In response to President Obama’s ignorant exercise in moral equivalency in invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition, ( as T.Shaw noted fewer people were turned over for execution by the Inquisition, actually Inquisitions, in all of history than die in American abortion clinics on any week day), go here to read about it, Jonah Goldberg quotes from his book Tyranny of Cliches which explains why such Catholic bashing is ahistoric and unfair:
As a fairly secular Jew I cannot and will not speak to the theological questions, in part because I do not want to. But mostly because I do not have to. The core problem with those who glibly invoke one cliché after another about the evils of organized religion and Catholicism is that they betray the progressive tendency to look back on the last two thousand years and see the Catholic Church — and Christianity generally — as holding back humanity from progress, reason, and enlightenment. They fault the Church for not knowing what could not have been known yet and for being too slow to accept new discoveries that only seem obvious to us with the benefit of hindsight. It’s an odd attack from people who boast of their skepticism and yet condemn the Church for being rationally skeptical about scientific breakthroughs.
In short, they look at the tide of secularism and modernity as proof that the Church was an anchor. I put it to you that it was more of sail. Nearly everything we revere about modernity and progress — education, the rule of law, charity, decency, the notion of the universal rights of man, and reason were advanced by the Church for most of the last two thousand years.
But isn’t the greater madness to make a real force for good the enemy because the forces of self-anointed perfection claim to have some glorious blueprint for a flawless world sitting on a desk somewhere? It is a Whiggish and childish luxury to compare the past — or even the present — to a utopian standard. Of course there was corruption, cruelty, and hypocrisy within the Church — because the Church is a human institution. Its dark hypocrisies are the backdrop that allow us to see the luminance of the standard they have, on occasion, fallen short of. The Catholic Church was a spiritual beacon lighting the way forward compared to the world lit only by fire outside the Church doors.
You know that you live in loony tunes times when a secular Jew like Goldberg has a better appreciation for the role of the Church in History than some Catholic bloggers: (Ahem, that is your cue Mark:)
“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ…
“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.
“And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” (source)
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
A fascinating video from Prager University with Jonah Goldberg noting that liberals tend to use social justice as a catch phrase to pursue a new program by government. In that context the phrase has little meaning with as little substance as saying “I support policy A and policy A is “good”.” Continue reading
Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online has a great piece explaining why every political issue is a cultural issue:
Anyway, here’s the point I intended to get to much earlier. I’m coming to the position that every issue is a cultural issue. According to the Thomas Frank view, there are two kinds of issues: real issues and cultural (or social) issues. And, if he had his way, all elections would hinge on “real issues.” He writes in What’s the Matter with Kansas: “People getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about. This species of derangement is the bedrock of our civic order; it is the foundation on which all else rests.”
This is of course, warmed-over Marxist twaddle. Frank thinks his view of economic interests is the only defensible view and everything else is boob bait for bubbas (Pat Moynihan’s orthodox liberal ad hominem for Clinton’s push for welfare reform) or what the Marxists call “false consciousness.” Much like Lena Dunham’s sex scenes, the list of things that are wrong with this is very long. People vote on the kind of community or country they want to live in, period. That means that taxes are a legitimate issue, but it also means that guns and abortion and free speech are just as legitimate. Liberals implicitly understand this, even if they lie about it routinely in their rhetoric. They are the first to invoke the language of values and right-and-wrong on the issues they care about, whether it is gay marriage or immigration or civil rights. And they are entirely right to do so. Where they are wrong is when they employ the language of “real issues” to dismiss any value-laden arguments that help conservatives win elections. Continue reading
Jonah Goldberg for Prager University asks and answers what is social justice. I agree with him that social justice usually in practice ends up with thieves employed by the government taking property from A, keeping a substantial cut, and throwing the much reduced remainder at favored B and C. This poorly thought out Robin Hood theology is at the basis of the manifestly failing welfare states today. It is the antithesis of the voluntary charity called for by Christ in the tale of the Good Samaritan and it is beyond shameful that powerful people within the Church still think that the State is the preferred medium for social justice. For those completely destitute and unable to work through no fault of their own, State support is a last resort necessity. Where the welfare state ideology, masquerading as social justice, has gone astray is in taking a last resort and always making it a first resort, with disastrous consequences that are obvious to all, and completely ignored by those who ever bleat “social justice” and usually mean “state control”.
The above video is a salute to Rick Santorum, former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, for understanding the essential nature of the Crusades as a defensive reaction to Islamic aggression. In the video below we have a rather mindless reaction to the same quote from a talking head from the liberal group Young Turks, who, judging from his comments, gained his knowledge of the Crusades from the laughably ahistorical crusader bashing flick Kingdom of Heaven (2005).
Ignorance of the depth displayed in the video above is always to be lamented, and is not unusual, as noted by Dr. Thomas Madden, one of the foremost of the scholars of the Crusades, who, over the past 40 years, have revolutionized our knowledge and understanding of that epoch:
The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event in European history. Ask a random American about them and you are likely to see a face wrinkle in disgust, or just the blank stare that is usually evoked by events older than six weeks. After all, weren’t the crusaders just a bunch of religious nuts carrying fire and sword to the land of the Prince of Peace? Weren’t they cynical imperialists seeking to carve out colonies for themselves in faraway lands with the blessings of the Catholic Church? A couch potato watching the BBC/A&E documentary on the crusades (hosted by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame no less) would learn in roughly four hours of frivolous tsk-tsk-ing that the peaceful Muslim world actually learned to be warlike from the barbaric western crusaders. No wonder, then, that Pope John Paul II was excoriated for his refusal to apologize for the crusades in 1999. No wonder that a year ago Wheaton College in Illinois dropped their Crusader mascot of 70 years. No wonder that hundreds of Americans and Europeans recently marched across Europe and the Middle East begging forgiveness for the crusades from any Muslim or Jew who would listen. No wonder.
Jonah Goldberg, in his just released book Tyranny of Cliches, demonstrates that he is aware of the current scholarship on the Crusades:
The great irony is that the zealot-reformers who want to return to a “pure” Islam have been irredeemably corrupted by Western ideas. Osama bin Laden had the idea that he was fighting the “new crusaders.” When George W. Bush once, inadvertently, used the word “crusade,” jihadists and liberal intellectuals alike erupted with rage. It was either a damning slip of the tongue whereby Bush accidentally admitted his real crusader agenda, or it was a sign of his stunning ignorance about the Crusades. Doesn’t he know what a sensitive issue the Crusades are? Doesn’t he know that the Crusades belong alongside the slaughter of the Indians, slavery, and disco in the long line of Western sins?
After all, it’s been in the papers for a while. In 1999, Muslim leaders demanded that Pope John Paul II apologize for the Crusades. “He has asked forgiveness from the Jews [for the Church’s passivity in the face of the Holocaust], so he should ask forgiveness from the Muslims,” Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, told the New York Times.3 Across the country sports teams have been dropping their crusader mascots because they’re offensive to . . . someone. Wheaton College changed their seventy-year-old team name from the Crusaders to the Thunder (no word from Thor worshippers yet as to whether they are off ended). Even Campus Crusade for Christ opted to change its name to Cru partly because the word crusade has become too radioactive. “It’s become a flash word for a lot of people. It harkens back to other periods of time and has a negative connotation for lots of people across the world, especially in the Middle East,” Steve Sellers, the organization’s vice president told Christianity Today. “In the ’50s, crusade was the evangelistic term in the United States. Over time, different words take on different meanings to different groups.”4
I’ll say. Until fairly recently, historically speaking, Muslims used to brag about being the winners of the Crusades, not the victims of it. That is if they talked about them at all. “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad—a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war,” writes Bernard Lewis, the greatest living historian of Islam in the English language (and perhaps any language).5 Historian Thomas Madden puts it more directly, “Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test: The crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.”6 Continue reading
Go read Jonah Goldberg’s NRO post on the disgusting media hypocrisy when it comes to cries of civility. Like Jonah, I do tire of playing the media blame game, but today the media’s double standard was in full glare. Gabby Giffords has made a remarkable recovery and is back in Congress, and the morning news show focused on this story. That’s wonderful. And of course they completely ignored the fact that Joe Biden called tea partiers terrorists (or nodded along when the terminology was applied), and also failed to discuss the columns written by guys like Tom Friedman and Joe Necera that also use the language of jihad and terrorism to describe the tea party.
But think about this for a second. The Giffords shooting sent the media elite in this country into a bout of St. Vitus’ dance that would have warranted an army of exorcists in previous ages. Sarah Palin’s Facebook map was an evil totem that forced some guy to go on a shooting spree. The New York Times, The Washington Post, all three broadcast networks, particularly NBC whose senior foreign affairs correspondent — Andrea Mitchell — devotes, by my rough reckoning, ten times as much air time to whining about Sarah Palin as she does about anything having to do with foreign affairs, flooded the zone with “Have you no shame finger wagging.” A memo went forth demanding that everyone at MSNBC get their dresses over their heads about the evil “tone” from the right. Media Matters went into overdrive working the interns 24/7 to “prove” that Republicans deliberately foment violence with their evil targets on their evil congressional maps.
. . .
So flashforward to this week. Tom Friedman — who knows a bit about Hezbollah — calls the tea partiers the “Hezbollah faction” of the GOP bent on taking the country on a “suicide mission.” All over the place, conservative Republicans are “hostage takers” and “terrorists,” “terrorists” and “traitors.” They want to “end life as we know it on this planet,” says Nancy Pelosi. They are betraying the founders, too. Chris Matthews all but signs up for the “Make an Ass of Yourself” contest at the State Fair. Joe Nocera writes today that “the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests.” Lord knows what Krugman and Olbermann have said.
Then last night. on the very day Gabby Giffords heroically returns to cast her first vote since that tragic attack seven months ago, the Vice President of the United States calls the Republican Party a bunch of terrorists.
No one cares. I hate the “if this were Bush” game so we’re in luck. Instead imagine if this wasDick Cheney calling the Progressive Caucus (or whatever they’re called) a “bunch of terrorists” on the day Giffords returned to the Congress. Would the mainstream media notice or care? Would Meet the Press debate whether this raises “troubling questions” about the White House’s sensitivity? Would Andrea Mitchell find some way to blame Sarah Palin for Dick Cheney’s viciousness? Would Keith Olberman explode like a mouse subjected to the Ramone’s music in “Rock and Roll High School?” Something inside me hidden away shouts “Hell yes they would!”
The Today Show even had Debbie Wasserman Schultz on this morning for five minutes talking about Giffords. No one thought to ask her what she thought of Biden’s comments? It’s not like she’s the Democratic Party’s national spokesperson or anything. Oh, wait. She is!
I have to give a hearty “AMEN” to Jonah’s concluding sentences.
Well, go to Hell. All of you.
I find all of this particularly laughable considering that I spent time in the eye doctor’s office this morning straining to read Rolling Stone with my contacts out. I’m not sure what was rougher on the eyes – the drops they put in them or reading that trash. At any rate, there was a rather long feature story on, what else, but the evils of Fox News. Yes, that bastion of journalistic integrity, Rolling Stone, is calling Fox News a propaganda arm of the GOP. It was your typical hysterical screed about Fox’s bias, made all the more ironic considering the author’s failure to note the 2×4 stuck in his eye.
Jonah Goldberg has put into words what I have been thinking and feeling since the financial meltdown of 2008. We have turned a page and entered a new era in American history. He wonders if, as a result, the political rules have changed.
But what about when the rules change? For nearly a century now, the rules have said that tough economic times make big government more popular. For more than 40 years it has been a rule that environmental disasters — and scares over alleged ones — help environmentalists push tighter regulations. According to the rules, Americans never want to let go of an entitlement once they have it. According to the rules, populism is a force for getting the government to do more, not less. According to the rules, Americans don’t care about the deficit during a recession.
And yet none of these rules seem to be applying; at least not too strongly. Big government seems more unpopular today than ever. The Gulf oil spill should be a Gaiasend for environmentalists, and yet three quarters of the American people oppose Obama’s drilling ban. Sixty percent of likely voters want their newly minted right to health care repealed. Unlike Europe, where protestors take to the streets to save their cushy perks and protect a large welfare state, the Tea Party protestors have been taking to the streets to trim back government.
Go here to read the rest at Townhall. When Obama won election there was much talk among his giddy acolytes in the media that he was the second FDR and that Obama would usher in a Second New Deal. The cover of Time magazine that graces the top of this post is a prime example of the millennial fever that gripped the Left in this country at the beginning of the Obama administration. Now it has all turned to dust and ashes for a large section of the Left. In exchange for years of effort on their part they have an administration that has roused an angry electorate against it. This bemuses the Left since many of them view the Obama administration as a failure because it has been too moderate (Yeah, I do find that hilarious), as noted by Eric Alterman in The Nation: Continue reading
If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)
There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.
Douglas Brinkley on Ted Kennedy’s Life: ‘He Did a Kind of a Redemptive Work’ by Matthew Balan of NewsBusters
Democrats now seek to exploit Ted Kennedy’s death by Jonah Goldberg
Larry King-like softball questions in a Q&A with Ted Kennedy Biographer Adam Clymer on Kennedy’s Catholicism by Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News & World Report