That is the relevance they hand out to a contemporary audience still concerned with the matters of God, love, liberty and the caveat of responsibility.

Braintree, 19 August, 1774:

Did ever any kingdom or state regain its liberty, when once it was invaded, without bloodshed? I cannot think of it without horror.
Yet we are told that all the misfortunes of Sparta were occasioned by their too great solicitude for present tranquillity, and, from an excessive love of peace, they neglected the means of making it sure and lasting.[vii]
– Abigail Adams.

History forgotten is history repeated.


References: (Not otherwise linked)

[i] Adams, J & Adams, A. 2012. The Letters of John and Abigail Adams (Kindle Ed). Start Publishing LLC, 7th May , 1775

[ii] Ibid, 24th September , 1774

[iii] Ibid, 16th September , 1775 & John Adam’s agrees with this. See letter 62. 1st October, 1775

[iv] Ibid, John Adams, 8th May , 1775

[v] Ibid, Letter 55. 25th July, 1775

[vi] Ibid, Letter 72. 23rd October, 1775

[vii] Ibid, Letter 13. 19th August, 1774

Image: Abigail and John Adams (Source)