Decoding Progressivism (6)

The science is settled…we just can’t make up our minds about the nature of the global crisis that only we, your Progressive betters, can prevent.Believe-Anything-Climate

Al Gore, Global Warming Con-Man (see middle pane in above figure)

This is only one of the absurd things that Al Gore said when confronted by Chris Wallace about his now falsified predictions of planetary disaster (all, of course, based on the infallible source of scientific “consensus”).

I went down to Miami and saw fish from the ocean swimming in the streets on a sunny day. The same thing was true in Honolulu just two days ago, just from high tides because of the sea level rise now.

However, as reported by a non-anti-science source.

The problem is caused by a naturally occurring event known as a king tide, a rare event when the sun and moon align on the same side of the Earth during a high tide, and the extra gravitational pull produces tides much higher than normal.

The mind boggles at the sight of this supposed super-intellect blathering about a rare tidal event caused by gravitational effects as an example of rising ocean levels due to “global warming” (wait, I’ve been told that “global warming is a dangerous misnomer” by ex-President Obama’s Science Advisor, I’m so confused).  The fact that this was all Mr. Gore had when challenged testifies to the inherent vacuousness of his position.  Yet, he pretends to be a man of super wisdom, knowledge and integrity, a bringer of light to the oh so deplorable masses.

Or, as pithily stated by Peggy Noonan:

we are patronized by our inferiors.

King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart (15)

knowledge-my-religion

Because I’m the most moral and brilliant person ever!

King Saul and David (1 Samuel 18)

Recall that we’re exploring the issue of narcissism as it relates to outrage over this passage.

27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king

The Delusion Behind Narcissism

I’d like to ask those who believe that they live at (or even near) the pinnacle of human morality to take a leap of imagination.  Imagine if you dare, that it is 50, 100, 200 years from now.  Over this time events have occurred that were unforeseeable from today’s available information.  New generations of humanity have experienced economic challenge, social change, armed conflict, religious transformations and personal trauma.

Pajamaboy_2

Wow, I’m so awesome!  Everyone else will have to agree when I’m deciding who lives and dies under single payer health insurance!

Thus, these future people, who have no connection with or allegiance to you, occupy the social commanding heights.  They therefore may well independently assess the policies that you pursued, the opinions that you voiced, the ways that you lived and the real world consequences that flowed from them all.  Do you really believe that they will certainly conclude that yes, your generation did indeed occupy the pinnacle of human morality!

SWW-Look

You dare to disagree with ME!

Or, might these future generations look upon you like you look upon David or our founding fathers, or any of the other past and present humans that you so contemptuously judge as evil and moronic?  Let me explain why you might be wise to learn a little humility.

Abortion

There is already a very large number of people (women and men, including me) who consider abortion to be the outright killing of another human being.  If you test the DNA of a brand new fetus it won’t come back as a salamander or tomato, but as human.  With the advancement of ultrasound technology parents are seeing at an early stage of development that the fetus is a tiny human being.  And, since Roe v. Wade, approximately 59 million of these human beings have been killed in the United States.

There’s also, for Christians, the unavoidable fact that God sees the fetus as a valued, beloved human of His creation (Psalm 139).

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

And yet today’s Progressive elite considers abortion to be their ideology’s “holy of holies.”  Thus, all aspects of abortion on demand are enabled, supported and protected with unmitigated fierceness.

Therefore the powers that be ensured that the sickening, murderous (of grown women and their babies) activities of a psychopath like Dr. Kermit Gosnell were allowed to go on for years, and then be utterly ignored when they finally come to light.  Although the 200 foreskins acquired by David in open warfare is roundly condemned, Gosnell’s collection of jared baby feet is demurely uncommented upon.

GOSNELL

Look away, look away…nothing to see here!

PlannedParenthood

She didn’t really say this…disjointed words were just spliced together to make it appear so!

Or take the case of Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling aborted baby parts.  Yes, the legions of like-minded reporters, editors, celebrities and politicians will keep alive the fairy tale that these admissions from the mouths of Planned Parenthood executives were the product of falsification through editing.  However, anyone who has the interest to check will find clearly uncut videos covering tens of minutes in which these Planned Parenthood leaders speak without the slightest shame about doing these horrors.

But that’s not the end of it by a long shot.  Perhaps our elites should consider the implications of their beloved “disparate effect” theory of racial discrimination.  By this theory, if any statistical deviation between a race’s proportion of the population and any measure of social benefit can be found then the prima facie explanation is the existence of racial discrimination.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 6.29.59 AM

No “disparate effect” to be seen here!

But what if we look at abortion rates through this lens?  The undisputed fact is that black babies are aborted at almost five-times the rate as are white babies.

Given all of the above, what if, say 50 years from now, an entirely new group controls our media who have no interest in protecting the institution of abortion on demand?  Perhaps there have been such massive civilizational changes that a completely new set of issues has top priority.  Might not these media gate-keepers take a critical view of those who so enthusiastically enabled and protected abortion on demand?  Might not black scholars and reporters begin to ask just why the elites of the early 2000’s made such stinks about university admission rates but covered up abortion rates?

Perhaps, in shock and disgust at this sordid behavior, portraits will be taken down, building names will be changed and past champions of virtue will be converted into current examples of the evil past.

Just some food for thought.

Genocidal Totalitarianism

communistevil

The top-two are just unsuccessful do-gooders while the third is utterly evil.  Let’s keep trying socialism until we finally get it right!  Go Venezuela!

I have already made a comprehensive case concerning the support of our elites for genocidal totalitarian ideologies (see here for a summary).  At some future time the flimsy excuse of “good intentions” may have been so throughly discredited that the general public takes notice of the enablers, supporters and “useful idiots” who ensured that these ideologies were free to wreck havoc on humanity for far longer than should have been the case.

They might point to the current economic and social collapse of socialist Venezuela into  wanton violence as a “red flag” that should have, finally, cured the Progressive elites of their fantasies.  But, the fact that they continued to soldier on in behalf of this murderous, failed ideology may someday count against them.  After all, covering up for tens of millions of corpses and hundreds of millions of ruined lives can be unsustainable in the long run.

The Welfare State

After abortion on demand, the current institution with the most support from our Progressive elite class is the welfare state.  It has, over the generations, grown into an interlocking complex of governmental programs (with the associated army of bureaucrats), non-profit organizations, political parties, religious denominations and community organizers that is all focused on one thing: continuance of the welfare state exactly as it is.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 7.57.47 AMBut, future generations, after having possibly experienced a financial catastrophe brought on by unsustainable government spending (certainly not just on the welfare state) might look back on these programs with a more critical eye than is today allowed.  For example, they may look at the nearby graph, on which is plotted the national poverty rate and total anti-poverty spending, and be appalled.  Note also that the 1964 start of “the war on poverty” is shown.  There are three characteristics of this figure that is of primary relevance, those being:

  1. The poverty rate was already falling quickly for at least 15 years prior to the start of “the war on poverty”
  2. The slope of the decline of poverty was not increased by the “war” (i.e., the new anti-poverty spending didn’t significantly improve an already occurring process)
  3. Since 1970, there has been no appreciable change in the poverty rate despite trillions of dollars spent by the “best and brightest,” “morally superior” poverty industrial complex.

Pov-spendingThis discussion hasn’t yet included the human and social wreckage wrought by the Welfare State, where entire communities descended into generations of broken families, hopelessness, violence, addiction, and yes, poverty.

One would have thought that our moral betters would have been so appalled by this situation that a massive effort at reformation and renewal would have been pursued.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Rather, the poverty industrial complex has been on a unending campaign to prevent any reform and to expand failed policies to new areas of our society.

What if, after a couple more generations of soul crushing hopelessness the supposed beneficiaries of the Welfare State reject both the policies and motivations of the Progressive Left (or perhaps it’s already beginning)?  Or, what if the response is massive civil unrest and violence?  Might not those who today appear to be unassailably moral tomorrow be seen as incompetent fools or heartless hypocrites, or worse?

Isn’t it also possible that the consequences of these decisions will be reappraised in a negative light by the general population?  After all, the money borrowed by the government to fund these and many other ineffective, unsustainable programs are nothing other than promises that future generations will pay for our present excesses.  Regardless of if you are upper middle class or poor in the future, the weight of that massive debt will constrain (or destroy) economic opportunity.

The only hope may be for the Progressive Left to continue blocking education reform to the point that no-one in the future knows how to count.



Berkeley-Then-and-Now

The progressive advance of our moral and intellectual “betters!”

I know that you too can play this game against me (actually, you have been all my life).  The difference is that I already know that, as a sinner, my thoughts and actions, despite my best attempts, will fall tragically short of moral perfection.  And, since I know this about myself I understand that it’s essential that my ideas be subjected to critical appraisal for anything approaching “the good” to emerge.

Without the constitutional right of free speech there’s no hope that all ideas will be subjected to this essential process.  I guess that’s the reason that it so terrifies our supposed moral and intellectual “betters.”

For there is nothing so frightening to a narcissist than the possibility that their presumed perfection will be exposed as a folly and fraud.  There is simply no length to which they will go, including shameless physical violence, to repulse that threat.  Yes, narcissism permeates every crevice of our society.  But its demons have found a particularly hospitable home in the radical Progressive Left.  Most people today are too intimidated to say this out loud, but in the future that protective cloak may have dissipated to the point that the full force of judgement may be applied.

Perhaps you condemners of David, our Founding Fathers and all the rest of us “deplorables” should begin the painful process of climbing down from your false presumptions of superiority.  Then we can once again begin to address together those intractable issues that so bedevil this fallen world.

King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart (14)

King Saul and David (1 Samuel 18)

In the previous post I introduced the concept of narcissism.  Perhaps a working definition is needed prior to  proceeding:

extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.

John_W._Waterhouse_-_Echo_and_Narcissus(1903)

Echo and Narcissus* – John W. Waterhouse (1903)

The Narcissism of our Present Age

The core conceit of current narcissism is this:

The evidence-less presumption that I and my like-minded comrades stand at the absolute pinnacle of human virtue.  Therefore, anyone who deviates from my worldview, regardless of if they are my contemporaries or lived centuries earlier, can be motivated only by a combination of inexcusable stupidity and evil.

man-selfieAlthough the above description is useful in a general sense, there remains a significant gap between it and a compelling explanation of its application to our particular time and place.  I finally ran across a passage, from a piece discussing the current situation in France (by Christopher Caldwell) that excellently fills this need (emphasis added):

Upwardly mobile urbanites, observes Guilluy, call Paris “the land of possibilities,” the “ideapolis.” One is reminded of Richard Florida and other extollers of the “Creative Class.” The good fortune of Creative Class members appears (to them) to have nothing to do with any kind of capitalist struggle. Never have conditions been more favorable for deluding a class of fortunate people into thinking that they owe their privilege to being nicer, or smarter, or more honest, than everyone else. Why would they think otherwise? They never meet anyone who disagrees with them. The immigrants with whom the creatives share the city are dazzlingly different, exotic, even frightening, but on the central question of our time—whether the global economic system is working or failing—they see eye to eye. “Our Immigrants, Our Strength,” was the title of a New York Times op-ed signed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, New York mayor Bill de Blasio, and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo after September’s terrorist bomb blasts in New York. This estrangement is why electoral results around the world last year—from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump—proved so difficult to anticipate. Those outside the city gates in la France périphérique are invisible, their wishes incomprehensible. It’s as if they don’t exist. But they do.

Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that these “fortunate people” are deluded to a degree that is nothing short of scandalous.  That they occupy the pinnacle of power in our nations can only be explained by a monumental failure of the temporal Christian church, parenthood, government, education and media, among others.  This is what civilizational failure looks like.  In the following post I will address the central delusion that has resulted in this sorry situation.



*Echo and Narcissus is a myth from Ovid‘s Metamorphoses, a Latin mythological epic from the Augustan Age.

King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart (13)

David-to-SaulKing Saul and David (1 Samuel 18)

The Thoughtless Outrage

When some contemporary Christians read this passage the reaction is one of visceral outrage.

27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king

These Christians read this troubling description of massacre and mutilation from a presumed position of moral superiority that allows unmitigated disgust at the savagery of this primitive culture.  They also sometimes respond by openly questioning the legitimacy of the Old Testament’s witness.

While I don’t in the slightest argue that this passage isn’t troubling to virtually everyone, Christian or not (including me), I do believe that there is an equally troubling lack of historical context and self-awareness in play.  For, King Saul, David and the entire nation of Israel found themselves enmeshed in a system of zero-sum conflict that existed throughout the ancient world.  To them (and their enemies) this situation of open-ended warfare was just “how this world operates.”  Thus, concepts such as “peaceful coexistence” and “a rising tide lifts all ships” would have been incomprehensible to these ancient peoples.  We have had the benefit of 3,000 years of human experience that they simply did not.

We need not go back 3,000 years to find a similar lack of historical understanding in play.  Consider the currently popular Progressive Leftist drive to discredit and erase the names of our nation’s founding fathers.  Besides the unconscionable fact that they were generally male, the fact that many of them either owned slaves or appeared to be accepting of this horrific institution’s existence is enough to convict them of utter evil.

However, while I totally agree that slavery was (and is) a morally monstrous, reprehensible institution that needed to be eradicated, I can yet understand how our founding fathers could have, within the context of their time, managed to live oblivious to this reality.  For, in their time, slavery was an institution that had existed in human civilization since literally the beginning of known history.  Thus, a person living then could easily have just accepted this moral outrage as something of a given.

I realize that this discussion is very dangerous, given that the cloud of faux moral superiors, disregarding any nuance of thought that doesn’t advance their  ideology, is always poised to attack.   However, someone needs to explain these things or the mad rush to obliterate our entire civilizational heritage will certainly succeed.

Is it possible to, while fully acknowledging that our founding fathers accepted what future generations correctly recognize to be an utterly evil system, yet give great credit to them for founding a nation that aspired to the propositionthat all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness“?  Did not this aspiration, though unrealized at the time (some likely did realize it), not a mere eight decades later fuel the eradication of slavery from the United States through a great and terrible Civil War?

Returning to David, aside from their purposeful disinterest in historical perspective, I think that these outraged Christians are driven by anger that God would have used a flawed man, molded by his own particular environment, as a means for advancing His purposes.  How dare God not miraculously create a person who, 3,000 years ago, lived up to the presumed moral perfection of, who, why themselves!

tornadoThis is the crux of their fury.  As I intend to demonstrate, there is a failure of self-awareness and self-righteousness at work here that literally deforms the human soul.  As a result, all sympathy, curiosity, context and humaneness is crushed down into a hard, cruel core of narcissistic judgmentalism.

 

 

What does the Bible Teach on Immigration and Refugee Policy? (4)

bible-bordersClosing Thoughts

While this assessment cannot be claimed to have been comprehensive I believe it has been sufficient.  That is, the following aspects of the current consensus on immigration and refugee policy have been carefully scrutinized

  1. a high profile statement by an officer of the PC(USA) on their policy positions
  2. review of one of the most commonly used Bible passages in support of the current consensus.

In both areas I have found the results to be seriously deficient.

There is, however, a general consideration that may be of use to explore as we exit this particular topic.  Although it has been indirectly referred to, it has not yet been specifically addressed.  That being Progressive Christianity’s all too common presumption of a moral, intellectual and theological superiority that excuses them from engaging as peers with those holding opposing perspectives.  I certainly am not claiming that this problem is uniformly the case as I personally know numerous members of this group who engage on the merits.

However, I believe the argument can be credibly made that, due to their undeniable success in occupying most key positions of social and organizational power, the Progressive movement has become far too dependent on intimidation at the expense of persuasion.

intimidation-doesnt-last-very-long-quote-1This strategy is pursued by never acknowledging opposition as being legitimate and by insisting that opposing points of view are motivated by moral defects.  Thus they are not seeking to persuade peers to see their point of view, but rather using social and/or organizational force to obtain submission.  Those who have been following this blog will have no trouble recalling cases where senior leaders in the PC(USA) have aggressively utilized these tactics.

John Calvin himself rebukes this leadership strategy in his commentary on Psalm 45:2.

You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.

… How manifestly does this rebuke the mean-spiritedness of kings in our day, by whom it is regarded as derogatory to their dignity to converse with their subjects, and to employ remonstrance in order to secure their submission; nay, who display a spirit of barbarous tyranny in seeking rather to compel than to persuade them …

The really bad news for Progressives is that, although victory by intimidation has always been a morally destructive strategy, it no longer is likely to be effective for a large segment of the population.  And, doubling, then tripling down, to the point of rioting and physical violence, on the same strategy is likely to diminish your credibility and influence even more.

bible-verses-about-welcoming-othersI suppose that this blog could be viewed as one long attempt to persuade Progressives to rejoin the rest of us flawed, confused humans who are attempting to find our way through the challenges of the 21st century.  Sometimes persuasion has the prerequisite of confrontation, such as when an entrenched group abuses their position and privilege to the detriment of substantive debate.

I believe that most of us would welcome you with open arms.  I certainly would. For, we need more ideas being more freely debated in good faith to meet the difficult choices and challenges that face us all.

 

 

What does the Bible Teach on Immigration and Refugee Policy (2)

bible-bordersThe Reverend Gradye Parsons’ Letter

I’ll begin the careful scrutiny of this issue by discussing the PC(USA) “Stated Clerk issues letter to Trump on refugees, immigrants” (dated October 2, 2015) that was introduced in my previous post.  The value is that a high officer is here explaining the denomination’s policy positions in an official capacity.  Thus, what is said, implied and unsaid is of great significance.  The Biblical interpretative, philosophical and communication strategies utilized are also important aspects of the analysis.  All text from the letter is included in order as quotes, with my commentary inserted as regular text.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Mr. Trump,

I am the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the denomination of the congregation in Queens, New York, where you were baptized. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) develops its policies through councils of teaching elders and ruling elders. At the national level it does that through the General Assembly. I would like to share with you the Presbyterian policies on refugees and immigrants.

There was a time in my living memory when such a preamble would have elicited an expectation of Christian profundity.  I detect a sense of chastisement here, as Rev. Parsons deigns to educate Mr. Trump on the refugee and immigration positions of his own denomination.  I must say that on this point we are in agreement.  However, whereas the issue at hand elicited this response, for me it began when Mr. Trump said “I’m Presbyterian.  Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness.”

Presbyterians profess a faith in Christ, whose parents were forced to flee with him to Egypt when he was an infant to save him from King Herod. Knowing our Lord was once a refugee, faithful Presbyterians have been writing church policy urging the welcome of refugees and demanding higher annual admissions into the United States since the refugee crisis of World War II.

Here we find the one and only Biblical reference, summarizing Matthew 2:13-20.  What startles is the unexplained logical leap from our Lord’s specific experience to an apparently general application.  Does the fact that Jesus Christ was once a refugee mean that any and all who claim that status have been automatically bestowed with His sinlessness?  Is it possible in Rev. Parsons’ ideology for someone who claims refugee status to yet harbor evil intent?  And, if this is a realistic possibility, would a sovereign nation be obliged to welcome that person into their population?  Note that these real and pressing issues don’t even warrant acknowledgment let alone serious consideration in this authoritative statement of the PC(USA)’s positions.

Presbyterians have a mission presence in many refugee-sending countries, including Syria and Lebanon, where we have been present since 1823. Our relationship with people of faith and communities in these countries gives us knowledge of the root causes of the flight of refugees and further cements a commitment to welcome.

1983-beirut-bombing-by-hezbollah-iran-e1404967583363

1983 Hezbollah Bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut Lebanon

These two sentences manage to encompass the decadence and irresponsibility that defines our national denominational leadership.  Here we have mentioned two countries, one having experienced and the other currently embroiled in bloody, brutal civil war, held up as places from which blameless refugees are guaranteed to originate.  Who, I wonder, has been doing all of the killing in Syria resulting in almost 500,000 dead?  Weren’t upwards of 150,000 killed in the Lebanese Civil War (1975-90) by someone?  Isn’t Syria the home of ISIS and Lebanon of Hezbollah, both vicious, genocidal Islamic terrorist groups who target the United States?  Is it not possible that someone complicit in or directly responsible for this mass murder might seek to enter the United States as a refugee?

isis-san-bernardino-terrorists

2015 San Bernardino ISIS Terrorist Murderers

And yet, in the face of this absolutely obvious set of circumstances, the Rev. Parsons bestows blanket innocence upon all refugees from these troubled countries because of the PC(USA)’s supposed “knowledge.”  What can possibly account for the existence of this level of moral blindness?  The Rev. Parsons, speaking for the PC(USA) General Assembly, is more than happy to signal their supposed superior virtue while ignoring the real and present danger to their fellow citizens from uncontrolled entry of refugees.  That is, they will happily claim all of the virtue points for their “compassionate” stance on refugees but deny any culpability for associated crime and terrorism because “their intentions were good.”  This is not virtue, it is its opposite, and, it’s long past time that we ceased allowing our national leaders to have it both ways.

Presbyterians through decades of policy have demanded humane treatment of people of all nationalities and faiths who find themselves within our borders.

This sentence is a masterpiece of obfuscation.  On the surface it appears to be undeniable.  Yes, absolutely, we in the United States should treat all within our borders humanely.  And yet, what if someone finds “themselves within our borders” because they have entered illegally?  Is it inhumane to deny them social services, welfare, work?  Is it inhumane to deport them?  If they commit a felonious crime, is it still inhumane to deport them?  All of this is left unaddressed.  One has to dig a little to uncover the true position of the PC(USA).

We have challenged our government when it neglects to acknowledge the refugee status of those fleeing persecution.

Has the PC(USA) ever supported laws or policies that ensure careful vetting of refugees?  Unless information to the contrary can be presented, their position on vetting refugees from lawless, violent nations appears to be that it shouldn’t be done at all.

We have pushed for due process at the border and we continue to petition for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented persons.

I believe that “due process” likely means that a non-citizen of the United States should be given all of the Constitutional rights as has a citizen even when outside of the country.  Were this position to be accepted then the ability of the United States to control entry of non-citizens would be at the very least severely damaged.

As a Presbyterian I acknowledge my immigrant ancestors and my new immigrant sisters and brothers. I also respect that we came uninvited to a land already occupied by people. This creates a sense of humility about my citizenship that shapes my views on those who seek a place here.

This is an excellent example of the Jonathan Gruber school of political discourse: “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”  For, obscured behind all of the virtue signaling is effectively the demand for “open borders.”  Yes, the Rev. Parsons doesn’t explicitly say this.  However, since he admits guilt for his ancestors coming “uninvited to a land already occupied by people,” the most reasonable conclusion is that anyone who seeks “a place here” should be allowed in.  Of course to say so outright would create yet another reason for members to exit the denomination.  So, the position is only tacitly communicated.  However, I have little doubt that “open borders” is both what is meant and what is being pursued by the PC(USA) leadership.

I hope you will find this helpful. I especially hope it will inform you on your policies going forward.

In Christ,

The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

It certainly was helpful, but not necessarily in the way intended.  This letter helps by exposing the unsupported logical leaps, lack of theological seriousness, irresponsible virtue signaling, disdain for the safety of our citizens, obfuscation and purposeful ambiguity of the PC(USA)’s national leadership.  Only a leadership clique hermetically sealed inside an alternative-reality ideology could be capable of generating, approving and releasing such a defective statement.