Saturday, September 30, 2006

Things You Should Already Know

The Israelis are covertly working to undermine American interests in Iraq by arming and training the Kurds, thereby fomenting secession. Israel, quite naturally, prefers an Iraq broken into smaller, more manageable ethnic enclaves. Every time an administration flunky opens their lying yaps they spout half-truths about Syrians and Iranians undermining the Iraqi government, but there is nary a mention of Israel's ongoing attempt to shape events in Kurdistan, thereby creating instability in Iraq and Turkey. Can't imagine why such news would be suppressed, can you?

Evangelicals are one of the primary political forces working on behalf of Israeli political interests. Here is an interesting little story about a group of Christians that recently visited the Knesset. One Australian pastor was quoted as saying, "We see Israelis as our spiritual mothers and fathers. It's an honor for us to be here. We love your God, Israel." Sigh. The problem, as Joe Sobran points out in this interesting essay is that, "Judaism and Christianity are radically opposed over the most important thing of all: Jesus Christ." Another delegate from Africa said: "We have soldiers in Africa, not just spiritual soldiers, but those who even want to come and fight with you." Christian mercenaries? I guess Paul didn't really mean it when he said "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds."

None of this implies, by the way, that as Christians, and frankly as Americans, we should neglect the threat posed by an increasingly aggressive element within Islam. In this post, George Grant is criticized for pointing out that Christians have been waging a not too infrequently bloody war with Islam since, well, about the 7th century. We read this little doozy: "How could the Islamic conflict so overshadow all the momentous struggles of history and yet authors like Grant are just now mentioning it? If it was that obvious, why did Grant write books on the ACLU and Planned Parenthood? Where's his volumes on the great Islamic crisis? He's just now learning this?" In fact, Grant has written plenty on the subject over the years, including a book, The Blood of the Moon. Evidently I should be more concerned with Straussian Philosopher Kings pontificating from their Ivory Towers than characters who kill nuns because they're ticked at the Pope. What, I can't keep my eyes on both? I'm certainly not sympathetic to Grant's views on Iraq and I've amply documented the shenanigans of Neocons, but isn't it possible to walk and chew gum at the same time?

A homosexual pedophile leaves Congress. Next stop, the priesthood. The most hilarious thing about the story is that Foley was the chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus in the House. You just can't make this stuff up.

After fawning over the Bushies in prior tomes, Bob Woodward is looking to get back into the good graces of the DC wine and cheese set. According to Woodward, the administration is covering up the extent of our problems in Iraq. You know, I'm just an idiot with a slow Internet connection, but I figured that out along time ago.

And finally, leading Baptist ethicist Richard Land says Congress must do something about immigration right now. Land says we must "find a way to deal compassionately and fairly with the 12 to 14 million people who are here illegally." Land prattles on about the rule of the law: "We have a government and a country that is committed to the rule of law, and when we have people ignoring the law -– employers, as well as those who come here illegally –- and the laws are not being enforced, it breeds disrespect for the law. And that’s a very dangerous thing." So far, so good, but then Land says we have to ignore the law by providing amnesty for law-breakers. Congress must "get [illegal immigrants] protection, to get them identified and, for those who want to stay here, give them a pathway to earn their way to some probationary status of some sort where they can earn their way to legal residence." After that, I'm guessing they should be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, AFDC, Food Stamps, WIC, and perhaps provided a translator. Isn't that how we're supposed to treat strangers and sojourners?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's Too Nice Outside for Me to be Sitting Here

You gotta love Tom Fleming: "We are nation of unreflective gluttons and buyers, eating our way into an early grave, but to combine such swinish hedonism with a pharisaic self-righteousness makes us doubly disgusting. We’re hardly better than the violence-crazed Muslims who are killing Christians because the Pope made an historical allusion their mullahs are too stupid to comprehend. Don’t laugh at the 'ragheads' my friends. Our own people are no better, only more cowardly."

Here is a sad story of local import. The pastor of Little Flock Baptist Church in Bullitt County, Kentucky recently stepped down. It turns out that he was day-trading with church money. Check out the picture with all the PCs that have stock info.

As I've said over and over and over and over and over and over again, intervention in the Middle East has not and will not make our nation safer. Now comes news that the latest National Intelligence Estimate "asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe."

An interesting review of "What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat," by Louise Richardson. "Richardson has two main critiques of Bush's antiterrorism policies. The first is now accepted by virtually everyone who is not invested in Bush's war: We should never have attacked Iraq because it had nothing to do with international terrorism. By doing so, we squandered international support, stirred up Muslim and Arab rage, and made the terrorism threat far worse. Her second point is more controversial because it directly challenges the Bush administration's Manichaean, good-vs.-evil response to terrorism: The entire 'war on terror' was a mistake. 'Our objective should not be the completely unattainable goal of obliterating terrorism; rather, we should pursue the more modest and attainable goal of containing terrorism recruitment and constraining resort to the tactic of terrorism.'"

More defeatist rhetoric from liberal pansies who obviously hate George Bush, America, and probably Jesus. This time, the haters are shedding light on problems in Afghanistan. Here is a blurb from Newsweek:

Ridge by ridge and valley by valley, the religious zealots who harbored Osama bin Laden before 9/11—and who suffered devastating losses in the U.S. invasion that began five years ago next week—are surging back into the country's center. In the countryside over the past year Taliban guerrillas have filled a power vacuum that had been created by the relatively light NATO and U.S. military footprint of some 40,000 soldiers, and by the weakness of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's administration...But the harsh truth is that five years after the U.S. invasion on Oct. 7, 2001, most of the good news is confined to Kabul, with its choking rush-hour traffic jams, a construction boom and a handful of air-conditioned shopping malls. Much of the rest of Afghanistan appears to be failing again. Most worrisome, a new failed-state sanctuary is emerging across thousands of square miles along the Afghan-Pakistan border: "Jihadistan," it could be called. It's an autonomous quasi state of religious radicals, mostly belonging to Pashtun tribes who don't recognize the Afghan-Pakistan frontier—an arbitrary line drawn by the British colonialists in 1893.


Of course, this was all predicted by Michael Scheuer in his 2004 book "Imperial Hubris." Here is an excerpt:

I believe the war in Afghanistan was necessary, but is being lost because of our hubris. Those who failed to bring peace to Afghanistan after 1992 are now repeating their failure by scripting government affairs and constitution-making in Kabul to portray the birth of Western-style democracy, religious tolerance, and women's rights -- all anathema to Afghan political and tribal culture and none of which has more than a small, unarmed constituency. We are succeeding only in fooling ourselves. Certain the Afghans want to be like us, and abstaining from effective military action against growing numbers of anti-U.S. insurgents, we have allowed the Taliban and al Qaeda to regroup and refit. They are now waging an insurgency that gradually will increase in intensity, lethality, and popular support, and ultimately force Washington to massively escalate its military presence or evacuate. In reality, neither we nor our Karzai-led surrogates have built anything political or economic that will long outlast the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces. Due to our hubris, what we today identify and promote as a nascent Afghan democracy is a self-made illusion on life-support; it is a Western-imposed regime that will be swept away if America and its allies stop propping it up with their bayonets.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On Iran

With the debacle in Iraq and an increasingly difficult fight in Afghanistan against a resurgent Taliban, I find it very hard to believe that an attack on Iran is an impending threat. On the other hand, many of the voices who prophesied disaster in Iraq are warning that an invasion of Iran is virtually inevitable.

Middle East specialist Leon Hadar says, "In a way, the Bush administration's policies have created the conditions in which such an American move becomes almost inevitable." By eliminating powers hostile to Iran in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by strengthening the hand of the Shi'ite group Hezbollah with our misguided support of Israel's Lebanese bombing, the administration has turned Iran into a regional hegemon. Moreover, after 2006, there will be virtually no political constraints keeping the Bushies at bay. In a quest to preserve a Middle Eastern legacy, Hadar foresees an attack of some sort.

Likewise, Charley Reese, one of our most astute journalists, sees darkness just over the horizon. "There are two currents of speculation flowing through Washington these days. One current says that the Bush administration is planning the bombing campaign, but only as a bluff to force the Iranians to negotiate. The other current says that the Bush administration actually plans to launch the attack.Unfortunately, I think the latter is the accurate one."

Reviewing some recent diplomatic efforts, physicist Gordon Prather concludes that Bush "intends to nuke" the Mullahs.

A less reliable source, Raw Story, reports that the Pentagon "has moved into second-stage contingency planning for a potential military strike on Iran."

But here is an establishment media outlet, Time magazine, reviewing recent events and concluding that war may be inescapable: "And yet from the State Department to the White House to the highest reaches of the military command, there is a growing sense that a showdown with Iran--over its suspected quest for nuclear weapons, its threats against Israel and its bid for dominance of the world's richest oil region--may be impossible to avoid. The chief of the U.S. Central Command (Centcom), General John Abizaid, has called a commanders conference for later this month in the Persian Gulf--sessions he holds at least quarterly--and Iran is on the agenda."

Don't worry, though. John Bolton says we're going the extra mile to ensure peace.

In other news...

The late atheist philosopher David Stove, who wrote Darwinian Fairytales, with the top ten reasons he wasn't a Darwinist.

Thinking biblically about economics.

Mohammedism as savagery. I haven't had anything to say about the Pope's recent remarks, but here is Albert Mohler with wise remarks on a number of fronts.

I may write at length about this later. For now, it's enough to say that these wacky Episcopalians are on the right track.

One in three of your countrymen still think Saddam is responsible for the Twin Towers. As Kent Brockman said, "I've said if before and I'll say it again. Democracy just doesn't work."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

State of Emergency

Patrick Buchanan is a prophet without honor among his own. Despite taking courageous stands in opposition to the culture of death in his columns, books and campaigns, he was abandoned by religious conservatives. Though he has stood firm against untrammeled immigration, affirmative action, and multiculturalism, he has been disparaged by "racially conscious" conservatives like Lawrence Auster . Naturally, his balanced view on the trade question has engendered heated diatribes from ideological Rockwellites, glib denunciations from "Dynamists," and blasts from Catoite-types, too. And of course, his lucid and gimlet-eyed analysis of American foreign policy, and the coming end of the American Imperium, has provoked the ire of the militant nogoodnik faction of the right known as neocons.

In his new book, State of Emergency, Buchanan exhibits a sense of foreboding that has animated much of his work in recent years. "As Rome passed away, so the West is passing away, from the same causes and in much the same way. What the Danube and Rhine were to Rome, the Rio Grande and Mediterranean are to America and Europe, the frontiers of a civilization no longer defended."

The primary theme Buchanan hammers home is that the demographic wave of immigration unleashed since 1965 is dramatically different from prior immigration flows. Moreover, American elites have failed to reckon with the fact that today's stream of immigrants is significantly different from its predecessors in size and scope. In ignoring these facts, the chattering classes have enabled the transformation of America from the last best hope of mankind into the polyglot boarding house of TR's imagination.

Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington pointed to the same trend in his book, Who Are We? "Mexican immigration," wrote Huntington, "differs from past immigration and most other contemporary immigration due to a combination of six factors: contiguity, scale, illegality, regional concentration [in the American Southwest], persistence, and historical presence... Demographically, socially, and culturally, the reconquista (re-conquest) of the Southwest United States by Mexican immigrants is well underway."

Before 1965, immigration was shaped by the national origins quota system, which granted visas primarily based on an immigrant’s country of birth. As a result, 70% of visas went to three countries--Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany. However, modifications to the 1965 law established family reunification, and to a lesser extent employment preferences, as the new criteria for admission. The resulting demographic, economic and cultural tsunami is described by Buchanan, who peppers readers with a myriad of statistics marinated in deep historical perspective, all written in his inimitable style.

"In 1960," says Buchanan, "America was a nation of 180 million, 89 percent of whom were of European ancestry, 10 percent black, with a few million Hispanics and Asians sprinkled among us. Ninety-seven percent of us spoke English."

But "by 2050, they [Hispanics] will be 24 percent of a nation of 420 million. By nation of origin of our people, America will be a Third World country. Our great cities will all look like Los Angeles today. Los Angeles and the cities of the Southwest will look like Juarez and Tijuana. Though we were never consulted about this transformation, never voted for it, and have protested against it in every poll and referendum, this is the future the elites have prepared for our children."

If public opinion stands in opposition to the demographic changes destroying the American project, why does it continue? In a chapter entitled "Roots of Paralysis," Buchanan spreads the blame widely. Corporations push for amnesty and collude in mass criminality to see their illegal workers pardoned as a means of driving down wages. Economists who believe in the myth of economic man provide ideological cover by putting forth the notion that sovereignty, independence and country itself should be sacrificed to the gods of globalism. Race-hustling politicos on the Left like LULAC, MALDEF, and the ACLU--supported by big foundations like Carnegie and Ford--see open-borders as a way to augment their power through the manipulation of ethnic voting blocs. And finally, churches, both Catholic and Protestant, are effectively championing amnesty in the name of feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty. The reality is that churches, too, have succumbed to the politics of guilt.

Buchanan also examines a fundamental and underlying question that lies at the root of the conflict over immigration: What is a nation, and what holds it together? Such issues are seldom raised in polite company, and Buchanan deserves credit for taking on proponents of the "creedal nation" mythology. By definition, a nation consists of a largely homogeneous population with a common identity; occupies a contiguous territory; speaks the same language; enjoys the blessings of a common religion, literature, manners, customs, and mythology; is governed by the same principles and traditions; and is conscious of common destiny and solidarity. In short, it is an ethno-cultural entity, not merely a market or set of vague universal propositions.

So what is to be done? Buchanan suggests turning off the magnets that attract immigrants. The first step is terminating birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens who become anchor babies. Next, Buchanan argues that subsidies for illegals in the form of welfare, health care, and education must be denied. Likewise, employers should face stern punishment for law-breaking, and Buchanan advocates the imposition of fines and possible jail terms to penalize firms that hire illegals. Finally, the borders must be secured via the construction of a fence across our southern border.

Buchanan’s advocacy of stern measures and his presentation of the facts has spurred the same tired charges of xenophobia and racism. But Buchanan is largely making a nationalist (or what Steve Sailer would call citizenist) case that as Americans, from whatever ethnicity or nation we have descended, have shaped a common culture worth preserving and share a common destiny worth saving.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

ETC.

Once upon a time, I really enjoyed reading Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. I still regard Sowell's Knowledge and Decisions as one of the best books on economics ever written. But both have become shills for the War Party. Karen De Coster dissects Sowell and the invaluable Charley Reese takes on Walter Williams.

An interesting commentary from Russ Moore pointing to the fact that SBCers aren't having babies. "Conservative denominations such as the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), the Church of the Nazarene, and Pentecostal groups had high birth rates. The Southern Baptist Convention is an exception. The SBC had a pitifully low birthrate of 1.96, just barely above the Episcopalians and well below the notoriously liberal United Church of Christ."

Doug Bandow with a nice overview of what the Left thinks about foreign policy. They are, of course, if anything more bloody-minded interventionists than the GOP. "For most of them [the Left], whether they supported or opposed intervening in Iraq, it is Clinton administration redux: moralistic and promiscuous foreign intervention, preferably multilateral rather than unilateral. Many liberals, and especially Democratic politicians, are no less disciples of Woodrow Wilson than are President Bush and the neoconservative coterie surrounding him."

The NY Times says that Pope Benedict has to repent for his sins. Evidently, his crime was recounting a 14th century discussion between a Byzantine Christian emperor and a Persian scholar. The pope quoted the emperor saying, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." He also said that Jihad, violence in the name of God, is contrary to God's nature. The Times is also angry that in 2004, in his role as the Vatican's top theologian, Benedict said that as a Muslim nation, Turkey is "in permanent contrast to Europe." Sheer wickedness, don't you think?

An interesting report from the largely forgotten war in Afghanistan. "In the five years since international military operations began, Afghanistan’s security situation has deteriorated significantly. After a period of relative calm during the first few years that followed the removal of the Taliban, violence is spreading once again throughout this country. As a consequence, many Afghans now perceive their country to be less secure than it was in 2001. Although 'democratic government' is now in place, the Afghan population has not yet experienced many of the promised economic and social stability benefits of peacetime." According to this report, the southern half of the country is controlled by the Taliban.

A classified report written by the chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq concludes that "the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there." According to this WAPO article, the Marine commander in Anbar, Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer, agrees with the pessimistic assessment.


Meanwhile, foreign policy strategist Andrew Sandlin shows off his "muscular libertarianism" by saying we may need to topple the Iranian regime. Why, you ask, are we resposible to clean up every mess on the planet? Sounding like Richard Land, or maybe it was Peter Parker's uncle in Spiderman, Sandlin says, "With great power comes great responsibility." Sandlin writes:

The United States is granted this responsibility not because she is a global political messiah, not because she is the world’s moral and military policeman, but because she has been given great wealth and power, and because God expects her to use those gifts justly and compassionately for the benefit of weaker individuals and nations. Rooting out terrorists and terrorist regimes is acting justly and compassionately. This is our burden as well as our calling. "To whom much is given much is required."


According to Sandlin, the United States is "patently virtuous" and altruistic. I think William Lind is closer to the truth here when he says that the United States is leading the march into a Huxleyan Brave New World. Lind writes:

Sadly, the march toward Brave New World is led by the United States. The main characteristics of Huxley’s dystopia are all too evident in post-1960s America (and Europe). They include a culture where the summary of the law is "you must be happy," happiness coming from a combination of materialism, consumerism, electronic entertainment, and sexual pleasure; globalism, the elites’ "one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them" under de facto if not de jure world government; and endless psychological conditioning, especially through the government schools and the video-screen media. Religion is already relegated to the eccentric margins, at least among the elites, if not yet quite forbidden—note those elites’ hysteria over the thesis of intelligent design, which can be reached via the scientific method. Even reproductive processes are becoming much as Huxley envisioned them. In the post-Christian West, sex is predominantly recreational, and if children do not yet come from bottles, not many babies result from all that sex. Soon enough, thanks to genetic engineering, the genetic conditioning Huxley foresaw will join psychological conditioning to create an inescapable prison for the human will. At that point, we will face the Abolition of Man. No wonder Huxley’s "savage," who represents the Last Man, committed suicide.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

About a year ago, I wrote a short essay on the messianic statecraft of Paul Wolfowitz. It makes for very compelling reading.

Back in the bad old days of American impotence in late 1960’s and 1970’s, Wolfowitz began his meteoric rise by proclaiming that ongoing revolutionary changes in information technology could transform the nature of warfare itself. Computers and whiz-bang weapons systems would allegedly provide opportunities for offensive military action by virtue of their accuracy. Military precision, in turn, would free policy makers from the moral ambiguity that had served to constrain the untrammeled use of American power previously. In Wolfowitz’s Eden, the American hegemon is not merely the New Rome, but the New Jerusalem. American power is hence baptized and infused with a moral dimension, spreading "universal values" (abstract flim-flam like "democracy" and "freedom") while unconstrained by the collateral damage of war.

Unfortunately, Wolfowitz didn’t take account of the fact that technology tends to have a leveling effect. And new technologies have clearly democratized modern warfare, and empowered the practitioners of what William Lind has called Fourth Generation Warfare. Just as the printing press helped to undermine the dominion of the Catholic Church, new technologies and methods of warfare are slowly undermining the State’s monopoly on violence.

As far back as 1989, Lind pointed to the potential for technology-driven Fourth Generation Warfare. Lind wrote:

If we combine the above general characteristics of fourth generation warfare with new technology, we see one possible outline of the new generation. For example, directed energy may permit small elements to destroy targets they could not attack with conventional energy weapons. Directed energy may permit the achievement of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) effects without a nuclear blast. Research in superconductivity suggests the possibility of storing and using large quantities of energy in very small packages. Technologically, it is possible that a very few soldiers could have the same battlefield effect as a current brigade.

The growth of robotics, remotely piloted vehicles, low probability of intercept communications, and artificial intelligence may offer a potential for radically altered tactics. In turn, growing dependence on such technology may open the door to new vulnerabilities, such as the vulnerability to computer viruses.

Small, highly mobile elements composed of very intelligent soldiers armed with high technology weapons may range over wide areas seeking critical targets. Targets may be more in the civilian than the military sector. Front-rear terms will be replaced with targeted-untargeted. This may in turn radically alter the way in which military Services are organized and structured.


One clear lesson of the American failure in Iraq and Israel’s Lebanon debacle is that though Islamic militants are still decidedly low-tech, technology is now moving faster than the diplomatic and political resources to control it. Hezbollah’s success against Israeli tanks likewise demonstrates that missile technology is becoming democratized.

More ominous is a trend noted by leftist historian Gabriel Kolko. An increasing number of states can cheaply obtain near weapons-grade plutonium. "Within a few years," writes Kolko, "many more countries than the present ten or so – the Army study thinks Saudi Arabia and even Egypt most likely – will have nuclear bombs and far more destructive and accurate rockets and missiles."

All of this means that the United States would be much better off pursuing a defensive rather than aggressive strategy in the misnamed War on Terror. In On War, Clausewitz argued for the superiority of defensive war. "So in order to state the relationship precisely, we must say that the defensive form of warfare is intrinsically stronger than the offensive. This is the point that we have been trying to make, for although it is implicit in the nature of the matter and experience has confirmed it again and again, it is at odds with prevalent opinion, which proves how ideas can be confused by superficial writers."

In short, any foreign policy strategy should seek to insulate us from disorder. To quote Lind, "America’s grand strategy should seek to connect our country with as many centers and sources of order as possible, while isolating us from as many centers and sources of disorder as possible."

What the Iraq war has accomplished is little more than the destruction of a State, which created a vacuum exploited by the purveyors of disorder. Such actions "as the war in Iraq," says Lind, "tend to isolate us from successful states and run counter to our interests."

So the key is some degree of military retrenchment, and creating rapid-hitting Special Forces that can strike quickly and lethally. But we also must separate ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and seal ourselves off to a greater degree from the sea of humanity now fleeing disorder. Lind says correctly that disorder will naturally produce hordes of refuges and immigrants. Nevertheless, "accepting refugees from centers of disorder imports disorder."

A corollary to reconsidering our interventionist foreign policy is taking moves domestically to secure the nation. In a new book entitled Defeating Jihad, Serge Trifkovic argues passionately and persuasively that Islam is incompatible with Western mores, folkways, and institutions. Trifkovic endorses greater domestic spying on Muslims and supervision of Islamic Centers using a variation of McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, denying security clearances to Muslims, and immigration policies that exclude all persons engaged in "Islamic activism."

Trifkovic's goal seems similar to Lind's--separating the United States from growing global disorder by emphasizing defense rather than offense. "The victory," says Trifkovic, "will not come by conquering Mecca for Americans but by disengaging America from Mecca and by excluding Mecca from America. Eliminating the risk is impossible. Managing it wisely, resolutely, and permanently is something attainable."

Conservatives pondering the existential crisis the West faces should be looking to the likes of Lind and Trifkovic for answers. Though their analysis may be flawed around the edges, they avoid the foolish nihilism and moral relativism of the Left without succumbing to the mindless interventionism of the Neocon Right.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Anything Goes

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now God knows,
Anything goes!
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose,
Anything goes!
If driving fast cars you like,
If low bars you like,
If old limbs you like,
If Mae West you like,
Or me undressed you like,
Why nobody will oppose.
When every night the set that's smart is
Intruding in nudist parties in studios,
Anything goes!

---From "Anything Goes"


According to the Times of London, a Church of England priest has continued to officiate as a cleric in spite of his conversion to Hinduism. The Rev. David Hart's diocese renewed his license even though he moved to India, changed his name to Ananda, and serves in a Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram, a village in southern India.


Hart, er Ananda, recently published a book entitled "Trading Faith: Global Religion in an Age of Rapid Change," where he discussed his conversion to Hinduism. It should also come as no surprise that Hart was a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar and secretary for the World Congress of Faiths.

In an interview, Mr. Hart said, "I have neither explicitly nor implicitly renounced my Christian faith or priesthood." However, in his capacity as Hindu priest, Hart daily blesses a congregation of about 60 with fire that has previously been offered to Nagar, the snake god.

Hart believes his move will "be read in the spirit of open exploration and dialogue which is an essential feature of our shared spirituality." "My philosophical position is that all religions are cultural constructs," he said. "I am acting out God's story in local terms." Nothing like diving headlong into a stew of theological relativism.

I know that I should probably critique the unbiblical, heretical view of God on display; that I should point out the flaws in his soteriology, parse his syncretism, and harp on his gross violations of God's holy and perfect law. Clearly his epistemological foundations are in need of challenge. But I'm going to resist those urges and in the spirit of Elijah (see I Kings 18), will resort to a bit of sarcasm instead.

When I read this news item, all I could think of was "The Simpson's" episode entitled "Homer the Heretic," where Homer rejects Christianity. At one point, he is discoursing with Apu at the local Quickie Mart. Seeing a statue of Ganesha in the "employee lounge," Homer chides Apu:

Homer:
"Hey, Ganesha. Wanna peanut?"

Apu:
"Please do not offer my god a peanut."

Homer:
"No offense Apu, but when they were handing out religions, you musta been
out taking a whizz"

So true. But even worse are the "Christians" who allow such idolatry from their own clergy.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Iraq Intel Report

On Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report scrutinizing Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to radical Islamic terrorists before the March 2003 invasion. "What was the gist of the report, Darrell? Boil it down," you say. Well, OK, the administration claims linking Iraq and al-Qaida were complete balderdash. "Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qaida to provide material or operational support."

Keep in mind that Iraq-supporting warmongers are running the Intel committee, so this isn't a mere partisan hit-job. In fact, the report is part of a five-part study that the Senate Intelligence Committee has undertaken examining the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the invasion of Iraq. Three committee reports remain classified (i.e., suppressed), including one which compares prewar statements by Bush administration officials to intelligence available at the time.

To take one example, before the war, leading administration figures parroted liars like Stepen Hayes, fomenting the charge that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was fitted with a prosthetic limb in a Baghdad hospital and stayed to recuperate in Baghdad as a VIP guest of Saddam Hussein's regime for months. This myth played into the notion that a sinister connection existed between al-Qaida and Hussein.

It still isn't clear whether Zarqawi sought medical treatment in Baghdad, but even if he did, is it hard to believe Saddam might not have been perusing check-in logs from the local hospital? That in fact a terrorist like Zarqawi, who was hostile to the secularism of the Hussein regime, might have snuck into town undetected. According to the Senate report, Saddam "attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture" him and the Iraqi regime "did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi."

Zarqawi, it must be remembered, operated from an area in northern Iraq outside Saddam's control, effectively protected by the American enforced no-fly zone.

The point is that Saddam was a thorough secularist and wanted nothing to do with the messianic aims of Wahabbi extremists like Zarqawi. Likewise, the divisions within Islam are significant, and we would do well to extricate ourselves from the region and allow them to fight among themselves.

Yet until immediately before the war, the president had no idea that Islam was a sectarian faith. Gee, that might have been handy to know before preparing a war, don't you think?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Joel Osteen: The Pandering Prophet

Joel Osteen was in the People's Republic of Massachusetts last week hawking his book "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential."

You can almost picture the scene, can't you? Here is a blurb from the Boston Herald:

In Boston yesterday, more than 400 fans - most of them fawning females - lined up to meet Osteen at a book signing at the Prudential Center’s Barnes & Noble. Only a visit by former President Bill Clinton drew a bigger crowd, book store employees said.

Osteen and his pretty, blonde wife, Victoria, sold out the TD Banknorth Garden last night with their two-hour worship service, which fetched $10 a ticket. The couple’s visit came a month after controversial faith healer Benny Hinn came to the Hub.


If you've been paying attention for the last several years, you may be aware that the homosexualist assault on marriage is quite advanced in Massachusetts. Hence, a visit from the "most popular preacher in the country" was bound to elicit some discussion of the Christian position on "gay marriage."

When asked about gay marriage, Osteen said "I don’t think it’s God’s best. I never feel like homosexuality is God’s best."

That antiseptic response was apparently not enough to mollify the hard-edged reporters on the scene who persisted with the hard line of inquiry. Osteen finally responded, "I don’t feel like that’s my thrust . . . you know, some of the issues that divide us, and I’m here to let people know that God is for them and he’s on their side."

God is on whose side exactly? The Old Testament condemns homosexuality in no uncertain terms. Buggery is termed an "abomination," and Leviticus 20:13 established the death penalty for homosexual acts.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul provides a revealing description of homosexuality: "In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion" (Rom. 1:27).

The word "inflamed" here literally means "to burn out." Homosexuality involves the burning out of a man. The structure of the passage in Romans 1 indicates that homosexuality as a practice represents the height of apostasy and hostility toward God.

In a week when a British evangelical was arrested for merely passing out leaflets at a homosexual rally, Osteen's tepidness is really little more than cowardice. "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

Writing about Osteen's comments, Dr. Mohler hits the nail squarely:

Mr. Osteen can be assured that his weak and evasive non-answer to this reporter's question will put him at very little risk for arrest. But then, pandering prophets are rarely at much of a risk from the public anyway.

There was no conviction in his answer; no clear declaration of biblical truth; no Gospel, no judgment, and no promise. Just a non-answer with a smile. Pathetic . . . simply pathetic.

Bill Maher, Bushbot

Bill Maher, the foul-mouthed "humorist" with a penchant for dating Black models, turns out to be an ethnocentrist writ large. Maher, who never misses an opportunity to disparage George Bush, recently offered up a little praise for the commander-in-chief.

Speaking of the then raging Israel-Hezbollah conflict Maher said this: "I mean, can you imagine if there was a terrorist organization that took over the country on our northern border, which would be Canada, and they started shelling us in our northern cities and Minnesota, and Bangor, Maine, was being shelled? What do you think George Bush would do? I think he would nuke them before breakfast. And look, you know I don’t like George Bush, but he is the best president we’ve ever had on Israel because for some reason, he gets that."

So why does Bush "get" Israel? "I think the reason he gets it is because he’s a crazy evangelical Christian," said Maher.

Maybe Maher can join CUFI.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Buchanan vs. Bahnsen: Or Godzilla vs. Bambi

I seldom read David Bahnsen because, well, what’s the point? I mean lets face it, he certainly isn't his father. But a reader forwarded me this link where Bahnsen unsheathes a few deep thoughts related to Pat Buchanan’s State of Emergency.

Bahnsen lobs some of the same tired rhetorical hand grenades employed by the usual suspects on the radical left. Sounding like a La Raza spokesflak, Bahnsen calls Buchanan "ignorant" and accuses him of fomenting a "misguided ideology that for many reeks of racism." (Forget for a moment that--you're going to be shocked--Bahnsen doesn't define "racism" nor provide a single example of Buchanan's sins in this regard.)

Buchanan's defense of immigration restriction "is logically consistent with his abhorent view of global economics, but that does not change the sheer horror of what he is truly advocating," says young Davie. "The notion that free global competition could hurt our own lazy abilities to sustain ourselves is pure and simple protectionism, and it is counter to all sound free market economics (not to mention that pesky 8th commandment many of us still believe in)."

Considering the out-and-out slander employed by Bahnsen, one wonders how seriously he takes the 9th Commandment.

So Davie believes that tariffs represent an attack on the 8th commandment. Unless he believes that all taxation is theft, this is a ridiculous and untenable position. Indeed, tariffs (taxes on the consumption of foreign goods) are infinitely preferable to taxes on income, property, or inheritance. Why would a business owner pony up taxes to pay for roads to transport goods, a legal system to enforce contracts, etc., when a foreign firm can import goods and be freed from similar costs? In effect, such policies discriminate against domestic producers and workers.

Meanwhile, real wages of Americans continue to fall precipitously. Part of the decline of working and middle-class standards of living is attributable to our insane immigration policy. For example, economist George Borjas estimates that immigration is responsible for half the decrease observed in the wages of high-school dropouts. Current immigration policy has become little more than tool to redistribute wealth, shifting resources from the poor to the wealthy without creating aggregate economic growth.

Furthermore, Bahnsen's "racially irrelevant" Christianity, which logically leads to an open-borders position, ultimately dilutes the ethnic core of the country and ultimately leads to the dissolution of a free economy. The Free Market, where Bahnsen burns incense, is not a mere abstraction, but necessarily exists within a social and institutional framework with essential preconditions and presuppositions that are quite obviously undermined by unconstrained "diversity." In short, mass immigration, the replacement of one people by another, necessarily undermines the cultural preconditions that make free markets possible.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Random Ravings

Fred Reed on George Bush: "He has occupied and made rubble of two Moslem countries, and heavily supports Israel, hated by all Moslem countries, in turning Lebanon, a third Moslem country into rubble, and is threatening Syria and Iran, two more Moslem countries, with attack, possibly nuclear. By doing this he is going to inspire Moslems with a passion for American democracy, change the Mid-East into Fifth Century Athens, and make them love us. God Almighty, what a fool. What a bus-station clown. It isn’t how people work."

Fred makes a modest proposal: "I think it is time to close the universities, and perhaps prosecute the professoriat under the RICO act as a corrupt and racketeering-influenced organization." Fred says you can learn almost anything better on your own. If you want a true college education, just head to the local used bookstore to swipe Marcuse, Steinem, Trotsky and the Washington Post. "These and a supply of Dramamine, in the space of a week, would provide eighty percent of the content of a college education. A beer truck would finish the job. The student would save four years which could more profitably be spent in selling drugs, or in frantic cohabitation or—wild thought—in reading, traveling, and otherwise cultivating himself." All this reminded me of Gary North's meditations on the "Dorm-Key Ritual":

For a majority of educated American Christians, the ritual of the dorm key has replaced confirmation as the more significant rite of passage. It takes place definitively only once, and every parent of a college freshman senses the finality of this rite when it takes place, or soon after. With the steady increase in the divorce rate, the ritual of the dorm key, which happens as a rite of passage only once, has replaced the ritual of the wedding, which may happen more than once.


More numbers from Ed Rubenstein on the transformation of America: "By 2050 nearly one-quarter (24.4 percent) of the U.S. population will be Hispanic. Put differently, the nation’s Hispanic population share at mid-century will resemble Nevada’s (22.8 percent Hispanic) and Arizona’s (28 percent Hispanic) today."

City Journal has a good essay on how schools shortchange boys. More from Fred Reed, too, on the boy crisis: "You want to end the "boy crisis"? Easy. Give boys male teachers who understand boys and care about them. Women do neither. Let them compete. It’s how they are. Encourage them to burn off energy in the gym. Reward achievement, not pretty projects. Turn them into men, not transvestites. Nahhh, never happen."

Speaking of education, I've been reading Rushdoony's "The Messianic Character of American Education." Rush wrote this in 1963. He was ahead of the curve. There is some great stuff in the book, including this quote on kindergarten: "Why then did kindergarten succeed? The answer was and is clear-cut: the desire of women to get rid of their children. Educators had to set an age requirement for kindergarten children, else they would be deluged with mothers trying to push very young children into their hands. Thus, kindergarten has proven to be in part a polite and oblique form of infanticide, one which hypocritical women can indulge in while getting credit for solicitous motherhood."

Religious liberty is under attack in California thanks to a fine Republican governor.

Here is a headline that just makes you chuckle: "U.S. built major Iranian nuclear facility." Apparently as part of our strategery during the Cold War, we decided we were going to help out the Shah. From the story:

In the heart of Tehran sits one of Iran's most important nuclear facilities, a dome-shaped building where scientists have conducted secret experiments that could help the country build atomic bombs. It was provided to the Iranians by the United States.

The Tehran Research Reactor represents a little-known aspect of the international uproar over the country's alleged weapons program. Not only did the U.S. provide the reactor in the 1960s as part of a Cold War strategy, America also supplied the weapons-grade uranium needed to power the facility—fuel that remains in Iran and could be used to help make nuclear arms.


The chief exorcist at the Vatican (how would you like that job), says that Stalin and Hitler weren't really wicked and depraved men. Nah, the devil made them do it.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

They're Just Better Manipulators

Addressing a group of U.S. Navy personnel, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says that the BIG PROBLEM in the "war on terror" isn't the folly of the administration's "strategy." Perish the thought!

In point of fact, says Secretary Rumsfeld, the problem is the success of those no-goodnik Islamic Fascists in "manipulating the media" to influence Westerners.

"They can lie with impunity," says Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld continues: "The enemy is so much better at communicating. I wish we were better at countering that because the constant drumbeat of things they say -- all of which are not true -- is harmful. It's cumulative. And it does weaken people's will and lessen their determination, and raise questions in their minds as to whether the cost is worth it."

This came as ephiphany to Paul Craig Roberts:

Now I get it. When Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly assured us that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that would be used against us if we didn’t strike first, they were being manipulated by Osama bin Laden, who used America to get rid of the secular Saddam Hussein and to create a new training and recruitment ground for al Qaeda and fundamentalist fanatics.

When the New York Times let Judith Miller serve as a propagandist for war with Iraq, the Times was being manipulated by Muslim terrorists, not by neocons.

When CNN, the networks and columnists like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin reassure us that we will win the war unless we pull out prematurely, they are being manipulated by terrorists. Finally I understand what the Weekly Standard, National Review, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, AEI, and the online site Frontpage are all about.


Yes, we're all the victims of propoganda by the bad guys. Of course, this wasn't propoganda, it was merely bad intelligence.

How to Become a Pariah

Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, sent researchers to monitor the conflict between Israeli-Hezbollah. HRW said that Hezbollah missile strikes were "serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes."

So far, so good, but then Roth and company crossed the line--by criticizing Israel. HRW said that the IDF was "treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone" and failing to make distinctions between combatants and civilians.

What do you think happened next? Rosa Brooks fills in the details:

The backlash was prompt. Roth and Human Rights Watch soon found themselves accused of unethical behavior, giving aid and comfort to terrorists and anti-Semitism. The conservative New York Sun attacked Roth (who is Jewish) for having a "clear pro-Hezbollah and anti-Israel bias" and accused him of engaging in "the de-legitimization of Judaism, the basis of much anti-Semitism." Neocon commentator David Horowitz called Roth a "reflexive Israel-basher … who, in his zest to pillory Israel at every turn, is little more than an ally of the barbarians." The New Republic piled on, as did Alan Dershowitz, who claimed Human Rights Watch "cooks the books" to make Israel look bad. And writing in the Jewish Exponent, Jonathan Rosenblum accused Roth of resorting to a "slur about primitive Jewish bloodlust."


As Brooks says, this episode is an all too typical scenario visited upon those who offer even tepid criticism of Israeli behavior. Of course, this is all old news to anyone who has followed the careers of Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran and other writers of with paleo sensibilities who have been branded as anti-Semites over the years.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Evangelicals and Foreign Policy

I'm going to resist commetning for now, but Walter Russell Mead has written a concise and interesting essay on evangelicals and foreign policy that is well worth a few moments of your time.

I Hope My Sons Learn This

From what passes these days for a brave man over at Forbes:

Guys: a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.

Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children. And if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it.


Read the essay by Mr. Noer and the extraordinarily weak rebuttal.

Of course, one consequence of marrying that career gal is that she will be less likely to want, and have, children. Newsweek recently looked at the growing trend globally toward childlessness, and its acceptance in a culture that is increasingly self-absorbed.

The sudden collapse of childbearing to levels below replacement rates in virtually the whole of the Western world is the greatest issue of our time. A few statistics: In Japan, 56 percent of 30-year-old women are childless; the fertility rate in Greece is 1.3 per woman; in Germany, the childless rate is the highest in the world, at 25 percent; in Russia, the birthrate has dropped from 2.3 in the 1980s to 1.3 today. Europe--the cradle of Christendom, is dying.

In the bad old days, says Newsweek, those who spurned marriage and children were seen as "spinsters," or worse: "Powerful social and religious taboos labeled childless women as barren spinsters, and cast suspicion on the sexual preferences of single, middle-aged men."

But now, "In the space of a generation, that tight social corset has largely vanished."

And so, the death of Western Civilization is in fact liberating. When I read that Rotterdam Holland is now 40% Islamic, I do wonder for how long our European cousins will relish their newfound "freedom."