Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Christianity Goes South...and East

I was reading an essay by R. J. Rushdoony recently on the subject evangelism and dominion where he discussed his time as a missionary to the American Indians and the Chinese in San Francisco.

As a missionary, he noticed that Chinese culture was resistant to the claims of Christ’s lordship and dominion because of its radical relativism and absence of absolutes. Likewise, he argued that Marxism could serve as an instrument to purge Chinese relativism.

Writing in 1981, Rushdoony said:

We can thus say that, perhaps Marxism, in God’s providence, is God’s purgation of China’s ancient religious relativism. While Marxism is in essence also relativistic, in practice political communism is an absolutist faith and bitterly hostile to alien relativisms and absolutisms alike. Marxism could well be the prelude to the conversion of China. It will destroy the yang and yin and prepare the way for Christ, for truth.

Indeed, such a revival is breaking out in China. When Mao rode to power in 1949, there were less than 1 million Christians in China. Today there are 111 million and that number will grow to 218 million by 2050. There are 10,000 conversions a day.

East Asia Times columnist Spengler writes that Christianity has found a new fulcrum in Asia. "I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two centuries from now," writes Spengler.

The expansion of Christianity into the global South, including areas where Catholicism has become dormant, is one of the unreported stories of our time. The coming collision with Islam is likely to be bloody and is surely inevitable. Let's hope that our Christian brothers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have more courage than our European cousins such as Rowan Williams, who argues that Britain should adopt certain aspects of Sharia law. Williams says that Sharia is not an alien or rival system. This coment from the leader of Anglicans around the globe speaks volumes about the state of his "church."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sounds Like Paradise

The failure of the federal government to stop the pillaging of our southern border has pushed a number of states to take up legislation designed to punish employers and business interests that are savagely attacking the working class by exploiting cheap labor from Mexico.

Here in Indiana, Senator Mike Delph has proposed relatively modest legislation targeting employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants while punishing those who harbor, transport or employ illegals.

Listen to Senator Delph here.

My local paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, has consistently supported open borders, rhapsodizing about hard-working Latino immigrants who "do a lot of jobs that most native-born Americans don’t want to do" and "are enriching everything from our cuisine to our school curriculum." The primary editorial concern, given that they aren't tossed into dog-eat-dog competition for their daily bread, is having a plethora of ethnic eateries that David Hawpe and Betty Baye can frequent along Bardstown Road, our local hot spot.

Today in the CJ is an article prophesying doom, and an exodus of illegals from the Hoosier state, if Delph's legislation becomes law. Here is a blurb:

Thousands of illegal immigrants have fled the two states that have enacted tough new immigration laws similar to the one before the Indiana General Assembly.

Since passing their laws, Oklahoma and Arizona have seen declines in school enrollments, a scarcity of construction workers and the sudden emptying of rental homes and apartments.

Wow, ghastly huh? Natives doing construction work, and getting paid a decent amount to do so. Taxpayers freed from the burden paying for ESL classes for illegals. The apocalypse is upon us.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Review of "Day of Reckoning"--Part I

(This will be the first of several short essays that will serve as a review of Pat Buchanan’s latest book. For more of my previous thoughts on Buchanan, go here, here, and here.)

In his latest book, "Day of Reckoning", Pat Buchanan revisits a number of themes that have animated his work since the late 1990’s, all of which focus on the decline of the American Imperium.

Buchanan is also presently putting the finishing touches on yet another book to be released in May with the title, "Churchill, Hitler, and 'The Unnecessary War': How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World."

Since publishing "The Great Betrayal" in 1998, Buchanan has become a leading critic of the American Empire and is one of the few public intellectuals with the courage to verbalize the obvious--we have constructed our house upon sand. If there is a word that defines America it is "unsustainable."

An Unsustainable Foreign Policy

American foreign policy is bankrupt, with sprawling commitments dramatically exceeding its military assets. With somewhere between 737 and 1,000 military bases strewn across more than 150 nations the sun truly never sets on the American Empire.

The overbearing "footprint" of American power was bound to produce a backlash, as Buchanan presciently predicted in his much pilloried tome, "A Republic, Not an Empire": "If we continue on this course of reflexive interventions, enemies will one day answer our power with the last weapon of the weak--terror, and eventually cataclysmic terrorism on US soil."

Yet rather than producing a re-thinking of American commitments and a revival of foreign policy realism, the 9/11 calamity pushed Bush and Cheney toward a messianic Manicheanism. Spurred on and tutored by anti-Christian neo-cons seeking to construct an earthly utopia through American power, the president professed faith in the idol of Democratism and began reciting a new catechism ("The requirement of freedom apply fully…to the entire Islamic world", "We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name", "Liberty is both the plan of Heaven for humanity, and the best hope for progress here on Earth", "The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution", etc.).

The rhetorical pyrotechnics of the Ideologue-In-Chief reached a crescendo in his second inaugural address, a speech dripping with hyperbole and ideological excess culminating in a declaration of the mission of his presidency, and the course of our foreign policy: "So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in the world."

With 9/11 as a pretext, Mr. Bush stoked the fires of a justifiably angry body politic by creating a Manichean distinction between "us" and "them". Bush and his defenders posit a world where the U.S. and her "coalition partners" are the defenders of freedom and civilization, attempting to thwart the "terrorists" and "homicide bombers" populating the backwaters of the Islamic world.

Aping the words of Christ, Mr. Bush said there is no neutrality: "There is no neutral ground – no neutral ground – in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death. The terrorists are offended not merely by our policies; they’re offended by our existence as free nations. No concession will appease their hatred. No accommodation will satisfy their endless demands." Hence diplomacy and discussion were consigned to the proverbial dustbin, castigated as appeasement to godless wickedness.

The Bush Doctrine of preemptive strike and preventive war is designed the curb the ambitions of any power that might challenge American predominance in any part of the world. It is hubris, pure and simple, designed to insure American global hegemony and is a recipe for perpetual war.

America has committed to the creation of a "democratic", anti-Taliban, pro-Western Afghanistan, a place where would empire-builders from Alexander to Brezhnev have gone to die. She has committed to defending the Baltic Republics against Russia and maintains a presence in Kosovo defending ethnic-cleansing, church-burning Albanians. She will go to war on behalf of Israel against all enemies while committing to the dual containment of Iraq and Iran. She has guaranteed to defend Taiwan and Japan against China and permanently stationed 30,000 soldiers along the DMZ to defend South Korea against an attack from the north. And with his misguided Middle East excursion, the president has promised to spread democracy from the Nile to the Euphrates--and beyond.

To carry out these commitments is an army of 1.4 million men and women, half the forces available to Eisenhower during the relatively peaceful 1950’s. This is the very definition of imperial overstretch.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rushdoony on Revisionism and History

"Before any Big Brother arrives, the new religion and new history must prepare the way for him and envision him as the historical necessity…As a result, since World War II, there has been an extensive suppression of and hostility to historical studies which seek to give an accurate report and analysis of the causes and conduct of that conflict…In short, bear false witness, by silence, consent, or writing, especially if it is intellectually respectable to do so, for to do so justice to an enemy, stranger, or anyone other than yourself 'must simply result in embarrassing your friends.'"

--R. J. Rushdoony, "The Nature of the American System"

Rothbard on Conspiracies

LRC publishes an essay by Murray Rothbard from 1977 on conspiracies. This is the sort of thing that Virginia Postrel and Arthur J. "Don't Call Me the Fonz" Gillespie would never touch.

Rothbard points to the simple truth that powerful men often use the state as an instrument to expand their power and influence:

Far from being a paranoid or a determinist, the conspiracy analyst is a praxeologist; that is, he believes that people act purposively, that they make conscious choices to employ means in order to arrive at goals. Hence, if a steel tariff is passed, he assumes that the steel industry lobbied for it; if a public works project is created, he hypothesizes that it was promoted by an alliance of construction firms and unions who enjoyed public works contracts, and bureaucrats who expanded their jobs and incomes. It is the opponents of "conspiracy" analysis who profess to believe that all events – at least in government – are random and unplanned, and that therefore people do not engage in purposive choice and planning.

Rothbard also briefly explains one weakness in such thinking--the willingness to wrap all conspiracies into one conspiracy: "The bad conspiracy analyst seems to have a compulsion to wrap up all the conspiracies, all the bad guy power blocs, into one giant conspiracy. Instead of seeing that there are several power blocs trying to gain control of government, sometimes in conflict and sometimes in alliance, he has to assume – again without evidence – that a small group of men controls them all, and only seems to send them into conflict."

As an atheist, Rothbard also ignores the anti-Christian impulse at the heart of contemporary elites.

Raimondo on Obama

Will Justin Raimondo pull the lever for Barack Obama?

This question arises as Raimondo writes a column praising Obama's early opposition to the Iraq war. Raimondo links to Obama's 2002 speech at an anti-war rally as proof of his prescience and judgment. I had not read the speech previously, but it is quite good. Here he is bashing Perle and Wolfie:

I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

Obama also accurately pointed out that while Saddam was a bad guy, he posed no threat to our interests:

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

Raimondo also speculates that Obama will shortly become the latest victim of a smearbund organized by Israel-Firsters. Such a frontal attack would split the Democratic constituency. Both Black voters and educated progressives would likely recoil from the sort of strategy Raimondo envisions.

So can anti-war conservatives vote for Obama?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Boobus Americanus

A friend once summed up his view of democracy and the limitations inherent therein with the following formulation: "The masses are asses."

While admittedly crude and by no means a wry, Menkenesque description of the folly of Boobus Americanus, my friend insisted he was merely quoting Alexander Hamilton. And in fact, he had hit upon an important truth. Though elites always and everywhere rule, in a democracy they do so by holding to the faith and aspirations of mass man. As Burton Blumert observed, "if we only unmasked the conspiracy, all our problems would be solved, but if the trouble is in all of us, then we really are in trouble."

Witness the current GOP primary. Sixty-four percent of all Americans oppose the Iraq war and fifty-nine percent think things are going "somewhat badly" or "very badly" in bringing stability to that blood-soaked land. Still willing to flak for the prez, an astounding sixty-four percent of GOP primary voters continue to support the war. Obviously, that means the remainder must be voting for Ron Paul, right? Well, no, they are voting for John McCain. A bit ironic, don't you think, given that McCain is channeling George C. Scott and will, as Pat Buchanan has observed, make Dick Cheney look like Gandhi. He has virtually promised a war with Iran and has said that the U.S. occupation of Iraq could last 100 years.

According to the Boston Globe, "In New Hampshire, McCain overwhelmingly won the votes of the one-third of Republican-primary voters who told exit pollsters they 'strongly' or 'somewhat' oppose the war, and trailed Mitt Romney by over 20 points among those who strongly support it. In Michigan, where McCain lost to Romney, the Arizona senator also carried antiwar voters while losing among those backing the conflict." In essence, the uberhawk McCain won the primaries on the backs of anti-war Republicans. To quote Mencken, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."

How about trade? By a nearly 2-1 margin Republican voters say that free trade is bad for the U.S. economy. So did they line up behind Duncan Hunter? No, they voted for John McCain, who calls himself a "student of history" (right at the bottom of his class at Annapolis) and then says this: "Every time the United States has become protectionist and listened to the siren song that you're hearing partially on this stage tonight, we've paid a very heavy price. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Acts in the 1930s were direct contributors to World War II. It sounds like a lot of fun to bash China and others, but free trade has been the engine of our economy. Free trade should be the continuing principle that guides this nation's economy." Smoot-Hawley caused WWII? It was also responsible for polio, or so I've heard.

McCain voted for NAFTA, and its expansion to other nations in the Western hemisphere, supported the implementation of CAFTA, backed the creation of the WTO, voted against sanctions designed to open the Japanese market, and has consistently voted to affirm China's most favored nation trading status.

The immigration issue, too, should have been a hot potato for McCain. The public, particularly Republicans, was outraged at McCain and those pushing "comprehensiveimmigrationreform". Obviously Tom Tancredo picked up a lot of support for his sterling leadership on the issue. Oh wait, he dropped out prior to Iowa.

During the Bush interregnum, conservatives have become despondent as the size and scope of government has exploded. Meanwhile, the zeal for democracy promotion and globalism has fractured the party. What remains of the conservative movement has run aground in Mosul and the Bush/McCain axis of evil continues to bray about the alleged xenophobia, nativism, and isolationism of Americans who fear that there nation is being deindusrtialized and turned into the polyglot boardinghouse.

So the base of the GOP is opposed to mass immigration and free trade and at least divided over the Iraq war. Yet they nominate a free-trade, open-borders globalist who is preparing for a hundred year war in Iraq and warns ominously "there’s going to be other wars." John Stuart Mill was right when he referred to conservatives as The Stupid Party.

Ultimately it is the care and character of a people that determine what kind of country it will be. "Believe me," wrote Edmund Burke, "it is a great truth, that there never was, for any long time...a mean, sluggish, careless people that ever had a good government of any kind." Indeed, we get the government we deserve.