Archives For Civil liberties

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

Egypt is being petitioned to release Coptic activist Ramy Kamel who was arrested in late November, 2019, by Egyptian security forces.

At the time, Middle East Monitor reported that Kamel’s arrest was part of the Egyptian government’s ‘crackdown on members of the opposition.’

MEM said that Kamel, a ‘founding member of Maspero’s Youth Union’ was arrested ‘without a warrant early in the morning by seven plain clothes police officers.’

The officers ‘confiscated his mobile phone, laptop and camera; and refused to allow him his asthma inhaler.’ (some reports included blood pressure medicine.)

Kamel was accused of ‘joining a terror group, receiving foreign funding and broadcasting false information.’ Then interrogated for over 10 hours.

It’s believed that Kamel’s arrest was related to his outspoken opposition to the widespread persecution, and systemic discrimination of Egyptian Christians.

Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic human rights and religious freedom advocate group, was ‘established after a church on the outskirts of Cairo was torched in October 2011’, when the Egyptian army, at the behest of the Muslim Brotherhood, killed 30 protestors.

This week, The Hill reported a ‘bipartisan push’ within Washington, petitioning Egyptian authorities to ‘take action’ and see that Kamel received a ‘fair trial, or dropped charges and an immediate release.’

According to The Hill, ‘Sens. Thom Tills (Republican) and Chris Coons (Democrat), co-chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, sent a letter to the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C.’ requesting,

“the Egyptian government, as a steadfast partner of the United States and supporter of religious liberty, to take action commensurate with the values professed in the Egyptian Constitution and compatible with American values regarding human rights. Mr. Kamel has been held under the unclear charges of defamation, funding a terrorist organization, and the misuse of social media. We urge the Egyptian government to honor Mr. Kamel’s right to a fair trial or to release him entirely of the charges held against him.” 

The Hill curiously noted that Kamel was arrested the same month he was to appear before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to ‘testify on minority issues’ such as the systemic persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt by Islamists.

In September, Caldron Pool posted an exposition called ‘Jihad of the Womb: The Rampant Islamist Abductions of Egyptian Coptic Christian Women’ where we unpacked the 2012 congressional hearing, and the 2020 Coptic Solidarity report on the ongoing persecution of 12 million Christians in Egypt.

This included a  long list of trafficking victims, damning testimonials of widespread corruption, of law enforcement turning a blind eye, a culture of shame, silence, and powerlessness which enables Islamist people traffickers to carry out abductions with almost 100% impunity.

It’s probable that Kamel is a victim of this corruption.

As recent authoritarian laws which squash freedom in favor of arbitrary LGBTQAAI+ rights in Victoria, prove, religious freedom isn’t solely a point of concern for Egyptians.  

Just as government regulated speech is not freedom of speech [i], faith regulated by the State, is not freedom of religion.

The questionable arrest, and year-long imprisonment of Kamel shows how easy it is for a person to be held without charge – without respect for due process – when governments, who are swept up in an ideological movement, enforce, protect and chain themselves to that ideology, by way of undefined buzzwords like “misusing social media”, “spreading hate”, “extremist” and “terrorist group.”

As many on the Left have chided lawmaking critics of Islam since 9/11, anti-terror laws can be used as a weapon of terror in, and of themselves.

It’s a shame that many on the Left refuse to apply their own criticisms to the downgrade of freedoms caused by the exaltation of arbitrary rights, or open their eyes to how relevant a case like Kamel’s is to the dangers inherent in the Left’s support for authoritarian, arbitrary laws here in the West.

#freeRamyKamel


References:

[i] Babones, S. 2018. The New Authoritarianism, Polity Press

First published on Caldron Pool, 4th December, 2020.

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

At a recent meet and greet with Democrat Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, Kenosha resident, Porsche Bennett, refused to read from a script, opting instead to speak what was on her heart.

Bennett told Biden and others present at the Kenosha, Grace Lutheran Church, “I’m just going to be honest, Mr. Biden. I was told to go off this paper, but I can’t.”

Her five-minute testimonial, published by C-SPAN, voiced the need for people to recognize the difference between “peaceful protests” and “violent rioters”.

Bennett addressing Biden, called for less words, more action.

Speaking to the Leftist riots which hurt the black community in Kenosha, she upheld the important distinction between protesting injustice, and unjust mayhem.

“We are heavily angry. There is a difference between a protester and a rioter. Blacks are tired of what’s going on. We came together to help get this community together.”

Her repeated calls for “action”, inadvertently condemn decades long weak Democrat governance, and keep-the-status-quo career politician Republicans. Such as failing – dead horse – programs and poor government policies, in Democrat cities and states where (controversially named) black-on-black crime is high (see Chicago and Detroit).

As Bennett said,

“We have heard so many people say, we will give you this and we will give you that. We have yet to see action.”

She noted the high presence of law enforcement in black communities, but failed to make any connection between police force presence and higher crime rates, asking,

“Why are there more police officers in black neighborhoods? Why are we more targeted than anyone else? We want action. We want to be treated just like everyone else. This didn’t start with Jacob [Blake].”

Bennett then hit out a point which, in context, lands squarely at the feet of Democrats, and the bureaucratic caste, declaring:

“For so many decades we have been shown we don’t matter.”

Racism was the implied cause, but not specifically mentioned.

Bennett’s decision not to read, verbatim, a list of demands written for her by ‘Black Lives Activists Kenosha’, appears to have been a refusal to blame her community’s problems solely on the us vs. them, white against black, ethnic division, and obsession with melanin, which fuels the momentum of the Marxist BLM party-line.

The takeaway message from Porsche is that discrimination remains a primary concern for the black community. Her refusal to read out BLAK’s list of demands also acknowledges that injustice crosses ethnic lines, and melanin – abuse of power by authorities is a community problem. (Even though some are more impacted by this than others.)

As the issue of corrupt law enforcement officers abusing their powers show.

During his visit, Biden talked up education, social development, and local issues. He followed Donald Trump’s lead in visiting the 100k strong small city that was trammeled by radical leftwing riots, in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The riots were triggered by online footage of an attempt by police to carry out an arrest warrant on Jacob Blake that went horribly wrong. Blake, who was carrying a knife at the time, was shot multiple times from behind after he resisted arrest, and repeatedly refused requests to stand down. Police administered first aid, and Blake survived the incident, but suffered serious injuries.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel essentially described the key difference between Trump and Biden’s visits to Kenosha was the focus on law and order. ‘Law enforcement was a central presence and theme of Trump’s visit, but not Biden’s.’

Porsche Bennett’s free speech address to a leading Democrat, is a stand against special treatment, as much as it is a stand against treating a community group unfairly because of their shade of melanin.

It’s an indictment on poor governance, specifically, that of Democrats, who are elected time and time again in these states and cities. With the hope that promises made about building the community through empowering individuals with opportunity will be kept.

Injustice in response to injustice, escalates injustice.

The essence of Porsche’s testimony is lost if it’s read solely through the white-oppressing-black, Black Lives Matter (the movement) lens.


First published on Caldron Pool, 4th September 2020.

© Rod Lampard, 2020.