Secularism and Religion

Many here are aware that the basis of western civilization is in our Judeo-Christian heritage. Often we merely assert this, since we have known it all our lives, but it can be examined fruitfully.

I admire Melanie Phillips greatly because not only is she a very good writer and speaker, she is fully capable of thinking through things. And she does so here. Yes, this is a long read, but I think you’ll find it valuable to read the whole thing.

It has become the orthodoxy in the West that freedom, human rights and reason all derive from secularism and that the greatest threat to all these good things is religion.

I want to suggest that the opposite is true. In the service of this orthodoxy, the West is undermining and destroying the very values which it holds most dear as the defining characteristics of a civilised society.

In truth, in the United States, we don’t hear it explicitly very often, but in Britain, it is quite common in my experience. Not to mention very strident, not only from the secularists, but from Randians, and other assorted libertine groups.

Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamisation of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Actually, it goes back specifically to the French Enlightenment. In England and Scotland, the Enlightenment developed reason and political liberty within the framework of Biblical belief. In France, by contrast, anti-clericalism morphed into fundamental hostility to Christianity and to religion itself.

“Ecrasez l’infame,” said Voltaire (crush infamy) — the infamy to which he referred being not just the Church but Christianity, which he wanted to replace with the religion of reason, virtue and liberty, “drawn from the bosom of nature”.

[…] Instead of God producing heaven on earth, it would be mankind which would bring that about. Reason would create the perfect society and “progress” was the process by which utopia would be attained.

Far from utopia, however, this thinking resulted in something more akin to hell on earth. For the worship of man through reason led straight to totalitarianism. It was reason that would redeem religious superstition and bring about the kingdom of Man on earth. And just like medieval apocalyptic Christian belief, this secular doctrine would also be unchallengeable and heretics would be punished. This kind of fanaticism infused the three great tyrannical movements that were spun out of Enlightenment thinking: the French Revolution, Communism and Fascism. […]

In the Sixties, the baby-boomer generation bought heavily into the idea propounded by Herbert Marcuse and other Marxist radicals that the way to transform the West lay not through the seizure of political or economic control but through the transformation of the culture. This has been achieved over the past half century through what has been called a “long march through the institutions”, the infiltration into all the institutions of the culture — the universities, media, professions, politics, civil service, churches — of ideas that would then become the orthodoxy.

From multiculturalism to environmentalism, from post-nationalism to “human rights” doctrine, Western progressives have fixated upon universalising ideas which reject values anchored in the particulars of religion or culture. All that matters is a theoretical future in which war, want and prejudice will be abolished: the return of fallen humanity to a lost Eden. And like all utopian projects, which are by definition impossible and unattainable, these dogmas are enforced through coercion: bullying, intimidation, character assassination, professional and social exclusion.

The core doctrine is equality. Not the Biblical doctrine that every human being is owed equal respect because they are formed in the image of God: equality has been redefined as identicality, the insistence that there can be no hierarchy of values of lifestyles or cultures. There can no longer be different outcomes depending on different circumstances or how people behave. To differentiate at all is to be bigoted and on a fast track back to fascism and war.

So the married family was kicked off its perch. Sexual restraint was abolished. The formerly transgressive became normative. Education could no longer transmit a culture down through the generations but had to teach that the Western nation was innately racist and exploitative.

Subjective trumped objective. There was no longer any absolute truth. Everyone could arbitrate their own truth. That way bigotry and prejudice would be excised from the human heart, the oppressed of the developing world would be freed from their Western oppressors and instead of the Western nation there would be the brotherhood of man.

All this was done in name of freedom, reason and enlightenment and in opposition to religion, the supposed source of oppression, irrationality and obscurantism.

At the heart of it was an onslaught against the moral codes of Christianity. Those moral codes are actually the Mosaic laws of the Hebrew Bible.

[…] What they [Western “progressives” and the Islamists] also have in common is hostility to Judaism, Israel or the Jewish people. The genocidal hatred of Israel and the Jews that drives the Islamic jihad against the West is not acknowledged or countered by the West because its most high-minded citizens share at least some of that prejudice. Both Western liberals and Islamists believe in utopias to which the Jews are an obstacle. The State of Israel is an obstacle to both the rule of Islam over the earth and a world where there are no divisions based on religion or creed. The Jews are an obstacle to the unconstrained individualism of Western libertines and to the onslaught against individual human dignity and freedom by the Islamists. Both the liberal utopias of a world without prejudice, divisions or war and the Islamist utopia of a world without unbelievers are universalist ideologies. The people who are always in the way of universalising utopias are the Jews.

Do read it all, and there is a deal more than I have given you. The full title is: Secularism and religion: the onslaught against the West’s moral codes. It is simply a superb examination of where our basic morality came from, and how it has allowed us to exceed former civilizations by orders of magnitude, and how it has come to be endangered.

Crossposted from All along the Watchtower.


Disloyalty has its Rewards

So, was anybody paying attention surprised when Rex Tillerson got fired? I thought not. And pretty much for the reason, you thought, too. From the Free Beacon, via Ace.

It was Rex Tillerson’s job to go out to the European states and sell them on this.

Instead, of course, he walked back from what Trump was demanding and instead made softer offers he was never authorized to make — to appease Iran.

You know — gross insubordination of the actual chief foreign policy officer of the United States. And also, appeasement of Iran, in a way that the TruCon Crying Eagle Brigade like to pretend they’re opposed to.

The abrupt firing Tuesday of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson follows months of infighting between the State Department and White House over efforts by Tillerson to save the Iran nuclear deal and ignore President Donald Trump’s demands that the agreement be fixed or completely scrapped by the United States, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

In the weeks leading up to Tillerson’s departure, he had been spearheading efforts to convince European allies to agree to a range of fixes to the nuclear deal that would address Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program and continued nuclear research.

While Trump had prescribed a range of fixes that he viewed as tightening the deal’s flaws, Tillerson recently caved to European pressure to walk back these demands and appease Tehran while preserving the deal, according to these sources. The Free Beacon first disclosed this tension last week in a wide-ranging report.

White House allies warned Tillerson’s senior staff for weeks that efforts to save the nuclear deal and balk on Trump’s key demands regarding the deal could cost Tillerson his job, a warning that became reality Tuesday when Trump fired Tillerson by tweet.

And you know, I’ve been around business all my life, never once have a known a boss who would tolerate one of his chief subordinates working directly opposite from his goal, it never has happened and it’s not going to. It just cannot be tolerated. There is a lot of room for discussion, even argument, about any plans, but once the decision is made, one is expected to get on board or quit, anything else is simply disloyal. Looks like Tillerson thought being loyal to Trump was somehow beneath him, well now he has no reason to be.

This was an interesting pick anyway if I understand correctly, he was recommended by Condi Rice. While I find her impressive in many ways, many of her foreign policy ideas do not jibe with mine, nor do I expect they do with President Trump’s either.

The Free Beacon also says that they reported on the Iran deal last week, and they indeed did. This is part of what they wrote:

Iran is undertaking a massive buildup of its ballistic missile program, sparking fears of a “second Holocaust” amid sensitive international negotiations that could see the Trump administration legitimize Iranian missiles capable of striking Israel, according to multiple sources familiar with ongoing diplomatic talks.

As the Trump administration and European allies continue discussions aimed at fixing a range of flaws in the landmark Iran nuclear deal, sources familiar with the progression of these talks say the United States is caving to European demands limiting restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

While the Trump administration went into the negotiations with a hardline stance on cutting off Iran’s ballistic missile program, it appears the United States [that is, Tillerson — ace] is moving closer in line with European positions that would only regulate a portion of the missiles.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the ongoing talks told the Washington Free Beacon U.S. officials [Tillerson] have been backpedaling on key demands originally proposed by President Trump in order to preserve the agreement and appease European allies who are eager to continue doing business with Tehran.

Senior Trump administration officials recently told the Free Beacon the United States is prepared to abandon the nuclear deal if European allies fail to address what it views as a range of flaws in the nuclear deal that have enabled Iran’s missile buildup and allowed it to continue critical nuclear research.

However, it appears the United States is losing ground in the talks, moving closer to the European position, which includes what insiders described as only cosmetic changes to the nuclear deal that fail to adequately address Iran’s massive missile buildup.

Yeah, does anybody really think Trump is going to sign onto a deal that makes Israel more vulnerable? Yeah, me neither. And if this is what our Secstate was agreeing to, and it appears it is, the firing was justified, for sheer disloyalty to his boss. Just plain got too big for his britches, and got swatted down for his trouble. In fact, it was long overdue, this turned out to be one of the worst choices Trump made, and in one of the most important slots.


Still, Again

One of the victims of the Rotherham grooming ring (Getty)

I imagine you remember the mess that spilled out from under the carpet in Rotheringham a while back. Hundreds of underage girls (what the media won’t tell you is, they are white working class girls, mostly) beaten, drugged, sexually abused, and such. “Grooming” they call it. Grooming for what, well I guess you can figure that one out. Very few if any people have yet to go to jail for it. Why? Because the perpetrators are, almost without exception, what the British euphemistically call, Asian. What they really are is Moslem, usually Pakistani, and their religion puts them above UK law, because of the higher law of PC. Sad, ain’t it?

There have been several cases since Rotherham spewed forth, and now there is still another, in Telford. Best I’ve read on it so far is from the Catholic Herald.

A casual attitude towards underage sex is putting children in terrible danger

What do Torbay, Liverpool, Rochdale, Thurrock, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Bristol and Somerset have in common? All have been the subject of serious case reviews published within the past five years in connection with child sexual exploitation. That’s without mentioning Professor Alexis Jay’s independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

In all nine regions, a clear picture emerges of a culture in which underage sexual activity is viewed as relatively harmless so long as it is perceived to be consensual.

To that growing hall of shame, we must now add Telford. According to an 18-month Sunday Mirror investigation, an estimated 1,000 girls suffered sexual exploitation and abuse in the Shropshire district over a period of 40 years.

As yet, there has been no formal investigation into child sexual exploitation in Telford and no full published report, but from the limited information already available we see the reappearance of several features found in reports from other regions.

First of all, we find the same complacent attitudes towards underage sex. The Sunday Mirror reveals that “Council files show social services, teachers and mental health workers were fully aware of what was happening but did little. They also failed to tell police.”

Why? Because, like their counterparts in Rochdale, Rotherham and Bristol, education and welfare professionals in Telford assumed that the girls were making what are sometimes called “lifestyle choices”. “Instead of seeing them as exploited victims, some council staff viewed them as prostitutes,” we are told.

And so “case histories reveal many were ignored after reporting rapes to the police”. On the basis of prior assumptions that had been made about the girls, their reports were not taken seriously. The Rotherham Inquiry similarly found that “children as young as 11 were deemed to be having consensual sexual intercourse when in fact they were being raped and abused by adults”.

A second common feature is the ready and confidential provision of contraception and the morning-after pill to underage girls. One 14 year-old Telford victim said, “I must have been getting the morning-after pill from a local clinic at least twice a week but no one asked any questions.”

In spite of her frequent use of the morning-after pill, the girl fell pregnant twice and had two abortions. But presumably, still no questions were asked.

By virtue of the fact that they were seeking contraception and “sexual health services”, the girls were deemed to be making mature and responsible choices, and assumed to be freely exercising their sexual rights, even though many of them were under the age of 16 and in some cases were as young as 11.

Keep reading Norman Wells excellent article.

Whether this again involves Asians, I simply don’t know, but frankly, it matters little. That the British have become so callous towards these young girls, is the real scandal, I can imagine only a few places in America where such things could happen – on an industrial scale. A thousand girls! My God, if it were to happen most places in America – the accused would be very lucky indeed to make it to jail.

I have few answers, but I will note that this is what happens when you delegate authority that belongs to the family to an overweening welfare state. No doubt, still another chapter of this tragedy will be along shortly.

[And an update: My friends at The Conservative Woman are also writing about this, and know far more about the political situation than I do. Read the linked article, as well.]

A Stormy Teacup

John Hinderaker at Powerline makes a very valid point, I think. Is this light breeze about Stormy Daniels leaving you unmoved? It sure is me, here’s why.


Worst case, Trump paid Stormy Daniels. But he didn’t kill her. That distinguishes him from the Liberal Lion of the Senate. If you want a scandal, and a cover-up that succeeded to a remarkable degree, look no further than Chappaquiddick. The Democratic Party conspired to cover up Ted Kennedy’s crime–manslaughter, in a particularly vile form–to preserve his political viability, at the cost of an innocent young woman’s life.

To this day, most people have no idea what the Chappaquiddick scandal was all about. That is how successful the Democrats’ cover-up has been. Most Americans assume that Kennedy was guilty of drunk driving and negligently causing the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. But the truth is much worse.

Several books have told the real story, but the movie Chappaquiddick may finally blow the lid off the Democrats’ cover-up. Based on the trailers, it apparently will tell the truth: that Ted Kennedy, after driving off a bridge into Poucha Pond, escaped from his car but made no attempt to save Miss Kopechne. That Kopechne didn’t drown, but eventually suffocated for lack of oxygen as she waited for Kennedy to rescue her. That Kopechne could have been saved if Kennedy had simply called the local rescue squad. That Kennedy was such a self-centered coward that he left Kopechne to die, concerned only for his own political future. That instead of calling for help, he walked back to the house where his party was still in progress. That when he arrived, he tried to convince his cousin Joe Gargan to say that he had been driving the car. That he never did call the police to report the accident, but rather spent the night trying to concoct an alibi. That the Democrats fixed the legal process so that Kennedy would pay no meaningful penalty for the death he callously caused. That Kennedy pretended to have been injured in the accident in order to excuse his cowardice, and wore a neck brace to Kopechne’s funeral to further that lie.

Frankly, I was disgusted at the time, and I’m as close to outraged as I get that anyone, anyone, who thinks Teddy Kennedy was or should be, a role model, or even a decent human being thinks they have the ground to criticize anything anyone else does both risible, and absurd.

How silly is this whole thing? This silly.

Looks to me like all this crap fake news thrown up by the Democratic press machine has a very definite odor about it – it stinks of fear. The fear that the American electorate has seen through them, and their hypocritical charade.

They should be scared, cause I think it’s true. There’s room for an opposition party in America, but I’m not sure there is room for a purely anti-American party. Time (and elections) will tell, I suppose. But I’m not overly worried about it these days. I mostly ignore the cloud of dust the left made by the Democrats running in circles very fast, so should you, and to a point, so should Trump, there are things needing doing, and when we’re dealing with nonsense, we’re not doing them.

Thinking about Parkland

Robert Tracinski brought us a thoughtful post over the weekend at The Federalist.

Early this week, I wrote an article taking the Parkland kids to task for spreading a lot of bunkum, not just about guns, but about the general state of the world — which I backed up with some facts and figures, and even some charts and graphs.

In response, I got a lot of the usual hate mail, but what struck me was how the general response was summed up in this exchange.

Logic and facts: what have they ever done for us?

The hyping of the Parkland kids is one giant appeal to emotion. The approach is to go to a school where a shooting happened and carefully select a small number of kids who are reasonably articulate and willing to go along with the full gun-control agenda. Ignore the ones who don’t. Then give these kids the backing of well-funded and well-connected advocacy groups. Fly them around the country and book them on cable TV shows. Then insist that these 17-year-olds are invested with absolute moral authority, and if anyone challenges this, scream at them for being insensitive to the victims of a horrific crime and basically hating children and wanting to see them die.

This only works on two conditions. First, it works because the media cooperates. If the NRA flew pro-Second Amendment kids around and tried to book them on news shows, the media would suddenly develop professional ethics and either turn them down or grill them about being shills for the gun lobby. But the other Parkland kids are treated as concerned citizens, and no one in the media thinks they are under any obligation to note that the kids are basically being bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg.

But the second condition is more important: This works because people want it to work. It aligns with their preconceptions and resonates with their emotions. So they assume that emotional power will sweep away all opposition.

If you are on the left, you are probably now feeling outrage that I am dismissing your advocacy of gun control as mere emotionalism. If you are on the right, you are probably feeling smugly superior to those lefties who are always so invested in their “feels.”

For the benefit of both sides, let me flip the script. Let’s say that instead of invoking the Parkland kids, I were to invoke the parents of Kate Steinle.

Remember her? She was the young woman who was killed in San Francisco by a bullet fired from a gun held by an illegal immigrant. (Prosecutors were unable to prove the shooting was not an accident, which is why he got off on only a weapons charge.) Steinle’s death couldn’t be used to make the case for gun control, because she was shot with a handgun stolen from the car of a law enforcement officer, someone whose weapon would not be banned. But the shooter was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been previously deported multiple times, who was released onto the streets of a “sanctuary city.” So this shooting could be used to make the case against sanctuary cities and against Mexican immigrants in general. Which is precisely what Donald Trump did.

Yet the form of the argument is exactly the same in the one case as in the other. It was an emotional appeal to the idea that if only one senseless death could be prevented by taking drastic action, then we’re required to do it — and you’re a monster who doesn’t care about human life if you raise any objections.

Keep reading.

He’s correct, of course, the right did do the same thing in the Kate Steinle case. It was an appeal to emotion, not facts. The right is better than his, at least we better be. Objective fact is not the realm of the Randists, although they do a better job of it than most, they go too far. Emotion matters, but it is not the overwhelming paragon that it often appears that the left thinks it is.

That’s one of the reasons for the old maxim, “Hard cases make bad law”.

Facts Matter.

In truth, when our founders designed out government, one of the reasons they designed the Senate as they did, at a remove for the electorate (elected by the legislature) and for a six year term, was simply to slow things down, to let emotions cool. That was an inherent feature of the design, which the irrational left couldn’t abide, and so the Wilson Government spearheaded it’s repeal. They were wrong, it helps us to maintain an objective, fact based law, not one based on capricious fallible emotion.

Part of their genius, overthrown by much smaller men.

The Late Week in Review

Well, Good Morning or Afternoon or whatever, somebody seems to have stolen an hour last night. What a joke DST has become.

Almost as big a joke as International Woman’s day, which seems to celebrate leftist, women with good jobs, and without the brains to hold them. Or something.

On March 5, 1982, Actor and singer John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin.

On a Mission

A bit wordy, but…

Really, BBC? Even for you, that’s pretty bad.

Yesterday was Chuck Norris’ Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Norris

Of course he’d approve.

As usual, most from PowerLine and Bookworm, and a couple from various posts at Ace.

Have a good week.


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