Monday, December 28, 2009

“Avatar”- Just a high-tech caricature?

So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For, as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.' Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead...." (Acts 17:22-29)



Conservative reviews of Avatar (e.g. by Movieguide's Dr. Ted Baehr and WND's Drew Zahn) definitely worked to prejudice my mind against James Cameron's reportedly groundbreaking blockbuster. They led me to expect an idol worshipping, anti-American screed calculated to draw impressionable minds into the moat of self-hatred that separates the zombies of the Obama faction from those still loyal to the American creed. Sometimes such reviews would be enough to convince me not to waste time on the glamorous evil of America hating propagandists, or add my resources to the treasury that finances their power.

But since childhood I've been a sucker for cinema fairy tales and science fiction. I've also had a weakness for animated films, inbred during the years when Disney was a name decent parents (including mine) still trusted. My adult years have been marked (or marred?) by a fascination with the new worlds of human expression cyber-technology makes possible. I am also convinced that those of us who fight to preserve America's respect for the authority of the Creator cannot do so with full intelligence if we simply ignore the powerful means this technology offers human fabricators to influence the backdrop of conscience and emotion against which the battle takes place.

The socialist forces seeking to establish an international regime of totalitarian elite domination use scenarios of global ecological collapse to foment the mentality of fearful crisis that serves their political agenda. As we now understand better than ever, this involves fabrications in the disguise of science. It has also routinely involved the use of cinematic fabrications that prepare the soil of human conscience and emotion to accept without question the lies disguised as 'scientific' facts.

Brandon Gray's description of Avatar as "a fantasy or science fiction action-adventure that's not based on pre-established material" may be accurate in the strict sense. But as fantasy melodrama, the film is highly derivative. In fact, this is probably among its most glaring flaws. Drew Zahn rightly describes it as "Ferngully on steroids, only not as subtle". But its predictable storyline seems equally beholden to a range of films from Star Trek: Insurrection (which involved a scheme to move an outwardly simple but morally sophisticated people from their beloved home planet in order to exploit a form of energy uniquely available there) to low grade epics like Sheena or the whole series of Johnny Weissmuller vehicles (e.g., Tarzan's Secret Treasure.) Like Avatar's protagonist, the English Lord gone African native, Tarzan, was known to whistle up a herd of angry elephants or well armored rhinos to crush the enemy's superior firepower. And as in Sheena (a similar plot, also set in Africa, with a nativized American woman as the movie's protagonist and namesake), there are feminist and sensualist touches that mark it, for better or worse, as a contemporary contraption. Avatar basically offers nothing truly original beyond a marriage of 3D, CGI and live action that moves well beyond the not so civil unions of the past.

In this respect the film reminded me of Titanic, the unequaled box office smash for which James Cameron's name is (and probably always will be) best remembered. The technological centerpiece of that film was the enormous set, a meticulous, carefully engineered reproduction of the ill fated passenger liner. Because Cameron invests such enormous money and energy creating the technological backdrop for of his productions he tends to spend way too much film time dwelling with prideful affection on the result. Some of that time would be better spent drawing his audience more deeply into the human and emotional background. That would have meant spending more time drawing the audience into the personal lives and relationships of the immigrants on the "Titanic", going beyond stylized scenes involving their amusements or externally caused travails. It would mean giving the audience a deeper sense of the personal lives and emotions of the alien natives of Avatar's planet Pandora, as well as the rank and file mercenaries who make up the security forces ultimately used to devastate their home.

The 3D technology in Avatar represents an almost seamless blend of living and imaginary elements that marks a new frontier for the cinematic use of animation (in the broadest sense of the term.) Unfortunately, Cameron's presentation of life through his characters is in other, ultimately more important ways, utterly lacking in depth and complexity. The images seem real, but by comparison the words and actions of the characters seem like the stick figures of a child's drawing, so abstract that only the over generous imagination of childhood, or the pristine power of adolescent romantic passion, lend them any semblance of true personality.

I believe this flaw is what keeps the movie from living up to its negative billing as an anti-American rant. Toward the beginning the invalid marine protagonist comments that at home marines fight for freedom, but on Pandora their only incentive is greed. The commander of the corporation's security forces is a one dimensional caricature meant to embody the perfect (and therefore indiscriminately destructive) military instrument of unbridled corporate greed. People who see anything especially "American" in this caricature say more about their own tragically distorted understanding of what it means to be American than they do about the film, whatever its intention.

As a black American I've lived all of my adult life recognizing the need to make a distinction between what America is and the injustice some Americans do. I have no problem cheering for innocent people, whatever their religious persuasion, when they fight back against those (American or otherwise) who disregard the spirit and personality of others in order to treat them as inferior beings to be casually swept aside by the juggernauts of greed and material power. I see nothing anti-American in their fight because the American creed champions the intrinsic, God ordained worth of every person, and condemns those whose pursuit of gold, business success or scientific progress impels them to disregard the lives and rights of innocent individuals or peoples. Throughout our history this has led Americans to support the cause of such peoples,
from 19th Mexico and Latin and South America, to 20th century Spain and Greece. Such American support was sometimes ignorant, thoughtless or naïve about what constitutes the better alternative to such power mad oppression, but a thoroughly American sense of justice inspired even such errors.

Avatar depicts a race of aliens facing such an unjust assault. They are people who believe that one living being unifies their people with all the living things on their world. A glowing, fern like 'Tree of Life' represents their point of contact with this world being. They believe that in death all who are truly part of the people return to this being. They believe that it is possible to pray to this being and by communion with it to commune with those who have departed this life. They believe that this being commands respect for life, and that healing, even at the brink of death, is possible by the power of this communion.

If we insist we can see in this depiction simply an effort to seduce vulnerable minds with lying semblances of truth. However, there's nothing particularly Christian about dismissing the wholesome elements of pagan belief as somehow inherently evil. The great Christian evangelists who spread the Gospel to the barbarian peoples as they overran the Roman Empire, and converted hearts in Asia, Africa and the Western hemisphere down through the centuries rather used God's word and their own Christ inspired discourse and actions to help people take hold of the little strand of truth contained in such beliefs. They sought to guide them, by dint of the reason and right sentiment God built into us, along the path that confronts mind and heart with the truth revealed by God in Scripture, and especially in the life and ministry of His Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

The notion that some force in being unites all things is not the whole truth, but it reflects openness to the truth, established by the hand of God in the heart of all creation. The Bible reveals that there is but one God, one being from whom all things arise. Christ particularly emphasized the unifying force of being, which is His love. This oneness of being, in and through the love of God, may not be the same as the unity in nature worshipped by the alien natives in Avatar (or some real tribes and peoples on planet Earth) but it offers a starting point and common ground for the conversation of mind and heart that is the vehicle of conversion. Christians have no reason to fear such depictions of pagan belief, or treat them as inherently hostile or simply wicked. In fact, if we are not willing to look at them and think them through, how can the conversations that might lead to conversion take place?

James Cameron's cinematic work combines technological sophistication with an almost pathetically childish want of moral and spiritual maturity. In this he seems to reproduce the tragic flaw of the society whose people have made his films so profitable. Are the followers of Christ in America so caught up in the conflictual logic of the contemporary moral, social and political struggle that we cannot see that America now represents a mission field, its soil rich and much of it untilled? Are we so busy defending Christianity against attack that we forget our truer vocation, which is to share with all the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Part of this evangelizing work must involve taking seriously the strands of truth contained in works like Avatar; helping people to see the contradictions involved in the flawed human presentation of truth; and introducing them to the deep consistency with which the Gospel reveals what human craftsmen can, by themselves, only dimly see or represent.

In Avatar, for example, the native aliens of planet Pandora profess great respect for life, yet contemn and are moved to slay, with little qualm or introspection, the alien visitors whose blundering seems at first to involve only inadvertent destructiveness. Though their own use of the animals on the planet involves negotiation (symbolized by a form of communication that takes place through the intertwining of hair like strands), they simply dismiss the possibility of negotiation with the humans visiting their world. The oneness of life they revere appears therefore to be localized and to lead to what amounts to bigotry: casual hostility to strangers and even a brutal inclination to kill without compunction what they fear, despise or do not understand. Their concept of being respects oneness, but the one they respect is not the universal one. They revere life as a particular manifestation of wholeness, but seem to have no clear sense of the general manifestation of life that encompasses the whole of all possibilities. They are not open to all the ways of being, including those greatly different from their own, that the one Being brings to life and by so doing endows with a right to live that all are obliged to respect. In this they suffer from a defect of perception and understanding not unlike that which leads the corporate profiteers brutally to assault them.

This fictional instance of self-contradiction parallels the contradiction between the life revering ethic supposedly promoted by the film, and the embrace of the culture of death that today characterizes so much of America's creative elite. In the film, the profit hungry corporate apparatchik hesitates to order an assault when reminded that innocent children will be done to death in the ensuing onslaught. But the elite stars and producers who people the apparatus of the entertainment industry do not hesitate in their support for the legalized and purposeful slaughter of human embryos and infants. Such forms of human life have at least as much claim to be part of the great continuum of living Being as the aliens and animals the film shows being gutted and slain by the heedless abuse of military power. Is life to be respected when its alien appearance is mitigated by stylistic touches of grace and sensuality, but not when a more extreme divergence in appearance simply masks the identity between all humans and their offspring?

Do the entertainment elites sincerely respect the premise of holistic unity suggested by their professed embrace of humanitarianism and global ecological responsibility? If so, they are caught in precisely the web of self-destructive contradiction that Christ, in so many of his parables, sought to reveal and from which the Gospel offers true hope of redemption. Rather than simply reject and condemn the sophomoric creative works that expose this contradiction, Christians seeking to spread the Gospel might do better to do what Christ often did. Sometimes, fallible human contradictions appear as people feel their way toward God. He used them to expose the mind to truth, truth that the God created heart, as through a looking glass however darkly, still has the eyes to see; and by which, through the Grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ, all people may be saved.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A health care promise to believe in

Because it is the day on which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is a time of great joy which we mark with a special spirit of generosity as we seek to honor with our gifts the generous gift of life represented to the world by the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time when we strive with more than usual intensity to follow the advice of the apostle, to put off all

"…anger, wrath, malice, slander and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices; and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. (Colossians 3:8-15)

In this good counsel we see epitomized all that our gifts and ornaments, our special Christmas acts of charity, forgiveness and love are meant to express. We see the Christ in Christmas.

Of course, "the rest of the story" of Christmas includes the account of a very different spirit, one that momentous political events during this Christmas season inevitably bring to mind. In the aftermath of Christ's birth, wise men came in search of him, asking "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" Fearing that this portended both the end of his kingly reign and the removal of the succession from his descendants, Herod, the king of Judaea, sent for these men and "sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 'Go and search diligently for the child and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.'" But after they found the Christ child and honored him with gifts and worship, "warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem, and in all that region, who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more."(Matthew 2:16-18)

Though the birth of Christ inspires our goodwill to unite in forgiveness and love, it has a very different effect on those preoccupied with consolidating human power. They know that Christ's birth represents a threat to their vaulting ambition. They respond to that threat with an effort to slay all innocence in order to put down the hope of innocent life Christ offers to all humanity.

In recent weeks America's elected leaders in Congress have been debating what is supposed to be a bill to reform the nation's health care sector. Its proponents pretend that their intent is better to serve life by extending health services to people in need. But their true intent has been revealed by the sly maneuvers and corrupt practices they have used to enforce their insistence that, come what may, the supposed health reform act must include U.S. government funding for child murder. Though, like Herod, they cloak their real intent, this insistence reveals their true priority. Their chief aim is not to assure all America access to health services. It is to make all Americans complicit in the slaughter of the innocents. Though their deceptive slogan speaks of choice, in the moral realm they are insisting that Americans who reject the absurd notion of a right to murder our posterity shall have no choice but to see the fruits of their labor used to reward a practice they rightly regard as an abomination.

This Christmastide I am praying that the true spirit of Christmas will prevail in the counsels of our nation. I am praying that, despite the bribes and threats of those who give top priority to murder, the heart of Christ will truly be born again in the hearts of enough representatives in Congress to put a halt to the charade of evil which claims to serve our nation's health but aims in fact to destroy its healthy conscience and goodwill. With such courage, they will offer their nation a gift truly in keeping with the gift of God we celebrate: the birth of the one whose triumph over death renews, despite all evil human willing, God's offer of more abundant life for all. That's a health care promise to believe in.


MERRY CHRISTMAS

Friday, December 18, 2009

The evolutionist's comical dogma

Here is my latest article at WND.com.  If you would like to leave a comment after reading it, please return here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why the elite wants Christianity out of politics

As I wrote my most recent article for WND.com (the subject of my previous posting) I found myself thinking about Christianity's unique effect on our understanding of the justice (and injustice) of human action. The last point made in the article is about the connection between arrogant elitism and the self-inflation the Pharisee derives from comparing himself with other people. In light of this connection we can better understand why the elitist forces that strenuously promote the specious doctrine of the separation of church and state are so often guilty of favoritism. They invoke the doctrine to repress Christian institutions and practices, while treating those of other religions as protected artifacts of "cultural diversity." I think this discrimination has to do with the fact that the words and example of Christ convey an understanding of human authority that supports the sovereignty of the people even as it undermines the assertion of elite predominance (the sovereignty of the wealthy, more intelligent, more talented few.)

However we may characterize it ideologically, the ultimate effect of the present push to overturn the principal of consent as the lawful basis for government is to reestablish the rule of the few, whose assumption of power derives from their Pharisaical claim to be superior to the rest. On the convenient excuse of whatever problem or crisis happens to be handy (the jobs crisis, the health crisis, the environmental crisis, the crises of poverty, hunger, homelessness etc.) they assert the urgent need for approaches that concentrate control of more and more resources and decision-making in the hands of professional and bureaucratic elites. Against the preponderance of evidence and logical reasoning, they pretend that centralized government institutions will deal with the critical challenges we face more effectively than those that respect individual liberty. Of course, as they advocate this view they are not as open as the Pharisee about their assumption of moral superiority. They cloak their assertion of superior righteousness with a fabricated perception of scientific knowledge, global catastrophe and compassionate egalitarian intention. But once the smoke and mirrors of crisis and compassion have served their purpose, we will be left with the reconstructed edifice of unchecked elite domination. The elite promise is that people will enjoy the comfortable dependency of well cared for household pets. But once elite control is consolidated, some will suffer the brutalization and casual destruction of lab rats or noisome vermin while most experience the commingled care and misery once bestowed on work horses or pack animals, valued mainly for the work they perform for their betters.

A discussed in "The Publican's Prayer" Christ's insistence on the perfect standard of God's will ("Be ye therefore perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48) undermines the claim of intrinsic superiority that gives some appearance of justice to this elite consolidation of power. But more radical still is what he says even to the Pharisees: that "the Kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21) In his kingdom, the word of the king is the law. Those who have direct access to the sovereign are therefore privileged to hear at first hand the content of the law. When they pass it on to others they speak with an authority derived from their direct access to the king, and their words cannot be definitively contradicted except by others with the same access. What Christ says to every person is that they have direct and exclusive access to the King of all Creation, the author whose name is the root of authority in every sense. Though common to all, this access is, even so, radically exclusive because it involves the inner being of the individual, to which only that individual has direct access. All the subjects of human kings are thus vessels of God's authority. Made in His image, they have within themselves a model or likeness that accords with His will. The knowledge they derive from this model appears in the natural promptings of conscience, whereby they judge what they do to others in light of their own reaction to what others do to them. ("Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12)

When discussing personal morality, it is common enough in Christian parlance to speak of every individual as a temple of God, i.e., a venue in which the will of God resides. Christ's reference to the Kingdom of God within us also has implications for the just exercise of sovereign power, implications that bear directly on our understanding of lawful government. As a direct and exclusive form of access to the sovereign is available to all individuals, no one person or group of persons can by themselves have an unchallengeable claim to speak with sovereign authority over all the rest. Every other individual is a potential check on their claims, and may in his or her own right claim to be consulted as to the authenticity, content and meaning of the sovereign's will. The understanding of God's rule achieved through Christ thus becomes the basis for limiting the just claims of human rule to governments that respect the individual's right to be consulted, i.e., those "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

This suggests that the political premise of the American Declaration of Independence draws upon and reflects the most basic Christian understanding of the meaning and political consequences of human moral equality (that is, the equality of all people before God.) Christ's American followers face increasing pressure from elitists who seek to drive their exercise of faith from politics, and indeed from all the arenas affected by law and public policy. In dealing with this pressure, we would do well to think through the vital connection between our faith and the principle of government by consent. Christ's teaching does not conflict with the requirements of Constitutional self-government. In truth, government by consent is based on an insight into the nature of political authority that would not have been achieved except through Christ. As Christ's followers are driven, as such, out of the political life of our country, what will become of this insight? It has dim prospects. For some people, that's the whole point; isn't it?

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Publican's Prayer

Here is this week's article at WND.com. As always, I would be interest in your reaction, so return here to leave a comment.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Being an American-what makes the difference?

Not long ago I received an email that struck me as a thought provoking comment on what it means to be an American. It also goes to the heart of what Obama faction media puppets like Chris Matthews really hate about the American military- i.e., their moral allegiance to liberty and the Constitution meant to incorporate it.

I asked Gary Hallmark, the retired Naval Officer who sent me the email, for permission to share it with the readers of this blog, which he has given. As you read it ask yourself, Is this nation still made up of individuals who, like so many of our fellow citizens in uniform, not only swear allegiance to a "piece of paper", but are willing to die for the moral ideas it represents? I don't know the answer to that question. But soon and very soon we will find out.

Dear Mr. Keyes,
>
> As a retired Naval Officer, one of my assignments while serving on
> active duty was serving as a Military Observer with the United Nations
> in the Middle East. While serving in Egypt in such a capacity, I found
> myself in a conversation one day with a Danish Army Officer who also
> was serving as a Military Observer. The topic of the conversation was
> the United States of America and my loyalty to it. During the
> conversation, the Danish Army Officer stated to me that the rest of
> the world did not understand the United States. When I asked why, he
> explained that the United States was different. He stated that as a
> people we wanted to be liked, and since people in the rest of the
> world knew this, then the rest of the world was not going to like us;
> he stated that the rest of the world would respect us, yes, but “we
> will never like you.” When I asked him why he believed that, he asked
> me, “Gary, who did you swear an oath to?” I told him, “I did not swear
> an oath to anybody, but as a Officer in the United States Military, I
> had sworn an oath to the Constitution of the United States of America.”
>
> The Danish Army Officer replied that was the problem, that was what
> the world did not understand, how an individual or individuals could
> swear an oath to a piece of paper. He went on to explain that as a
> Danish Army Officer he had sworn an oath to his country and his
> countrymen. He went on to say other nations swear an oath to their
> king or to their nation, but “you swore an oath to a piece of paper.”
>
> I replied that the Constitution of the United States of America was
> not a piece of paper, but it was a representation of an ideal that
> incorporates the fundamental principles upon which our nation and its
> government were founded for the people, by the people, and of the
> people and that every military officer I knew was prepared to give
> their lives to defend it and the American people’s right of self-rule.
>
> The Danish Army Office then told me that was the point; that this
> nation is made up of individuals who not only swear to this “piece of
> paper,” but who are willing to die for that ideal; and it is an ideal
> that people leave their home countries for, and those that don’t, are
> envious of those who do so. He went on further and explained that as a
> Dane he could relate to other Danes because of their culture, language,
> heritage, but he said, “Americans are different.” I replied to him,
> “Yes, we are because we are united in freedom. Freedom of self-rule
> and freedom of self-determination, both of which are guaranteed by the
> Constitution of the United States.” His response, I will never forget,
> “And that is what we don’t understand and that is why the rest of the
> world envies the United States.”
>
> Mr. Keyes, during my tour with the United Nations, I was subjected to
> the type of conversation I described above more than once. The one
> above stands out in my memory because it was the first such
> conversation and it was the first time in all my travels that a
> non-citizen of the United States had admitted an envy of our great
> country and the ideal by which we live, an ideal embodied in the
> Constitution of the United States of America. Yes, certain people in
> this country have little to no respect for the Constitution of the
> United States, but the military does. I was a young officer in the
> military when Nixon resigned as President. I remember very well the
> steps the military took to ensure that no one attempted to use the
> military to interfere in what was taking place. Why? Because those
> military individuals then, just as the military individuals now, had
> sworn an oath /to support and defend the Constitution of the United
> States against all enemies, foreign and domestic./ May that always be
> the case.
>
> Respectfully,
> Richard G. Hallmark
>

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sarah Palin-Personally pro-life, but...?

As I expected, my last post disturbed many who are desperately looking for some reason for hope among the Republicans being built up in the propaganda media as supposed representatives of the intense conservative disaffection that promises to be the decisive force in the 2010 midterm elections.  I suspect that the propagandist are hyping these personalities to serve as "heat sinks" for the vehement tide of anger and dismay against the betrayal of America's moral heart and its constitutional liberty; a betrayal sponsored or tolerated by the leadership in both branches of the sham "two party" system.

Here follows a comment on the article I came across on my Facebook profile page.  I think it typifies the reaction of many goodhearted people who are reluctant to look past the propaganda about her personal views and history to think clearly about Sarah Palin's official actions and public statements on the issue of justice, law and public policy involved in the fight to secure the unalienable right to life of our posterity.     

Anthony Davar Finding enemies in our prolife camp and splitting among strong prolife leaders will only cost us the most important fact: the life of another child. How many abortions were there in United States prior to 1973 vs after? One abortion is too many obviously. Sarah Palin is obviously a strong prolife leader, and with her own life example, has shown without a doubt, where she stands for life! However, as a matter of practical steps to victory, she is smart to go for one step at a time.If the country was on its knees repenting of the evil of abortion, she would be there with us praying for God to turn our hearts to the defense of our children. 

Alan Keyes Anthony Davar: On what grounds do you hold that Sarah Palin is "a strong pro-life leader"? I review both her statements and her actions, and find them in contradiction with the necessary moral logic without which the pro-life position is simply a matter of emotional feeling. Based on this review I conclude that she is not in fact espousing the pro-life public policy position. Without at all addressing the facts and moral reasoning I present, you assert that she is pro-life. Beyond emotional conviction, on what do you base your assertion?
It is obviously not right by law to impose our personal feelings on others, however strongly we feel. This is especially so when dealing with a decision that has deeply personal emotional and other consequences for the individual concerned. So if we reduce the pro-life cause to reliance on personal emotional conviction, we surrender the rational basis for the fight to achieve legal protection for the unalienable right to life of the unborn child.
Sarah Palin's statements and actions are rationally inconsistent with the moral logic of unalienable right which, if true, binds all levels of government and all US public officials to the goal of securing the unalienable rights with which God has endowed our humanity. If we accept her as a pro-life leader we abandon the rational moral basis for the pro-life position. I cannot do this without betraying the principles of liberty, and the will of the Creator God whose authority establishes them as the basis for human justice.
Your rhetoric simply fails to address the facts and reasoning I present. It amounts to saying that she is personally against abortion (about which I have no doubt). But many pro-"abortion rights" politicians say that. The issue before the nation is about law and justice, not personal conviction. Nothing Sarah Palin has said or done supports the view that she is pro-life as a matter of justice, law and public policy. So far as I can tell, she is just a pro-choice politician who turned a laudable personal choice into a seductive, but false pro-life public image. All the choices and statements she has made in her public capacity support this conclusion. If I'm wrong, show me the facts and statements that indicate something beyond the "I'm personally pro-life" position so common among the so-called "pro-choice" promoters of "abortion rights".


Unless Sarah Palin fundamentally alters the views she has enunciated and acted on up to now, I predict that she will disappoint the hope so many sincerely pro-life people are mistakenly investing in her supposed pro-life stand.  I am sure I will pay a price for saying now what others will only realize when it may be too late. I was excoriated starting in 2004 for calling Obama a hard line Marxist bent on destroying America.  That view is not at all so contemned today as it was when facts and reasoning first convinced me of its truth.  Similarly on account of facts and reasoning I and others insist that Obama cease to withhold evidence bearing on whether or not he satisfies the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the Office of President of the United States.  For this we are vilified and ridiculed, though many of our fellow Americans now join in this demand.

My view of Sarah Palin's supposed pro-life stance, and the danger involved in following her leadership,  is similarly based on facts and reasoning.  I will hold to it until one or the other clearly compels me to do otherwise.  Experience has taught me that even among those whose pro-life hearts espouse the self-evident truths that make us free, when it  comes to politics the factual standard of truth often gives way to personal feelings and expedient calculation.  Given the crisis we are in, I can only pray that at some point they will realize that this neglect of the requirements of truth is the very reason America's liberty has reached the crisis point.  Before a people finds leaders willing to act in truth, they must become a people willing to submit their own judgments and decisions to its demands.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Is Palin’s lead a pitfall for the pro-life cause?

I was not at all surprised to hear that Rudy Giuliani has lately expressed views that welcome the rising prominence of Sarah Palin in the GOP. Giuliani is the archetype of the politicians who wear the Republican label but staunchly support the pro-abortion agenda. Of course, he imitates the pro-abortion Democrats by using the "pro-choice" label to dress his position in deceptively American garb. The use of that term is one of the most clever rhetorical ploys in the history of American politics. If the slaveholders had thought of it, people like me might still be doing stoop labor for no wages. After all, what could be more American than choice? Isn't that what freedom is all about?

Actually, no; not in the sense of the political liberty the American people have up to now enjoyed. Our liberty is based on the idea of unalienable rights articulated to justify our nation's assertion of independence from Great Britain. "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that 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."

Unalienable rights give rise to opportunities for choice, but in a context that first takes account of the standard of justice from which the claim of right derives. Human life involves certain actions and inclinations that, as a rule, tend to support and preserve it, both for individuals and for the species as a whole. This rule is the result of determinations made by their Creator, whose will thus constitutes the standard for their actions. As they accept the gift of life and perform the actions necessary to sustain it, their respect for the Creator's rule sets the standard for their action. Right action preserves and perpetuates human life. Wrong action damages and destroys it. People are in the right when they act rightly. Should others, without cause or provocation, seek to interfere with their action, they have the right to resist and to defend themselves against that interference.

The concept of unalienable rights thus arises from respect for the rule of the Creator. People acting rightly (i.e., in conformity with the rule) act on the Creator's authority. They may use in defense of their actions whatever powers they possess in consequence of that authority. Their physical, mental and emotional capacities may all be brought to bear to enforce (that is continue with) their right action. These capacities include the ability to discern and choose among different courses of action that achieve the desired result. As they do so, they have a right connected with and arising from their respect for the Creator's rule.

In and of itself, therefore, choice is not a "right". Rather it is a consequence of the conformity to right. Yet the capacity for choice is part of human nature, which is to say the way human beings have been fashioned by the Creator. People have the capacity for choice. But they only have the right to do as they choose when they have used that capacity in accordance with the Creator's rule. Put simply, their choice does not involve a right when what they choose to do is fundamentally wrong.

Government exists because God made humanity with the capacity to do wrong, i.e., envisage and set our sights on a different course than the one that is, on the whole, compatible with the possibility of human existence. In light of this capacity, the purpose of government is to limit and/ or repulse the effective action of wrongdoers, thereby securing the rights (i.e., right courses of action) of those who respect the Creator's will.

This logic is the basis in principle for the pro-life rejection of the superficially potent argument that a woman may do as she chooses when it comes to taking the life of the child in her womb. Her freedom to choose does not extend to violating the Creator's demand of respect for the child's unalienable right to life. God's demand of justice limits individual choice. But it also limits how those entrusted with the powers of government may legitimately (i.e., lawfully) employ them. This is the substantive basis for the concept of limited government. The limitation does not arise from ideological whim, or from social or historical circumstances. It arises from the same determination of the Creator's will that sets the stars on fire and the courses in which planets revolve around them.

Just as the individual's choice is limited by the Creator's determination of what harmonizes with the possibility of human existence, so the use of the powers of government is limited to actions compatible with the aim of securing the unalienable rights of human nature (i.e., those connected with actions and inclinations compatible with the decisions of the Creator that make our existence possible.) No government (including the State governments of the United States) may, in law or action, justly depart from this aim by violating or tolerating the violation of the unalienable rights of anyone subject to its jurisdiction.

Sarah Palin appears to be pro-choice for State governments. (I invite readers to review the arguments I have made in this regard in Sarah Palin: Already Compromised? and Palin's Choice: an Afterword) Yet just as the principle of unalienable right places a limit on the individual choice of the mother it also limits the choice of the community of individuals (civil society) acting by means of the State governments. Except for the just demands of that principle, the intimate, personal consequences of the decision about pregnancy would favor giving moral priority to the mother's choice, not that of State legislators otherwise unaffected by its result. Herein lies the grave danger connected with identifying 'pro-choice for States' politicians as acceptable champions of the pro-life cause. They step away from the solid ground of principle provided by the Declaration of Independence reliance upon unalienable rights. By doing so, they set the stage for the ultimate defeat of the pro-life position. Sadly this also undermines the argument that the consent of the governed is the sine qua non of governmental legitimacy (lawfulness). For unless it respects requirements of right action, government based upon consent contradicts the Creator's rule, and so cuts the ground out from under the just demand it claims to represent.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let Rev. Manning be heard!

Here is this week's WND.com article, Let Rev. Manning be heard!   Are the Obama forces now openly seeking to abuse law enforcement powers to intimidate and silence an outspoken opponent?  As always, feel free to return here for comment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama's Real Bow

Obama apparently doesn't realize that the occupant of the office he lays claim to is supposed to represent the sovereign people of the United States.  At newsmax.com the following picture accompanied a story reporting his clearly deliberate bow to the Japanese Emperor Akihito.


Given the decidedly outraged reaction to his bow to the King of Saudi Arabia, there's no way this new affront is anything but a deliberate repudiation of respect for the republican form of government (of, by and for the people) established by the Constitution of the United States.  Given the cult of personality Obama worshippers have tried to promote since he won the 2008 election, we can be forgiven for suspecting that the Narcissist in Chief shows such respect for monarchs because he aspires to be what George Washington wisely refused to become- King of the United States.  Unlike Washington, of course, he has done nothing that remotely suggests he is worthy of such preferment.  But also unlike Washington he appears to believe that ambition for power is the only qualification required.  In this he resembles both Caesar and Napoleon, two historical figures who succeeded at the task Obama has undertaken- the destruction of a republican form of government in their respective countries.

As a matter of pure political calculation, however, one has to wonder at the outward appearance of stupidity involved in this latest insult to the people he's supposed to represent.  Even someone as blinded by his own self-image as Obama has to realize that his critics will pounce on this obviously deliberate reiteration of humiliated sovereignty. 

I think he not only realizes this, he means to provoke it.  Obama's bow to the Saudi King was a reflexive expression of homage to a figure he revered on account of deeply inculcated religious feeling.  It therefore  revealed Obama's allegiance to Islam.  From his insane waste of American lives in Afghanistan to his literally fishy reaction to the Ft. Hood episode; from his shutdown of Guantanamo to his decision to offer terrorists the propaganda platform of a civilian trial in the very city they assaulted; from his surrender of U.S. economic sovereignty to his determined and obvious efforts to drive the U.S. to utter bankruptcy; Obama's policies and actions are leading more and more Americans to question whether his true allegiance is to the Constitution of the United States and to the the people whose will and nationhood it represents.

This substantive issue of allegiance inevitably came to mind as people thought about the implications of his bow to the Saudi King.  Given Saudi Arabia's role in supporting the brand of Islamic fundamentalism that promotes the recruitment of Islamic terrorists like Major Hasan, these implications are intensely troubling.  The bow to the Japanese Emperor is a deliberate ploy intended to take the focus away from the issue of religious and political allegiance and put it on formalities instead.  The appearance of stupidity in the bow to Emperor Akihito covers the shrewdness of Obama's real bow, which is in fact to the requirements of the continuing deception that hides his deep betrayal of his oath and of America's trust.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gingrich and the GOP’s destructive, crypto-leftist moderates

The headline reads "Newt Gingrich warns of 'destructive' GOP primaries".

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicted disaster for his party if the conservative wing of the GOP continues to field independent candidates to the right of the party's nominee. "If we get into a cycle where there are tea parties and there are conservative third-party candidates, we will make [Nancy] Pelosi speaker for life," Gingrich told POLITICO in an interview Thursday, calling the practice "totally destructive."


There is a telling confusion in this POLITICO.com piece that should be carefully pondered. Gingrich's quoted words discourage conservative third party candidates. But both the article's headlines and the thrust of the former speaker's reasoning suggest that conservative candidates in Party primaries, are bad for the GOP. Which is it?


The answer should be easy. Since the Party's primaries are supposed to allow voters to decide the GOP candidates, Gingrich surely doesn't mean to suggest that conservatives should not run in the primaries. After all, at the primary stage there is not yet a party nominee to oppose, so they aren't being destructive. But there is a candidate preferred and backed by the GOP leaders. (In Kentucky, for example, that's Trey Grayson.) Does Gingrich mean to suggest that even at the primary stage, conservatives should simply accept whatever RINO the leadership pushes? I suspect that he does, though in the context of the race in NY's 23rd district, his words could be otherwise construed.

Of course, the outcome in NY's 23rd District doesn't support the notion that fielding conservative candidates is destructive. On the contrary, it reveals the truth. Support from GOP leaders like Gingrich gives crypto-leftists like Scozzafava (or for that matter, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney) the clout to thwart the election of good conservatives. What appeared in the three way race in New York is actually the ongoing reality of the situation within the GOP itself. The GOP base is conservative. A solid majority of voters in that base want candidates who oppose abortion, support the God-ordained natural family, favor limited government, free market economics and respect for the Constitution of the United States as written (not as fabricated by elitist judges.) But the GOP leadership favors blank slate mediocrities. They can then write them up as conservatives for the primaries, while secretly assuring that once nominated they will run and govern as 'moderates' (a term that refers to their dilution of conservatism, as I make clear in How GOP party bosses betray grass roots.) These anti-conservative leaders pretend that they favor 'moderates' because conservatives are unelectable. In fact, as we saw in NY's 23rd district, they favor moderates in order to make sure conservative candidates don't win elections. This is the goal and purpose of their "moderate" inclination. 

This reality within the GOP is the reason I feel sorry for people who think that they can somehow reclaim it from within. I constantly get emails and other communications from sincere conservatives, deeply concerned to stop the slide into socialism, suggesting that Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin or even Michael Steele and Romney will somehow join forces with conservatives like me to restore the GOP to its principles. They haven't yet realized that the GOP leadership is now dedicated to the goal of making sure that real conservatives become obsolete. The greatest fear of the GOP leaders now is that the intense rejection of Obama's national socialism will somehow catch fire enough to lift up real conservatives to replace the phony, manipulated, sham that presently uses conservative voters to put crypto-leftists (wearing the Republican label) into power. Since Reagan left office, this has been the main purpose of the GOP party machinery, perfected in that regard by the shrewd maneuverings of people like Karl Rove.

The Politico article refers to the GOP's "center-right" coalition. This is quite simply deceitful. The GOP consists of a conservative majority being ruthlessly exploited and betrayed by a tiny, parasitical, crypto-leftist minority that relies on pro-abortion money to create a media megaphone that drowns out the voices that speak to and for the conservative heart of America. Sadly, Newt Gingrich now seems determined to speak for this minority, and its successful abuse of the decent conservatives who, but for the abuse, would join together to save the Constitution and our liberty. While people like me work to revive and restore the republic, they have apparently cast themselves as the undertakers of its demise, content to prepare the body for viewing by carefully preserving the outward appearance of life until the time comes to fulfill Khrushchev's boastful communist prediction, "We will bury you."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do we Americans still care to be free?

Here is my latest article at WND.com.  When you've perused it, feel free to come back here and leave a comment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NY 23- Has the majority ruled?

Word in from NY 23 that Conservative Doug Hoffman now trails by just 3000 votes as the official  tabulation process continues. "The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which about 10,200 were distributed."  Among the absentee ballots that remain uncounted are "military and overseas ballots received by this coming Monday (and postmarked by Nov. 2)..."
But Bill Owens "was quickly sworn into office on Friday, a day before the rare weekend vote in the House of Representatives.  His support sealed his party's narrow victory on the health care legislation."
By what right does anyone declare and act on an election outcome before all the votes are counted?  Whatever candidates do to declare or concede victory, elections are decided by what the people do with their votes, not what the candidates do with their speeches.  Or at least that's the way its supposed to be when government of, by and for the people still functions.
Sad on this day after veterans day, to reflect on the fact that among the votes still uncounted when Owens was being sworn in are many cast by people who are right now risking their lives in service to their country.  Yet we let ambitious political parties hijack the electoral process in a fashion that sends the clear signal- your votes don't matter.
By such carelessness does a free people discard the respect for their sovereignty that is the essence of liberty.  I assume that if the vote turns out to favor Doug Hoffman, Owens will have to give up the seat he would thus prematurely have assumed.  But maybe not.  After all, once the candidates and the Parties agree to an election outcome,  why should the voters matter?
It's ironic that when it comes to ignoring the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the Presidency, the politicos want us to accept the notion that all that matters is the electoral majority.  Now when it comes to deciding who's sworn in after an election, the people's votes remain uncounted, and all that matters is the candidates' declarations of victory or concession.  For those willing to understand, this little episode reveals the truth.  Once respect for the Constitution and its principles has been discarded, we'll quickly discover that the notion of majority rule has been thrown away as well.  The American people will find themselves cast down, to languish as other peoples have historically done, under the boot heel of arrogant elites who will resume their accustomed place as the dictators of human destiny.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To honor veterans join the battle for liberty at cpnlive.com

This is a day for remembering the men and women through all the generations who answered the call to defend liberty.  If we respect their sense of duty, we must work to restore and preserve it.
Because the crisis of liberty has come to a head, it is today being assaulted up and down the line.  A pervasive element of the assault is the abuse of the news and information media as a propaganda weapon to deceive and manipulate people so that they surrender government of, by and for the people without a fight.
From 3 PM until 11 PM today I will be joining Stan Solomon and others at cpnlive.com to promote the new alternative media- of, by and for the people- through which they can develop and share accurate news and information that aids in the exercise of liberty, rather than being part of its destruction.
Please stop by.  Use the live call-in or chat room features to join in the discussion.  The Conservative Political Network is a place where people loyal to liberty can gather their strength for its defense on the battlegrounds of opinion and debate that are deciding its fate today as surely as ever it was decided on the battlefields of conventional war.  Will you volunteer for service?
I'll be among those recruiting folks to the cause today starting at 3 PM at cpnlive.com.  Come by to say hello and have your say.   

Monday, November 9, 2009

Denial ain’t just a birth certificate

This morning, in an article by Lt. Colonel Allen B. West (US Army, ret.) about the Ft. Hood terrorist attack, a phrase arrested my attention: "The Saudis are not our friends and any American political figure who believes such is delusional." It took my mind back to the days when I was hosting a commentary show on MSNBC. I remember on several occasions presenting thoughts based on the theme, 'the Saudis are not our friends.' (Not long after came the events that led to the demise of the show.) And that was before the current corrupt Party system produced an election outcome allowing someone to occupy the Oval Office who could not suppress the urge to do public obeisance to the Saudi Monarch.

In his comments Lt. Col. West accurately assesses the Saudi role in developing the cadre of Islamic fundamentalists from whose ranks Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups recruit their dedicated assassins. "Saudi Arabia is sponsoring radical Imams who enter into our prisons and convert young men into a virulent Wahabbist ideology…They are sponsoring textbooks which present Islamic centric revisionist history in our schools."

Now it appears that the preparation and recruitment of Islamic jihad kamikazes has been successfully extended into the ranks of our military, endangering the lives of our personnel on and off the battlefield (as well as the lives of their dependents.) As an "Army brat" I spent the bulk of my early years living on one Army base or another. Though it was part of my father's profession to risk his life for the country, as a dependent I don't recall feeling that my life was at risk on base for even one moment the whole time I was growing up. Can the children of our troops today say the same?

Though not on the scale of the events of 9/11, the attack at Ft. Hood sharply conveys the same message those attacks were meant to convey- the terrorists can get past all our defenses to take people out in the very circumstances where life ought to be most secure. Indeed, the message of Ft. Hood is intended to go further, casting doubt on the reliability of all the instruments we use to defend the nation's security.

It is (tragically?) ironic that as we consider that message, the man who claims to be Commander-in-Chief seems more concerned with protecting the assailant from the bad opinion of the nation he assaulted than with protecting the nation and its warriors from future such attacks. I'm sure Obama thinks we shouldn't make too much of the fact that Major Nidal Malik Hasan attended a mosque

"controlled by the radical Muslim Brotherhood, a Saudi-funded worldwide jihadist movement which controls many of the mosques in America….Before attending Muslim Community Center, Hasan worshiped with his mother at the ultra-radical Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic center in Falls Church, Va. While there he worshiped alongside some of the hijackers who attacked the Pentagon on 9/11. He reportedly came under the spell of the mosque's imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who ministered privately to the hijackers."

After all, why assume that attending a hate-filled mosque had a bad influence on Hasan when attending Jeremiah Wright's hate-filled church left Obama filled with love and hope, all primed for the Nobel Peace prize? Why assume that imbibing the teachings of a radical imam affected Hasan's actions when we are supposed to go along with the notion that, despite his many years of admiring and studying radical socialists and communists only fringe loonies would suggest Obama is one of them?

Does the sacrifice of truth involved in treating Obama as though he were just another true blue American politico mean that we must close our eyes to facts on which the physical security, indeed the very survival of our country may depend? Will the political cowardice that refuses to see and answer the many questions about his background also refuse to seek answers about the questionable backgrounds of others who, like him, are in a position to do our nation grievous harm?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why Obama's Ft. Hood reaction seems so strange

There are times when even Obama's critics seem to have difficulty putting into words their reaction to his strange behavior. I think that's because they refuse to consider the simple premise that makes sense of it all: He feels no love for the USA. He seems in fact to feel himself to be no part of this country.

The occupant of the office he lays claim to is supposed to represent the body politic. People expect that his reactions will reflect its joys and pains i.e., the joys and pains of the American people as a whole. They expected him to react to the shocking events at Ft. Hood the way a person reacts to a grievous and unexpected wound to his body. Even a minor blow (like stubbing his toe) gets a pained reaction from the whole body. But the Ft. Hood attack is like a razor sharp knife that slips from its proper use to cut off a finger. It can only seem like a minor wound to someone whose gut isn't writhing with pain.

It was obvious to all that Obama's gut wasn't writhing. He spoke like a spectator taking notice of a scuffle on the sidelines. 'We shouldn't react until we know all the facts,' he says, as if the gut waits for a doctor's report rather than twisting with pain as a part of the body falls away.
With due regard to Bill Clinton, the simple fact is this. Obama doesn't feel our pain. To be sure, once it becomes clear that appearing to do so will serve his agenda of power, he will study the part and summon the right appearance when the script calls for it. But only fools will forget that this aspect of the role doesn't come naturally for him. His instinct isn't to feel for the country. It is to protect our assailants from any overreaction by Americans. He apparently assumes that we are prone to spiteful nastiness.

Nothing about this nation's reaction after the gut wrenching events of 9-11 justifies his fearful and insulting instincts. In many other countries (including the Islamic nations whose praises he sings so readily) there would have been violent street riots that claimed the lives of scores of innocent people, victimized because they professed the same religion as the terrorist assailants. In America we cried out in grief and anger, but we acted out first of all by falling to our knees in prayer to Almighty God. We rose again to seek justice, but even then we didn't lash out in prejudiced anger. We aimed our first blows at the beast that struck us, not even at others who, like some of the Palestinians, danced in their streets for joy as we mourned our dead.

Obama's reaction did not represent the American people. It came from years of associating with, studying, and even worshiping with people who hate us and everything we stand for in the world. In his heart of hearts I wager he even despises the decent motivation of many who voted for him. Many did so precisely because they naively believed that their action would lay to rest once and for all the stigma of institutionalized bigotry and hatred that mars all too many pages of our history as a nation. But there is a kind of relentless hating that sees in repentance only the admission of guilt. Though such people thought Obama's victory would stand for hope, every day it becomes more apparent that he brings only judgment.

What manner of man is this who now claims to preside over the affairs of the nation?

"The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail." (Deuteronomy 28:31, cf. Lamentations 5:8, Ezekiel 11:9)

Better they had sought for hope following God's example and looking "for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it..." (Ezekiel 22:30).

Friday, November 6, 2009

How GOP Party bosses betray grass roots

Here is my latest offering at WND.com. It's best read in conjunction with Monday's post, NY 23-Orgy of self-seeking reveals GOP void of statesmanship. As always, you're invited to return here to share your comments.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The moral-political nexus

I'm still working on my next post, but this morning a friend sent me the following quote in an email that I think is well worth pondering. Fulton Sheen succinctly summarizes the connection between moral understanding and politics that is pretty much the basis for everything I do in public life. He is also right about the consequences of neglecting it, as we are proving all too clearly these days.

"What men do not see is that the fracturing of the spiritual community means the loss of inclusive and unifying moral sanctions over the whole of man's activities... The modern world has no cement to bind together personal morals and the morals of political and economic life.' If a time ever comes when the religious Jews, Protestants and Catholics have to suffer under a totalitarian state denying them the right to worship God according to the light of their conscience, it will be because for years they thought it made no difference what kind of people represented them in Congress, and because they never opposed the spiritual truth to the materialist lie'." [pg 125]

Fulton Sheen Communism and the Conscience of the West

Monday, November 2, 2009

NY 23- Orgy of self-seeking reveals GOP void of statesmanship

With the withdrawal of Dede Scozzafava from contention in the special election in NY's 23rd Congressional District, we see a clear result of implementing Michael Steele's infamous 80/20 approach to candidate selection. Grassroots conservatives still hampered by their allegiance to the Republican Party need to consider the lessons to be drawn from the Republican party's disappearance from that race. Scozzafava was a candidate typical of the predilections of GOP Party bosses and the majority of its big money fundraisers. They believe that the Party's formula for political victory requires people who oppose or just give lip service to conservative stands on the issues of moral principle, like respect for the unalienable right to life and defense of the natural family, but embrace conservative positions on other fronts, especially when it comes to money issues.

But the problem with candidates like Scozzafava is the priorities they represent. Her eager endorsement of the Obama faction Democrat in the race points to the truth. In principal, politicians like her are in tune with the moral and intellectual culture of the leftist Democrats. Their election stands on money issues are a matter of cynical political calculation. In this respect they are exactly what the left has always accused Republicans of being- people willing to sacrifice issues of human life and dignity to win power. They put money ahead of every other consideration. Then in order to prove that they aren't just promoters of heartless greed and selfishness, they pander to politically correct notions of "tolerance" and "sensitivity" with their stands on issues that involve respect for human nature and moral responsibility.

Newt Gingrich cited her stands on the money issues in the statement reported in an article at politico.com "warning conservative activists that their support for a third-party candidate in a key upcoming New York Special election is a "mistake."
The former Georgia congressman then rattled off a list of Scozzafava's conservative credentials.

"She has signed a no tax increase pledge. She is endorsed by the National Rifle Association. She has come out against cap and trade…She is opposed to the Obama health care plan. She will vote for John Boehner instead of Nancy Pelosi," Gingrich said. "All of those things together make her – it seems to me – a legitimate, authentic, Republican nominee."

Former U.S. House speaker Gingrich wants to make it crystal clear that conservative stands on issues of moral principle are not an essential part of the Republican identity. So long as a candidate is right on the issues of money and power, that's all that matters. In a CNN interview the present Minority Leader in the House, John Boehner, took pains to make a similar point. "Clearly she would be on the left side of our party," said Boehner, who had financially supported the campaign of the New York assemblywoman. "...We accept moderates in our party and we want moderates in our party." He then went on to reject the notion that Scozzafava's failure had anything to do with "pressure by the conservative "Tea Party" movement, citing his participation at rallies in Bakersfield, Calif., and Ohio…. I've work with these people, and what they're concerned about is the growing size of government. They want someone who's really going to actively reduce spending and reduce control here in Washington."

Even as their nominee falls prey to the revulsion caused by her denial of the moral principles of liberty, these GOP leaders want to pretend that the angry uprising caused by the Obama faction's betrayal of American values has nothing to do with moral concerns. They desperately want the votes and power that angry uprising may deliver. But they don't want to represent Americans who know in their hearts that the Obama threat isn't just about money or the usual Washington power grab. It represents a profound destruction of the whole American way of life, destruction rooted in Obama's rejection of the moral idea of God-given individual rights, and constitutional government based on the consent of the people.

The battle with the Obama faction is in the end a struggle to determine whether this moral concept of humanity will continue to be the basis for American government, or whether it will be replaced by a moral vision that discards the whole idea of a distinctive human nature so that human beings can be treated simply as objects for manipulation by an all powerful administrative state. At the grassroots many Americans, regardless of political labels, instinctively grasp what is at stake. They long for leaders who also understand, and will rise to defend the moral idea of America, from which so many have gained inspiration and hope, and for which so many have risked or given their lives.

An appreciation for this longing has been a hallmark of American statesmanship when leaders arose in response to the crises of the past. The Republican Party's founding President, Abraham Lincoln, understood and spoke to it as he represented and articulated the moral causes of the American Civil War. But GOP leaders today not only lack the depth for such statesmanship, they appear utterly devoid of any sense of the compassionate concern for humanity from which it arises. Their preference for so-called "moderates" proves the point. What is moderate about rejecting the natural right of human family life in order to accept a paradigm of human sexuality freed from the responsible discipline of human procreation? What is moderate about rejecting the idea of natural, and therefore inherent, human rights in order to accept a so-called "right" to murder our offspring?

This disregard for the natural obligation that binds one generation to the next is precisely what leads to the disgusting orgy of self-seeking that is piling a Mount Everest of debt onto the backs of our posterity with no regard for the national servitude it represents. Why should we expect people who claim the right to avoid their present responsibilities by killing their living offspring to care about the harm they do to the generations yet unborn? Why should we expect people encouraged to justify such murder with arguments about the inferior "quality" of the life they destroy to stop at similarly discarding the elderly when age takes the shine from their physical existence? If the idea of humanity doesn't prevent murder in the womb, all the more reason it should not prevail against the murder of those whose life declines toward death.

The idea of "moderation" touted by the GOP leadership orphans the very idea of humanity, and with it the fellow feeling (compassion) that should stay the hand from murder and neglect, especially when the victims include our offspring or the parents who engendered our lives. It rejects the disciplined understanding of liberty that made successful constitutional self-government possible in the United States.By accepting an idea of right that limited and disciplined our choice, we became a people capable of doing what the scoffing philosophers thought impossible- establishing a government of, by and for the people that promotes order and prosperous decency rather than licentious self-destruction. This is true moderation. Real moderates, therefore, will not support people like Scozzafava, or the covert Scozzafavas the cynical, self-seeking GOP leadership insists on foisting off as "conservatives." They will instead seek out representatives who work to conserve the American idea of right. This is the heart and soul of the conservative cause, which in the end is just the cause of lasting liberty.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Congress Denying People's Right to Petition?



There was a time when what the people in this video experienced would have had liberty loving Americans manning the ramparts. Have the Congressional leaders of the Obama faction decided to deny "the right of the people...to petition the government for a redress of grievances"? Obama promised "change", and as I predicted what we are getting is a regime change- from a free society to a totalitarian government dictatorship. The Constitution is being systematically shredded. At first it took a bit of thinking and discernment to notice it. Now they are openly behaving like the apparatchiks of a totalitarian government. Apparently they expect the people of this country to sit back and take it, as folks elsewhere have done.

On November 11 we will once again commemorate the brave souls who fought, risking and giving their lives, so that some hope for liberty would survive in Europe and elsewhere in the world. I don't know about anyone else, but I would rather die as they did than live in a country that has shamed and degraded their sacrifice by surrendering Constitutional liberty here at home. Are we really that anxious to be slaves on the national socialist plantation? Are we so pathetically desperate for the illusory benefits to be derived from government dictated lives? If so, I guess there are already no real Americans left?

[In my posting on September 15 I suggested making November 11 a day for declaring our freedom from the deceitful manipulators in the so-called main stream media. My friend Stan Solomon suggested that I spend Veterans Day with him on a web streamed program talking to people about the information crisis, and the new media that is developing in response to it.

But the crisis is clearly about more than how we inform our minds. It's quickly becoming a question of where we have put our American hearts, with the courage required to keep our nation truly free. With thoughts of the veterans who fought and died for it on our hearts, we must look for and find the resolve to imitate their courage now, in all that we do as citizens.

That's what I'll be talking about with Stan and other folks who visit with us on November 11. Join us at teapartylive.tv. And please help spread the word using your network of contacts. Programming will go from 9am to 10pm. We'll invite your participation through chat rooms and live call-ins.] I visit with Stan at teapartylive.tv every Tuesday at 7:30 pm. Tune in this week as we discuss the details of this special event.]

Friday, October 30, 2009

The New Totalitarians

My latest column is up at WND.com. As always, you're welcome to return here and leave a comment.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sorry for the Hiatus!

Just a note to assure everyone that I'm still here and will be resuming new posts shortly. For the past two weeks I've been on the road doing meetings, speeches and events that left little time for writing and reflection. I try not to post anything that isn't carefully thought through and substantiated, so I couldn't bring myself to share hastily slapped up offerings. A new post will be up later today or tomorrow morning. My thanks to all the good folks who have been visiting in the interim and leaving comments on my archived posts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Does elite refuse to clear Obama eligibility doubts so as to exploit "affirmative action" resentment?

Last night I posted as the 'featured link' on this site a link to what purports to be a 2004 article, from the online archives of a Kenyan newspaper, about the withdrawal of Obama's original Republican opponent in the 2004 race for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. What is of interest for present purposes is that both the headline and body of the article refer to Obama as Kenyan born.

Given the sophisticated possibilities for fabrication in both the virtual and real world these days, it would be foolish to assume that by itself this 'proves' anything about Obama's birthplace. Even if the article is authentic, it would simply indicate that some people in Kenya thought (perhaps mistakenly) that he was born there. Kenyan newspaper stories from 2004 (online or otherwise) are no more definitive proof of Obama's birthplace than uninformative birth announcements in Hawaiian newspapers from 1961.

This episode simply illustrates the need for what I and many others have sought:

  • a Constitutionally authoritative investigation of the facts;
  • a similarly authoritative evaluation of its results;
  • And, based on that evaluation, a Constitutionally authoritative judgment of law and fact as to whether Obama satisfies the Constitution's clear eligibility requirements for the Office of President of the United States.

I have received, or read here and there in online exchanges, comments from people critical of those (like my lawyer in the case before Judge Carter, Orly Taitz) who publicized purported birth certificates that have been declared fabricated or fraudulent by unofficial experts. These critics apparently miss the point. The Constitution of the United States is not "unofficially" the Supreme Law of the land. Obama does not "unofficially" claim to be President of the United States. But those who voted in the 2008 general election, whether they voted for or against him, had occasion to do so thanks to his oath or affirmation that he satisfies the Constitution's requirements. Such voters are actually being deprived of the substantive assurance that we have not "unofficially" (i.e., without due process of law) been deprived of the right and privilege of a Constitutionally valid choice at the ballot box. Without this assurance, the electoral process the Constitution establishes, and the scheme of representative (i.e., republican) government it is supposed to implement, will be permanently impaired by the suspicion of lying and fraud perpetrated at the highest possible levels of government.

The establishment of fact required for a credible, Constitutionally authoritative and substantive judgment cannot be supplied by unofficial evaluations of purported evidence, or casual internet discussions of the provisions of law that are relevant to a judgment based upon that evidence. Whatever may be the doubts with respect to any particular testimony or documentary claims, Obama's own actions have surely become the main source of the cloud of uncertainty and suspicion with respect to his Constitutional eligibility. As with any other job applicant, the issue of credentials once raised is rightly dealt with as a matter of course. Applicants who refuse to comply with requests that they produce their qualifying credentials foment doubts, by their own behavior, where doubts would otherwise not exist. Add to this the concerted and unaccountably scurrilous media dismissal of the common sense demand that the issue be authoritatively resolved, and it's not hard to explain the increasingly widespread presumption in the minds of many that something of important relevance to the Constitutional issue is being withheld from public scrutiny.

Seeking to blame and persecute those who are asking public officials to abide by their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution further aggravates the impression of malfeasance. Some continue to insist that this request indicates hostility to Obama. The real hostility (and perhaps even invidious discrimination) is shown by the unwillingness to accord him the same opportunity for resolution of all doubt that John McCain enjoyed. Do some of the power elite think they gain advantage, from perpetuating the impression that only fear of some adverse reaction based on race, rather than undisputed Constitutional authority, accounts for Obama's continued presence in the White House? Like the workplace whispers that resentfully ascribe advancement to "affirmative action", rather than proven qualifications and performance, the ongoing refusal to allow Constitutionally authoritative closure in this matter smacks of more ill will than the honest desire to clear the air of doubt.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

America seeks liberty and justice for all, not “ascendancy” over them

As I was working on what became the two most recent postings on this site I came across a Charles Krauthammer offering, Decline is a choice: The new liberalism and the end of American ascendancy. In it he offers a cogent critique of the Obama faction's calculated surrender of America's position of leadership in the world. He also suggests an opposing alternative which begins with the notion that we should "accept our role as hegemon" for the simple reason that "we are as benign a hegemon as the world has ever seen." "…resistance to decline," he declares "begins with moral self-confidence."

Mr. Krauthammer accurately summarizes the moral view that undergirds the Obama faction's determination to abdicate America's leadership position.

But the liberal internationalism of today is different. It is not center-left, but left-liberal. And the new left-liberal internationalism goes far beyond its earlier Clintonian incarnation in its distrust of and distaste for American dominance. For what might be called the New Liberalism, the renunciation of power is rooted not in the fear that we are essentially good but subject to the corruptions of power--the old Clintonian view--but rooted in the conviction that America is so intrinsically flawed, so inherently and congenitally sinful that it cannot be trusted with, and does not merit, the possession of overarching world power.

For the New Liberalism, it is not just that power corrupts. It is that America itself is corrupt--in the sense of being deeply flawed, and with the history to prove it. An imperfect union, the theme of Obama's famous Philadelphia race speech, has been carried to and amplified in his every major foreign-policy address, particularly those delivered on foreign soil. (Not surprisingly, since it earns greater applause over there.)

And because we remain so imperfect a nation, we are in no position to dictate our professed values to others around the world. Demonstrators are shot in the streets of Tehran seeking nothing but freedom, but our president holds his tongue because, he says openly, of our own alleged transgressions towards Iran (presumably involvement in the 1953 coup). Our shortcomings are so grave, and our offenses both domestic and international so serious, that we lack the moral ground on which to justify hegemony.

He then proceeds to give an excellent summary of the policies― dangerous and perhaps even fatal to American survival― that arise from Obama's self-righteous degradation of America's moral standing. But while proposing that the reassertion of moral self-confidence is the first step toward correcting these destructive policies, Mr. Krauthammer offers no account of the alternative understanding of America's actions and history that provides the basis for it. He does not address the obvious questions. What moral understanding produced what he describes as America's benign "hegemony"? What morality therefore provides a reasonable basis for the reassertion of moral self-confidence?

In the absence of such an account, Mr. Krauthammer's prescription risks being mistaken for nothing more than a proposal that we cling to American ascendancy for its own sake. Perhaps he believes (understandably so, given the real peril involved) that the mere fact that the alternative is so dangerous makes further moral reasoning superfluous. We may seem to be like the ancient Athenians, whose almost inadvertent establishment of an empire in the wake of the Persian Wars appeared to bring them to a point where they faced an inescapable choice: embrace their imperial vocation or see their way of life destroyed.

Sadly, Thucydides' sobering depiction of Athens' tragic fate in The Peloponnesian War suggests that this was a false appearance that resulted from the failure of statesmanship that in the natural course of things afflicted the Athenians, as it now unnaturally afflicts the United States. The policy consonant with the way of life Pericles so eloquently epitomizes in his famous funeral oration precisely eschewed the ambition of empire, even while acknowledging and relying upon the strength Athens derived from its commerce with the cities that had come together under her leadership to forestall the threat from Persia's perennial imperialism. Thucydides relates that after Pericles' death, shortsighted panderers for power misled the Athenians into "allowing private ambitions and private interests…to lead them into projects unjust both to themselves and to their allies―projects whose success would only conduce to the honor and advantage of private persons, and whose failures entailed certain disaster on the country…"

It has always been tempting to look for parallels between the situation of ancient Athens and that of the United States during the twentieth century. Ironically, that temptation may in part account for the susceptibility of America's educated elite to the Obama faction's sordid view of America's actions in the decades since the Second World War. (A view largely parroted by some who supposedly stand at the opposite end of the political spectrum, as I mentioned in the article The USA- a special nation with special responsibilities.)

But the United States is not Athens. Its moral understanding differs from that of the ancient polity precisely with respect to the fact that greatness and the prideful sense of honor that results from it do not essentially define or shape the American character. This difference is eminently clear when we compare Pericles' funeral oration with the archetypal American oration for soldiers who met death in battle. Lincoln's Gettysburg address deals not with the habits or achievements of the American people, but with their common allegiance to certain principles of right. The nobility of their war dead does not shine in the light of merely national pride. It rises in light of God's goodwill toward creation, and the lustrous hope of all humanity for liberty, dignity and justice.

It does potentially fatal injustice to this nobility to use the benignity of American "hegemony" as moral cover for a reassertion of American leadership based on little more than an expedient hunger for preeminence. To attempt to restore America's moral confidence by discarding (or is it benignly neglecting?) the morality that justifies it is a project that can only reproduce in foreign and national security policy the fruitless futility and ultimate failure characteristic of the barren, 'hollow Republican' betrayal of our political process and institutions.

After WWII America did in fact show a degree of restraint in the use of its preeminent position of power in the world that is without precedent in human history. The use of unaccustomed power inevitably entails some abuses, just as people who grow into great physical strength or stature sometimes hurt others before they "know their own strength." But had America behaved as every other preeminent power in history behaved, we would not today be living in a world filled with nations robust and confidently independent enough to applaud and ruthlessly exploit Obama's dangerous policies of national derogation and appeasement. Japan would not only have endured the awful experience of the first demonstration of nuclear war making power, it would still languish in subjection because of it; so too would others who only witnessed it, like Germany and even the the countries that once made up the Soviet Union. A whole host of nations, including most of those in the Middle East who now are willing incubators of the terrorist threat against us, would never have tasted anything but perpetual colonial subjection and oppression.

Mr. Krauthammer inadvertently discredits this historically unique American repudiation of power enforced global supremacy with the use of terms like "hegemon" and "hegemony" which imply a Caesar-like dismissal of what is actually coveted and enjoyed. (He even tacitly assumes moral equivalency by using the term "co-hegemon" to refer to the U.S. post-war position in relation to the Soviet Union.) Whatever may have been, and may now be, the arrogant caesarism of America's power elites, most of the good and decent Americans, from all walks and stations of life, laid to rest near now quiet battlefields of wartime sacrifice and courage did not thirst for power, or glory or fame. They simply did their moral duty. Whether they lived or died they did so longing for no possession but the safety of their own home and life and liberty, and to restore to humanity a decent share of hope that all might in peace enjoy the same.

America did not rise to world leadership in the twentieth century because the American people thirsted for domination and preeminence. Neither will we strive to hold on to leadership for such reasons, no matter how often Mr. Krauthammer or others obliquely flatter us with good assurances of what a good master we proved to be. Real American common sense acknowledges the simple truth that people who genuinely reject being slaves to others reject with equal fervor the claim to be their masters. Human nature is as much degraded by the one as the other.

Mr. Krauthammer is right, though, about the benign intention that distinguished and ought still to distinguish America's leadership among nations. But by neglecting to recount the connection between that intention and the self-evident truths from which it arose, he is led to neglect the wise symmetry of the self-evident truths that make this distinction possible. We assert liberty on the basis of moral ideas that constrain power within the confines of justice. It was no accident that in our use of supreme power, we were mindful of that constraint. Being all too human, we were and are from time to time misled, as were the ancients, by people serving only their own power, wealth and pride. But time and again, we withdrew our confidence from such people, sometimes even when expediency would have said it was not wise to do so. I have no doubt that Mr. Krauthammer and others like him are sincerely seeking to oppose the unwisdom of just such a withdrawal from our special responsibility for 'the last best hope' of earth. But there can be no success for such opposition until the false hope of surrender and abdication again faces the true hope grounded in the faithful commitment that defines our identity both as Americans and as human beings. It is not a willful commitment to maintain the hollow ascendancy of power, but rather a reverent determination to keep faith with the principles of liberty, and with the will of the Creator God whose justice makes us free.