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Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category

Abortion is in the Constitution (Indirectly)

Posted by Tony Listi on April 11, 2011

The word “abortion” does not appear in the Constitution because the technology and pharmaceuticals that we have today that can kill babies in the womb did not exist. The very notion of killing a baby in the womb also would’ve been abhorrently immoral to the Framers. This act of murder was outlawed in the American colonies and continued to be illegal in each state until 1967.

But the Constitution does mention abortion indirectly because the Framers say in the Preamble that they created the new constitution for the sake of “Posterity” too, aka the unborn and unconceived:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to…secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (emphasis mine)

How can the Constitution secure liberty to unborn posterity if it does not also secure their lives to them?

With all this in mind, how can the Supreme Court have found a “right” to kill the unborn in the Constitution?

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Posted in Abortion, American Culture, American History, Government and Politics, The Constitution, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Statist Origin of the Pledge of Allegiance

Posted by Tony Listi on January 1, 2011

 

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by and promoted by a socialist named Francis Bellamy to inculcate statism in school children. The only good part of the pledge, “under God,” was added later in 1954.

The words of the pledge embody statism because they declare an allegiance to a flag, which is a symbol (of a nation), and to a nation, whose laws can and do change. Because symbols and nations change, it is very dangerous to pledge any allegiance to them.

In fact, the laws of the United States of America have steadily become more immoral and statist over time: 

  • Our laws steal property from some and redistribute it to others (esp. govt. employees) for their private advantage rather than tax for common good that cannot be secured in any other way or at any lower level of government.
  • Our laws stifle economic liberty in general, codifying envy and greed, impoverishing our citizens, and stifling the means for true charity and generosity.
  • Our laws financially coerce parents into sending their children to state-run schools that banish Christian and moral instruction from the classroom and often indoctrinate them in socialism, sexual depravity, and atheism/heresy.
  • Our laws have allowed the slaughter of 50+ million baby sons and daughters, and the genocide continues.
  • Our laws steadily put adult self-indulgence over the positive rights of children, especially with respect to the institution marriage.

And all of this happened because the culture of our country was corrupted first.

If this trend continues to the point where the tyranny and decadence of our culture and politics justifies secession and (God forbid) another war of independence, of what value will our flag and the pledge be?

As a matter of principle, I suggest we reject the current pledge and perhaps substitute a better one:

I pledge allegiance to the Constitution and to the republic which it governs, sovereign states, under God, divisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Now that is a pledge that I would say. The Constitution is fundamental, structural law that cannot be changed without the formal amendment process. It is not a perfect document; in fact, it was more perfect before many of its amendments were added (e.g. 14th, 16th, 17th). But the Constitution is not a mere symbol; it is the embodiment of prudent political principles that are rooted in the Christian view of human nature and this view’s vindication in human history (especially Western history). The Constitution was also ratified under the presumption that secession was allowed.

Moreover, members of the U.S. military pledge allegiance to the Constitution first and foremost. Why not its citizens too?

Sure, it is possible that the Constitution and thus the republic will be amended, misinterpretted, or abused to the point where it no longer embodies the sound political principles the Framers meant it to establish. And so, one may argue that no pledge should be said at all as a matter of prudence. 

But ideally, Americans would indeed pledge allegiance to timeless, immutable, and crucial principles that promote virtue, liberty, peace, and prosperity. To have no allegiance whatsoever to anything is also very dangerous and fertile ground for statism. To successfully resist a tyrannical state, the American people must have a strong allegiance to something other than the state itself, something valuable that the state threatens.

Posted in American Culture, American History, Christianity and Politics, Education, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, The Constitution, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“Church and State” vs. Religion and Politics

Posted by Tony Listi on July 25, 2010

When I get tired of addressing the same misunderstandings over and over again, I decide to write a blog post about it that I can just send people to, rather than having to explain myself and common errors over and over again.

The “separation of church and state” is a common objection people of many political persuasions like to fling at conservatives, as if these objectors had any philosophical or historical understanding of the phrase and their interpretation of it.

There is a difference between the institutional separation of church and state vs. the philosophical separation between religion and politics. There is a difference between institutions and people vs. ideas and philosophy.

The former is possible, desirable, and necessary for the sake of both church and state. It is not good for priests, pastors, bishops, or popes to hold political offices outside of the Vatican. There have been times in the history of Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant, when religious leaders wielded formal political authority too. But more importantly, before Christianity and after the Protestant Revolution, the state assumed religious authority as well, dictating to its subjects what they shall believe and how they shall act, subjecting religious leaders to political authority. In the modern era, this usurpation has been accomplished through government-run education and a variety of laws premised on anti-Christian principles.

The Crown and Parliament of England in particular controlled the Church of England. This reality is what motivated the American founders to enact the 1st Amendment which prohibited the “establishment of religion” at the national level (it did not prohibit established churches at the state level and many states had and retained these established churches after the ratification of the Constitution). The 1st Amendment prevented the establishment of a Church of the USA, funded by tax-payer money, akin to the Church of England.

Both the life of the spirit and the public life of politics suffered (at least eventually) under such institutional arrangements. The institutions of church and state must be kept separate and independent. I am FOR the separation of church and state. And these arrangements are what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote the phrase in his letter to the Danbury Baptists (the phrase is not in the Constitution).

However, the latter, the separation of religion and politics, is intellectually impossible.  Religion makes claims about the origin and nature of man, including his natural rights. Just because one is an atheist or agnostic doesn’t mean one doesn’t have religion. Everyone has religion because everyone has a view about the origin and nature of man and about his nautral rights. And natural rights are the basis of good, just, and moral politics. Natural rights are what the founders appealed to in the Declaration of Independence.

It is impossible for one to be for or against the separation of religion and politics. The fact is that they cannot be separated, as a matter of reason and contemplation about what each sphere entails. The political order rests upon the moral order and the moral order upon the religious order.

So the next time some preacher, pastor, priest, bishop, or pope starts talking politics, denouncing abortion and gay “marriage,” I don’t want to hear appeals to the “separation of church and state.” It is irrelevant.

What you are really saying is that you want a separation of the Christian religion from American political discourse, which is un-American historically and philosophically dangerous. You would rather substitute a leftist, collectivist, libertine, secularist pseudo-religion for Christianity as the basis of moral judgment, natural rights, and law. Such a substitution would be immoral, unjust, and terrible for the spiritual and material well being of all Americans.

Posted in American Culture, American History, Christianity and Politics, Conservatism, Government and Politics, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, The Constitution, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Woodrow Wilson: America’s Worst and First Fascist President

Posted by Tony Listi on May 29, 2008

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th US president, often makes the top ten in rankings of the best US presidents. In the well-known polls taken by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. in 1948 and 1962, Wilson was ranked #4 behind Lincoln, Washington, and FDR. By the end of this post, I hope you will agree with me that he belongs in the bottom rung and was one of our worst presidents ever, if not THE worst.

Wilson was the first president to criticize the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Wilson criticized the diffuseness of government power in the US in most famous book Congressional Government. In this work he confessed, “I cannot imagine power as a thing negative and not positive.” His love and worship of power was a prime characteristic of fascism. “If any trait bubbles up in all one reads about Wilson it is this: he loved, craved, and in a sense glorified power,” writes historian Walter McDougall. It should not surprise us that his idols were Abraham Lincoln and Otto von Bismarck.

“No doubt a lot of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual, and a great deal that was mere sentiment and pleasing speculation has been put forward as fundamental principle,” wrote Wilson, attacking the very individual rights that have made America great.

He rejected the principles of “separation of powers” and “checks and balances” that are the foundation of American government: “Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand….” wrote Wilson in The State.

No fan of democracy or constitutional government, he wrote the following in Constitutional Government in the United States: “The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can. His capacity will set the limit….” Sounds like a devotee of the imperial presidency.

Indeed, in a disturbing 1890 essay entitled Leaders of Men, Wilson said that a “true leader” uses the masses of people like “tools.” He writes, “The competent leader of men cares little for the internal niceties of other people’s characters: he cares much–everything–for the external uses to which they may be put…. He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operates…. It is the power which dictates, dominates; the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader.” So much for the dignity of each person!

“Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand in our way,” said Wilson in June 1917 to counter protests to the fascist regime that he created upon entering WW I.

Wilson rejects the Jeffersonian individualism that has defined the Founding and American conservatism: “While we are followers of Jefferson, there is one principle of Jefferson’s which no longer can obtain in the practical politics of America. You know that it was Jefferson who said that the best government is that which does as little governing as possible…. But that time is passed. America is not now and cannot in the future be a place for unrestricted individual enterprise.” Follower of Jefferson? Yeah right!

Wilson sought war with Germany and purposefully drew the US into World War I.
“I am an advocate of peace, but there are some splendid things that come to a nation through the discipline of war,” said Wilson and he would seek after those progressive “splendid things” when the opportunity of WW I arose.

It is an often overlooked fact of WW I that Great Britain’s powerful navy blockaded Germany and in so doing starved the German population. And guess who led the British in this distant blockade (which was against international law at the time)? Our dear beloved Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty. This blockade drove the Germans to retaliate with submarine warfare (U-boats), and they warned that “neutral ships will be exposed to danger” and it would be “impossible to avoid attacks being made on neutral ships in mistake for those of the enemy.” This was especially true since British abused the rules of war by decorating their warships with neutral flags to lure German submarines to the surface and destroy them.

Wilson all the while claimed neutrality but was actually very pro-British. The British blockade and the German unrestricted submarine warfare both violated the rights of neutral nations under international law. But he refused to acknowledge that the former had led to the latter. German misdeeds against vessels carrying Americans received swift denunciation from Wilson, but the terrible British blockade that starved hundreds of thousands of Germans to death got a slap on the wrist. The Germans even proposed to end their unrestricted sub warfare if the British would end the blockade; the British refused. It was this double standard that would drive Wilson to bring the US into the war.

The cunning Churchill knew of Wilson’s irrational disposition and used it to his advantage: “It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany….” Britain aimed to lure America into the war. Indeed, by making it dangerous for the German submarines to surface, Churchill would increase his chances of success: “The submerged U-boat had to rely increasingly on underwater attack and thus ran the greater risk of mistaking neutral for British ships and of drowning neutral crews and thus embroiling Germany with other Great Powers.” By that time, the US was the only great power left that had remained neutral.

The most famous incident was the sinking of the Lusitania. But you will seldom read in school textbooks that the German government actually published warnings in major newspapers not to book passage on the great vessel. But most passengers ignored the warning. The German U-boat only fired one torpedo at the Lusitania and, to the surprise of the German captain Walter Schwieger, that was all it took. The liner went down so quickly that Swieger noted, “I could not have fired a second torpedo into this thing of humanity attempting to save themselves.” A total of 124 Americans died.

What was the American reaction to this tragedy? Hardly any of the newspapers advocated that declaring war was the proper response. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan certainly had no desire to go to war over it and challenged Wilson’s double standard head on: “Why be shocked by the drowning of a few people, if there is no objection to a starving nation?” It was of no use and Bryan resigned in protest. Senators Wesley Jones of Washington and Robert Follette of Wisconsin urged the President to exercise restraint.

Bryan’s replacement, Robert Lansing, reveals that the Wilson administration was determined to go to war: “In dealing with the British government, there was always in my mind the conviction that we would ultimately become an ally of Great Britain and that it would not do, therefore, to let our controversies reach a point where diplomatic correspondence gave place to action.” American protests against Britain were carefully “submerged in verbiage. It was done with deliberate purpose. It insured the continuance of the controversies and left the questions unsettled, which was necessary in order to leave this country free to act and even act illegally when it entered the war.”

Germany then agreed to call off the sub warfare if Wilson would pressure Britain to stop the hunger blockade (Sussex Pledge). Wilson refused.

Then Wilson did the most irresponsible act that brought us into war: he ordered that merchant ships be armed with US Navy guns and staffed with US Navy crews and that they fire on any surfacing submarines they encountered. Under such circumstances, the ships sailed into the war zone. Wilson sent out ships with the purpose of sacrificing them in order to push America into war! Four of them had been sunk by the time Wilson requested a declaration of war from Congress. It was only after the war that Congress would realize what a dangerous fanatic Wilson was and actually stood up to him be rejecting the Treaty of Versailles, especially Article 10 the League of Nations. This article obligated each League member to preserve the territorial integrity of the other member states. Why should the US sacrifice blood and treasure for obscure border disputes in Europe? Congress was not advocating isolationism as many have asserted but rather defending its own constitutional authority to decide when America goes to war.

John Bassett Moore, a distinguished professor of international law at Columbia University who would serve on the International Court of Justice after the war, argued that “what most decisively contributed to the involvement of the United States in the war was the assertion of a right to protect belligerent ships on which Americans saw fit to travel and the treatment of armed belligerent merchantmen as peaceful vessels. Both assumptions were contrary to reason, and no other neutral advanced them.” Wilson apparently believed that every American, in time of war, had the right to travel aboard armed, belligerent merchant ships carrying munitions of war through a declared submarine zone. No other neutral power had ever proclaimed such a doctrine, let alone gone to war over it!

No American interest was at stake in WW I, and yet a total of 116,516 men died and 204,002 were wounded. In fact, Wilson bragged about fighting a war with no national interests at stake! “There is not a single selfish element, so far as I can see, in the cause we are fighting for,” he declared. It was a war to satisfy his own naive idealism that he could remake the world in his “progressive” ideology. War was an instrument for perverse social engineering that would remake the world: “[A]s head of a nation participating in the war, the president of the United States would have a seat at the peace table, but…if he remained the representative of a neutral country, he could at best only ‘call through a crack in the door.'” The whole war was so that HE could have a seat at a table?! The guy was insane, sick (even Freud, who wrote a whole book on Wilson, thought so).Movie Poster

Wilson created the first official propaganda department in the US.
A week after Congress declared war on Germany, Wilson created a government apparatus whose sole purpose was to lie to the American people, the first modern ministry for propaganda in the West. It was called the Committee on Public Information and was led by journalist George Creel.

Edward Bernays, an adviser to Wilson and participant in CPI operations, characterized the mission of CPI as the “engineering of consent” and “the conscious manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.”

A typical poster for Liberty Bonds read: “I am Public Opinion. All men fear me!…[I]f you have money to buy and do not buy, I will make this No Man’s Land for you!” Other posters were created to mobilize the public and silence dissent.

A trained group of nearly a hundred thousand men gave four minute speeches to any audience that would listen. They portrayed Wilson as a larger-than-life leader and the Germans as less-than-human Huns, emphasizing fabricated German war crimes and horrors.

CPI released propaganda films entitled The Claws of the Hun, The Prussian Cur, To Hell With The Kaiser, and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin.

Wilson harshly suppressed dissent and resistance among citizens and the press.
At Wilson’s urging, a Sedition Act (not unlike the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 ) forbade Americans from criticizing their own government in a time of war. Citizens could not “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the government or the military. The Postmaster General was given the authority to revoke the mailing privileges of those who disobeyed. About 75 periodicals were were shut down by the government in this way and many others were given warnings.

In the fashion of a police state, the Department of Justice arrested tens of thousands of individuals without just cause. One was not safe even within the walls of one’s own home to criticize the Wilson administration. A letter to federal attorneys and marshals said that citizens had nothing to fear as long as they “Obey the law; keep your mouth shut.” In fact, the Justice Department created the precursor to the Gestapo called the American Protective League. Its job was to spy on fellow citizens and turn in “seditious” persons or draft dodgers. In September of 1918 in NYC, the APL rounded up about 50,000 people. This doesn’t even include the infamous Palmer Raids (named after Wilson’s attorney general) that occurred after the war.

In 1915, in his address to Congress, Wilson declared, “The gravest threats against our national peace and safety have been uttered within our own borders. There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags…who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes….”

All in all it is estimated that about 175,000 Americans were arrested for failing to demonstrate their patriotism in one way or another.

Wilson took over the US economy completely.
He charged Bernard Baruch with running the War Industries Board, which would endeavor to control all industry in service to the state. It would serve as a precursor to the corporatist policies Mussolini and Hitler.

Grosvenor Clarkson, a member and later historian of the WIB, would characterize the WIB as follows: “It was an industrial dictatorship without parallel–a dictatorship by force of necessity and common consent which step by step at least encompassed the Nation and united it into a coordinated and mobile whole.” He would also later say that the war was “a story of the conversion of a hundred million combatively individualistic people into a vast cooperative effort in which the good of the unit was sacrificed to the good of the whole.” The government weakened the spirit of the people to resist government tyranny.

Rationing and price-fixing characterized the wartime command economy. (hmmm, sounds like communism and the Carter administration)

Wilson himself was a major cause of the outbreak of World War II.
It is a well-accepted fact that the extremely harsh and unfair terms of the Treaty of Versailles were the incipient cause of WW II. Wilson’s Fourteen Points were fair and persuaded the Germans to surrender before the allies devastated Germany. He had the opportunity to make sure Europe did not take revenge on Germany, but he let is slip away. He threw Germany to the dogs so he could have his worthless, utopian League of Nations. He deluded himself into thinking the League could make up for the other thirteen points. This stab in the back of Germany would give rise to Hitler and allow him to rouse the German people to war a mere two decades or so later. Therefore, in a very real sense, Wilson is responsible for all the horrors of WW II.

In sum, Wilson was the first fascist president of the US and first major fascist dictator of the 20th c.
Wilson took over the US economy, infringed on American civil liberties especially by suppressing dissent, oppressed the “unpatriotic,” and purposefully sought to drag the US into war. This Marxist, totalitarian, jingoistic, and militaristic Democrat president was a fascist. He worshiped the power of the state, and such statolatry is exactly what fascism is.

I don’t think President George W. Bush is a fascist, but his Wilsonian idealism for spreading democracy should disturb any conservative. America was attacked on 9/11; no such thing happened during Wilson’s presidency. The Patriot Act is no where near as harmful to civil liberties as Wilson’s Sedition Act was, if harmful at all.

Though the Democratic Party is largely dominated by anti-war people now (even though Soviet communism and radical Islam have been actual threats to national security unlike the Kaiser’s Germany), Wilson’s fascism still remains with the party, especially with regard to economics and expanding the power of the federal government in general whenever possible. This should not be surprising since fascism is a product of the Left, not the Right, side of the political spectrum.

(Reference The Politically Incorrect Guide to US History and Liberal Fascism)

Posted in 1st Amendment-Free Speech, American History, Fascism, Government and Politics, Intellectual History, Liberalism, Political Philosophy, Politicians, Socialism, The Constitution, Uncategorized, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 143 Comments »

Defame Islam, Get Sued?

Posted by Tony Listi on May 15, 2008

No religion is beyond criticism and thoughtful examination, even if it takes the form of satire or humor (including my beloved Catholicism). The US should brace itself against any future pressures to outlaw speech that portrays Islam in a negative light.

The European laws against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial have set a dangerous precedent. Europe is more likely to fail against radical Islam because it is more likely to sew its own lips shut, silencing needed criticism of the more violent and questionable aspects of Islam and its traditions and history. (This includes the death penalty for mocking Muhammad, e.g. the poets Abu ‘Afak and ‘Asma bint Marwan along with her unborn child who were put to death at the Prophet’s command.)

And what about blasphemy in the eyes of Christianity? Judaism? Other religions? Will radical Muslims submit to punishment for their anti-Semitic speech? More likely, a double standard is developing.

Of course, I guess getting sued is better than getting killed or assaulted (139 people were killed and 823 injured in the wake of Muslim rage over the Danish cartoon incident). So I guess this is actually “progress.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080314/ap_on_re_af/islamic_summit_islamophobia

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Writer Fri Mar 14, 6:26 PM ET

DAKAR, Senegal – The Muslim world has created a battle plan to defend its religion from political cartoonists and bigots.

Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, leaders of the world’s Muslim nations are considering taking legal action against those that slight their religion or its sacred symbols. It was a key issue during a two-day summit that ended Friday in this western Africa capital.

The Muslim leaders are attempting to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and again last month, to the fury of the Muslim world.

Though the legal measures being considered have not been spelled out, the idea pits many Muslims against principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous Western governments.

“I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy,” said Senegal‘s President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. “There can be no freedom without limits.”

Delegates were given a voluminous report by the OIC that recorded anti-Islamic speech and actions from around the world. The report concludes that Islam is under attack and that a defense must be mounted.

“Muslims are being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” charged Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the group.

The report urges the creation of a “legal instrument” to crack down on defamation of Islam. Some delegates point to laws in Europe criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic rhetoric. They also point to articles within various U.N. charters that condemn discrimination based on religion and argue that these should be ramped up.

“In our relation with the western world, we are going through a difficult time,” Ihsanoglu told the summit’s general assembly. “Islamophobia cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but (through) a robust political engagement.”

The International Humanist and Ethical Union in Geneva released a statement accusing the Islamic states of attempting to limit freedom of expression and of attempting to misuse the U.N.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that objectionable depictions of the Prophet Muhammad do not “give them the right under international human rights law to insist that others abide by their views.”

Hemayet Uddin, the lead author of the OIC report and head of cultural affairs for the group said legal action is needed because “this Islamophobia that we see in the world has gone far beyond a phobia. It is now at the level of hatred, of xenophobia, and we need to act.”

A new charter drafted by the OIC commits the Muslim body “to protect and defend the true image of Islam” and “to combat the defamation of Islam.”

To protect the faith, Muslim nations have created an “observatory” that meets regularly to monitor Islamophobia. It examines lectures and workshops taking place around the world and prints a monthly record of offensive content.

But some of the summit’s delegates said a legal approach would be over the top.

“My general view would be that the confrontational approach is one my country would avoid,” said Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Iftekhar Chowdhruy. Bangladesh is 90 percent Muslim.

While the Muslim world worries about the image of Islam in the West, the U.S. envoy to the OIC attended the summit to try to tackle the thorny question of America’s image among Muslim states.

Sada Cumber calls his campaign the “soft power” of the U.S. — an effort to find common ground with Muslim nations by championing universal values the U.S. holds dear like religious tolerance and freedom of speech.

“America has a deep respect for the religion of Islam,” Cumber told The Associated Press. “The freedom of faith that we exercise, that we enjoy in America, that is also a very important aspect of the American core values. Anyone who wants to practice any faith is never stopped or discouraged.”

Also during the summit, Chad and Sudan signed a peace agreement to stop incursions of rebels across each other’s borders, and the summit delegates committed themselves to addressing the spiraling violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Posted in 1st Amendment-Free Speech, Government and Politics, Islam, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, The War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Clinging to Religion AND Guns AND Bigotry

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Barack Obama almost wiggled out of this one. He had a very clever response at a CNN Compassion Forum to the accusation that this comment showed him to be elitist, trashing religious people and their values, and being out of touch with the common American:

“Well, first of all, you know, scripture talks about clinging to what’s good. And so it’s very important – my words may have been clumsy, which happens surprisingly often on a presidential campaign…but this is something that I’ve talked about before, I’ve talked about in my own life, which is that religion is a bulwark, a foundation when other things aren’t going well. That’s true in my own life, through trials and tribulations.”

Obama’s statement is correct: clinging is not necessarily a bad thing. Any religious person would have no problem with people clinging to God. That is the whole point!

But the problem with this is that Obama linked religion to guns and bigotry. And Obama is NOT a supporter of the 2nd Amendment; he is pro-gun control. So he must think that clinging to guns is a bad thing. And Obama has always claimed, at least, to be against bigotry. And yet he says “cling to guns or religion” or bigotry. The clear implication is that ALL THREE are bad! He wisely avoids this fact.

Obama made a Freudian slip. He really thinks that Christianity, as practiced by middle America (as opposed to his own heretical, racist, hate-filled, liberation theological TUCC), is harmful and dangerous.

Posted in Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics, Political Psychoanalysis, Politicians, Politics and Religion, Second Amendment/Guns, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What It Means to Be American

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

In discussing the issue of illegal immigration with a liberal friend of mine, a very interesting and important question was posed to me: what is your definition of “American”?

True conservatives recognize that America is more an idea, a creed, than anything else. For practical purposes, America is also a place, a distinct area of territory. But even those who live within its physical boundaries as legally recognized citizens may be less American, in a sense, than those outside its borders who share the American creed. America is more than a place or a government certification of citizenship.

Thus, subscribing to a specific set of beliefs is what makes an American at the deepest level. What are these beliefs? They are embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as originally intended and interpreted by the Founding Fathers who framed these documents (and their Christian roots). And because conservatism, by definition, seeks to preserve the principles of America’s founding, the American creed is the conservative creed.

One of the most important of these beliefs is the rule of law (yes, even immigration laws). Two other important beliefs are the right to the fruits of one’s labor and to minimal taxation used only for public interests that cannot be satisfied any other way (both of which go together). Therefore, certain government run services and wealth redistribution, which illegal immigrants often take advantage of, are not American in a very profound sense. Another important tenet of the American credo is suspicion of government and government interference. The corollary and logical outgrowth of this is a belief in very limited government. And the logical implication of that is a belief in freedom, including the free market.

Therefore, those immigrants, legal and illegal, who do not accept this creed are a threat to America. This is why the English language must be preserved, assimilation must be a top priority, and multiculturalism should be opposed.

Of course, the implications of my definition of “American,” automatically implies that liberals are in some sense un-American because they do not hold to this creed as it has been written and passed down through the generations. They are opposed to limited government, the free market, etc. And they have already hurt America because of the semi-welfare state that they have created over the past century or so. Therefore, one might say that liberals’ un-American activities (creating the welfare state and insisting on multiculturalism) are really at the heart of what is wrong with the situation of illegal immigration. If government were more limited, illegal immigrants would not be able strain and/or drain public treasuries. If government were more limited, then government employees would be less able to socially engineer the country away from its roots.

Posted in American Culture, American History, Economics, Government and Politics, Illegal Immigration, Intellectual History, Liberalism, Political Philosophy, The Constitution, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Note to Rice, ‘Bombingham’ Isn’t Iraq

Posted by Tony Listi on April 6, 2008

Rice, like Bush, is not a true and pure conservative.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DianaWest/2008/04/03/note_to_rice,_bombingham_isnt_iraq

By Diana West
Thursday, April 3, 2008

I wonder if Condoleezza Rice was surprised by the headlines over her comment to The Washington Times that America suffers from a national “birth defect” — namely, the practice of slavery at the time of the nation’s founding.

Make that the first founding. She said she considers the civil rights movement to be the nation’s “second founding.” The secretary of state made another point. She said “one of the primary things” that attracted her to the candidacy of George W. Bush “was not actually foreign policy.” Rather, she explained, “it was No Child Left Behind.” She continued: “When he talks about `the soft bigotry of low expectations,’ I know what that feels like.”

Rice has actually said all of this before, including more emphatic remarks on No Child Left Behind and “soft” bigotry. “I’ve seen it. Okay?” Rice said in 2005 to The New York Times. “And it’s not in this president. It is, however, pretty deeply ingrained in our system and we’re going to have to do something about it.” Rice offered as an example her own high school teacher who suggested she was junior college material.

Maybe someone should inform the secretary of state that being underestimated, turned down or shunted aside is, alas, part of the human experience, not the exclusive function of race. But it’s probably too late for that. As secretary of state — not, say, secretary of education — Rice has long been doing “something about it” on the world stage. Instead of different states and school systems, she’s been working with different countries and belief systems. Suddenly, things about the Rice Doctrine — better, the No Country Left Behind Doctrine — begin to fall into place.

I’ve written before about how Rice makes faulty comparisons between the evolution of democratic principle (all men are created equal) in the United States and the introduction of democratic procedure (ballot boxes) to the Middle East, always ignoring both the miracle of our 18th-century Constitution, which contained the blueprint for abolition, and the dispiriting reality of 21st century Islamic constitutions, which charter Sharia states where freedom of conscience (among other things) doesn’t exist. I’ve written also about how she sees the transformation of her once-segregated hometown of Birmingham, Ala., as the blueprint for democratizing the Islamic world. Hers is a worldview personal to the point of autobiographical, as when she explains how, as a daughter of Birmingham (or “Bombingham,” as she has called it), she can relate both to Israeli fear of Palestinian bombs, and Palestinian “humiliation and powerlessness” over Israeli checkpoints, which she sees as a form of segregation. What she never seems to realize is that such “segregation,” far being the sort of prejudice she remembers, is actually an Israeli line of defense against the ultimate prejudice of Palestinian bombs.

Considering her remarks about America’s “birth defect” — an egregious term for any secretary of state to use about a nation that has brought more liberty to more races, colors and creeds than any in history — I am struck anew how deeply Rice’s vision of race in America, or, perhaps, in segregated Birmingham, affects her vision of America in the wider world. It is as if Rice sees American influence as a means by which to address what she perceives as disparities of race or Third World heritage on the international level.

This would help explain her ahistorical habit of linking the civil rights movement to the Bush administration’s effort to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, in a 2003 speech to the National Association of Black Journalists, she argued that blacks, more than others, should “reject” the “condescending” argument that some are not “ready” for freedom. “That view was wrong in 1963 in Birmingham and it’s wrong in 2003 in Baghdad,” she said. In 2006, she made a similar point. “When I look around the world and I hear people say, `Well, you know, they’re just not ready for democracy,’ it really does resonate,” Rice told CBS’s Katie Couric. “It makes me so angry because I think there are those echoes of what people once thought about black Americans.”

There’s something shockingly provincial at work here. In seeing so much of the world through an American prism of race, Rice has effectively blinded herself to historical and cultural and religious differences between Islam and the West. To put it simply, neither Baghdad nor Gaza is Birmingham. And nothing in all of history quite compares to Philadelphia.

Diana West is a contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of the new book, The Death of the Grown-up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization.

Posted in American History, Government and Politics, Intellectual History, Iraq War, Israel and the Middle East, Political Philosophy, Race, Racism, and Affirmative Action, The Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

UN Condemns Needed Criticism of Islam, Silences Free Speech

Posted by Tony Listi on March 29, 2008

The film in question merely quotes the Qur’an, shows video of radical Muslim sermons, and then shows the terror and horror of the violence of Jihadism. It was not “hate speech” unless quoting the Qur’an is hate speech! The film was not meant to incite violence against Muslims; it was meant to tell the world that the Qur’an (not so-called Western oppression) inspires many Muslims to commit violence against non-Muslims! It was meant to challenge Muslims to confront and reject the clear, violent commands of their faith. This film was a legitimate use of free speech. The Netherlands and UN should not have caved in to political correctness and undermined free speech, a cornerstone of progress and civilization.

Watch the video for yourself here.

http://www.reuters.com/article/email/idUSN2844232220080328

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned as “offensively anti-Islamic” a Dutch lawmaker’s film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence.

Ban acknowledged efforts by the government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of the film, which was launched by Islam critic Geert Wilders over the Internet, and appealed for calm to those “understandably offended by it.”

“There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence,” Ban said in a statement. “The right of free expression is not at stake here.”

The short film, titled “Fitna,” an Arabic term sometimes translated as “strife,” intersperses images of the September 11 attacks on the United States and Islamist bombings with quotations from the Koran.

The film urges Muslims to tear out “hate-filled” verses from the Koran and starts and finishes with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad with a bomb under his turban, accompanied by the sound of ticking.

Several Muslim countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia, have also condemned the film.

“Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility,” Ban said.

“We must also recognize that the real fault line is not between Muslim and Western societies, as some would have us believe, but between small minorities of extremists, on different sides, with a vested interest in stirring hostility and conflict,” Ban said.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Posted in 1st Amendment-Free Speech, Government and Politics, Islam, Politics and Religion, The War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Government Gridlock is Good

Posted by Tony Listi on March 25, 2008

Every now and then I will hear someone complain that government “doesn’t do anything” or “gets nothing done” or similar such sentiments. Such things are very troubling to me for two reasons: they demonstrate that that person has no idea of what good government looks like AND that that person has no idea of how the federal government was originally intended to (dys)function! My immediate response to such sentiments is always this: Would you rather concentrate all power in one person or one group like the fascists, communists, monarchists, etc. did? Everyone should take delight in government gridlock: it means the system is working!

Though it should be second nature to Americans that decentralized government is good government, many Americans (mostly on the Left) see no danger in centralizing power. They see government as beneficent and benign. They want to remove the dividing lines and checks and balances in order to empower government to be more “compassionate.” Apparently, they have forgotten, chosen to ignore, or never studied history which is literally one big story about the failure of centralized power. They also do not understand economics and the superiority of the free market system.

So many people really have no perspective on how unique the American system of government is, even compared to modern-day parliamentary democracies. At the time of the founding, it was completely unique and radical. When you sit down and read the Constitution objectively, you realize that the genius of the Framers lies not in how they intended the federal govt. to work but in how they intended it NOT to work. What other nation in human history up until that time had purposefully divided its government (and thus its power and authority) into three or more distinct entities? There may have been some city-states in Europe during the Middle Ages that experimented with republican government, but other than that, one would have to go back to the time of the Greek poleis and the Roman Republic to find such decentralized govt. So don’t blame the politicians for gridlock. In fact, don’t blame anyone; take pride in it.

Today there are many countries modeled on the US, but many of the world’s democracies are parliamentary. That means that the separation of powers between the legislative and executive powers is weaker than in the American system, which in turn means that these countries are more unstable and in danger of tyranny through a concentration of power. Whereas the American system is inherently conservative (in the sense that policy changes tend to happen more slowly), European government may often fall prey to popular passions of the time (as historically they did with regard to fascism and now socialism).

The only concern conservatives have with regard to governmental structure is that over the past century or so the Supreme Court has usurped much of the authority of the other two branches. Therefore, what should have been gridlock became judicial fiat. The SCOTUS and federal judiciary in general is now the instrument by which liberalism by-passes the legitimate institutions of government and the constitutional restraints on its power and imposes its ideology upon the masses. Now conservatives are trying to reverse the damage done to the Constitution and our country because of this judicial tyranny. Gridlock with a liberal status quo is unbearable to the conservative. Conservatives must be activists to restore the rule of law. We must put originalists and strict constructionists on the courts and utilize the amendment process.

Posted in American Culture, American History, Government and Politics, Political Philosophy, Supreme Court and Federal Judiciary, The Constitution, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »