Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Jew Who Says Merry Christmas

Note:
This is the fourth time around for the kernel of this essay. I have changed it each time to match the tenor of the year in which it will go to post. Since I have just returned to blogging after having been away for four years, the change is of a wider range. It includes a new direction for this blog and my writing life in general. Read on and you will see…

I am a Jew. For most of my life if you had tried to force me to say “Merry Christmas” you would have had a fight on your hands. Yet now, I find that after many years of conflicted feelings, I have come full circle on being wished (and wishing others) “Merry Christmas”. No, I am not loosing my Jewish identity; on the contrary, I am very sure that it is stronger than ever.

I grew up in an observant Jewish home ( I am observant still) in which we greeted Christmas with a mixture of fascination, respect and a little irritation. At some point I became fond of expressing my ambivalence by quoting Jackie Mason, who once said:

“I don’t understand something about Christians; maybe you can explain this to me? Why is it that this time of year you bring the trees inside and put the lights outside?”

That line, for many years summed up the bemusement that I affected about the whole public Christmas celebration.

My feelings were mixed for a variety of reasons. My Dad had a retail store so the weeks leading up to Christmas were always a time of tension and brutally long hours of work. The traffic on the roads, crowds in the stores, and the saturation of television (especially in those pre- cable times) and radio airwaves with Christmas programs and music were overwhelming. I found the frenzy mentally punishing, the free-floating goodwill unsettling and the talk about Jesus (in whose divinity I was not supposed to believe) uncomfortable.

It left me very glad to have it over on December 26th.

And I was always more than a little unsure of how to respond when some well-meaning person would wish me a Merry Christmas. I was often caught between wanting to thank him noncommittally, try to summon a convincing Merry Christmas in return or to say,” Thanks Very much but I don’t celebrate Christmas and then have to deal with the uncomfortable silence or explanations and apologies.

I am ashamed to admit it today but I was, at first, pleased when I saw, over the years, the ACLU and Multi-culti types pushing “Merry Christmas” out of the vocabulary of cultural discourse in favor of the more generic “Happy Holidays”.

I’ve grownup, though, and I’ve grown into a new perspective on this whole question and, today, when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I have a new response. It’s really simple-

I stop what I am doing
I don’t have any hesitation or second thoughts.
I wish them a great big “Merry Christmas” in return.

I would like to encourage all my fellow Jews to join me in this. 

Here’s why:

I have come to see quite clearly that even if there are politically correct, multi-cultural, morally relativistic, post modern progressive busybodies who would like us to believe that our Christian friends’ and Neighbors’ spontaneous Christmas wishes are somehow injurious to us and our culture, they are nothing of the kind. A sincere “Merry Christmas is more American and better for the republic and her people than the blandest, most guarded “Happy Holidays”

You see, the U.S. was founded by Christians. Not just any Christians. The early colonists were both devout and independent. They were fervent Protestants whose purpose in coming here was to leave the Kings, Priests, state religions and archaic laws of the Old World behind. Even if some of them were supersessionists and dogmatic, they were also egalitarian and self-reliant. They came here to build a country where every man could read scripture for himself and be his own priest- where he could be free to elect political leadership that he could follow gladly.

By the time of the founders, a century and a half later, much of that initial fundamentalist fervor had evolved into a more complex mix of Mainline Protestantism, Masonic brotherhood and Deist spirituality. Hardened on the forge of a yeoman’s life, annealed by the day-to-day and season-by-season struggle to wrest a living from this still untamed land where God’s will could be imagined alive in the caprices of the weather, soil and the forests they learned self-reliance and independence by daily practice. Above all, they came to know that it is not enough to expect, that to survive and thrive you must always study, be openminded and learn.

It was those fiercely independent Protestants who set the tone for the nation in which we now live. Their adamant spiritual presumption of the liberty of the human soul is, still today, the great central mast that lifts the canopy of democracy and holds it above us as a sanctuary from the extremes of despotism and effete decay that afflict most of the rest of the world.

The devotion of deeply religious people and spiritually awakened souls like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams are what have made the this country the true standard bearer of self rule and freedom in the history of the human race. They codified it and crystallized it in the constitution that they wrote for us.

At over two hundred years old, that constitution and the government that flows from it is still the one in the entire world that best honors the individual and guarantees most rights to any individual who accepts the constitutional responsibilities of a citizen.

Among all their other unique achievements the fact that they decided that there could be no Official Religion in a country that aimed not just at physical or intellectual freedom shows that they understood that full human freedom means spiritual freedom too- Freedom of Religion.

To honor their genius fully we have to understand that Freedom of Religion must never be allowed to be a mandate for Freedom from Religion. As a Jew, I am exquisitely aware that freedom to practice my form of religion exists in this country because of those Christians and their vision of what a Christian country should stand for.

This uniquely Christian openness is why America has become the destination of choice for any one wishing to escape repression or lack of opportunity elsewhere in the world. That's why Jews (and everybody else) have gravitated here for two hundred years. But we all (Christians, Jews, Muslims and Atheists) are in danger of forgetting how this all works and I think this whole “anti-Merry Christmas” thing is a symptom of that amnesia.

My grandfather told me stories about life in turn-of-the(last)–century Eastern Europe so I have some idea of what he escaped by coming here in 1915. And its not just that, thirty years after he left for America, he was not trapped with many of his Aunts, uncles, and cousins in Zhitomir, his Ukrainian home town, when the Waffen SS slaughtered thirty six thousand Jews there in one day! That is a gift indeed, but it is in and of the past. No, it is the gift of equality and the opportunity to prosper that still lives on. It is that continuing gift that sustains the American dream and should call upon our constant love and loyalty.

The United States of America, as conceived by her Protestant founders, has been a miracle and a blessing to the entire human race. It has been especially important to the Jewish people.

We Jews are barely over one percent of the population here. We (a lot of us anyway) take pride in our contribution to America’s dynamism. We point with satisfaction to the fact that the founding fathers of this country were inspired and informed by our holy book which they called The Old Testament. Thomas Jefferson (among others) others used to read from it every day in the original Hebrew, something few of us “modern” Jews can do.

But why do I need to explain this? Why don’t we all understand the centrality of the Protestant ethic to the goodness of America? Partly, it’s because of a lack in the educational program. But it’s also because our media, whose responsibility it should be to make us aware of the important ideas, events and issues has other agendas. Our “Mainstream” media is often found to be doing just the opposite.

In the media, America is assailed daily for her imperfections; and if not assailed, then damned by the faintest of praise. The media emphasizes the imperfections instead of the achievements- the discords not the harmony.

Historical revisionism has been used by the joyless progressives, secular humanists and multiculturalists to sap the joy, goodwill and meaning out of all religious practice including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It has even come to pass that our President goes abroad and cannot seem to visit another country without some pathetic apology for America’s past- as if there is any country on earth whose history is so pristine that they are in a position to judge.

I am only one Jew- not a Rabbi and not a spokesman for a community organization, just a simple Jew. Nevertheless, I would like to call on all Jews, indeed, all Christians, Muslims and whoever else will standup with me and celebrate the blessing that The United States of America is to us and to the human family. Let us bow our heads together this Thanksgiving and resolve that instead of fretting about how saying “Merry Christmas” might make us an overly Christian country, we will thank our own, private God that we live in this country where “Happy Thanksgiving” and “Merry Christmas” mean what they mean here.

We need to loosen up and get a perspective on this “Merry Christmas” thing. It is not the people who say “Merry Christmas” and mean it that we need to be discouraging in America at this time. It is the people who find something wrong and suspect in the energy, enthusiasm and good-will that animates that “Merry Christmas” that we need to discourage.

We must side with our fellow Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom are warm-hearted friends with morals and ethics or we will have become unwitting dupes to heartless enemies with no moral compass who think they can rationalize almost anything and undermine our great civilization with reasonable sounding, non-judgmental sophistry. Do you need a moment to think about that?

By saying “Merry Christmas” in public we are not necessarily agreeing that Jesus was the son of God, we are just acknowledging that some very good people believe it. When we say it, that does not constitute accepting Jesus as our personal savior; it does show his followers that we see them as fellow countrymen, friends and brothers-in-arms in the defense of the highest ideals of our civil society and Judeo-Christian culture. What is the problem with that, exactly?

And that brings me to a question that some of my Jewish friends have asked me about. How do I feel about supporting Dr Carson when he talks so sincerely about his faith and seems to be so firm in expressing his ideas that it makes them uncomfortable. 

His faith does not bother me at all. It inspires me. The way he talks about it reminds me of the way that our founders talked about their faith. In the same way as their belief in The Individual, Enterprise, Study, work and Liberty formed the culture of the greatest country the world has yet seen, Benjamin Carson’s life, and especially the story of his remarkable mother and his escape from poverty echo the birth drama of The United States of America.

In the end it is all about Culture. He was born an outsider, a poor black kid. He became a great man because he was raised by a great mother. Dr Carson’s single mother worked menial jobs all her life and yet she raised two sons to distinguished lives. One became a U.S. Naval Officer and the other, Ben Carson, a world famous neurosurgeon. Her genius was that instead of giving in to the despair and decay around them she raised her family up. She did it by observing the strong and prosperous around her and creating a “micro-culture” of pride, study and achievement in her family that mirrored the success she saw.

His mother lived and breathed the whole philosophy of self-reliance, trust in providence and independence that the founders interlaced into the U.S. Constitution. That must be why he is so passionate about this country and its constitution. He is a man who lives it gratefully. He recognizes it for the matchless inheritance that it is; indeed he is a man built in its image. No “constitutional scholar” could ever have such an intimate appreciation of it. So even if there should be a constitutional scholar or any other sort of intellectual humbug who would object, I’ll gladly say “Merry Christmas”! And although I’ve never gotten one before, I’d love to have Dr Carson announce his candidacy for president of the United States as my first Christmas present…





Thursday, December 4, 2014

Burn This Bitch Down? No Thanks.

The hurt in the streets is palpable. It is not what it seems to be, however. This is a pivotal moment in the racial history of this country. It is at once a terrible danger and a unique opportunity. I have not yet heard anyone put their finger on what is really happening. Here is a hint: A failing prophet is more dangerous than a wounded tiger.

What is truly going on in Ferguson and New York and echoing across the land? The first thing to acknowledge is that it is not what it appears to be. It has more to do with the last election than with the death of a young man who has already been shown to be a strong-arm thief , someone who tried to take the weapon away from a policeman, in Missouri. It is not even about the more sympathy-inspiring case of a hapless, overweight, asthmatic petty criminal who resisted arrest in New York. 

Caught off guard (again!) the bewildered conservative media and blogosphere are obsessed with arguing the facts of the individual cases and cannot quite understand why they cannot get anyone to engage them on that level. They will come to see that it is not about the facts. 


Here is what it is really about: The progressive alliance of Mass Media elitists, Wall Street manipulators, entitlement boosters, racial “equality” careerists, community organizers and socialist agitators that constitute the political hard-core of the Democratic party that brought Barak Obama to power is falling to pieces. All the boldfaced lies, prevarications, demagoguery, and failures (both foreign and domestic) of the past six years have finally become unsupportable and a great disappointment has settled in amongst the believers. The American people have finally noticed and voted to reverse all of it.  

The Political Black Messiah has failed his minions. All those other failures aside, the one thing they knew he could do, ease the “race problem” is the single worst failure of his administration. This closest analog to this that I can think of is the way all false prophets of the past have met with the ultimate failures of their prophecies. The world didn’t end last night at midnight? Take credit for the reprieve that you won for the human race from heaven and go on a membership drive. Your whole theology is shown to be a transparent fabric of lies? Look your followers in the eye and ask them “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?” They have thought it all out and their ideas are correct and compassionate - Why can’t everyone just do as they prescribe?


In years to come, the progressive movement will undoubtably turn on Obama and their afro-american vassals who perpetuate the myths of racist hatred will support them as they cast him out, blaming him for not being competent or wise enough to implement the ideas that they believe will transform the US and humanity. They will find a way to allege that he betrayed his movement and followers. All failed leftists (and there have never been any successful ones…) have suffered them same ultimate fate. 

Question: Why did communism fail in Russia? 
Answer:    Why, Stalin and Lenin did not implement it properly.

Question: Why was German National Socialism such a human disaster? 
Answer:    Oh, that Hitler was an evil man. 

Question: Why, before Reagan, was America floundering in the world with hostages in
                   Iran and economic “malaise” at home? 
Answer:    You know, that Jimmy Carter, he was just ineffectual.” 

But for now Obama is still in office and such a “counter betrayal” would add immensely to the already staggering cognitive dissonance they are feeling.

As with all failed prophets in the past, they are falling back on the one thing that they think will still work. The “legacy of slavery” and its analogs:  the “racial divide”, the “genocide” of young black men- false premises and self-fulfilling prophecies all. They will either blithely change the facts of the individual cases, as they do with the “Hands up - Don’t shoot” calumny against the police or they flatly say that the facts don’t really matter because the killing is not the result of the facts on the ground but the outcome of “centuries” of bigotry. They never let a crisis go to waste at any time and they need this lie more than ever because without it they are powerless to slow down the disintegration of their world view. Never mind that their allegations damage the careers and reputations of good people whose only intention is to serve the very people that they claim to protest on behalf of. They shout empty slogans accusing the authorities of not valuing  “black lives” equally and all the while they countenance the destruction of black-owned businesses, foster distrust of the police and, ultimately, sacrifice the safety and vitality of the primarily black neighborhood where the “injustice” took place. They don’t care about the people there they have no remorse- it is just part of the plan to discredit and tear down the existing order.

Just think of Al Sharpton’s (80+ visits to the Obama White House!) decades of depredations. He pioneered new lows in race baiting starting with the pathetic frauds Tawana Brawley, and Crystal Magnum. He stoked the riots in the Crown Heights pogrom. And do not forget his role in the Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown and Eric Garner agitations. He has sown a trail of lies, fraud, hate, rioting and destruction for decades and in this time of defeat and demoralization he is the one who is called in by the White House and the Mayor of New York City to create still more hatred and chaos. As it always does, this chaos and crisis cements the resolve of the progressive constituency, and demotivates and cows those who would analyze, moderate and find constructive ways to move forward. This is what he does and this is why he is lionized by the press and in the halls of power.


They do not care what damage they do because if they do not keep the false accusation of endemic racist oppression alive, the cracks in their world view show up in stark relief. They are desperate now because they know the vote in the mid-term election shows that their incompetence has been exposed and without the fog and chaos their agenda is doomed. That is why encouraging lawless thugs and thieves to riot is a win-win tactic for them. Fostering fear of the police, making people in black neighborhoods far more vulnerable, is vital to their cause. They feed on fear, victims and pain.

Race and its abusers is one of the most dire threats we face as a nation. The hatred, helplessness  and division that flows from this cripples further the black population and dispirits anyone who wants the nation to move beyond it.  That is why I believe Dr. Ben Carson can and will play a pivotal role in the regeneration of American purpose and moral vigor. I would like to see him as our next president but whether he runs or not, having him in the national conversation is a saving grace. Just listen to what he says about the situation:




The man was born to lead. He is gifted with the touch of a healer- in the operating room or in the political arena. Most of all he looks at reality with the clear eye of a man who has made his living solving problems and leading teams. His moral leadership could be more important that his political leadership but how great would it be to have both?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Barack, The Fourth Stone Cutter

The Parable of the Three Stone Cutters has been used to teach many fatuous lessons about motivation and management. I have come to assume that the great majority of the fools who write high-minded lessons around the story of the stonecutters have never done anything nearly as brutal as cutting stone in their lives. They are mainly clueless, soft-handed romantics. If they had ever had to put their lily hands on cold stone on a winter’s morning themselves, they would know that it takes something much more intrinsic- like a workman’s pride- or desperate- like a father’s urge to feed his family to keep a man chipping cold rock, breathing stone dust and splitting his raw hands to shape the stone. For those of you unfamiliar with the tale (or who have succeeded in erasing it from your memory) here is a pretty good version of it you can read without being unduly distressed by the moralizing that usually accompanies it.

Now, most of the re-tellers of this story seem to find the third stonecutter to be the very model employee. Personally, if I were make the choice to let one of these three people go, I would have fired that starry-eyed dreamer. People like that are too easily disillusioned and embittered by a real struggle. But that’s just me…

At any rate, I think there should have been a fourth stonecutter. Here is my addition to the parable:
The fourth stonecutter was the busiest of all. While he worked he talked loudly and confidently to nobody in particular about his stone and the cathedral it would some day be a part of. But the stone he was working on was very small and so jagged that it seemed suited only to be a minor detail piece or architectural bauble. When asked why he was chipping so energetically at such a small block he looked up with a smug grin and said:

I cut this stone to bring hope and change. Oh, make no mistake; before it came under my control this stone was once the largest, squarest and most durable stone ever found in the quarry! Amidst this quarry, whose stone has always been of the highest quality and repute, this one was originally hewn out of the bedrock by a group of craftsmen who came together and labored with skill and endurance to fulfill their keep safe their homes and possessions, feed their children and build an edifice made of the efforts and dreams of workers, soldiers and adventurers- each one his own master. This stone was the paragon. It was obviously a superb candidate to become the cornerstone for a great cathedral.

But I was elected foreman of this quarry last year and I have made it my business to make sure that this wonderful stone is used to the highest purpose- that it serve the greatest good for the most people. This is the reason I was elected. I have made it my life’s work to make sure that all people share equally in the benefits of the stones we quarry here.

Of course, it is true that I had never actually cut a stone before I was elected but I brought the people something more important than that. I promised them hope and change. My only real expertise and experience is in training others to demand that all our stones be used to benefit everyone, regardless of the amount or quality of stone cutting work that they do. By the shear force of my eloquence, the universality of my appeal and stalwart insistence on hope and change above achievement and labor I won the opportunity to see that the great stones of this quarry are rearranged and reconfigured for the good of everyone.

So, you see, the first thing I had to do was make this great stone into an expression of the highest ideals of equality and inclusion. That is why I am working so hard at chipping this stone up. So much beautiful stone, all in one lump, is an insult to those ideals.

As for my quarry mates:

The second stonecutter will do whatever we tell him to do because his only concern is to feed his family. He will work hard for them no matter what we do.

My friend; the third stonecutter will suffer the most, of course. Dreams, cathedrals and grandeur will have no place in my world of hope and change. We don’t need a cathedral for broken secular dreams. There is no need of big block walls for a fortress. Who would believe that we would fight to to defend a dream for which we go abroad and apologize so willingly? We certainly to not need stout stones to build strong banks when they have done their best to disburse their monies into home mortgages and other loans to people without the means to pay on them.

Hope without knowing what to hope for and change with no goal in mind become pretty stark and small after a while. The only romanticism here in my quarry is the utopia of equality and there is nothing dazzling about half the ppopulation getting things they do not work for and the other half slaving to buy them those things.

It will not be easy for him. He will have to change the reason that he cuts stone. Perhaps little, personal monuments- like polished gravestones will make him feel better. We will always need them.

But it is the first stonecutter that I worry about the most. This plain spoken man has pride and he knows who he is. He will keep on cutting true stone. He sees himself as a stonecutter and will cut on no matter what. He has the strength and the independence to know when his cutting is being ill-used. He will not adjust well to making crooked, jagged little stones and he will insist on being rewarded for his effort. Mark my words, We must keep an eye on that first stonecutter.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pride Toronto Turns into Gay Suicide Celebration

They should call it Shame Toronto! My friend Blazing Cat Fur has news from Canada about one of the most insane examples of Progressive suicide agitating you will ever see. It seems as though the folks at Pride Toronto (there is a misnomer for you!) care more about hating Jews than they do advancing the cause of gay dignity (or even survival!).

They have reversed rules for their parade that will enable gay fringe groups to demonstrate against what they call Israeli Apartheid. Blazing Cat Fur is following it in depth- Including this, my letter a version of which I have sent to every corporate sponsor of Pride Toronto with whom I do business. I hope everyone will do the same.

I know a great deal about suicide (see below) and this is surely a case.

I regret to say that I will no longer be enjoying your beer. I have been buying and enjoying your products for almost forty years. I am sick at heart to see that your Canadian company is a "Premier Sponsor" of an event that used to stand for tolerance and dignity and has now been hijacked and turned into a tool of extremists and hate mongers. I am speaking of the "Pride Toronto" event and it's board's decision to allow the expression of "Israeli Apartheid" as an acceptable message. Let alone that this is a concern that is entirely out side of the event's mission, it is actually proof that hating Jews and Israel is more important to some segment of the Toronto gay community than supporting gay pride or even gay survival.

This, after all, is a propaganda slogan designed to undermine the legitimacy of the only nation in the Middle East that does not have and actively enforce laws against homosexuality. Homosexuals are routinely beaten, stoned and hung in public squares in all of the countries that will be served best by the tainting of the only democratic, liberal, rule of law state in the entire region. In Israel, unlike its neighboring states, Muslims, Christians and Jews all share full citizenship, vote in free and fair elections and speak their minds in a legislative body which makes laws according to the desires of those voters. Any Israeli citizen may go anywhere in the country. In al Arab/Islamic countries, real Apartheid is the order. And they hate gay people so much they kill them - legally! So what other conclusion can be drawn from this action than there is some powerful faction- perhaps even a majority of people in this organization who are so blinded by Jew hatred that they will support their own enemies to hurt Jews.

Before my Jewish faith, I am the straight father of a son with whom I joined the Gay-Straight Alliance in his High School. And before that I was the nine-year-old the brother of a young boy who at thirteen years of age, took his own life because he could not face the social stigma of growing up as a gay (in 1958) in America. On my brother's grave, on my son's handsome head and on the simple grounds that the support of such an ugly and misshapen organization is offensive to my very humanity, I want you to know that unless you withdraw your support from this event or use your financial power to correct this error, I will no longer be your customer. And don't even try to smoke screen the naked facts of this with the parliamentary mumbo jumbo that announced it in on the Pride Toronto web site. It is what it is, an example of an organization whose mind was so open, its brains fell out.

Oh, and you can count on me to spread the news of this and advocate for a boycott of your products."


Regretfully,
Yaacov ben Moshe

Yaacov Ben Moshe
http://breathofthebeast.blogspot.com/


Note that when I sent a copy of the letter tothe letter to Pride Toronto's Marketing and Communications Manager, Michael Ain I got this message:

I am out of office until Thursday, July 24.
In case of emergency, please call the Pride Toronto switchboard,
416-927-7433 x 221

Coralee can re-direct your call as necessary.


I resent it to this address: office@pridetoronto.com


Here are the online contact forms for the two premier sponsors
TD: http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/custserv/contact.jsp
Labatt:
http://www.labatt.com/contact/index.php


UPDATE:
WELCOME SMALL DEAD ANIMALS READERS!

In case you miss it, here is a very good comment from the SDA thread:
Phantom wrote, "What this tells you in letters of fire one hundred feet high: Pride Toronto is not about being gay. Neither are most of the ostensibly pro-gay "advocacy" groups. Or feminists, or greeneis.

They are a pack of sicko, pervo Communists and don't ever forget it. Gays are the first people going under the big Lefty bus right after the Jews. Followed by "useless eaters". See Obama's health care bill and OHIP's coming "end of life" care guidelines. See the complete, stunning SILENCE from greenies in the Gulf spill.

We've seen this movie before. They never change, they always do the same sh1t in the same order."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Israel's Right to Exist- Hypothetical?

It seems as though much of the world has the same problem with Israel and America today that Pope Urban VIII had with Galileo in 1632. Back then Galileo lost his liberty and died under house arrest. It is even more serious for Israel. But I am a little ahead of myself.

When I put up my last post, I braced myself for objections to my idea that “Kill the Jews” was just the next natural expression of “political realism”. Only a little more dismaying than the observations and facts that prompted me to post it is the complete lack of protest and denial with which it was greeted.

On the contrary, even though the post got big traffic, mostly due to a mention by Mark Steyn on The National Review’s web site The Corner, not one commenter or private email that I received disagreed with the idea that “Kill the Jews” was too extreme to describe the subtext of political realism. Even as I was posting it, the Helen Thomas controversy was heating up. What could be a clearer? The superannuated harpy and erstwhile laughing stock of the White House press corps proposed that the final solution to the Israeli- Palestinian problem would be for the Jews to “Go back…to Poland and Germany- the scene of the one of the most successful and recent “final solutions” of the Jewish Problem.

It was not so much what she said or how she said it - it is the fact that even as they condemned the bold-faced effrontery of her suggestion, many in the media did it half-heartedly- even with regret. She was called a pioneer and a doyen- one who locked horns with every president from Kennedy to Obama. All of which I found rather odd considering that I remember those signature exchanges between her and Kennedy and I seem to recall him treating her as a crank – whose extreme and largely rhetorical “questions he sidestepped with grace and good-natured humor. Many of the other presidents were less good-natured and shorter with her. There was, among many in the media, a pervasive sense of regret and resignation about her demise as a journalist. Not many actually parsed the logic of her fateful words and identified the “final solution” subtext of them. This failure causes me the deepest sense of alarm. In her own over-simplified way, she put into words what the cowards, charlatans and manipulators in the mainstream media, the parliaments of Europe and, alas, the Obama White House, really feel. The horror of Helen Thomas, for those people, is that she said something close enough to the little voice they hear in their own heads that they are suffering from embarrassment more than revulsion.

Then, hard on Thomas’ heels, there was the incident of The Gaza Flotilla, another example of in a long tradition of tidal waves of hatred and public condemnation for Israel. The way in which the clearly provocative and illegal flotilla of was swiftly lionized by much of the world as humanitarian and compassionate shows how very far the terror and violence of the last sixty years has perverted the popular sensibility. The prevailing language in the press of the “deadly Israeli raid” or “massacre” or the “Israeli killing of flotilla activists” proves that the media are no longer a healthy filter for our information. The unwillingness of the Obama administration, immediately to declare unequivocal support for Israel’s wholly legal and reasonable actions show how deeply compromised our moral standing is. They are all so busy being amazed and pathetically grateful for even the pretense of nonviolence that they are falling all over themselves to reward provocation with legitimacy.

This rush to judge and condemn Israel for yet another “massacre” that wasn’t a massacre is the latest and most obvious example of how the Arabs- using naked terror, guilt and outright deceit- have bullied and battered the media and elites of The West- entrained them (us) to a mass Stockholm Syndrome. The years of incessant Islamist calls for death to The West, America and Israel, the decades of outrageous rhetoric and the bloody, callous slaughter of innocents have, finally, bulldozed Europe, America and Israel so far off their foundational principals, out of their cultural perspective that it seems more important to avoid giving any offence to even the most radical Islamist than to actually look at the obvious evidence that they are totalitarian murderers bent on world conquest. The result is a mad world in which the Obama administration commits “even-handed” blunder after “impartial” betrayal to try to prove he is capable of being an ”honest broker” in a peace process in which only one of the parties is interested in peace.

Most of the European, American and even Israeli elites now hold war to be the ultimate evil and peace to be the ultimate good. All other values are, as a result, negotiable when trying to bring about peace. Every year there seems to be less and less that seems worth fighting for. Peacemaking and diplomacy become an exercise in getting everybody to quiet down and stop making trouble. The operative assumption seems to be that if you try to give everybody a “fair shake” (here “a fair shake” often means splitting the dispute down the middle even if one side is more legitimate than the other). Right and wrong matter less than peace and quiet.

The Islamists in Palestine and elsewhere hold war and religious violence to be a sacred duty- something that gives purpose to life. They view Western culture and all its liberalities as a profanity. They take particular exception to the very existence of Israel. Their clergy quote sacred verses to validate the slaughter of Jews and Americans. Their political leaders vow military action to “wipe Israel off the map” and subjugate America. They have prosecuted a sixty-year-long campaign to deligitimize, terrorize and destroy Israel.

It is a classic human tragedy, the injustice of “splitting the difference”. The Israelis are asking only for their half of the loaf- only that to which they are entitled. The Arabs are asking for the whole loaf- the destruction of Israel. To the orthodox peace-seeker who is both intimidated by violence and morally compromised by progressive ideologies such as the political realism I discussed in my last post, it seems “only fair” to split the difference and give the Arabs three quarters of the loaf. By insisting only on mere survival, the desire for peaceful coexistence and the right to protect her people while her enemies have been calling officially and working diligently for her destruction and elimination, Israel has allowed the prevailing sentiment in this debate to be pushed inexorably toward the side of her enemies.

This is the reason that Israel is the only country in the world whose “right to exist” is always in the debate. Friends constantly assert it as if it needed to be said and enemies often get away with behaving as if she doesn’t. While most people claim to believe that Israel has the right to exist and protect her citizens, more and more of them howl in protest at every attempt she makes to do so. More and more people around the world find it possible to rationalize each anti-Israel murder and terror attack as an expression of Arab passion and dedication while the bland logic and humble honesty of the Israelis are, increasingly, seen as stubbornness, bigotry and troublemaking.

Interestingly, Israel’s message has not been entirely drowned out by the Islamist bullying. It has merely been shoved aside so that there are now two completely contradictory ideas that exist side by side in the public mind. One is that most people want to believe in the illusion that if Israelis were to (magically)“go back to Poland and Germany” as Ms Thomas put it, the Arabs would be satisfied and there would be peace. They want to believe this illusion so badly that they are willing to ignore obvious facts- starting with the axiom: “If the Arabs put down their weapons tomorrow there would be no more war and if the Israelis put down their weapons there would be no more Israel.”
Holding two diametrically opposed beliefs simultaneously is not nearly as impossible as it sounds. People do it all the time. It only becomes a problem when action is required or when other people are looking (and talking). Orthodoxies have been struggling with it for centuries.

I use the word orthodoxy here with a lower case “o” without any specific religious connection. I certainly do not mean Orthodox Jews with whom I am closer in my beliefs and practice every year I live. I mean orthodox in the fascist sense of “right thinking” and quick to accuse anyone who disagrees with them as “heretics”. It is important to understand this because one of our worst problems in understanding this situation is that most people see the problem as a conflict between the left and the right ends of the political continuum. It is more accurate, though, to characterize it as a conflict between Utopian Orthodoxy and Empirical Constitutionalism.

The Helen Thomas affair is only one of many recent events that indicate that Progressive leftist doctrine is evolving into an ever more pernicious dogma that could come to resemble Hitler’s socialist Nazism and the totalitarian Communism of Stalin and Mao. The telltale marker of this evolution is the advance of political correctness, which is nothing less that “hunting for heresy” on training wheels. What is more disturbing is the alliance, even to the point of codependence, that has joined the Progressive/Socialist left with their goals of government driven change and improvement (and secularization) of social condition in an illogical alliance with Islamists and their dreams of World Wide Caliphate that would forever keep social conditions static and theologically determined.

The obvious but basically unsatisfying answer is that what they have most in common is that Western Civilization is their common enemy. The chief dissatisfaction of this answer is that it is, at the same time, entirely obvious on the face of it and just as impenetrable in its mechanics.

That is to say, while it is true that belief in either of those two competing ideologies is not compatible with sincere citizenship in any truly Western (or Civilized!) sense, each of them is so much more abhorrent to the other that in a world where the two existed without the mediating openness and tolerance imposed on them by the dominant culture of Western Civilization, they would be compelled to annihilate each other. And which ever one had the upper hand militarily they would do so summarily and without compunction- just look at the historical forerunners of the players: Mohammed, Stalin, the massacre of Hindus in the wake of the Indian Partition, Hitler, Darfur, the Khmer Rouge- the very worst of the massacres of humankind. Just as surely as the socialist Progressive left execrates all but the most liberal and agnostic religion, Islamism despises and must destroy all forms of heretics and free-thinkers. So, how to explain their support for each other? The ironic answer is that the very success and power of the Judeo-Christian civilization makes it possible for them to exist along side each other.

Their common loathing of America and Israel springs from their commonly held belief about the order of the universe, human nature and value of human life. They agree with each other and disagree with the great Western Tradition fundamentally about the very structure of the universe and the purpose of life. Both Islamism and Progressivism are communal utopian ideologies. They believe that individual human beings are given their meaning and value by the larger organizing force. Whether that force is viewed as the will of Allah, the society (as in socialism), The consensus of the “educated” and the “experts” (the ideal of the Progressives), the people or race (as in Fascism) or the proletariat (communism), the individual is expected to be subservient to it and compliant with it. The individual revolves around the polity and gains meaning and fulfillment only as part of it. The system (whatever its assumed form) is always the source of meaning and people approach perfection through compliance with it.

In America and Israel, and to a diminishing degree the rest of The West, the individual is the “center of the universe”. We grant that reality is messy and imperfect and that the best way to improve the world is to harness the energy and goodness of people while providing appropriate counter balance to their natural imperfections. It is no accident that, standing on the bloody ground of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln called upon the unique American formulation of government, “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as the most important justification for the sacrifice of so many young men. Then as now the orthodoxies of entrenched rulers and ideologues had to be confronted to insure that to one tradition in the world’s history that so honored the individual, “shall not perish from the earth”. Nor is it any accident that America and Israel are the two most dynamic, and open societies on earth. They both embody respect for the individual and individual responsibility. It is this combination of responsiveness to the individual and openness to individual input that fosters growth, economic dynamism and political viability.

So, the argument is really about what the center of the personal/political universe is. This was precisely the problem between the Pope and Galileo. The Pope was an intelligent and educated man who clearly understood that the logic and evidence behind the Copernican view of the universe was a better and more useful model than the official version he was protecting. It predicted events with more success and presented a simpler and more accurate representation of the behavior of “celestial objects”. It was, simply, more useful and successful.

The Pope, to his credit, understood that in the long run denying the actual evidence for Copernicus’ model would have been futile. The Catholic Church was powerful but the movable type printing press was already in wide use and literacy (along with individual autonomy) were on the rise. Unable to outlaw facts and logic but he may or may not have felt loyalty to the church’s established view but he certainly also knew that allowing facts and logic to defeat church doctrine would weaken his hold on power. In any case, he needed to resolve his intellectual dilemma without seeming too dogmatically primitive, so he told Galileo that he could write about Copernicus’ solar-centric solar system model- but he had to write about it “hypothetically”. In other words, he could present the facts and the logic but he could not draw conclusions from them or apply them to our position in the universe. Nor could he use them to analyze our world. Doing those things, The Pope knew, would prove that there was a basic and fatal flaw in the church’s Cosmological frame of reference.
That ruling was, perhaps, the first recorded instance of political correctness. Just as the Islamists try to keep us from talking about the religion behind terror and the leftists try to keep us from recognizing that the redistribution of wealth is not motivated by the compassion to which they pretend, the “hypothetical” ruling was an attempt to disconnect the facts and real observations from the reality they described. Forbidden speech and conspiracy of silence are principal strategies of totalitarian regimes down through the ages.

But let’s return to the past two weeks events. It has, I think come to the point at which the world must choose whether Israel really does have the right to exist in security or not. Ruling orthodoxies (and Islamism and Progressivism are both orthodoxies that would rule) simply cannot bear the cognitive dissonance of supporting that idea alongside the Islamist desire for genocide. That would be required in recognizing the basic flaws in both world views. They are in psychic pain and furious at Israel for it. They would let Israel die to soothe themselves- Kill the Jews, kill the pain.
The left are keen to take away Israel’s moral authority and fall pathetically into every nasty blood libel their Islamist allies cook up- no matter how stupid and transparent. Al Durah, Jenin, poisoned water, Gaza Beach, stolen organs from Arab corpses, The Flotilla- they are all obvious frauds. Still, the haters of the left pile them up and through the “injustice of the split difference”, Israel gets tarred just because they have accused her, and all the while, her accusers avoid the disgrace they so richly deserve.

Just so, the cheap, clumsy deceit of the “humanitarian flotilla” which led to the justified killing of the “protestors” who otherwise would surely have finished the job of beating and stabbing the Israeli boarding party to death, has succeeded in extorting Israel once again. The government has reacted to the overwhelming public outcry from the left, the Islamist world and their ignorant supporters by “easing the blockade on Gaza”. That “public” whose outcry coerced this easing either does not care that it has made it easier for Hamas to fashion terror weapons and to harden the launching platforms that they hide within their own civilian population or they secretly harbor the desire that Hamas should just “do everyone a favor” and finish the job on Israel. For these people, the more Israel protests and maintains her modest aim of self-preservation, the more she makes a nuisance of herself. Helen Thomas proposed they “go back to Poland or Germany” what she and her fellow progressives mean is that they wish she would just disappear. Yet again, another component of Israel’s legitimate need for security has been sacrificed to the illusion that she is what is standing in the way of whatever utopian society or Caliphate they dream of that might be created on her grave.

Know this, if the Islamists and the left are allowed to destroy Israel and to make over The United States into a more leftist or Sharia friendly state, we will see a dark age fall upon the world. I quoted Lincoln above and I return to him now. In his address to congress in December of 1862, as he was preparing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln said,
“Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth…”

Lincoln knew that whatever its faults and even crimes, the American Republic was the only human government ever devised to that point in history that offered the breadth of opportunity, the dignity of self-reliance and the freedom of choice provided here and to let it slip into chaos would be to allow a great darkness to befall humanity. As The Union was threatened in Lincoln’s day, Israel, a beacon of democracy, freedom and success amidst an Islamic sea of countries that fester with slavery, naked genocidal hatred and endemic abuse of women and children is in danger of being destroyed.

The hyenas of Islam, in the grip of their medieval longing for world domination under a new Caliphate and humiliated by their own inability to make a living by any other means than sucking the accidental petro-wealth out of the ground lead the attack while the jackals of the left infiltrate and work on the inside while the world as we know it begins to go to waste. The Arab world squanders its easy money on terror forcing The West to spend money on defense rather than infrastructure. The left raids the earned wealth of America and Israel by creating welfare entitlements (hello healthcare) and regulations (cap and tax) that no nation could afford. The Islamists say that Israel must be destroyed and wink that Europe is next then America will be (as Mark Steyn wrote) alone. At home we cannot even speak of the problems without using absurd circumlocutions (man caused disaster, don’t point out that the terrorist is Islamic, don’t point out that the Obama agenda is socialist, etc…) let alone devise an effective strategy to combat it. Man Caused Disasters?!?! Even Pope Urban VIII would be impressed with how “hypothetical” that keeps things. And still, no one complains that “Kill the Jews” is too extreme.