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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘liberalism’

Gun Control, Thought Control and People Control

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

The gun control debate, like all debates with the Left, is reducible to the question of whether we are individuals who make our own decisions or a great squishy social mass that helplessly responds to stimuli. Do people kill with guns or does the availability of guns kill people? Do bad eating habits kill people or does the availability of junk food kill people?

To the Left these are distinctions without a difference. If a thing is available then it is the cause of the problem. The individual cannot be held accountable for shooting someone if there are guns for sale. Individuals have no role to play because they are not moral actors, only members of a mob responding to stimuli.

You wouldn’t blame a dog for overeating; you blame the owners for overfeeding him. Nor do you blame a dog for biting a neighbor. You might punish him, but the punishment is training, not a recognition of authentic responsibility on the part of the canine. And the way that you think of a dog, is the way that the Left thinks of you. When you misbehave, the Left looks around for your owner.

The cult of the Left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been “liberated” to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it’s because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it’s because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem.

Individual behavior is a symptom of a social problem. Identify the social problem and you fix the behavior. The individual is nothing, the crowd is everything. Control the mass and you control the individual.

That is how the Left approached this election. Instead of appealing to individual interests, they went after identity groups. They targeted low-information voters and used behavioral science to find ways to manipulate people. The Right treated voters like human beings. The Left treated them like lab monkeys. And the lab monkey approach is triumphantly toted by progressives as proof that the Left is more intelligent than the right. And what better proof of intelligence can there be than treating half the country like buttons of unthinking responses that you can push to get them to do what you want.

Would you let a lab monkey own a gun? Hell no. Would you let it choose what to eat? Only as an experiment. Would you let it vote for laws in a referendum? Not unless it’s trained to push the right button. Would you let it drive a car? Nope. Maybe a bicycle. And if it has to travel a long way, you’ll encourage it to use mass transit. Does a monkey have freedom of speech? Only until it annoys you.

You’ll take away most of the monkey’s bananas, which you’re too lazy to go and find for yourself because you have more important things to do than fetch bananas. You train monkeys to fetch bananas for you. That is how the enlightened elites of the Left see the workers whose taxes they harvest; as monkeys that they taught in their schools and created jobs for with their stimulus plans for. And the least that the monkeys could do is pay their taxes, because the monkeys didn’t build that. You did.

You do plan to take care of monkey’s medical expenses, at least until they get too high, and spay and neuter it with free birth control. You will train it to be the smartest and most well-behaved monkey it can be. And when it gets too sick, you plan to have it mercifully put down so it doesn’t hang around spreading diseases and depressing you with its misery.

And what’s wrong with any of that? Human beings are just evolved monkeys. It’s not as if you’re being cruel to the monkey. You’re engaged in what you might charitably think of as a symbiotic relationship with the monkey. If the monkey were smart, it might think of you as a parasite. But you have a whole lot of rounds of ammunition stockpiled in case of a Planet of the Apes scenario.

If you assume that there is as much of a substantive difference the elite and the common man as there is between a man and a monkey, there is nothing particularly inappropriate about such behavior. We herd animals. Liberals herd people. The human being is the livestock of the liberal animal farm.

The Nazis believed that they were the master race because they were genetically superior. Liberals believe that they are the master race on account of their superior empathy and intelligence. There’s an obvious paradox in believing that you have the right to enslave and kill people because you care more, but that didn’t stop millions of people from joining in with revolutions that led to a century of bloodshed in the name of movements that cared more.

The defining American code is freedom. The defining liberal code is compassion. Conservatives have attempted to counter that by defining freedom as compassionate, as George W. Bush did. Liberals counter by attempting to define compassion as liberating, the way that FDR did by classing freedoms with entitlements in his Four Freedoms.

On one side stands the individual with his rights and responsibilities. On the other side is the remorseless state machinery of supreme compassion. And there is no bridging this gap.

Liberal compassion is not the compassion of equals. It is a revolutionary pity that uses empathy only as fuel for outrage. It is the sort of compassion practiced by people who like to be angry and who like to pretend that their anger makes them better people. It is the sort of compassion that eats like poison into the bones of a man or a society, even while swelling their egos with their own wonderfulness.

Compassion of this sort is outrage fuel. It is hatred toward people masquerading as love. And that hatred is a desire for power masquerading as outrage which in turn is dressed up as a deep love for others and empathy for all living creatures. Peel away the mask of compassion and all that is underneath is a terrible lust for power. And the only way to truly justify the kind of total power summoned by such lusts is by reducing the people you would rule over to the status of non-persons.

The clash that will define the future of America is this collision between the individual and the state, between disorganized freedom and organized compassion, between a self-directed experiment in self-government and an experiment conducted by trained experts on a lab monkey population. And the defining idea of this conflict is accountability.

To understand the Left’s position on nearly any issue, imagine a 20th Century American and then take away accountability. Assume that the individual is helpless and stupid, has little to no control over his own behavior and is only responding to stimuli and functions in a purely reactive capacity. Then use that data to come up with a response to anything from kids getting fat to a football player shooting his wife to terrorists firing rockets at Israel. The only possible answer to reactive behavior is to find the thing being reacted to and condemn it.

If you want to fake being a member of the Left on any topic and in any setting, master this simple phrase. “But we have to look at the root causes to see who is really responsible.” Congratulations, you can now get by anywhere from Caracas to Brussels to Berkeley.

The root cause is a perpetual search for an accountability vested in systems rather than people. That search always ends up with systems and ideologies, rather than mere people, because it justifies the destruction of those systems and ideologies. And destroying systems and ideologies allows them to be replaced by their progressive replacements.

The final failure of accountability for the Left is a failure of moral organization, while for the right it is a failure of personal character. The right asks, “Why did you kill?” The Left asks, “Who let him have a gun?” “Who didn’t provide him with a job” and “Who neglected his self-esteem?”

Freedom goes hand in hand with personal moral organization of the individual by the individual. Organized compassion however requires the moral organization of the society as a whole. A shooting is not a failure of the character of one man alone, or even his family and social circle, it is the total failure of our entire society and perhaps even the world, for not leveraging a sufficient level of moral organization that would have made such a crime impossible. No man is an island. Every man is a traffic jam.

Social accountability on this scale requires the nullification of the personhood and accountability of the individual, just as the moral organization that it mandates requires removing the freedom of choice of the individual, to assure a truly moral society. When compassion and morality are collective, then everyone and no one is moral and compassionate at the same time. And that is the society of the welfare state where compassion is administered by a salaried bureaucracy.

Choice is what makes us moral creatures and collective compassion leaves us less than human. The collective society of mass movements and mass decisions leaves us little better than lab monkeys trying to compose Shakespeare without understanding language, meaning or ideas, or anything more than the rote feel of our fingers hitting the keyboard.

This is the society that the Left is creating, a place filled with as many social problems as there are people, where everyone is a lab monkey except the experts running the experiments, and where no one has any rights because freedom is the enemy of a system whose moral code derives from creating a perfect society by replacing the individual with the mass. It is a society where there is no accountability, only constant compulsion. It is a society where you are a social problem and there are highly paid experts working day and night to figure out how to solve you.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Daniel Greenfield

Twenty-Eight Years Later, it’s Finally 1984

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In 1975, there were political billboards around America proclaiming portentously that 1984 was only nine years away.  The reference, of course, was to George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, the novel of a collectivized, indoctrinated human future, which high-school students had been reading since it was published in 1949.

The year 1984, by Gregorian reckoning, came and went, and Americans seemed to have dodged the Nineteen-Eighty-Four bullet.  We weren’t being interned for reeducation by a Ministry of Love.  Although conservative, constitutionalist, limited-government ideas came under relentless attack in the mainstream media and the academy, those who expressed the ideas remained free to do so.  (They in fact became freer with the lifting under Reagan of the genuinely Orwellian-named “Fairness Doctrine.”)

The MSM built narratives about the reprehensible heartlessness, hypocrisy, and stupidity of conservatives, Republicans, and Christians, but we remained largely free to live and work as we chose.  Reagan was reelected in 1984, and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were elected in the years since.  Republicans might have imposed unnecessary constraints on themselves – e.g., the party leadership unaccountably believing, against the evidence, that Republican candidates need to tack left to attract votes – but for the most part, the GOP continued to have a fair shot at the ballot box.

In 2012, the atmosphere has changed.  The sacredness of our right to free expression – religious, political, artistic – is not necessarily given priority by either our federal government or the MSM.  Dissent is treated as a pestilence, or worse (e.g., global-warming skeptics being compared to Holocaust deniers).  Media and political figures cater nakedly to political narratives, no matter how many times truth bites them in the backside.  They simply ignore the truth – often while being faced directly with it on live TV – focused instead on faithfully repeating the narratives launched from the Obama White House, as well as on nurturing narratives of their own.

Thus, when multiple attacks were mounted on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Muslim world on 9/11 – one of them a clearly pre-planned assault on the US ambassador in Libya (see here as well; the media originally reported the Libyan attack as pre-planned) – the Obama White House promptly launched a narrative: that these attacks were unrelated to the 9/11 anniversary, and were instead the fault of a shadowy naturalized American, who had made what is apparently a silly, low-quality video about Mohammed and Muslims.  (The clip on YouTube seems to confirm this assessment.)

Attacks on US embassies and consulates all across the Muslim world, on 9/11/12 and the days following, could hardly be interpreted as other than a form of attack on the United States.  Egyptian radicals storming the US embassy in Cairo chanted, “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama!” – which carries not a whiff of righteous fury about an amateur video, but clearly invokes Osama bin Laden and the tactical triumph of al Qaeda on 9/11/01, and carries a warning to the president of the United States.  Assaults and attempted assaults on US diplomatic facilities occurred from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Morocco – including violent riots against our embassy in Tunisia, the vanguard of the Arab Spring and a North African nation with which America has had peaceful, friendly ties for more than 200 years.

At the very least, the Obama administration is misinterpreting what is going on.  The eruptions in the Muslim world are happening because of the larger shift that started 18 months ago.  Crowds of radicals from the Muslim world generate a fury that Bolsheviks could only wish for; the developments across the Muslim arc of the Eastern hemisphere today are not necessarily to be interpreted in the categories of Soviet-era instigation and fomentation, for which Marxist cadre were famous.  Today’s events are somewhat different.

Significantly, Mohammed Morsi is emblematic of a new kind of Sunni Arab leader who will grope toward a signature concept of state Islamism.  But that concept is as yet without clear form, and the numerous attacks on American facilities can’t be pinned on it.  The two phenomena – attacks from the street and state Islamism – are related, but they have not gotten to a melding point yet.  This is the evolution we need to be watching for.

The Arab Spring nations have either remained, uneasily, under sclerotic despotisms, or have migrated to an evolving Muslim Brotherhood rule.  Neither case is a factor for stability, social peace, or a consensual idea in the political realm.  Libya is as yet unpacified by her putative national government; Syria is in full uproar.  The Middle East has not found a stability point, and that condition is red meat to radical extremists, who include both the terrorists who assassinated the ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, and the inciters of attacks on US embassies in Cairo and elsewhere.

J. E. Dyer

Iranian Woman Strikes a Few Blows (and Kicks) For Freedom

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Reported:

Iran Cleric Pummeled by ‘Badly Covered’ Woman After Warning

An Iranian cleric said he was beaten by a woman in the northern province of Semnan after giving her a warning for being “badly covered,” the state-run Mehr news agency reported.  Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the woman in the street while on his way to the mosque in the town of Shahmirzad, and asked her to cover herself up, to which she replied “you, cover your eyes,” according to Mehr. The cleric repeated his warning, which he said prompted her to insult and push him.

“I fell on my back on the floor,” Beheshti said in the report. “I don’t know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me.”

Visit My Right Word.

Yisrael Medad

Jews And The Democratic Treadmill

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Two weeks ago, in a column on Jewish voting patterns, the Monitor pointed to the 1984 election as evidence “that a Republican presidential candidate, whether incumbent or challenger and no matter how strong his record on Israel, will always lose among Jewish voters when the alternative is a liberal Democrat without any pronounced or well-known hostility to Israel.”
Several readers argued that the 1972 election illustrates even more starkly the Jewish proclivity for voting Democrat – and they’re probably right. At least the Democratic candidate in 1984 was a known and comfortable commodity to pro-Israel Jewish voters, which was decidedly not the case in 1972.
The Democratic nominee in ’72 was the extremely liberal South Dakota senator George McGovern, a man who had not exactly carved a name for himself as a defender of Israel and who exemplified the type of guilt-driven liberalism that captured the Democratic party that year (and would lead it to disaster in every presidential election save one over the next 16 years).
McGovern challenged Richard Nixon, who’d never been a popular figure in the Jewish community and who garnered just 17 percent of the Jewish vote in 1968 when he defeated then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey. But Nixon during his first four years in the White House compiled a generally solid record on Israel. U.S. policymakers began to take seriously Israel’s value as an American asset in the region, and military aid to Israel rose to unprecedented levels.
Israeli leaders left no doubt as to their preference. Prime Minister Golda Meir considered Nixon the most supportive U.S. president since Israel’s creation in 1948, and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, the former IDF chief of staff and future prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, openly hoped for a Nixon victory.
But though it was clear throughout the campaign that McGovern would not attain the stratospheric Jewish support Democrats had come to consider their birthright, it was equally clear that the bulk of the Jewish community would remain loyal to the Democratic standard bearer.
As in prior elections, Jewish organizational leaders such as the Washington fixture Hyman Bookbinder made no secret of their Democratic sympathies. The McGovern campaign’s Jewish liaison, Richard Cohen, returned after the election to his job as public relations director at the American Jewish Congress; McGovern campaign director Frank Mankiewicz was a former employee of the Anti-Defamation League.
Barbra Streisand, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Falk, Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Leonard Nimoy and scores of other Jewish celebrities enthusiastically gave their time and money to the Democratic candidate.
As Stephen Isaacs described it in his 1974 book Jews and American Politics, “despite problems with affirmative action plans-cum-quotas, the ‘urban fever zone,’ scatter site housing, community control of schools, an inept Democratic presidential campaign – despite all these things and more – the Jewish bloc vote did hold up” for McGovern, who won the votes of 65 percent of American Jews – this while Nixon was crushing McGovern among the general electorate in a landslide of historic proportions.
While Nixon doubled his share of the Jewish vote from the paltry 17 percent he received four years earlier, the startling fact remains that McGovern actually did better among Jews than had Adlai Stevenson – an old favorite of Jewish voters and an icon of mid-twentieth century liberalism – in 1952 and 1956.
Given Nixon’s record on Israel and the plaudits of Israeli leaders, his moderate domestic agenda, and an unimpressive Democratic nominee with no strong ties to the Jewish community, the 1972 election was as clear a signal as any that the majority of Jewish voters were (are) driven by a combination of old habits and a religious-like devotion to liberalism rather than a primary concern for Israel or narrowly defined Jewish interests.

A year later, as the Yom Kippur War raged, Nixon went against the State and Defense Department bureaucracies and directed the massive military airlift that saved Israel from impending catastrophe. Had two-thirds of American Jewish voters gotten their way, the man sitting in the Oval Office during Israel’s time of unprecedented peril would have been President George McGovern.

Jason Maoz

Desmond Tutu Vs. Israel: An Old Story

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

An old saying has it that “liberalism is always being surprised.” That is the only possible explanation of Jewish expressions of “surprise” and “shock” that Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu in late October urged the South African Opera troupe to cancel its engagement to perform “Porgy and Bess” in Israel.

Turning a blind eye to Tutu’s disparagement of Israel and indeed of Jews generally is, to be sure, not exclusively a Jewish failing. Just a few months ago, on the occasion of the Anglican clergyman’s 79th birthday, President Obama lauded him as “a moral titan – a voice of principle, an unrelenting champion of justice, and a dedicated peacemaker.”

In this year alone Tutu has demonstrated his dedication to peace, justice, and principle in the Middle East in particular by speaking up for Hamas and supporting the “Freedom Flotilla” of Islamist jihadists and “internationalist” do-gooders (people who confuse doing good with feeling good about what they are doing) who last spring tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

He has also repeatedly endorsed the activities of the BDS (Boycott/Divest/Sanction) movement. This reincarnation of the Nazis’ “Kauf nicht beim Juden” campaign of the 1930s constantly invokes Tutu’s “authoritative” condemnation of Israel (where Arabs and Jews use the same buses, beaches, clinics, cafes, and soccer fields, and attend the same universities) as an “apartheid” state. Advertisement

But his fulminations against Jews have a long history, so well-documented that one wonders how the “surprised” Jewish leaders or President Obama can possibly be ignorant of it, especially now that the latter has a “director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism” named Hannah Rosenthal, who has shown herself adept even at spotting that evanescent phenomenon called “Islamophobia” at a distance of ten miles.

Here are just a few examples of the “moral titan” Tutu on the Jewish question:

On the day after Christmas 1989, Tutu, standing before the memorial at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem to the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis, prayed for the murderers and scolded the descendants of their victims. “We pray for those who made it happen, help us to forgive them and help us so that we in our turn will not make others suffer.” This, he said, was his “message” to the Israeli children and grandchildren of the dead.

Moral obtuseness, mean spite, and monstrous arrogance do not make for sound ethics and theology. Neither Tutu nor the Israelis he lectured can “forgive” the Nazi murderers. Representatives of an injured group are not licensed (even by the most sanctimonious of preachers) to forgive on behalf of the whole group; in fact, forgiveness issues from God alone. The forgiveness Tutu offers the Nazis is truly pitiless because it forgets the victims, blurs over suffering, and obliterates the past.

Tutu is always far less moved by the actuality of what the Nazis did (“the gas chambers,” he once said, “made for a neater death” than apartheid resettlement policies) than by the hypothetical potentiality of what, in his jaundiced view, Israelis might do. His speeches against apartheid returned obsessively to gross, licentious equations between the former South African system and Jewish practices, biblical and modern.

“The Jews,” Tutu declared in 1984, “thought they had a monopoly on God” and “Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings.” Tutu has been an avid supporter of the Goebbels-like equation of Zionism with racism. He has alleged that “Jews think they have cornered the market on suffering” and that Jews are “quick to yell ‘anti-Semitism’ ” because of “an arrogance of power – because Jews have such a strong lobby in the United States.”

Jewish power in America is, in fact, a favorite Tutu theme. In late April 2002 he praised his own courage in resisting it. “People are scared in [America] to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful, very powerful. Well, so what? Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”

Tutu has repeatedly declared that (as he once told a Jewish Theological Seminary audience) “whether Jews like it or not, they are a peculiar people. They can’t ever hope to be judged by the same standards which are used for other people.” Certainly Tutu has never judged Jews by the standards he uses for other people. Although South African and American Jews were more, not less, critical of apartheid than the majority of their countrymen, Tutu in 1987 threatened that “in the future, South African Jews will be punished if Israel continues dealing with South Africa.”

Edward Alexander

American Jewry's Outdated Orthodoxy

Friday, December 20th, 2002

Most American Jews are orthodox. No, that's not a misprint, nor is it a sign that I've taken leave of my senses. In fact, the bulk of American Jewry is very orthodox. The problem is, they're very orthodox in their liberalism, not their Judaism — and therein lies the answer to all the costly studies, surveys and polls commissioned by Jewish organizations in their never-ending quest to understand why Jews are assimilating themselves out of existence.

Diaspora Jews have long suffered from serious psychopathologies, most notably a virulent strain of assimilationist self-hatred. Western Jewry in particular has been dominated by a form of assimilationism that emerged long before World War II, with precedents and elements found in both the German Jewish enlightenment and German Reform Judaism.

The innovation of German (and later American) Reform Judaism was that the Jews should ''define themselves away'' as a national entity. Instead, Jews would define themselves as just another ethnic group in their various countries of residence, but with their own religion — i.e. Germans of the Mosaic faith, Hungarians practicing Judaism, Russians of the Hebrew tradition.

The de-emphasizing of the national aspects of Jewishness was accompanied by religious adaptation and reformation. In order to make Jewish religious observance more palatable to the Protestant majorities around them, Western non-Orthodox Jews subjected their Judaism to substantial dilution, in the process co-opting a number of Protestant practices such as organs in synagogues and ''confirmation'' ceremonies.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust and the destruction of Europe's Jewish communities, America became the indisputable intellectual center for non-Orthodox Judaism. In an acceleration of a trend that had already begun before the war, a new form of Jewish assimilationism, the ''Liberalism as Judaism'' form of pseudo-Judaism, took firm hold in the U.S. This school of thought held that Judaism constituted nothing more or less than the American liberal political agenda.

The ''Liberalism as Judaism'' School argued that all of Judaism and Jewish tradition could be boiled down to a search for civil ''justice'' and secular ''freedom.'' Since it was axiomatic, in the eyes of Jewish liberals, that the liberal political agenda was synonymous with justice, freedom, and righteousness — and that the opponents of liberalism were evil and unjust — ''Judaism'' itself could be conscripted in the cause of promoting liberal partisanship.

In the era when liberalism meant civil rights, anti-poverty legislation and basic social welfare programs — that is from the mid-1930's through the mid-1960's — such a set of axioms seemed plausible to a great many. By aligning themselves with the forces of progress and enlightenment, Jews would promote their own acceptance and reputation, at least among thinking, ''progressive'' Americans.

Jews, so the thinking went, were well-served by joining these good Americans in their struggle for a better society — a society in which Jews would be appreciated and honored as comrades-in-arms in the battle for tolerance and freedom.

In short order the face of institutional Jewry was transformed:

* Numerous institutions devoted to the new ''Liberalism as Judaism'' orthodoxy arose in the American Jewish community. The mission of these organizations, sometimes stated and sometimes not, was the promotion of the liberal political agenda.

* The community ''federations'' also pursued liberal causes, and often operated as the Jewish analogue to Christian charity groups, funding general community hospitals and social services.

* Because the Jewish weeklies that formed the main communications network of American Jewry were generally owned and published by the federations, they invariably pushed a liberal editorial line.

* The ''defense organizations'' — Bnai Brith, the American Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee — which originally were founded in large part to battle anti-Semitism, joined the struggle for liberalism and often devoted the bulk of their resources and energies to the promotion of liberal causes.

* Large parts of the Reform and Conservative synagogue movements jumped aboard the ''Liberalism as Judaism'' bandwagon. Many Reform and Conservative rabbis devoted their weekly synagogue sermons to the advocacy of liberal causes. ''Social action'' committees abounded in synagogues and other Jewish community institutions, where ''social action'' meant only one thing — the liberal political agenda.

Liberalism Comes Home To Roost

From the start, though, there were problems with the formula of ''Liberalism as Judaism'' — that is, with the assertion that the essence of Judaism is nothing other than moral sentiments that may be conscripted in support of liberal ideological fads.

The chief problem was that if one accepted the equating of Judaism with liberalism, there really was no reason to remain Jewish. Surely Jewish tradition speaks nobly and highly of the search for justice and peace, but so does virtually every other religious or non-religious humanist tradition. After all, to paraphrase that famous old ad for Levy's rye bread, you don't have to be Jewish to be a liberal. And there were far easier ways to express and advocate liberalism and social justice.

Steven Plaut

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/american-jewrys-outdated-orthodoxy/2002/12/20/

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