Archives For Freedom of Speech

George Soros sent in a brief letter to the Financial Times, calling for the removal of Facebook’s CEO and COO, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Soros claims that Zuckerberg, who hasn’t followed Twitter in banning all political advertising, is helping Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in a ‘kind of mutual assistance arrangement with D.T.’ Soros goes on to demand Facebook take action stating, ‘Mark Zuckerberg should be removed from control of Facebook.’

The F.T. posted a copy and paste transcript of Soros’ proposition yesterday. Notably absent from the article was the lack of an introduction, and commentary from FT staff. The transcript was also published without any screenshot, or scanned image of the actual letter, which is strange for publishers who desire to maintain a rigorous level of journalism. Not validating the source of the original letter, casts doubt on its authenticity. However, if urban legend about the power of George Soros is to be believed, it’s possible this is how he intended it, and is exactly how he wanted the letter to be presented.

This isn’t the first time Soros has gone public with his desire to see the current leadership of Facebook face the business world equivalent of a firing squad.

He penned an article for the New York Times, published on the 31st January, arguing that Zuckerberg is engaged in a quid pro quo deal with Trump. As Soros sees it: the deal involves Trump protecting Facebook from government control, and in return Zuckerberg helps get Trump re-elected in 2020.

As evidence (and it’s flimsy), Soros went back to 2016, saying that ‘Facebook provided the Trump campaign with embedded staff who helped to optimize its advertising program. (Doing what Hilary Clinton’s election team declined to do).’ According to Soros, ‘Facebook gave Trump an edge, marking the beginning of a special relationship.’ He then stated that a recent meeting between Trump and Zuckerberg, ‘raised serious questions’.

The billionaire also accused Zuckerberg of only wanting to make a profit. Claiming that under Zuckerberg’s leadership Facebook was only about ‘making money’, not caring about ‘inflammatory and false content, and failing to adequately punish those who spread false information – nor does the company warn those who are exposed to lies.’

Note that Soros never mentions Facebook’s existing fact checking mechanisms when he claims Facebook isn’t doing them. Neither does Soros provide adequate examples or definitions of the terms he’s using. Perhaps what Soros means is that Facebook isn’t fact checking and blocking content that challenges his ideology, or content that he might arbitrarily consider to be false, hateful, phobic, bigoted etc.

The whole thing reeks of desperation. It’s an anti-Trump political manoeuvre. It has little to do with Facebook, and more to do with Soros’ unresolved issues over Hilary Clinton losing what was considered to be an unlosable election. If anything raises serious questions, it’s his inquisition of Trump and Zuckerberg. When a billionaire such as Soros cries victim wisdom should prompt us to ask why. There’s no doubt Soros lost money, and a special level of power because of Clinton’s election loss.

Trump isn’t protecting Facebook, Zuckerberg is. The CEO is doing what he’s paid to do. He is acting in the best interests of his customers, and company, not power-hungry would-be overlords, who think the world owes total allegiance to them, and their ideology.

Soros’ bizarre fiat shows that Zuckerberg is on the right track. This is probably why Soros wants his head. Zuckerberg is no longer buying what Soros is selling. Take for instance, Zuckerberg’s recent defence of free speech and the reforms he’s attempted to implement. They protect Facebook from the Left’s creeping arbitrary control of free speech, by labelling all opposing viewpoints as “hate speech”. Add to this the Left’s creeping arbitrary control over who is good and who is evil.

Zuckerberg appears to be diverging from the pre-approved narrative of leftism, and their zero-sum practice of achieving political goals, which only serve the interests of those who advocate political correctness, abortion, euthanasia, open borders, the imposition of new cultural laws via the LGBT religion, policing speech, thought and undermining the Biblical Christian foundation of Western Civilisation et.al.

As a result of Zuckerberg’s pro-free speech reform, Soros has called for a mutiny at Facebook. Instead of entering into a dialogue with Zuckerberg, Soros has gone behind his back in an attempt to remove him by proxy. One should ask, how this is not another coup attempt, in line with the now proven, Russian Collision hoax, and lies surrounding the attempt to impeach Trump. Soros, it would appear, is on the war path, and is seeking to take command of what he deems to be his enemy’s central communications hub.

Soros’ arrogance in presuming to control what happens at Facebook, must be blinding him to how much his reasoning and persistent demands here, confirm what many have suspected. That a) He’s too close to the Clinton’s b) He has far too much power and reach c) He funds Leftist divisive politics. Soros deliberately trying to undermine the CEO of an independent company, potentially putting that company and its employees at risk, would be enough evidence to support this.

Ironically, regardless of whether Facebook removes its CEO and COO under Soros-fiat, what he has achieved here is the opposite of what he intended. Soros has negated his questionable accusations against Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg by exposing himself as the real villain; a divisive manipulator, stamping up and down in frustration because he and others like him didn’t get their own way in October 2016. An event that, despite the lies, false accusations and hostile, undemocratic interference, coming from Soros’ own side of politics, looks set to, thankfully, repeat itself again in October, 2020.


References:

See hyperlinks embedded within the article.

First published on Caldron Pool, 19th February, 2020.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

The line between inciting hate or violence and informing others about that hate and violence is being blurred.

Facebook’s recent heavy-handed actions against Caldron Pool, and Caldron Pool contributor, Evelyn Rae, suggest that the social media platform is happy to unfairly conflate reporting or fair criticism of an event with endorsement of that event. Rae was given a 13 day ban, restricting posts from her Facebook page appearing in newsfeeds because she shared a screenshot of another person’s tweet for people to comment on. Caldron Pool experienced similar censorship after posting an article reporting on ‘Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, who had executed two Christian aid workers.’ The post was removed. Then restored on appeal, but the restrictions we left in place.

There’s a difference between advocacy and commentary.

If we apply descriptive and prescriptive linguistics to how news worthy events or commentary are presented, we can see that companies like Facebook will inevitably hurt their customer base, because they continue to blur the descriptive and the prescriptive, rather than hold them in tension.

Descriptive is freelance, risky. Prescriptive tells everyone exactly what to do and when. The failure to determine who is saying what, and why, will mean that the prescriptive parameters of speech shut down all descriptive aspects of speech and vice versa. In short, this failure kills freedom of speech and with it constitutional democracy.

Rather than being a paradox of contrasting terms, the descriptive and prescriptive can be viewed as dialectical. There is a relationship between the two. Think of it as a dynamic, dialectic linguistic muscle which moves the limbs of thought and communication forward. This relational dialectic is exemplified by feedback.

Feedback consists of both positive and negative communication. Each serves a unique purpose in evaluating information and data. Without the positive and negative, feedback is pointless. Likewise, without the descriptive process there is no freedom to communicate. Without the prescriptive process, we have no idea how to communicate.

Without the working connectivity of this relational dialectic, conflicting viewpoints have no platform. Feedback has no real role to play other than what it is allowed to be channelled into cheap echo chambers. As a result, freedom of speech either ends up adrift in a sea of discordant noise, or it becomes stuck in the paralysing quagmire of political correctness and identity politics.

We end up with what Chantal Mouffe, in The Democratic Paradox (2005), called a ‘third way’, a ‘one dimensional world’ where the ‘blurring of the frontiers between Left and Right, jeopardise the future of democracy’. This is because of an aversion to freedom of thought and freedom of speech. An aversion played out through a fear of losing, a fear of conflict, fear of people being able to discriminate and choose between two competing ideas. This would include a fear of free speech because of insecurity, and the overbearing, unachievable quest for absolute equality.

Political opponents are no longer friendly adversaries, but are pitted against each other as bitter enemies.

Constitutional Democracy ends up like a ship that’s lost its ability to move – fodder for jagged rocks; the play toy of manipulative propagandists, the progenitors of totalitarianism, and their progeny: lies, confusion and powerlessness.

There is no push and pull; no dialectic muscle to empower Mouffe’s idea of classical liberal democracy, where friendly adversaries negotiate, disagree, are diplomatic, and apply temporary compromise under the banner of unity in diversity.

According to Mouffe, the future of ‘modern democracy lies in the recognition and legitimation of conflict, along with the refusal to suppress it by imposing an authoritarian order. It’s strength lies in its ability to replace antagonism (intense dislike and deep seated hostility) with agonism (positive struggle; constructive conflict).’

For Mouffe, ‘conflict need not involve the identification of an enemy whom one wants to destroy; conflict between adversaries who may disagree can exist, but ultimately they respect one another’s right to exist.’ Bitter political enemies are ‘no longer perceived as an enemy to be destroyed, but as an ‘adversary’, that is somebody whose ideas we combat but whose right to defend those ideas we do not put into question.’ [i]

The dialectic muscle that is push and pull, allows us to hear different perspectives, formulate an opinion for ourselves, and freely communicate that opinion in a way that others can understand it. This dialectic muscle is a vital muscle for the body politic. Communication as descriptive and prescriptive dialectic, are good for constitutional democracy. They are the ingredients necessary for freedom of speech to function properly.

Social media platforms must embrace this relational dialectic by seeing that there’s a difference between describing and prescribing; the difference between commenting on events or ideas, and using those events or ideas to ‘incite violence or risk imminent harm.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg broke with the norm this week. Standing up and speaking out in favour of freedom of speech, the CEO outlined how one of his biggest challenges at Facebook was finding an answer to policing freedom of expression, while ensuring such an action doesn’t hurt freedom of expression.

Describing how difficult this is, he said “some people think our policies don’t prohibit content they think qualifies as hate, while others think what we take down should be a protected form of expression. This area is one of the hardest to get right.”

He expressed concern about ‘polarization’, saying that Facebook ‘has an important role in designing their systems to show a diversity of ideas and not encourage polarizing content.’

Zuckerberg believes that Facebook has two responsibilities in this regard: First, ‘to remove content when it could cause real danger as effectively as we can, and second, to fight to uphold as wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible — and not allow the definition of what is considered dangerous to expand beyond what is absolutely necessary.’

He said that he believed “people should be able to use our services to discuss issues they feel strongly about — from religion and immigration to foreign policy and crime. You should even be able to be critical of groups without dehumanizing them.” He also admitted that Facebook makes “enforcement mistakes” because judging who is saying what and why, “isn’t always straight-forward.”

Pointing to precedents in the United States, the Facebook CEO said, he wants to uphold broad speech rights, stating: “I know many people disagree, but, in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.”

Zuckerberg rightly stated that “while he worries about an erosion of truth, and that he doesn’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true.”

His quest is to leave a legacy that protects freedom of speech. In doing so he said part of the process is keeping Facebook free of fake accounts, malicious entities exploiting the platform with dubious money making scams, and removing deliberate misinformation that could lead to someone taking hazardous advice.

Part of his concern is the increasing restrictions on free speech in other countries. For example, China’s exporting of their vision of the internet, which suppresses dissent, monitors users speech and determines what kind of speech is allowed.

For me, outside his reliance on the term hate speech and polarization, Zuckerberg’s speech hit the right notes. He says a lot of the right things when it comes to putting in place protections for freedom of speech on the platform, but as with a lot of promising talk, actions speak louder than words.

I was both impressed and surprised by his stance on China, and encouraged by how he acknowledged the importance of preserving freedom of speech and its important role in a vibrant constitutional democracy.

Mennonite theologian, John Howard Yoder wrote, ‘democracy, with its judicial and constitutional processes can be essentially defined as communication.’ [ii]

The danger to constitutional democracy is the undermining of this ability to communicate freely. Free speech is let down through a failure to recognise the distinction between advocacy and commentary; the failure to acknowledge the relational push and pull dialectic of prescriptive and descriptive.

Failure to acknowledge the relational dialectic undermines free speech by emphasising prescriptive speech over the descriptive, or vice versa. This happens through the quest to control others by imposing new cultural laws on the body politic, such as anything not viewed as politically correct, being far too easily hated on, as hate speech.

We’re already see this when political groups, a lot like China’s vision for the internet, prescribe politically correct speech as the only legitimate speech. Nowhere is this more powerfully seen than in forced speech laws regarding Islam, transgenderism, or the LGBT religion in general.

The relational dialectic of push and pull has the power to preserve constitutional democracy, through agreement and disagreement. Just as tension in a muscle is necessary to ensure motion, so is the necessity to have a platform or open forum, where ideas can be aired, challenged and either adopted or reasonably rejected. All of which is built on mutual respect, not necessarily on an obligation to mutual agreement.

Zuckerberg’s concern about polarization places him in agreement with Mouffe’s argument. The preservation of constitutional democracy lies with an effort to utilise constitutional democracy’s capacity to replace antagonism (intense dislike and deep seated hostility) with agonism (positive struggle; constructive conflict).

Freedom of speech is the great relational dialectic muscle of constitutional democracy. Its push and pull gives constitutional democracy momentum. Only through its preservation, and the exercise of it, will we be able to move forward, while also preserving healthy tradition, freedom, rights and responsibilities.

 


References:

[i] Mouffe, C. 2005. The Democratic Paradox, Verso

[ii] Yoder, J.H. 1964, The Christian Witness to the State, Herald Press.

Full transcript of Mark Zuckerberg’s Speech

First published on Caldron Pool, 23rd October 2019 & also featured on The Spectator Australia, 24th October 2019.

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Covington student, Nicholas Sandermann’s $250 million defamation case against The Washington Post was dismissed late last month, after a federal judge ruled that the Washington Post hadn’t slandered Sandermann in its reporting of the infamous, so-called “standoff” between himself and Native American, Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Saurabh Sharma of the Dailycaller said, the ‘judge threw out the case’ saying that The Washtington Post didn’t defame the Covington students, but were irresponsible with their use of ‘’loose, figurative,’’ and ‘’rhetorcial hyperbole”. [i]

This is despite The Washington Post, along with some Twitter users and others within the mainstream media, using short viral video clips of the event, to portray the MAGA hat wearing school kids as racists.

Rollingstone, while acknowledging that the incident seemed to have been provoked by members of the Black Israelite movement, were also quick to draw the racist narrative around the Covington School students, stating, ‘the video is a disturbing and eerie echo of angry white mobs yelling at Black Americans for protesting Jim Crow-era discrimination.’ [ii]

While Buzzfeed managed to steer around defaming the students, it’s obvious that Buzzfeed reporters shared similar conclusions. By using viral video clips from the event, they upheld the presumption of guilt, by inferring that racist claims made against the Catholic students we legitimate.

The initial Buzzfeed article made specific mention of the student’s ethnicity, pointing out that ‘nearly all were white and wearing pro-Trump gear, chanting at and mocking Native American, Nation Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.’[iii]

Buzzfeed also appear to have supported interpretations drawn from one of the videos of the students, which claimed that Sandermann was ‘smirking’ in a “racist way” at Phillips, who was branded a peacemaker during the incident. Like many in the mainstream media, this was apparently enough proof for Buzzfeed to spread the newspeak narrative of white privilege, hate, oppression and racism: the Covington students were white, Christian, and Trump supporters, ergo they must also be racists.

Buzzfeed updated their original piece with a link to a video which shows ‘more context’, admitting that the incident ‘was more confusing than the viral clips made it seem’. Buzzfeed also reported that ‘teen’s family will be appealing the decision to dismiss the case, with one of the family’s lawyers saying, “the law must protect innocent minors targeted by journalists publishing click bait sensationalized news.”

The Washington Post, like many of the Left’s leaders on Twitter, did the equivalent of whipping the crowd up into a frenzy, handing them a lynch rope, then when the facts came to light, quietly slipped out the back door. Later to be dismissed from having to take any responsibility because of an appeal to freedom of speech, and literary license.

The case dismissal is good news for The Washington Post. The outcome could also be viewed as good news for the future of freedom of speech.

However, it’s doubtful that the reasons for this “win”, based on an appeal to first amendments rights and literary license, will be allowed as a defense for Pastors and Christian writers when producing literature that criticizes sin from a Biblically Christian perspective.

Especially when their publications involve proclaiming The Gospel in its unique redemptive critique of human sin such as greed, adultery, homosexuality, pride, envy, slander, idolatry – a critique now largely rejected and found “hateful” and “harmful” by the Left, because of its no questions asked embrace of the LGBT religion, Islamism and related regressive, progressive ideologies.


References:

[i] Sharma, S. 2019.  The Washington Post Won Its Case Against The Covington Catholic Kids, But A Federal Judge Had Some Choice Words For The Outlet, Daily Caller, 12th August, 2019

[ii] Wade, P. 2019. Judge Dismisses Covington Student’s Lawsuit Against ‘Washington Post’ RollingStone, 27th July, 2019

[iii] Reinstein, J. & Baer, S.K. 2019.  The MAGA Hat–Wearing Teens Who Taunted A Native American Elder Could Be Expelled Buzzfeed, 19th January, 2019.

Photo by Irina Vinichenko on Unsplash

First published on Caldron Pool, 16th August 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Israel Folau isn’t alone in his struggle against the Leftist establishment and its newspeak. British Philosopher, and Leftist turned conservative, 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.)”

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)

While the Leftist establishment’s contempt for Scruton remains high, support for Scruton continues to not only remain consistent, but is on the increase.

Thanking supporters, he took to Twitter writing:

“Thank you to the many people from around the world, who have sent messages of support in this time of persecution. And apologies to the mob for having survived it.”

Scruton is well acquainted with the ‘Leftist vision’, commenting about his time writing with the ‘underground networks of communist Europe’ in his book, ‘Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left’ (2015)[1],

[“My involvement] had brought me face to face with destruction, and it was obvious to most people who troubled to expose themselves to this destruction that leftist ways of thinking were the ultimate cause of it […] We should not be surprised that, when the communists seized power in Eastern Europe, their first task was to decapitate the little platoons – so that Kádár, when Minister of the Interior in the 1948 government in Hungary, managed to destroy five thousand in a single year.
Newspeak[2], which sees the world in terms of power and struggle, encourages the view that all associations not controlled by the righteous leaders are a danger to the state. And by acting on this view you make it true. When the seminar, the troop or the choir can meet only with the permission of the Party, the Party automatically becomes their enemy. In this way, it seems to me, it is not an accident that the triumph of leftist ways of thinking has so often led to totalitarian government.”

Scruton’s argument is confirmed by the Tienanmen Square massacre, which happened, but “officially” never happened. The Hungarian revolt of 1956, and the violent suppression of it by the Soviet Union, and its puppet Socialist Hungarian administration. The violence was downplayed by French Communists, such as Jean Sartre, and was largely ignored or dismissed by the Left in the West.

In response to the violent Communist suppression of the Hungarian people, French existentialist and philosopher, Albert Camus, himself once a golden boy of the French Leftist establishment, wrote,

‘We must admit that today conformity is on the Left.
To be sure, the Right is not brilliant. But the Left is in complete decadence, a prisoner of words, caught in its own vocabulary, capable merely of stereo-typed replies, constantly at a loss when faced with the truth, from which it nevertheless claimed to derive its laws.
The Left is schizophrenic and needs doctoring through pitiless self-criticism, exercise of the heart, close reasoning, and a little modesty. Until such an effort at re-examination is well under way, any rallying will be useless even harmful. None of the evils of totalitarianism (defined by the single party and the suppression of all opposition) claims to remedy is worse than totalitarianism itself.’[3]

Roger Scruton and Israel Folau are high profile examples who should garner support from every quarter, because if they are allowed to be thrown under blade of the guillotine, by the mob and it’s “people’s court”, we all lose.


References:

[1] Scruton, Roger. 2015. Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left Bloomsbury Publishing

[2] ‘The purpose of communist Newspeak, in Thom’s ironical words, has been ‘to protect ideology from the malicious attacks of real things – fortified the communist conviction that you could change reality by changing words.’ (ibid, 2015)

[3] Camus, A. 1961 Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays; ‘Hungary: Socialism of the Gallows’, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1960 First Vintage International Edition

Photo by Jake Noren on Unsplash

(Also posted on The Caldron Pool, 8th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The LGBT community’s grievances and the reason for their sensitivity regarding the Israel Folau controversy are understandable.

A non-biblical version of sin has been misused over the years to beat people down, not bring them the to faith and repentance. (See Psychiatrist, Karl Menninger’s ‘Whatever became of Sin?’, 1976)

That historical misuse, however, doesn’t justify the unjust writhing and screaming being thrown towards Folau.

None of this justifies dehumanizing a man and taking away his bread and butter.

None of this justifies any corporation such as Qantas, bullying, via economic sanctions, companies they do business with, such as Rugby Australia.

As far as Qantas goes, their double standard is more than a little bit strange.

Alan Jones is right.

“Isn’t Qantas in partnership with a national airline whose government imposes laws infinitely more damaging to homosexuals than Israel’s utterance of his biblical beliefs?”

As I noted a few days back, Folau quoting from the Bible on his own personal Instagram page, is between him, Instagram and those who follow his social media account. It doesn’t involve the R.A, the L.G.B.T lobby or even Qantas.

This event proves the truth of the Galatians quote Israel posted. The biblical doctrine of sin, as a rejection of grace, a rejection of relationship, a rejection of both God and neighbour, is more relevant than ever. Sin divides, destroys and consumes those who entertain it.

The equality of the Biblical doctrine of sin is that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and yet, because of God’s decision to save humanity, in and through Jesus Christ, redemption from that sin is given and found (Romans 3:23). This is the crux of the Easter message heard around the world on Good Friday, Black Saturday and Resurrection Sunday.

As Jean Bethke Elshtain once said, ‘when we start to regard ourselves in our own light, our light dims’.[1]

Michael Horton echoed the same sentiment in his book, ‘Christless Christianity’,

“Coming to God as consumers saved by following the instructions on the product label rather than as sinners saved by grace is not only the essence of human sin, it does not even deliver on its own promises of liberation. Instead it drives us deeper into ourselves […] Keeping us from ever being disrupted by someone greater than ourselves or by something more wonderful than our own half-hearted achievements’[2]
‘It is the false prophets who “dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious” (Jer.18:11). It is not compassion for the people or zeal for God’s house but their own thirst for popularity that renders the false prophets constitutionally incapable of telling the truth about the crisis. Enclosed in our narrow world of personal spin, we are never introduced to the real world created by God’s Word […] Both sin and redemption are trivialized when we write the script.’[3]

This speaks to the left, the right, the up and the down.

Hence, the call to faith, obedience and prayer; the call to repentance; the call to transformation and the call to embrace God’s costly grace that embraces us in, through and with Jesus Christ.

God does not take pleasure in the death of the sinner, but rather that the sinner should turn from his and her way and live (Ezekiel 18:23)[4].

We hear the Old Testament prophets reminding us that the world must not fall into ignorance and complacency. The pain and suffering of history is broadcasting warnings into the present; warnings about the ensuing calamity caused by ideological crusades that have enslaved men and women, under the promise of establishing ‘God’s Kingdom without God in it’[5].

Of all the current commentary surrounding Israel Folau, including my own, Alan Jones wins the final word:

“If Israel Folau is not free to state his religious views, let alone Christian views, then we are all in trouble. It would be helpful if people analyzed what he said before condemning him to rugby oblivion.”

References:

[1]  Elshtain, J.B. 1995 ‘Augustine & The Limits of Politics’  (pp.11, 66 & 62)

[2] Horton, M. 2008 Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, Baker Books Baker Book Publishing (p.246)

[3] Ibid, p.242

[4] Ambrose of Milan, ‘On Repentance’

[5] Johnny Cash & U2, The Wanderer “they want the kingdom, but they don’t want God in it”.

(Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 18th April, 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

In August 1939, the Soviets signed a non-aggression treaty with the Nazis. This treaty was called the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and it allowed the Soviets room to explore Stalin’s expansionist policies. Largely hidden behind the grotesque Abyss of National Socialism’s dark reach for Europe in 1940, Stalin’s Communist forces moved into Poland, and Finland.  The Soviet offensive against Poland began in September, 1939; the offensive against Finland (known as The Winter War) began in November.

Unlike, Poland, Finland had the benefit of only fighting a war on one front. ‘The Winter War’ ended five months later. Finland lost some territory, but kept her sovereignty intact. Poland wasn’t as fortunate.

In September of 1939, the Eastern Soviet offensive against Poland was joined by the Nazi invasion of Poland from the West. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop non-aggression Pact, Poland was violently split in two. This was until the treaty was torn up, and the once aligned enemies took to each other’s throats.

Once Poland fell, the Polish people were subjected to the tyranny and brutality of both Nazi and Soviet imperialism.

The suffering of the Polish people is one of the most underrated facts of 20th Century history.

One event that illustrates this was the Katyn Massacre. On the 13th April 1940, Soviet authorities executed 22,000 Polish military officers and intellectuals in Katyn Forest, near Smolensk, Russia.

Throughout the 1940’s the Soviets maintained that the massacre of Katyn was a Nazi war crime. They continued to deny responsibility, despite both, “German and Red Cross investigations of the Katyn corpses that had produced firm physical evidence that the massacre took place in early 1940, at a time when the area was still under Soviet control.” (Benjamin Fischer, CIA Study Centre)

Stuck between two ravenous wolves, the Polish people were torn away from their freedom, and slowly devoured. After the war, and as part of Stalin’s expansionist greed, Poland became a puppet Soviet state, doomed to 44 years of Communist serfdom, and Soviet suspicion, behind the USSR’s “antifascist protective rampart”: The Iron Curtain.

Few remember the massacre of Katyn, and the unprovoked suffering of the Polish people under both Nazi and Soviet rule. Even fewer know about it.

It’s this kind of ignorance of history that invites tyranny. The very thing that threatens to burn the West once again is the asinine denial about how easy it is to be seduced into becoming complicit with evil deeds, by those who command them to be carried out.

The widespread condemnation of Australian footballer, Israel Folau took the headlines this week. Political leaders and journalists, including prominent Christian leaders took to the spotlight and castigated a man for quoting from the Bible on social media.

Tom Decent from the Sydney Morning Herald, was among the worst. His use of   the buzzwords, “duel national” and “anti-gay” stopped just short of adding the words “terrorist” and “extremist”, along with inevitable demands attached to them, such as “remove Folau’s citizenship.”

Hillsong’s, Pastor Brian Houston, also chimed in. He who used the opportunity to preach at Folau about not being judgmental, stating that “Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul, all kept their harshest criticism for those who were religious and judgmental.” This is tantamount to saying that the only people who Jesus called to repentance were the religious and the judgmental.

What Houston and many others have failed to acknowledge is that Falou posted the quote on his personal Instagram account. Had this outrage been about one of Houston’s sermons, or books, it’s almost guaranteed that he would be in public relations overdrive pushing back by appealing to the context of where, when and why his words were said.

What Folau said wasn’t wrong. Where he said it, and how he said it raises questions, particularly about the wisdom behind posting it in an age where victimhood is a commodity, and enabling the perpetually offended, leads to political profit, or professional advancement.

However, serious consideration should be given to that fact that the quote wasn’t posted by Folau to pro-LGBT facebook pages. The quote wasn’t posted as a deliberate attack on any pro-LGBT internet forums, nor was his post part of a manipulative political press release, designed to attack the sexual preferences and lifestyle choice of the homosexual community.

Folau shared the quote from Galatians with his Instagram followers. If he was attempting to remind anyone in particular of Paul’s words, it was the sinner. Of which Folua is among the first to confess that he is one.

Firing Folau for quoting Galatians 5:19-21 on his personal Instagram account is not only a warning sign of things to come, it’s also petty and weak.

As for the Biblical text, Paul’s words and their context, there is nothing more inclusive, all troubling, and all embracing, of every human than the fact that,

‘…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.’ (Romans 3:23-25, ESV)

The true equality of humanity is the condition of the human heart, as it exists before God, in the light of God’s acts in and through Jesus Christ, acts that cannot be reversed, but acts that can be rejected; acts that are rejected by every unrepentant sinner.

The outrage and actions which followed Israel’s post, are a warning, not just to Christians, but to all those who choose freedom of speech, over-against towing the line of LGBT religious dogma. What this tells non-Christians is that their pro-LGBT position will not exempt them from the imposition of new cultural laws in the West, which will see a serious decline in freedom of thought, conscience and speech.

This is evidenced by the dismissing of those who support Israel Folau and threats made against Israel Folau’s wife.

As I said in 2017, a “no” to SSM is a “yes” to freedom, not a denial of it. Since then the quest to erode freedom shows that those living in the West may fast be approaching a time when they have to choose between surrendering to tyranny and pushing back against it.

No matter how Pro-LGBT, or how Pro-Islam, you are, if you’re not practicing the lifestyle the ideology of that community preaches, you’re the enemy and they will come for you, your job, your family and your freedom.

Such is the misery behind the masquerade.

The current trajectory is that speech will be policed and thought will be controlled. This is seen in the punitive measures taken against those who publicly disagree with the predominately Leftist way of thinking. Such as the censoring of Conservative voices on social media.

All of which is echoed in historical precedents, such as the 1937 edit of Hans Kerrl, Nazi Minister for Church Affairs:

“The Church’s proclamation [preaching/teaching; Gospel & service] must fall into the correct relationship with National Socialism [or else].”
(Bethge, E. Bonhoeffer: A Biography. p.575)

Few remember the massacre of Katyn or the Soviet treaty with Nazi Germany. Even fewer know that it happened.

It’s this kind of ignorance of history that invites tyranny. The very thing which threatens to burn the West once again, is the asinine denial about how easy it is to become complicit with evil deeds, alongside those who command them.

The consequence of an arrogant society believing that Pride wins, and that somehow, we’ve evolved past the atrocities of Nazi Germany, and the ability to inflict the same kind of suffering experienced by the Polish people, is history repeating itself.

The West is like Poland in 1940. Every year it moves closer to being stuck between two ravenous wolves; one eager to enslave, convert by force and conquer. The other happy hiding its insidious designs behind a veil of tolerance, inclusion, appeasement and false portrayal of those with contradicting opinions.

“The truth has always been the truth, just as 2 × 2 = 4”
(Leo Tolstoy, 1882 A Confession)


(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 15th April 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

American conservative media organization, PragerU, is facing an uphill battle against an increasing trend towards censorship of conservative content.

Founded by Dennis Prager in 2009, and currently run by CEO, Marissa Streit, PragerU provides commentary and information on a wide range of subjects, from prominent thinkers and doers. PragerU also considers themselves to be a platform for the preservation of Judeo-Christian values, and “the concepts of freedom of speech, a free press, free markets and a strong military to protect and project those values.” (PragerU ‘What we Do)

In an official Facebook post from January 26th, 2019, PragerU admins wrote:

“PragerU has officially filed a new lawsuit against Google and YouTube in the state of California [over unjustifiable censorship].

Adding that, streaming service, Spotify:

“has completely banned PragerU from advertising its content. This is clearly in line with the censorship we’ve experienced on Youtube, Google, and Twitter.” (PragerU Facebook)

According to a PragerU Twitter post, Spotify’s reason for blacklisting the organization, was because their content didn’t ‘comply’ with Spotify’s editorial policies. Consequently, Spotify “stopped all existing ads, and stated that they will not be approving any new ones.” (PragerU Twitter) Not only this, but as of the January 26th, PragerU, “still hadn’t received any explanation from Spotify as to which specific policy we didn’t comply with.” (PragerU Facebook)

PragerU’s battle against censorship began in 2016[i], with decisions from YouTube to place some PragerU content in the “restricted mode” category. Videos like ‘Don’t Feminists Fight For Muslim Women?’ and ‘Are the Police Racist?, among 100 others, such as the counter Marxist, Jordan Peterson, information video, ‘Dangerous People Are Teaching Your Kids’ and ‘The Suicide of Europe’, are deemed by Google as being “inappropriate for the younger audiences.”[ii]

Since 2016, PragerU has experienced controversy after controversy, with other social media platforms also restricting PragerU content. Facebook removed videos from PragerU’s three million plus, strong Facebook page, only later reinstating those videos, along with an apology, because “the videos in question were mistakenly removed. While we continue to research what caused this error, we have restored the content because it does not break our Community Standards[iii]

If you’re up to date with the developing concerns over big tech companies threatening to censor conservative content, and big tech companies actually censoring conservative content, you’ll know that an ambiguous reason like, “mistakenly removed”, in all probability means, “removed by an employee, who took personal offence to the content, acted unanimously, making a subjective (highly unprofessional) decision to delete it.”

Although, in this case, Facebook deserves kudos for acknowledging the error and fixing it; the increase in uncalled for restrictions on content that challenges the overarching ideological predisposition of the big tech companies, should be of deep concern to everyone. It is a direct threat to the right to freedom of information, freedom of speech, and the right to come to conclusions independent of those who may seek to make us co-dependent on them.

For now, PragerU, and organizations like Caldron Pool are free to publish content in line with the values and faith that made, and still makes, the West a destination for many.

For now, PragerU stands as a city on a hill, at the forefront of a conflict that is unnecessary, unethical and uncalled-for. Even though doors are being shut on PragerU, as long as PragerU stands by its mandate, as outlined in their mission statement, they will continue to be that city, providing an open door for discussion, which runs against the stream.


References:

[i] The Federalist, sourced 4th February, 2019

[ii] PragerU Petition, YouTube Continues to restrict many PragerU videos, sourced 4th February, 2019

[iii] Business Insider, sourced 4th February, 2019

Also published @ The Caldron Pool, 4th February, 2019 under the heading: PragerU’s Uphill Battle Against Censorship As Ads are Permabanned by Spotify