July 18, 2007
There is nothing like sharing old family memories…
July 18, 2007
As usual, Fausta directed a terrific conversation. We discussed toast, haggis, grandmothers who can’t cook as well as anti Americanism, the middle class and those two long running comedies, Congress and presidential campaigns. We also talked about terror, denial and what it will take before America rises to respond definitively to threats that are directed at us every day.
Gerard Vanderleun is compelling, thoughtful and insightful. His easy going demeanor is exceeded only by the content of his insight.
Settle in with a bag of popcorn, a humongo mega sized Big Gulp and listen to the Fausta’s Blog Talk Radio podcast.
While your listening, check out Fausta’s Blog for a smorgasbord of thoughtful ideas.
Enlightenment is as near as your headphones.
July 18, 2007
In Always Ahead Of The Curve, we wrote of Democrat presidential hopefuls and their newly found religiosity.
We wanted to follow up with a few more ideas.
It is interesting to note that that the Democrat Party candidates for the presidency are not trying to hide the truth that they need religious voters more than they need religion. They are saying that ‘while we are what we are, our values are not antithetical to religious values.’
Without addressing specifics, Democrat candidates stare into thge cameras and talk about hunger and social justice, freedom and globalism (as if they and they alone are the only truly pious candidate) in broad, sweeping terms. Spin doctors float language that is designed to bestow mantle of Old Testament prophet status on their candidates.
Think about that- we are being asked to believe that politicians are honest, caring and selfless. Spin doctors believe we are stupid enough to believe that their candidates are to be recognized as examples of virtue.
The fact is that to any thinking American this new crop of American presidential candidates are but a fraction of an inch from looking like Michael Dukakis riding that tank in an absurd attempt to prove his military appreciation bona fides. In the same way Michael Dukakis spent his political career deriding all things military, the Democrats are hoping that now appealing to religious voters will obfuscate and camouflage the truth that for decades they abandoned those voters they are now courting. To the Democrat party’s credit, this time around they are not relying on Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to lead the charge.
The Democrats are deluding themselves if they believe that the Middle America that abandoned the Democrat party in droves will return to the fold because they may be disappointed in the prosecution of the war in Iraq or other Republican fumbles.
Appealing for and getting the religious vote will take more than a few speeches and sound bites. While snappy retorts and one liners may work for the Left, a religious voter will not be impressed with the marked shallowness of many Democrat presidential candidates. For religious voters, it is depth that counts- content of character. A shallow puddle isn’t the same body of water as a deep lake, no matter how many cameras are present or column inches are written.
In a post 9/11 world, we have become more thoughtful about our leaders. Slogans will not trump character.
America is at war from without and from within. American, British, Australian and other troops face danger in Iraq and Afghanistan, in an attempt to instill freedom and democracy, and to wrest power from those who would continue to repress tens of millions. The anti-war contingent, widely perceived as a Democrat party arm, wake every day, ready to do battle with America and her allies- and care not a whit about those who blow up children or subway cars and kill as many civilians and innocents as they can.
At home, Americans are at battle too, attacking each other with a ferociousness and using tactics never before seen. There is no semblance or pretense to civility or exchange; there is just a visceral hatred that permeates the debate. In another time, it could be said that this is the stuff that revolutions are made of. It is a Jihad of sorts, American style. Congresspeople, are referring to the administration, speak of ‘Nazis’ and ‘concentration camps’ as a matter of course- and House leadership remains silent.
The real issues aren’t being discussed. The only things that count are winning and subjugating opponents. The merit or veracity of any argument is irrelevant- if the origin is ‘the other side,‘ it is to be discarded and treated as if it were toxic. There is no mercy for the dissenters and no room for compromise.
From an empirical standpoint, how and why this state of affairs has came to pass is quite evident- and ironic. It is about God, morality and moral relativism. Democrat candidates can no longer avoid talking about what is relevant to the voters they need to woo.
A standard mantra of American religious and not so religious conservatives is that we would all be better off if there were more religious values in the public square. The left of course, recoils in horror at that very thought. Religion, they argue, is the last thing that should be tolerated in the public square. Religious values are the bane of liberalism. Why are they so opposed to religion and religious values? What is it about religion and values that so frightens them? The left would have you believe that God in the public square would be akin to the Mullahs in Iran given free reign here.
Values, by definition are definable. Values require commitment to standards that are measurable. Most dangerous to the left are that those values can be measured. These are things that liberalism can never reconcile with. Measurement means accountability. It is important to acknowledge that there was a time that liberalism was a force for great good. Bound by overbearing social strictures and harsh ruling class restraints and dictum, the liberal achievements for the common man are inestimable. Unions served their purpose in providing for decent pay and the elimination of hazardous working conditions and child labor. The political mobilization of the poor and of minorities have in the end, served our society well. We would do well to remember that the American Revolution was about revolt over tyranny and provided a voice to the voiceless, clearly a liberal idea that upended the status quo, with the idea that the individual was indeed capable of taking care of himself, without interference from the powers that were. That was liberalism then. The leftism of today is an is an entirely different creature.
Let’s start with God. For most of us, poll after poll highlights that Americans profess faith. Whether we wear our religion on our sleeves or not, God is Master of the Universe with a timeless message of faith. Belief in God also influences our personal and cultural understanding of morality. We pray for god’s guidance and mercy and we have established our society and laws predicated on religious principles. Some accept that there is a higher power, to whom we are answerable or at the very least, gave to us rules that keep us from anarchy. Our society has never been literalist, despite what the left would have you think. We do not stone adulterers, nor do we chop off the hands of thieves. It is these masses of reasonable Americans our politicians are now obsessed with reaching, notwithstanding the truth religious beliefs are antithetical and in direct opposition to the beliefs of Leftist ideologies.
Within the framework of belief, the American Founding Fathers created a society that readily and humbly conceded that we are created “In His Image,” and at the same time, created a society that reinforced the notion of free will.
In fact, to leftists and many political candidates vying for the religious votes, God is not a god. He is a partner– a junior partner to our desires and ideals. We are not accountable to God. He becomes accountable to us. Whatever it is we believe in at the moment, whatever desires we have, must be accommodated by the ever faithful junior partner, God. We do not have to commit to Him, He has to commit to us, whatever the cause. Leftism is not about obligation, it is about accommodation. No matter how absurd the idea, no matter how shocking the behavior, it is sanctioned by the leftist interpretation of God. Whatever the cause, whatever the belief, leftists will tell you that they are sanctioned by God, for whom they purport to speak. This is no small matter- that kind of thinking is the world view of radical Muslims. They have mainstreamed the idea that they and they alone speak for God. In the world created by leftist ‘religious’ ideologies, God is incapable of speaking for Himself or tolerating dissenting voices. In their world, God hates democracy and democratic principles.
There is no evil, there are no standards. All is equal is the eyes of the leftist god. Anyone who dissents or denies that catechism is ostracized, ridiculed and set upon, as if they were the epitome of evil.
To be fair, some conservatives are the very obverse of that. They will say that they are charged with fulfilling God’s mission on earth. Like the very leftists they so despise, they too, would take free will out of the equation.
It is also true that not all professions of God are equals. Democrat presidential hopefuls need to realize and understand the implications of that truth. Belief in God and belief in moral relativism are not compatible ideologies. It is to this truth politicians must address themselves or all their efforts expended to reach out to religious voters will be for naught.
The kind of religious fanaticism that does demand the stoning of adulteresses, hanging of children and the amputation of limbs is not a moral equivalent to our concept of God, anymore than the society that has no wheel is equal to the society that does (this is not an assault on Islam- both the Old and New Testaments are replete with punishments that we deem unacceptable today. That said, it is Radical Islam and Radical Islamic regimes that that have yet to abandon the barbarism).
To say that all belief systems are equal is contemptible. One may accept for themselves any belief structure they wish, but we are not obligated to accept that choice as a moral equivalent to our own way of thinking.
That leftists will parrot the mantra that all belief structures are equal (for no other reason than saying so rationalizes their own ideologies), is ridiculous. Belief structures that encourage hatred and violence are not equal to our own. Belief structures that produce terror, supporters of terror and apologists for terror are not equal to our own. To say that such beliefs are cut from the same cloth as our own, is a is a gross insult to our own beliefs. Neither Christianity or Judaism, upon whose beliefs our governments- and freedoms- were founded, are guilty today of the above mentioned behaviors. Our societies have long since abandoned those behaviors in favor of an environment that best allows for us to express our better selves, through hard work and rules formulated to benefit all of us.
To a leftist of course, all behavior is equal. Many leftist ideologies are the barometers of an ideal that has no moral foundation. The only evils they see, are the ones that demand accountability. The target of their venom is a society that still has the notion that responsibility, accountability and effort are the measure of worth. To the leftist elite, it is enough simply to have an idea and be rewarded and celebrated for that idea, no matter what the idea is. They believe their ideas alone merit superior standing and positions of leadership. That others might suggest they actually earn whatever it is they want, is to arouse rabid hatred.
This ideology was not adopted easily. Many liberals were and remain, God fearing and religious people. They see the manifestation of their liberal values as an extension of their religious values. The American political landscape changed when leadership of the liberal ideology abandoned those voices in favor of voices that were louder- and voices that eschewed any connection to religious values, because those values could be measured.
The leftist elites that replaced the liberals might be held accountable- and for the leftists, accountability was a hard sell, certainly harder than ‘anything goes.’ In fact, as leftism swallowed classical liberalism, accountability became an intolerable notion.
Societies and religions are measured by their contributions. It is clear who has contributed to the growth and betterment of a society and it becomes who has contributed to the weakening and destruction of that society.
Those societies and religions that have contributed nothing but destruction to society, are not equal to those who contribute. Newly adopted political ideologies designed to resemble religious ideologies cannot change that truth. That is why so many religious liberals feel betrayed. They, more than anyone, see with clarity that new leftist ideal that somehow the contributions of our own society and the destruction of society are morally equivalent.
It is an ideal that is based on the false god of moral relativism, and that kind of deceit and Jihad America can do without. No amount of Gospel singing, bible thumping and Hallelujah chorus rejoinders can change that truth. If newly religious minded candidates want to attract religious voters, that is one truth they will have to address.