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:: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 ::

Islam in the Academy 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 3:30 PM

There is a troika of movements that’s coalescing into one ugly phenomenon, a phenomenon that may rival what the world witnessed in the 1930’s in Germany. They are a virulent anti-Semitism promoted by the Progressives and the left, its appearance on college campuses and in university classrooms, and the assault on freedom of speech in the guise of being combating “Islamophobia.”

A Jihad Watch article of May 23rd, “Campus Watch: Legitimizing Censorship – ‘Islamophobia Studies’ at Berkeley,” by Cinnamon Stillwell and Rima Greene, details the pitiful and organizationally inept efforts of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project to pass itself off as a major mover and shaker in the fight against Islamophobia.

“Islamophobia studies” is the latest addition to the academic pantheon of politicized, esoteric, and divisive “studies” whose purpose is to censor criticism of differing views by stigmatizing critics as racist or clinically insane. The University of California, Berkeley’s recent Sixth Annual International Islamophobia Conference—organized by the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP)—was titled, “The State of the Islamophobia Studies Field.” The fact that this “field” doesn’t yet formally exist in the U.S. may explain why speakers the first day of the conference barely mentioned it. As in years past, the conference featured victimology, academic jargon, and anti-Western rhetoric.

The audience, including a number of women in hijabs (headscarves), ranged from twenty to fifty students and faculty members. Because the conference was preempted by another event, it had to shift between two venues. Adding to the confusion, the schedule was made available online only days before. While IRDP director and Near Eastern studies lecturer Hatem Bazian bragged at the outset that the conference livestream had garnered “seven thousand” viewers in 2014, this year, visual and audio problems often rendered it unwatchable.

The spurious audience estimate of between twenty to fifty attendees is a telltale indication that Hatem Bazian was preaching to a miniscule choir, or to a hollow papered hall in which the body count wasn’t large enough to absorb the echoes of his words.

In his introduction, Bazian apologized for these mishaps before launching into a glowing report about the alleged state of “Islamophobia studies,” which, according to the IRDP website, “has witnessed rapid expansion in the past fifteen years.” He claimed that the field had “come of age” in that there is “no longer . . . a debate over whether we should use the term or not” or if “it is real or not,” except for “those who really don’t want to confront Islamophobia” or “don’t want to deal with the reality of what has taken place.”

In fact, there is no consensus on the existence of “Islamophobia” in the U.S., particularly in light of FBI statistics showing Jews experiencing the highest number of religiously-motivated hate crimes, with Muslims a distant second. Conflating legitimate criticism of Islam and the myriad human rights abuses occurring in its name all over the world with an irrational fear or prejudice towards all Muslims further obfuscates the matter.

Bazian claimed that his sparsely attended conference was part of an international series of conferences (but not the OIC, or the Organization of Islam Conferences? How déclassé!), spanning the globe from Paris to Switzerland. Stillwell and Greene report, however, that “at this juncture, a search yields no evidence of IRDP-connected conferences this year.”

Stillwell and Green then introduce

Munir Jiwa, founding director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Islamic Studies and assistant professor of Islamic studies at the Graduate Theological [Madrassa?] Union, followed with the talk, “Frames and Scripts of Islamophobia.” Jiwa maintained that the U.S. and the U.K. view Islam through the “frames” of the September 11, 2001 and July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks, respectively, and lamented that, “This forgets the long history of Muslims in the West” and “Muslim contributions to Western civilization.” Referring to the alleged shortcomings of the latter—including, ludicrously, the Enlightenment—he made the ahistorical assertion:

Much like Colonial and Enlightenment ways of dividing the world: us and them. It’s as if the West just came up with all these great ideas on its own.

Jiwa complained that Americans see terrorism as “barbaric,” “out of the blue,” and “related to Islam, rather than the most warring nation in the world”—i.e., America.

Yes, the U.S. and the U.K. view Islam not only through the “frames” of 9/11 and 7/7, but also through the “frames” of the nearly 26,000 acts of terror worldwide since 9/11 and 7/7. Stillwell and Greene note that Jiwa “never mentioned ISIS’s atrocities, only ‘our responsibility’ in creating the context for that violence.”

It’s always the victim’s fault for creating all those “frames” and “contexts.” As soon as we fit them onto a Muslim, he goes ballistic and commits violence, almost as though by auto-suggestion. He’s just a pre-programmed automaton, a kind of Pavlovian cum Mahometan dog “conditioned” to respond to certain stimuli, such as depictions of Mohammad, or critical or satirical portrayals of Islam. What conditioned him? The anti-mind, anti-reason, anti-life ideology of Islam.

After discussing the Marxist blathering of two other speakers at Bazian’s conference, Stillwell and Greene end their article with:

While this year’s conference may have failed to usher in the dawn of an officially recognized “Islamophobia studies,” it wasn’t for lack of effort. Soon after, IRDP announced the latest edition of its politicized bi-annual publication, the Islamophobia Studies Journal. Perhaps following UC Berkeley’s lead, Georgetown University recently launched the Bridges Initiative, a project of the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding devoted to “protecting pluralism – ending Islamophobia.”

The subject is all the rage in the field of Middle East studies and throughout academe, which is doing its utmost to silence critics of the Islamic supremacism, systemic social problems, and total chaos plaguing the region. If and when “Islamophobia studies” becomes a reality, we can’t claim we didn’t see it coming.

It is interesting to note in passing some of the actual funding for “Islamophobia” studies and similar pseudo-academic endeavors. Mike Ciandella wrote in his February 4th, 2014 article for Media Research Center, “$5.6 Million from Soros Aids Universities That Boycott Israel,” that:  

The American Studies Association is asking its member universities to join the growing academic boycott of Israel. Eight out of the 14 member universities of the ASA’s National Council that approved the boycott have received more than $5.6 million from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations since 2000. The ASA has also been working closely with anti-Israeli organizations to promote this movement.

Promoting anti-Israeli and liberal propaganda, Soros has poured more than $400 million into colleges and universities around the world, including money to most prominent institutions in the United States. According to a May 2012 article in The New York Times, Soros gave $500,000 a year to J Street, a “two-state solution” organization whose co-founder, Daniel Levy, called the creation of Israel in 1948 “an act that was wrong.” Some of the $23.8 million that Soros has given to Bard College in New York has gone to a Palestinian youth group, and Bard also offers joint degree programs at a Palestinian school in Jerusalem, and partners closely with Al-Quds University.

According to the ASA, this boycott is part of the larger BDS, or “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement. BDS promotes the work of Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as arguing for a “one-state solution” to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which would involve Palestinians having equal right of return status in Israel with Israelis.

I always chuckle when I read that Soros’s “Open Society” machine is involved in one or another program to “transform” America into a “more tolerant democracy.” It’s a risible misnomer, when what Soros and his winged monkeys have in mind in the end is a “closed society” – closed to freedom of thought and to freedom of speech.

The official BDS site encourages the academic boycott of Israel:

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was one of the founding entities in 2005 of the Palestinian Civil Society BDS Campaign and remains a key part of the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement.

PACBI was launched in Ramallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals to join the growing international boycott movement. The Campaign built on the Palestinian call for a comprehensive economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel issued in August 2002 and a statement made by Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the occupied territories and in the Diaspora calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in October 2003….

The PACBI Call states:
“We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

  1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;
  2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;
  3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;
  4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;
  5. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.”

In academia – on the physical campuses, in the ivy that clings to their walls but which is infested with the black widow spiders of Marxism, and in the suffocating, light-dimming canopies of culturally diverse kudzu – this agenda will manifest itself into active anti-Semitism of the violent kind. Boycotting Israeli goods and thinkers and speakers and associations translates into anti-Semitism. There isn’t any other meaning possible.

 Being an Israeli is synonymous with being Jewish, even though one may be an atheist or a Christian or an Arab-Israeli Muslim, you’re still “Jewish” and can be “boycotted” or bashed in the face or beaten up or even murdered.  You’re still an “occupier” of Palestinian land and a racist and a colonizer over the bodies the Palestinian children and a ruthless oppressor of Palestinian workers. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement against Israel means business, and isn’t limited to a tenured professor flapping his gums about the outrages committed by Israelis, or to half-witted slobs sporting keffryahs and niqabs carrying signs and shouting themselves hoarse, “Brains dead! Don’t shoot!”

While the BDS crowd keeps boasting of how it helped to end apartheid in South Africa, it equates that with trying to end “apartheid” in Israel. I’ve seen no recent calls by that crowd to protest oppression, exploitation, and discrimination in Saudi Arabia, Red China, Zimbabwe, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and other sundry dictatorships and authoritarian countries. It’s only against tiny Israel, the freest and most prosperous country in the Middle East.

The American Studies Association has been recruiting universities to join in BDS and to become signatories of the BDS Resolution of December 2013 to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The ASA, founded in 1951 and purportedly ”the oldest scholarly organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” has been captured by the Left and is now apparently devoted to imposing a politically correct discipline. The Jerusalem Post of January 1st, 2014, reported, however, that ninety-two universities rejected the academic boycott of Israel.

More than 90 American universities have so far released statements rejecting the American Studies Association decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and several have cut ties with the organization in protest.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations expressed appreciation to university presidents and chancellors who “stood up against this discriminatory and unjustified measure and rejected the ASA boycott of Israel.”

But not all is well with the university and education heads. Many of them belong to what Salman Rushdie, who still lives with an Iranian fatwa on his head, might have called the “But…Brigade” when it came to endorsing freedom of speech. “We’re for freedom of speech, but….” Or perhaps these hypersensitive folk should be called “Butt-Heads.”

Molly Corbett, president of the American Council on Education – an umbrella group that covers 1,800 institutions and claims to be the “most visible and influential higher education association” in the US – issued a statement on Sunday that “such actions are misguided and greatly troubling, as they strike at the heart of academic freedom….

We hope the leadership of these organizations [who support the boycott] soon reconsiders their actions and trust that other scholarly organizations will see the troubling implications of such boycotts and avoid [a] similar vote….” [Italics mine]

Misguided? But BDS is nothing if not clear and on-target about its means and ends. To call the ends of BDS – one of which is the economic submission and eventual destruction of Israel – “misguided” is like calling an armed hold-up a “misguided” attempt to augment one’s income.

Princeton president Christopher L. Eisgruber dubbed the boycott “misguided,” adding that singling Israel out was “indefensible.”

But while Eisgruber noted that his “personal support for scholarly engagement with Israel is enthusiastic and unequivocal,” he said he did not intend to denounce the ASA or cut Princeton’s institutional ties with the organization.

“My hope is that the ASA ’s more thoughtful and reasonable members will eventually bring the organization to its senses – here, too, engagement may be better than a boycott,” he wrote.

But the central method of BDS is to bypass thought and reason and to rely on emotion and a virulent strain of anti-Semitism to accomplish its ends. There are no “thoughtful and reasonable” members in BDS. The only “engagement” they’re interested in is violence and force and censorship.

A May 4th article by Ruth Wisse in Mosaic Magazine, “Anti-Semitism Goes to School,” reveals the depth of the anti-Israel sentiment and of the anti-Semitism.

In February, a Jewish college student was hospitalized after being punched in the face at a pro-Palestinian demonstration on a campus in upstate New York. His family has insisted on maintaining the boy’s privacy, but other such incidents, some caught on camera, include a male student punched in the face at Temple University, a female student at Ohio University harassed for defending Israel, and a male student at Cornell threatened physically for protesting anti-Israel propaganda. On three successive days last summer, the Boston police had to protect a student rally for Israel from pro-Palestinian mobs shouting “Jews back to Birkenau!” At the University of California-Irvine, this year’s Israel Independence Day festivities were blocked and shouted down by anti-Israel demonstrators. Every year, some 200 campuses now host a multiday hate-the-Jews fest, its malignancy encapsulated in its title: “Israel Apartheid Week….”

Nor are students the only targets. At Connecticut College, to cite but the most recent example, a quietly pro-Israel professor of philosophy has been maliciously singled out and hounded as a “racist” in a campaign instigated by Palestinian activists, endorsed by numerous faculty members, and at least tacitly complied with by the college administration and the campus Hillel organization. At the annual meetings of prestigious academic associations, boycott resolutions against Israel and Israeli academic institutions are routinely aired and often passed.

Wisse’s article is long and detailed in her examination of the anti-Israel phenomenon in this country, and is worth reading in its entirety. Some highlights are:

As one of its first acts in December 1945, the Arab League called on all Arab institutions and individuals to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Jewish and Zionist products or manufactured goods. Seventy years later, calls for boycott of Israel, under the acronym BDS—boycott, divestment, and sanctions—have become a staple of American university agendas, extending not only to Israeli companies like SodaStream but to Israeli scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Last year, a petition by “anthropologists for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions” garnered the signatures of the relevant department chairs at (among others) Harvard, Wesleyan, and San Francisco State. The American Studies Association attracted the “largest number of participants in the organization’s history” for a vote endorsing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Keep in mind that the briefly described incidents here did not occur in Nazi Germany:

….Which is not to say that grounds are lacking for larger concern. In addition to the catalog of academic offenses I’ve briefly summarized here, a growing number of anti-Jewish incidents—from a swastika-desecrated Jewish cemetery in New Jersey to fatal shootings at a Kansas City Jewish community center—has been registered by agencies like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. At the government level, more ominously, and perhaps for the first time in recent American history, it is the White House, rather than the once notoriously Arabist State Department, that has taken the lead in threatening to isolate the Jewish state. President Obama’s frankly contemptuous treatment of Israel’s prime minister smacks more of the university than of the Senate in which he once served, but he is the president, and his words and actions give license to others.

The linkages between the assault on American values and on Jews is not so complex that it needs lengthy explication. To wit:

Contrary to the claims of administrators like the chancellor of UCLA, prosecuting the war against the Jews is not an issue of free speech, “sacrosanct to any university campus.” Had UCLA’s chancellor and president faced a campaign to reinstate segregation, recriminalize homosexuality, or bar women from the faculty club, they would have reacted with more than “concern.” Yet behind the banner of free speech, they tolerate, however squeamishly, campaigns to undo the Jewish homeland and to demonize the already most mythified people on earth. Anti-Jewish politics are no more innocent when pursued by left-wing American SOCCs and SOOPs than when they were prosecuted by right-wing European blackshirts [sic]….

Indeed, institutions that enforce “sensitivity training” to insure toleration for gays, blacks, and other minorities may inadvertently be bringing some of these groups together in common hostility to Jews as the only campus minority against whom hostility is condoned. On almost every campus in the land, the norms of political correctness are rigorously enforced; punitive speech codes proliferate; a phalanx of administrative functionaries labors so that nothing said, or read, will ever offend the sensibilities of any student—with one licensed exception. Multiculturalism has found its apotheosis in a multicultural coalition of anti-Zionists: a uniquely constituted political phenomenon with its own functions, strategies, and goals. 

I have a hypothesis about anti-Semitism and Jew hatred on or off campus. It is probably not even an original hypothesis. It is based on nothing more disgusting and damning than envy. When you recall all the accomplishments of Jewish men and women over the centuries – in scholarship, in science, in finance, in business, in the arts – what is it that Jews are most resented and hated for?  What they’ve done in the face of persecution, genocide, and pointed discrimination when they were not being persecuted, punished, or murdered.

Writing as an atheist who is beholden to no religion, I am naturally confounded by the attraction to or loyalty to Judaism. I could poke holes in it as easily as I can poke holes in Islam and Catholicism or in any other species of Christianity or faith. What I see, however, in the BDS movement and in the poison ivy-covered halls and walls of academe is racism – even among those self-hating Jews who lend their hands to BDS and to all manner of anti-Israel causes. The latter really need to book themselves some time on a therapist’s couch to thrash out that self-hatred. It’s a unique pathology; I haven’t read about self-hating Episcopalians calling for the dismemberment and downfall of the Anglican Church. 

Is Judaism a “race”? I think not. Neither is Islam. I wouldn’t know a Jew on the street unless he was wearing a sandwich board or a kippa.

BDS and anti-Semitism are birds of the same diseased feather. What is perhaps most important is that BDS and anti-Semitism in the schools is simply that their horrendous maledictions against Israel and Jews enable Islam to insert itself into the phenomena and eventually reach a terms-setting ascendency. That is already happening in an incremental, stealthy progression in American education at all levels, and bodes no good for freedom of speech.

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:: Saturday, May 23, 2015 ::

The “Sach-ing” of America 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 4:09 PM

There was the sack of Rome by Alaric and his Visigoths in 410 A.D. There was the sack of Rome by Charles I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1527. That pillage only ended when, after eight months, the food ran out, there was no one important left to hold hostage for ransom, and then a plague appeared caused by all the rotting corpses in Rome’s streets. When the destruction, rape, and looting stopped, only 10,000 residents were left in Rome.

Attila the Hun never sacked Rome, but did loot and destroy a great portion of northern Italy. It wasn’t for lack of trying to invest Rome. But his hordes contracted “camp disease” and fell too ill to pillage and loot. He had to withdraw his “freedom fighters” to try another day, but died about a year later before making another attempt, in 453 A.D.

It’s a scenario being acted out in the Middle East by ISIS. Until he was reportedly killed by U.S. Special Forces, ISIS commander Abu Sayyaf was aiming for the Pol Pot Mass Murder award that was to have been conferred on him by the Swedish Academy of Peace and Harmony. He was also going to be presented with a check for $10 million, an interest-bearing, untaxable bank account with Nordea Bank,  and a certificate of indulgence and indemnity to rape every blonde, blue-eyed Swedish woman he set eyes on in Stockholm, and take one back to the Islamic State as a prize to add to his collection of sex slaves.

It would take a village – or, at least, the “global” one – to subjugate and sack America. That is what is being proposed by Jeffrey Sachs. And who is Jeffrey Sachs?

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time Magazine “the world’s best known economist.” A recent survey by The Economist Magazine ranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.

Professor Sachs serves as the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, having held the same position under former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project. Sachs is also one of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocates, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He has authored three New York Times bestsellers in the past seven years: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). His most recent books are To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013) and The Age of Sustainable Development (2015).

That, in a nutshell, is who Jeffrey Sachs is. A career elitist and people director, whose middle name seems to be “sustainable.” A starry-eyed busybody who’d love to manage your body and habits so that the earth survives your carbon footprint. Time Magazine said (twice) he was one of the world’s most influential leaders. The New York Times said he was “probably the most important economist in the world.” I wonder what Times columnist and “economist” Thomas Friedman thinks about that accolade. Sachs has the usual chestful of politically correct medals and ribbons that identify him as a “world leader,” probably many more than were pinned to Al Gore’s tuxedo.

But, until Cliff Kincaid wrote about Jeffrey Sachs in a May 18th column in Accuracy in Media (AIM), “Liberal Academic Says America’s Founding Document Outmoded,” I’d never heard of this “world leader” and “eminent person.”

Kincaid wrote:

Top Vatican adviser Jeffrey Sachs says that when Pope Francis visits the United States in September, he will directly challenge the “American idea” of God-given rights embodied in the Declaration of Independence.

Sachs, a special advisor to the United Nations and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is a media superstar who can always be counted on to pontificate endlessly on such topics as income inequality and global health. This time, writing in a Catholic publication, he may have gone off his rocker, revealing the real global game plan.

Which Catholic publication? It was a Jesuit one, “America.”

The United States, Sachs writes in the Jesuit publication, America, is “a society in thrall” to the idea of unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But the “urgent core of Francis’ message” will be to challenge this “American idea” by “proclaiming that the path to happiness lies not solely or mainly through the defense of rights but through the exercise of virtues, most notably justice and charity.”

In these extraordinary comments, which constitute a frontal assault on the American idea of freedom and national sovereignty, Sachs has made it clear that he hopes to enlist the Vatican in a global campaign to increase the power of global or foreign-dominated organizations and movements.

This is not really news. Pope Francis has pontificated often enough on how capitalism and the pursuit of material wealth are major failings of mankind and obstacles to man’s spiritual redemption. The liberty to own property can result in an individual’s happiness, and Francis has strenuously objected to that. But, it does come as a minor surprise that Sachs would enlist the Vatican to shill for his dreams of “justice” (read “social justice,” a Progressive end) and “charity” (read compulsory charity).

On second thought, it shouldn’t be a surprise. The full title of Sachs’ America article is “A Call to Virtue: Living the Gospel in the land of liberty.

Sachs and Francis are of the same species of vulture. With, of course, the United Nations. Jeffrey Sachs, being such an influential gadabout and gauleiter for the environmentalist cause, will always find employment in the realm of global collectivism. Here is what the U.N. had to say in August, 2014:

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network will work with stakeholders including business, civil society, UN agencies, and other international organizations to identify and share the best pathways to achieve sustainable development…

Naturally, eager government wonks will determine what is and isn't “sustainable.”

…The Solutions Network will be directed by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs,…and will operate in close coordination with the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda announced by the UN last week.

If you, doubtlessly not an “eminent person,” and can stomach it, you can read the whole U.N. plan here.

Kincaid’s article links to Sachs’ article in America. One Sustainable Development “solution” would be to tax fuel and other energy producing modes to pay for achieving a “sustainable” planet in another generation. Of course, the U.S. would pay the lion’s share of such a “global” impost.

Most important, they [the American revolutionaries] believed that they would find happiness as individuals, each endowed by the creator with individual rights. There is, no doubt, grandeur in this idea. As children of God, individuals have rights to be free of persecution, to be treated as ends and not means, as Immanuel Kant put it. The dignity of man requires the rights of man, as Thomas Paine declared.

Yet from the point of view of the Gospels, such rights are only part of the story, only one facet of our humanity. The Beatitudes, regarded by Pope Francis as key to the Gospel truth, are actually not at all about individual rights but about virtues, meaning the right path to the right kind of life. The Sermon on the Mount is not a defense of the individual but a call to humility, love and justice.

In modern terms, we would say that rights must be balanced by responsibilities. Kant said that the rights of individuals must be combined with duties, as guided by the categorical imperative. According to Kant, we have the duty to behave according to those maxims, and only those maxims, which can be made into universal laws.

Wouldn’t you know it? The original Prussian goose-stepper, Immanuel Kant, pops up into view from behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz. Sachs goes on in his article:

Pope Francis is telling the world, and the world is listening, that the path from indifference to the suffering of others can be found through the reinvigoration of the Gospel virtues. This, I believe, is a compelling message, though one that is very strange indeed to the modern, and especially American, psyche. Americans might rather expect a call to legal responsibilities—“You must pay your taxes”—than a call to virtues. Yes, they will tend to dismiss such claims of social responsibility (“It’s my right to keep my money, since I earned it”), but at least they are familiar with the language of rights and responsibilities.

Yet the call to virtues is deeper and ultimately more compelling. Pope Francis is not coming as a scold but as a guide to help us find a solution to the paradox of the poverty of the spirit in the rising sea of affluence. He is not speaking the language of duties and responsibilities but of human meaning. He is not rejecting the libertarian defense of human dignity but saying that dignity is found not only through individual rights and free markets but from within, by each person pursuing the virtues of charity, justice and compassion in solidarity with the common good. This, after all, is the message of hope that brought the multitudes to hear Jesus preach.

In short, Americans will be expected to declare their Declaration of Independence “outmoded” and flawed, just as Barack Obama said it was in a 2001 radio interview:

“…[T]he Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.

“And that hasn't shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”

We must – or our warders must, we lack their intellectual and moral wherewithal, don’t we?  – amend the Constitution to comply with UN rules and regulations, and to turn themselves into Kantian automatons fulfilling their categorical imperative-dictated duties to save the world and to feel everyone’s pain but their own UN-devised destitution. Thus spoke Jeffrey Sachs and Pope Francis and Glen Greenwald and every other America hater, who never miss an opportunity to scold the U.S. for being so selfish and loot-worthy and recklessly leaving its carbon footprints all over the globe. What were those lyrics from the Entrance and March of the Peers in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe?

Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes!
Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses!
Blow the trumpets, bang the brasses….!
Sachs wrote in “America”:

As a macroeconomist, I have tried to put the challenge of compassion into the hard financial terms of the national income accounts. For 20 years I have tried to work up the balance sheet of social justice, so to speak, in order to measure the scale of investments that society needs to make in order to overcome extreme poverty; control epidemic diseases likes [sic] AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and Ebola; and convert our energy systems from climate-changing fossil fuels to safe, low-carbon energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power. The paradox that I have found time and again is that for a tiny investment of material goods—perhaps 2 percent to 3 percent per year of our global income—we could mobilize our technological excellence to end the scourges of extreme poverty, disease and environmental degradation that cause great global suffering and that in fact threaten our very survival. Solutions to our global material problems, whether climate change or epidemic control, are within our grasp, but only if we try.

So, Professor Sachs, which is it going to be? Do we surrender to the ineffable forces of Marx’s dialectical materialism, or to the Triumph of the Will? Or your Will?

Curious about the nature of Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical, Evangeli Gaudium: On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, on which Sachs places so much hope, I dipped into this mile-long screed and found some interesting observations. From Chapter II, point 64:

The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change.

As the bishops of the United States of America have rightly pointed out, while the Church insists on the existence of objective moral norms which are valid for everyone, “there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined…to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals. In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom.” We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data – all treated as being of equal importance – and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values. [All Italics mine]

“Mature” meaning altruistic values and an “educated” sense of selflessness, something American public schools are busy developing. We move on to point 93 of Chapter II:

Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral.”

Kincaid ends his article with:

Rather than emphasize the absolute need for safeguarding individual rights in the face of government overreach and power, Sachs writes that the Gospel teachings of humility, love and justice, “like the teachings of Aristotle, Buddha and Confucius,” can take us on a “path to happiness through compassion” and “become our guideposts back to safety.”

Writing elsewhere in the new issue of America, Christiana Z. Peppard, an assistant professor of theology, science and ethics at Fordham University, writes about the “planetary pope,” saying, “What is really at stake in the collective response to the pope’s encyclical is not, ultimately, whether our treasured notions of theology, science, reality or development can accommodate moral imperatives. The real question is whether we are brave enough and willing to try.”

The plan is quite simple: world government through global taxes, with a religious face to bring it about.

Or global jizya, with a religious face to bring about “peace”?  In its essentials, Sachs’ plan for the future sacking of America differs little from Islam’s. They are copasetic. As Ellsworth Toohey put it so well at the end of The Fountainhead on the secret of acquiring power over men: “Fight the doctrine that slaughters the individual with a doctrine that slaughters the individual.” (p. 694)

Talk about clashing brasses!

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943. 754 pp.

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