Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hugh Hewitt Spreads Christmas Cheer in Chi-town

You may recall our screed yesterday on the Chicago "Nativity Story" flap. (If not, check out this link, which describes how a religious Christmas movie trailer was suddenly ejected from a commercial Christmas festival in downtown Chicago by brainless city bureaucrats.)

Now there's more news. In the spirit of Christmas cheer, conservative talk show host, pundit, and blogger Hugh Hewitt has stepped up to the plate and made Mayor Daley an offer he can't refuse. Of course he might. But it will be fascinating to see how this latest PC-driven foray against the Christmas holiday by a city government plays out. Hugh has certainly upped the ante for Chi-town's sour-pussed, tight-sphinctered Scrooges. (Can we stack metaphors, or what?)

We'll lob you an update on this if and when warranted. But stay tuned to Hugh's site for breaking news, as he'll have it there first.

Keep it up, dude. And Merry Christmas to all!

Sex-Ed, Federal Style

Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) comments this morning:
CALL ME CRAZY, but I don't see why the federal government should be spending tax money to tell grownups not to have sex...
The link is to a USA Today article describing the federal effort in the tone it usually reserves for any enlightened social policy that's coming out of the Bush administration. In addition to kids:
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it's a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.
A bit of fisking. (And cue the spooky music.)

First of all, note the clever wording of the first graf above which carefully points out that the government's (i.e., Bush's) abstinence-only programs include millions of dollars in federal money to support them. Ooooooo! How awful!! You're supposed to be scared and outraged. Had the government promoted cases of free condoms, however, this article might never have been written. Suggesting limits on irresponsible rutting is probably more frightening to the lunatic left than the sudden appearance of a creche on public property during the "Holiday Season."

And say, what's the big brouhaha about "targeting the sexual behavior of adults"? The feds, along with state governments, already target the spending habits of adults (taxation), the smoking habits of adults (taxing and litigating a legal product into oblivion), the drinking habits of adults (lower and lower breathalizer limits which end up nabbing folks who drink less and less), and, well, shall we go on?

But it's when you get to sexual mores, and guidelines and policies designed to suggest limits to dangerous, unprotected and illogical sexual activities that the lefties—who've happily promoted the above-listed draconian prohibitions—go completely nuts. All you have to do is hint that the perpetual human orgy they promote might not be the way for society to go, and the phony civil libertarian slimeballs come crawling out of the walls to shout out their collective outrage to the heavens if they believed in the heavens. Their bottom line, which they never state publicly, is that they're really out to smash old-fashioned Judaeo-Christian ideas like marriage, faithfulness, and responsibility, all the better free individuals from archaic family shackles, the better to promote the revolution. (Gee, maybe cigarette smokers ought to get better organized when the government steps on their rights.)

Next, the paper introduces the predictable, scolding, "critics say" phrase. When it comes to Iraq, we rarely discover who these critics are. (Since the "critics" are no doubt in State, the CIA, or the NSA and don't want to be outed.) In this case, we now get at least one dude who goes on the record:
"They've stepped over the line of common sense," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. "To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It's an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health."
That's right, Jim. We're losing touch with reality. And I guess you are the Arbiter of Common Sense. Unfortunately, the current reality on the ground was created by folks like you who eagerly promote abortions for 15-year old girls without parental knowledge or consent, dispense condoms like candy, and push sex, sex, sex at every turn, all the better to shatter any attempt at re-imposing a once traditional moral structure.

The abstinence campaign has everything to do with public health. It helps to cut down on unwanted pregnancies in a way that encourages a healthy respect for young women. And it could result in drastically reducing the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in young people who feel pressured into indulging in frequent, unprotected sex. As usual, however, a lefty like Wagoner makes the broad and baseless pronouncement that he can't and won't defend. After all, he's a left-liberal. Thus, everything he says is therefore true. What a crock.

[BTW double-fisk: we went to the Advocates for Youth web pages. Yep, it appears to be a nonprofit, all right. But nowhere on the pages can we find out who's funding it, usually a sign that the organization is funded either via a Marxist or socialist organization or by illegally channeling funds from a presumably legitimate parent nonprofit. Nonetheless, we can peruse this list of "campaigns" this clearly left-wing organization supports:

The Rights. Respect. Responsibility.® Campaigns —Youth activists from around the country demanding young people's right to sexual health information and services including:
Emergency Contraception Campaign—Make EC available without a doctor's prescription for all women
The Keep it REAL Campaign—End censorship in America's schools
The Fix the GAP Campaign—Stop U.S. exportation of abstinence-only programs
International Family Planning Campaign—Encourage the U.S. to honor its funding commitments

Youth "activists" (leftist code for "radical agitators") "demanding" information and services. Who knew? "Demanding" is nearly always a very clear signal that we're dealing with the left here, for whom all subjective positions are nonnegotiable because they said so. But also, this organization supports "emergency contraception" for "all women" without a doctor's prescription!! How nuts is that? And we presume that "all women" includes 15-year olds who haven't notified their parents. "End censorship in America's schools." Are they kidding? Censorship of conservatives, no doubt, as socialist points of view are never censored in the schools. And the latter two items are out and out obvious: the U.S. should, no doubt, export only "safe-sex" programs and pay for them. God forbid that we teach people in other countries the value and virtue of family-formation, not to mention the benefits of abstinence in an HIV-ridden world. And precisely WHAT funding commitments? Check the link.]

The paper allows administration official Wade Horn a mild and logical rebuttal. But presenting this administration favorably is not the custom of USA Today. Observing tried and true MSM methodology, the story quickly introduces introduces two more critics who, of course, allowed to have the last word on this topic, leaving the reader with the distinct impression that the current administration policy encouraging abstinence is asinine:
Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, says abstinence programs are among many messages that have helped reduce teen pregnancy rates. But "the notion that the federal government is supporting millions of dollars worth of messages to people who are grown adults about how to conduct their sex life is a very divisive policy," she says.
But when governments, federal or otherwise, fight against parental notification of their minor child's desire for an abortion, that's NOT a "very divisive policy"? A divisive policy for the left is any policy that a conservative administration might implement or request. The only possible non-divisive policy for sex is one proposed by the lunatic left, obviously, all of whom are far smarter than we. And who'd want the Bushies to be able to spend "millions of dollars" on anything?
"We would oppose any program that stigmatizes unmarried people," adds Nicky Grist, executive director of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, N.Y., that advocates for the rights of unmarried people.
Yep, but you'd endorse any program that stigmatizes married people, wouldn't you, Nicky? The far-left's fear of taking anything other than a permissive stance on the issue of sexual conduct reflects their core belief in moral relativism. Taken to its logical conclusion, we probably should also have avoided "stigmatizing" the Islamofascists who plowed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

And note the inflation of "rights" here once again. Grist is concerned about the "rights" of unmarried people, while she apparently is unconcerned about the "rights" of the married people whose more stable household incomes often end supporting, via state and federal government largesse, those free-spirited unmarried people. Once again, we see a leftist pushing policies that are not aimed at "rights" at all but at the destruction of religion-based cultural traditions that support marriage while discouraging co-habitation. Given the overwhelming statistics showing that traditional families are the most prosperous and healthy social entities when taken as a slice of the overall demographic, why would we want to promote behavior that runs counter to this? Beats me, but Nicky never explains. Because, as a leftist, she doesn't have to.

[BTW #2 double-fisk: And exactly who funds the "Alternatives to Marriage Project"? Once again, we have no clue. Where is the funding coming from? We have to rely on this catty Q&A:
Less than 10% of our support come from sales of books and products. More than 90% of our funding is from people around the world who care about support and social justice for unmarried people.
Okay, 90% of their funding comes from people arround the world interested in "social justice for unmarried people." So what kind of people? North Korea's "Dear Leader," perhaps? George Soros? Again, a clear sign of a leftist organization is the clever way in which they dodge the issue of funding. And frequently use the term "social justice," which immediately causes me to check my wallet.

And hey, you thought there was no left-wing conspiracy involving the MSM? This website has a handy-dandy
cribsheet for reporters who want to be politically correct and desire to subtly promote the agenda of AMP via the subtle manipulation of language. Here's one example of a tip for cooperative journalists:

Use language like "births to unmarried parents" or "non-marital births" rather than "out-of-wedlock births," "unwed mothers," or "illegitimacy." The phrases we recommend are widely-used, less judgemental ways to describe the same phenomenon.
This stuff is precisely why we continually raise issues of subversize language here in HazZzMat.

But wait, there's more. AMP is mounting a full-scale attack on organizations promoting marriage. Read all about it
here. Clearly a major part of this organization's subversive aim is to actively seek to undermine anyone or any organization that actually favors marriage. In addition, there is on these pages a ceaseless promotion of homosexual marriage and even odder relationships. Please note: these folks are not egalitarians. Like all lefties, they want to destroy their opponents, and there's no way to succeed in this than by attacking 24/7 and enlisting press allies to help report the action.]

Let's get back to our regularly-scheduled program.

Brown wraps it up:
"I think the program should talk about the problem with out-of- wedlock childbearing — not about your sex life," Brown says. "If you use contraception effectively and consistently, you will not be in the pool of out-of-wedlock births."
Oh, really, Ms. Brown? But then you'd piss off Ms. Grist, who apparently wants bigger, better, and more special "rights" for those carefree cohabiters and independent rutters, who, of course, are the ones who are going to generate many of the out-of-wedlock births. But the telling phrase is the last one. In other words, just pull out the condoms, ring, and contraceptive foam, kiddies. And screw away, 'cause we know you will anyway. And we want you to do it as well, all the better to strike down those bourgeois notions of love, marriage, faithfulness, and responsibility.

Preaching abstinence promotes these higher values. But that's not what the left wants.

We're a little surprised that Glenn Reynolds, whose comments we generally admire, should actually comment approvingly on this balderdash. And we're wondering if he took a look at the free ride USA Today gave to the hard-left advocacy organizations who supplied quotes and probably promoted the writing of this hit-piece directed at a major Bush administration initiative. One hapless Bushie gets one short graf to respond to three hard-left critics who thus dominate the article's point-of-view. We wonder who really cooked this piece of advocacy journalism up.

Glenn generally takes a libertarian tack on things. But in this case, his libertarianism is being led down the primrose path. The anti-social tack of the lunatic left is on full display in the cited cited. The writer and her enablers are as anxious to destroy any sense of family and morality as the abstinance promoters are in preserving both.

We're not quite sure why Glenn would be taken in by the left's facile propaganda, which merely preserves the facade of libertarianism rather than endorsing it. What it is promoting is far more cynical and sinister.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Christmas Wars Begin Anew

We were overjoyed a couple of weeks ago to learn that Wal-Mart had the guts to apologize for its banning of "Christmas" from its web shopping site. That ban was made all the more asinine when shoppers learned
...that when using the company's online search engine, if the word "Hanukkah" was entered, 200 items for sale were returned. The term "Kwanzaa" yielded 77. But when "Christmas" was entered, the message returned said: "We've brought you to our 'Holiday' page based on your search."

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called for a boycott and Wal-Mart backed down.
Meanwhile, Target has announced a new partnership with the Salvation Army to support the Army's charitable Christmas efforts; grocery chain Kroger is "once again supporting The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign this holiday season;" and even Wal-Mart is welcoming the Army back.

Looks like Christmas and the Christmas spirit are finally on the comeback trail in retail America. But not quite.

Seems like the sourpuss secular humanist Democrats in Chicago—the ones who've already brought you the foie gras ban that's made them an international laughingstock—are still somewhat queasy when it comes to the trappings of Christmas:
A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film "The Nativity Story" might offend non-Christians.

New Line Cinema, which said it was dropped, had planned to play a loop of the new film on televisions at the event. The decision had both the studio and a prominent Christian group shaking their heads.
Left Wonker shaking his head as well. But wait. It gets worse:
The city does not want to appear to endorse one religion over another, said Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office of Special Events. She acknowledged there is a nativity scene, but also said there will be representations of other faiths, including a Jewish menorah, all put up by private groups. She stressed that the city did not order organizers to drop the studio as a sponsor.

"Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza," Jim Law, executive director of the office, said in a statement.
Sure, blame it on the standards. The usual dodge. "It's not my fault, I'm just doin' my job." Or maybe the devil made him do it. But a New Line Cinema rep puts the nail in this illogical coffin:
An executive vice president with New Line Cinema, Christina Kounelias, said the studio's plan to spend $12,000 in Chicago was part of an advertising campaign around the country. Kounelias said that as far as she knew, the Chicago festival was the only instance where the studio was turned down.

Kounelias said she finds it hard to believe that non-Christians who attended something called Christkindlmarket would be surprised or offended by the presence of posters, brochures and other advertisements of the movie.

"One would assume that if (people) were to go to Christkindlmarket, they'd know it is about Christmas," she said.
One would, wouldn't one? Alas, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Hugh Hewitt weighs in with this ironic observation:

So why did Mayor Daley light the Christmas Tree last week? I guess it is ok to give offense if the Mayor gets face time in the media.
The Dems may have won this year's Congressional sweepstakes. But their majority is about as razor thin in each house as it was for the Republicans lo these many years. If the lunatic fringe of this party continues with dodgy shenanigans like this, they'll provide plenty of cannon fodder for the Republicans to take Congress back in 2008, along with retaining the Presidency and taking back a few statehouses as well. Maybe the, er, anti-Christianists, are really a Republican's best friend.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to all, in advance, from HazZzMat. And to all a good night. I'm going home to get a good night's sleep myself, the better to prepare for battle against tomorrow's fresh outrages.

More on Christianists; or, I Say It's Spinach

Looks like the "Christianist" flap we recently discussed is taking on a life of its own, even though it appears to have been around for awhile. Ann Althouse traces its lineage, quoting some particularly interesting research on the word by William Safire, who tracked it back to an Andrew Sullivan snit, after first encountering it in a typical Hendrik Hertzberg screed:
Two weeks after writing about the fervor of the late Terri Schiavo's ''Christianist 'supporters,''' Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker last month described Representative Tom Delay as a ''hard-right Christianist crusader.'' A few months before, soon after President Bush was re-elected, the conservative Weekly Standard reported that an Ohio cartoonist had sent out a communication deploring ''militant Christianist Republicans.''

Obviously there is a difference in meaning between the adjectives Christian and Christianist. Thanks to Jon Goldman, an editor at Webster's New World Dictionaries, I have the modern coinage of the latter with its pejorative connotation. ''I have a new term for those on the fringes of the religious right,'' wrote the blogging Andrew Sullivan on June 1, 2003, ''who have used the Gospels to perpetuate their own aspirations for power, control and oppression: Christianists. They are as anathema to true Christians as the Islamists are to true Islam.''
The key here is "pejorative connotation" which is clearly intended. Once again, as per our posts on lefty Episcopal Bishop Kate Schori (here and here), our Marx-infatuated friends are proving quite adept at twisting the language around, creating evergreen opportunities to dump chamberpots on their opponents rather than respecting their legitimate arguments and debating them.

"Christianist" is clearly an attempt by Hertzberg and Sullivan to paint believers in Jesus Christ as foaming-at-the-mouth right-wing lunatics. Equating them with "Islamists"—whom we at HazZzMat prefer to more accurately characterize as "Islamofascists"—accomplishes this quite nicely, although such a comparison with mass-murderers is hardly apt. This never matters with the left, however, which infinitely prefers to demonize its opponents rather than debate them.

In the modern society they have created, largely by subverting our educational system and controlling the MSM, the hard left is fully aware that a puffer-pigeon show of emotional outrage combined with the use of choice, carefully selected "fighting words," will enable them to "win" an argument nearly every time without the inconvenience of having their shallow responses smithereened by a conservative's generally superior logic.

It is frustrating to see this emotional and superficially entertaining debating tactic, based on logical fallacy as it is, emerge victorious time after time. But conservatives were and are asleep at the switch when it comes to the phenomena of cultural and educational subversion (they've finally figured out judicial subversion), and they still show no signs of coming to grasp with this. Ergo, the left's favorite method of winning an easy "intellectual" victory still remains quite viable for them. (Note: When a conservative employs pejoratives or "fighting words," it's called "hate speech.")

Ah, but we've left Safire behind. Rick and Andy, it seems, didn't invent the term "Christianist" after all:
In 1883, W.H. Wynn wrote a homily that said ''Christianism -- if I may invent that term -- is but making a sun-picture of the love of God.'' He didn't invent the term, either. In the early 1800's, the painter Henry Fuseli wrote scornfully that ''Christianism was inimical to the progress of arts.'' And John Milton used it in 1649.
But then he gets precisely to our point. (Or, if you think about it, he got to that point first, since he wrote this stuff in May, 2005):
Adding ist or ism to a word usually colors it negatively, as can be seen in secularist....

Regardless of the etymology of "Christianist," that's precisely why facile hacks like Sullivan (who claims to be a Catholic) and Hertzberg use it with abandon. After all, name-calling is easier than coming up with an argument. (Particularly when you're on deadline and you're short a couple of column inches.) And also, alarmingly, this particular iteration of name-calling implies that "Christianism" is a greater evil than "Islamism," aka "Islamofascism." This is moral equivalence run amok. (But who cares? It's Bush's fault.)

At least some conservatives are learning to play the slime-game if that's how it must be played:
As Christianist, with its evocation of Islamist, gains wider usage as an attack word on what used to be called the religious right, another suffix is being used in counterattack to derogate those who denounce church influence in politics. ''The Catholic scholar George Weigel calls this phenomenon 'Christophobia,''' the columnist Anne Applebaum wrote in The Washington Post. She noted that he borrowed the word from the American legal scholar, J.H.H. Weiler. The word was used by Weigel ''after being struck by the European Union's fierce resistance to any mention of the continent's Christian origins in the draft versions of the new, and still unratified, European constitution.''
Perhaps conservatives are belatedly waking up to the true impact of the culture wars.

Meanwhile, we will continue to regard term "Christianist" as bogus, reductive, left wing hate speech. As a prim little girl in a New Yorker cartoon once famously told her parents as they gently urged her to eat her broccoli, "I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it!"

(Side note, apropos of nothing: The legendary punchline just cited initially appeared to have been adapted from a long-forgotten Irving Berlin song penned in 1932. However, further digging uncovered several sources (including this one) agreeing that this Carl Rose/E.B. White cartoon first appeared in the New Yorker on December 8, 1928. This would imply that Berlin actually got the idea for his song from the cartoon. Funny what you discover when you research stuff on the Web. Thought we'd share it with you.)

Robert Godwin: One To Watch & Read

One of the reasons why most MSM political writing is so shallow, is that it is analogous to a person with no knowledge of the unconscious writing about the mind. Such a person will necessarily place undue emphasis on conscious motivations, when for most people, the conscious mind is a fleeting jumble of patchwork improvisations...This applies both individually and collectively, for...a culture or subculture is like a public neurosis, while a neurosis is like a private culture. Religion, in its proper sense, to rescue us from the foolishness of culture -- to provide a key to eternity within the transient productions of time....Elections, Group Fantasy, and Human Sacrifice, Robert Godwin, One Cosmos

A real analyst analyzing MSM analysts? Speaking positively of religion? Another glimpse:

As I have had occasion to mention many times, we are in a triangulated global war between three ideologies, two of which are naively steeped in unconscious fantasy (Islamism and secular leftism). While everyone is subject to unconscious motivations, the classical liberalism of American conservatism is rooted in a far more realistic vision of human nature than any of its competitors....(Group Fantasy, continued....)

The writer has never run into this blog before but will again and again. If you haven't guessed why yet, here's more:

The job of the ego is simply to rationalize and spin a sort of false continuity over the various inconsistencies that result from vertical splits within the unconscious mind. This is why most people are so patently illogical, in particular, intellectuals. Furthermore, this explains why no one is so prone to illusions and magic than the intellectual, as they are like someone who...superimposes a grid of knowledge over the noumenal reality, and then confuses the map with the territory. There is no idea so foolish that it is not taught at one of our elite universities....(Group Fantasy, continued....)

Wow! What next?

Obviously we are seeing an abundance of analysis of the recent election, but to me, most of it is about as illuminating as an intellectual patient’s rationalizations of his self-defeating behavior. Intellectuals are just like anyone else, only worse, in that they do not so much reason as rationalize what they already believe anyway...(Group Fantasy, continued....)

Godwin does not let his targets get away. If one thinks of MSM analysts (and intellectuals) as career .200 hitters, he follows the old pitcher's adage that you should be merciless to the defenseless.

Robert Godwin is one to watch. Read him every day at: One Cosmos.


More on Bishop Schori; or, How the Left Destroys Religion

After publishing a previous post, we got a little curious about the new Presiding Episcopal Bishop, Katharine Schori, recently installed just down the road from Wonker at the National Cathedral, a magnificent gothic building beautifully sited at the top of a hill in Washington at the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW, overlooking Georgetown below.

As most remaining Episcopalians know by now, the Episcopal Church—essentially the American branch of the Anglican Church—is in turmoil today for a variety of reasons, most of them boiling down to core issues such as allowing women in the priesthood, and permitting homosexuals to be ordained bishops. Both of which the establishment Episcopal Church loves and which the few remaining conservative Episcopalians, like most of their worldwide Anglican bretheren, despise.

Without getting into the relative theological merits of this and that (which Wonker's reasonably good with, actually, having been trained by Jesuits), the problem we're dealing with here is the intrusion of leftist politics into the theological arena. An organized religion, in the end, is a matter of faith, not feeling, a matter of dogma not choice. You can't really "change" the theology of an organized religion once it's set. You can only change religions. For if a theology or a creed becomes completely malleable, completely subjective, it soon ceases to exist as a religion.

Lefties, however, do not accept this. The secular left has been quite clever over the past half century or so in infiltrating its belief system into organized religion, finding an easy reception among already left-liberal Episcopalians, but wreaking habit on other Protestant religions as well.

Which gets us back to Bishop Schori. The good Bishop is no shrinking violet. Her thoughts are available on the web for all to see and approve. Let's take a look at some recent pronouncements.

Roughly a year ago, for example, Bishop Schori counseled her flock to oppose the pending FY 2006 Budget Reconciliation Act. That's a pretty strange tack to take for a religious leader, particularly when her religion, which has tax-exempt status, is prohibited from indulging in partisan politics. But no matter. Let's take a look at some of the Bishop's missive on this topic:

As the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada...I am deeply concerned for the working poor, children, and elderly of this country as the Congress considers the FY '06 Federal Budget Reconciliation Act, which could potentially cut more than $50 billion dollars from programs that serve those most in need.

The example of Jesus guides Christians today by instilling in us a commitment to the least among us. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita exposed the anguished faces of the poor in the wealthiest nation on the planet. Ironically, just as disaster struck the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that poverty in the United States is growing, with 37.0 million people living in poverty in 2004, an increase of more than one million people since 2003....

Congress must not exacerbate poverty across the United States and in Nevada by passing a budget that further impoverishes one group of already poor people in our nation in order to help those newly or more deeply impoverished by the recent hurricanes. Cuts in Food Stamps, Medicaid, child care and children's health programs do further harm and injustice to the most vulnerable whom this country seems to have already left behind.

Note the interesting turn here, as Bishop S cleverly consults with Jesus, getting Him involved in the budgetary process. Like most facile leftist propositions, this one looks reasonable on its face. (Plus, it's endorsed by the Lord!) However, this reasoning also forcefully argues that Congress embrace, with taxpayer dollars, the Bishop's purported religious beliefs which she is merely handing down from Christ. This is something, of course, that should nauseate all leftists as is breaks down the fabled "wall of separation" between secular government and religion. But then, the left only worries about the "wall" when it's conservatives who are making the argument. And logical consistency is not important to the left. (The dialectic is, along with class struggle.)

Bishop S concludes in the same vein:

Congress must instead bring forth a federal budget that reflects the values and priorities on which this nation was founded, and which we have historically championed: justice for all, especially those who have no other helper. Their aid must not be withdrawn or diminished. We must not ask the poorest among us to bear a burden which should be borne by this entire nation.

As I recall, Jesus never instructed his Apostles to found a Congress whose aim it was to extract money from the "rich" to distribute to the poor. (Caesar actually did most of the extracting at the time, and it didn't go to the poor.) Jesus did once challenge a rich young man to sell all he had and give it to the poor as a way of following in His footsteps. In fact, He issued this kind of challenge often and in many ways. But the challenge was always to individuals, to individual hearts and souls. For Jesus knew that institutions could not force true change. It could only come from within. It could only come from the heart. Conversion was, and is, a personal experience.

Yet for some reason, Bishop S has conflated Jesus' original challenge to the individual into some kind of extended Constitutional right. She is, in fact, inflating the notion of individual redemptive choice into a blanket pronouncement that inserts her interpretation—socialism—into a Constitution that did not and does not exist as a malleable vehicle geared toward promoting the government's redistrubution of wealth.

Under our system, I think, charity and the giving of alms remains an individual choice. Recognizing this, the Bishop should have ordered a special collection, not, in effect, higher taxes. But such redistributionist sentiments as the Bishop preaches come easily to those on the left. It's a way of taking the moral high ground in public without having to dig into your own pockets. It is, if you will, an update on the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. And as such, it's hypocritical.

Let's move on to the Bishop's 2004 push for what she calls "fair and just" immigration reform. Her version, of course, is quietly and subtly intended to undermine the meaning of citizenship and nationhood, replacing it with the kind of piety-without-borders that today's left intends to use to destroy all vestiges of our culture and laws:

The Judaeo-Christian tradition has always held up caring for the alien as one of the most central marks of a godly and righteous person. The Bible repeatedly enjoins people of faith to remember the stranger, to care for those without family or roots in a place, and to ensure that they are fed, housed, and shown hospitality. As a nation, we have largely forgotten that mandate, especially since September 11th. While I recognize the need for adequate security measures, the fear-mongering of late has eclipsed the demand to treat our neighbors fairly and humanely.

First of all, as I recall, the Bible discusses "strangers" or "guests," not "aliens." This subtle, intentional conflation of terms is a cherished trick of the left, allowing the propagandist to introduce an unrelated term with a contemporary meaning alongside an ancient term in this case, thus imbuing the contemporary usage ("alien") with scriptural gravitas.

Second of all, there is no "mandate" in the Bible to do such a thing. "Mandate," a word traditionally used in politics to describe the authority granted by the majority of the electorate, has been transformed into a term more akin to legislative fiat. (Although this usage has been abused by politicians and policy wonks for years.) This, the Bishop now expands into a Biblical fiat, when, in fact, hospitality was largely the local custom of many societies whereby a head of household extended courtesy to a visiting stranger. Regardless of Biblical meaning and intent, however, this custom is also nowhere enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

As a final, gratuitious slap, the Bishop tosses out, without supporting documentation, the term "fear-mongering," casually tarring with that epithet anyone who might dare oppose her personal observations on this topic. Leftists, whether involved directly in politics or hiding beneath the benign cloak of religion, can never resist making nasty asides, usually entirely out of context. Their seething anger at those who might disagree with them is so powerful that it always seeks an outlet. This, at least in part, is why we often see discordant comments such as these in documents that purport to be reasonable in meaning and in scope.

By casually demonizing an opposing point of view, a leftist like the Bishop does two important things. First, she communicates to all blue-state true believers that she is one of them, quickly and without much effort. And second, by means of this demonization, she absolves her readers of the bothersome task of having to evaluate an opposing viewpoint. They are thus given a dispensation to completely ignore the other side, saving them valuable time, not to mention the bother of activating the arduous mental processes of thinking and evaluating. Argument "ad hominem," since the time of the ancient Greeks, has been regarded as a logical fallacy and it's one we see almost daily on the political stump by cheap shot artists lacking a full mental apparatus. Since leftists, however, don't believe in logic (only the dialectic), an ad hominemn "argument" or comment is viewed as the most efficient way of winning an argument, since all you have to do is use an epithet to completely dismiss your opponent. Very neat and clean.

Let's try another paragraph:

I ask your support for legislation which will provide for a substantial increase in the number of workers who can enter the United States legally, and eventually work toward permanent residence and citizenship. I urge adoption of a system which would permit those already here to work toward permanent residence and eventual citizenship, recognizing that certain criteria must be met. I have the utmost concern that the ancient religious and humanitarian expectation of hospitality and care for the stranger not be deligitimized or legally sanctioned. The Episcopal Church and our interfaith partners are on record as strongly opposing any such action, and we urge the adoption of the language drafted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In other words, in code as always, the Bishop endorses blanket amnesty for illegal aliens, which we've already tried at least twice and which has worked neither time. She is also implicitly instructing her flock to flout the law, via the usual hard-left tactic of selectively obeying laws that leftists believe in (i.e., those they themselves have written, as those written by their opponents are, de facto, not really binding.)

This, in turn, discourages observation of our immigration laws by foreign nationals. And it also absolves illegal immigrants of any responsibility for their actions by failing to impose on them an obligation to become law-abiding, productive, and educated citizens if they are allowed to stay. But now the Bishop wants us to fail in our immigration policy and enforcement once again. And once again, she presses as her "reason" the falsely construed obligation of "hospitality," i.e., income redistribution—which, last time I looked, is nowhere enshrined in the Constitution. Perhaps the Bishop should take up yet another collection from her ever-dwindling flock.

The Bishop correctly concludes that we wouldn't be the nation we are today had we not accepted immigration over the years. Fair enough. But as I recall, immigration had to be legal, and attendance at "Americanization Schools" (where did they go?) was encouraged, as "Americanization promoted the values of liberty, democracy, and equal opportunity by making the new immigrants feel they belonged in their adopted country."

Citizenship and a new way of life different from an old, failed, and invariably impoverished life in the country of their birth, was the desire of most earlier waves of immigrants. Their native societies had failed them. This New World gave them a chance. They soon discovered that America's streets were not paved with actual gold. But the were paved with the metaphorical gold of limitless opportunity for the hardworking and ambitious, something that was never available to them in their countries of origin. So why would they expect or demand that their new country adopt the failed ways of the countries they'd just left just to suit their convenience? If that were what they had wanted, it would have been easier to stay home. The simple logic of this, however, has never penetrated the lead-armored skulls of the hard left.

On the contrary, the new attitude of the left on immigration seems to be that we are, in fact, ourselves an inferior society that can best "learn" from the new, prefereably Third World immigrants how to be better better people. We can and should simply adapt to their ways, not they to ours. In so doing, we can rid ourselves of our founding, European-Enlightenment skins and become truly happey by sinking into the poverty, disease, and overall wretchedness which to this day characterizes most Third World situations.

This is, of course, the whole point of the deliberately warm-sounding term "multiculturalism," which is the left's positive-sounding way of describing this phenomenon. It's the opposite of "Americanization" which the left assuredly wants to avoid. The American Way allows all citizens and legal immigrants unlimited opportunity to rise to their desired level of happiness and prosperity. "Multiculturalism," combined with other related leftist subterfuges, is really another disguise for the uniform wretchedness that socialism seeks by forcing all citizens down to the lowest common economic denominator, thus achieving universal "equality" by making everyone equally wretched.

And that's what's really behind the Bishop's non-solution above. Which, while being wrongheaded to begin with, also costs tons of taxpayer money; encourages the flouting of our laws and our national borders; and imposes no penalties whatsoever on lawless behavior. That's a great way to create new citizens who respect the law.

We could go on fisking the Bishop's pronouncements, more of which you can find here. But we think we've made our point. The Episcopal Church is now headed up by an individual for whom centrally administered socialism, hidden beneath the cloak of Christianity and Christian charity, is the primary goal. Gone is personal responsibility and gone are individual acts of charity. In this way, purported religious belief becomes subordinate and insincere, a convenient rhetorical stalking horse for achieving a strictly political end. We could, in fact, argue convincingly that Bishop Kate is a socialist first and an Episcopal Bishop second. For her, the Episcopal Church, and the flock entrusted to her care, are merely subordinate tools, meant to be used to accomplish a political goal. It is, at least to this writer, astonishing that Church members have failed to recognize this. The only logical explanation is that they are in agreement. At which point, unfortunately, their alleged religious beliefs would cease to have meaning.

It's small wonder that today's Episcopal Church is such a mess. Its church buildings, increasingly devoid of worshipers (as my Episcopal friends continually lament), have come to function in a manner similar to union meeting or hiring halls serving only politically activist Democrats, Socialists, and Greens. Except that the frequently magnificent architecture of these buildings is much grander in scale and otherworldly aspiration, something, rapidly being lost in the quicksand of moral relativism and cynical political calculations. Calculations made by folks like Bishop S, a secular humanist draped in the mantle of the religious authority she, and others like, her undermine casually, day after day as they slowly eviscerate the religion they purport to lead.

Episcopalians: The New Shakers?

This interesting tidbit from Mark Steyn, is originally from what Mark Levin calls the "New York Slimes" on his radio talk show. The Slimes' reporter is interviewing the new "Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to run a national division of the Anglican Communion...":
Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"

"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations."

This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?"

"No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."
This sublimely asinine observation causes Steyn to riff on Fatma An-Najar, the Palestinian grandma who blew herself to smithereens recently, probably earning her a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest female homicide bomber ever, except that all she did was slightly injure a few Israeli soldiers:
Here's the question for Bishop Kate: If Fatma An-Najar has 41 grandchildren and a responsible "better educated" Episcopalian has one or two, into whose hands are we delivering "the stewardship of the earth"? If your crowd isn't around in any numbers, how much influence can they have in shaping the future?
Good point, Mark, except that confirmed leftist idiotarians like Bishop Kate aren't listening, except to themselves. This typically smug garbage is the primary reason that the Episcopal Church—which Wonker once came close to joining many years ago—is rapidly dying in this country.

Referencing simple demographics, Steyn concludes:
If you measure the births of the Muslim world against the dearth of Bishop Kate's Episcopalians, you have the perfect snapshot of why there is no "stability": With every passing month, there are more Muslims and fewer Episcopalians, and the Muslims export their manpower to Europe and other depopulating outposts of the West. It's the intersection of demography and Islamism that makes time a luxury we can't afford.

We can argue about exactly what this trend means, but not that it means nothing. At the very minimum, I'd suggest, it means the Episcopal Church is irrelevant to "the stewardship of the earth..."
Addressing the same point, TigerHawk, an Episcopalian himself, is a bit more pointed:
I'm sorry to say, but my Church has chosen an idiot as its presiding bishop. What are we, Shakers? The point of virtually every Christian denomination worth its salt is not merely to replenish its ranks, but spread its particular beliefs. Indeed, if a church's message is not worth spreading, why bother believing in it at all?

Senator Hagel's Stupidity

Hagel’s myopia matches that of the new Soviet government in 1917 who were negotiating with the Germans an end to Russian involvement in World War I. The Germans were being extraordinarily harsh in their terms and the new Soviet government was balking...Finally, the government hit upon a brilliant idea. Why not simply declare that the war was over and the German had won? Enormously satisfied with their own cleverness, Russian troops began to abandon their positions and start the long trek home...The Germans didn’t quite know what to make of this...They decided to take the most direct approach possible and launched a massive attack against the retreating Russians. Only after slaughtering tens of thousands of more soldiers...did the Soviet government wake up and go back to the bargaining table where the Germans became, if anything, more demanding....Hagel Says No Defeat In Iraq: Jihadis Giggle, Rick Moran,, 11/25/2007

Moran takes no prisoners in describing historical consequences of Senator Hagel's ideas regarding Iraq. Why should he? When you address the arguments of an ignoramus, there's no good reason to worry about your target's self-esteem. Senator Hagel's self-esteem appears to be based on stupidity and ignorance. Why should we protect that? If Senator Hagel were a twelve-year-old, we would, if we still taught children, correct his odd thinking and expression. But Senator Hagel is an adult running for President of the United States. His odd thinking and expression, to be corrected, must be kept out of the White House. Bad enough, though not uncommon, that they're already present in the US Senate.


Nature Without Nurture: Pinker vs. Dalrymple

The contrast between a felt and lived reality—in this case, Pinker’s need to speak and write standard English because of its superior ability to express complex ideas—and the denial of it, perhaps in order to assert something original and striking, is characteristic of an intellectual climate in which the destruction of moral and social distinctions is proof of the very best intentions....The Gift of Language, Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal, Fall issue

A problem with contemporary science, especially in areas such as linguistics, in which Stephen Pinker is considered a leading light, is the inversion of method, where, in a manner similar to a medeaval alchemist, a researcher will posit a thesis, then seek out supporting evidence at the exclusion of anything that might disprove his or her idea. Pinker has pitched the notion for years, as has his mentor-in-science Noam Chomsky, that language is solely an internal matter with human beings, a genetically driven tool that requires no education. Frankly, only an Ivy League chieftan could come up with an idea like this, someone who has had no exposure to the impact of ignorance on language and thought. Smiling at colleagues in a faculty lounge, such a person is in the perfect environment to ignore the possibility that such a notion, that language needs no teacher or mentor, is as fabulous as an alchemist's presumption that gold can be transmuted from lead. Dalrymple, for decades in the field as a psychologist in areas of Britain where ignorance, violence, and official corruption (not to mention official delusion) are rampant, is more akin to a real scientist. His thesis, that language, while a genetically-driven tool, requires teachers and mentors, not to mention diverse and intense reading and writing, is built on data, not on political assumptions (see Chomsky).

With a very limited vocabulary, it is impossible to make, or at least to express, important distinctions and to examine any question with conceptual care. My patients often had no words to describe what they were feeling, except in the crudest possible way, with expostulations, exclamations, and physical displays of emotion. Often, by guesswork and my experience of other patients, I could put things into words for them, words that they grasped at eagerly. Everything was on the tip of their tongue, rarely or never reaching the stage of expression out loud. They struggled even to describe in a consecutive and logical fashion what had happened to them, at least without a great deal of prompting. Complex narrative and most abstractions were closed to them....(Gift of Language, continued....)

In fact, Dalrymple notes, the evidence suggests that the lax pedagogy today regarding writing, speaking and thinking skills is nothing less than an acceptance of rigid classifications of people, i.e., into groups such as those who are capable of writing, speaking and thinking clearly and those who are not. This immediately calls to mind a similar approach in 19th century Mexico by President Puerifoy Diaz.

Diaz, frustrated by the incapacity of his government to deal with poor and angry peasants, and especially with those of Mayan, Toltec and Inca stock, was encouraged to bring in a group of experts, which were called cientificos. They were an early generation of sociologist and urban planners. Their overall prescription for the problem was not very different from that chosen by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s regarding black Americans. The cientificos, enlightened by the acquisition of Ph.D.'s in a variety of areas, opined as follows: these people aren't capable of dealing with complex ideas, motivations and actions. The best, the most humane, solution for their condition of poverty and violence is to bribe them with welfare payments. Trouble is, Dalrymple notes, even that reduced state is not served by a lack of trained facility in language.

In their dealings with authority, they were at a huge disadvantage—a disaster, since so many of them depended upon various public bureaucracies for so many of their needs, from their housing and health care to their income and the education of their children. I would find myself dealing on their behalf with those bureaucracies, which were often simultaneously bullying and incompetent; and what officialdom had claimed for months or even years to be impossible suddenly, on my intervention, became possible within a week. Of course, it was not my mastery of language alone that produced this result; rather, my mastery of language signaled my capacity to make serious trouble for the bureaucrats if they did not do as I asked. I do not think it is a coincidence that the offices of all those bureaucracies were increasingly installing security barriers against the physical attacks on the staff by enraged but inarticulate dependents....(The Gift of Language, continued...)

It is true that Pinker's thesis about language is something of an antidote to the notion favored on the Left that everything in human life is determined by nurture. This is patent idiocy of course. One cannot nurture a blob of mud and expect it to become a human being, though there are many on the Left who believe so. But it is also patent idiocy to say that we are born with everything we will ever need to cope with and flourish in a complicated world. As such, Dalrymple suggests, Pinker's antidote is no better than the disease it is intended to attack. How he suggests this is a fine example of how trained usage in a language can devastate fallacy.

I need hardly point out that Pinker doesn’t really believe anything of what he writes, at least if example is stronger evidence of belief than precept. Though artfully sown here and there with a demotic expression to prove that he is himself of the people, his own book is written, not surprisingly, in the kind of English that would please schoolmarms. I doubt very much whether it would have reached its 25th printing had he chosen to write it in the dialect of rural Louisiana, for example, or of the slums of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Even had he chosen to do so, he might have found the writing rather difficult. I should like to see him try to translate a sentence from his book that I have taken at random, “The point that the argument misses is that although natural selection involves incremental steps that enhance functioning, the enhancements do not have to be an existing module,” into the language of the Glasgow or Detroit slums....(The Gift Of Language, continued....)

We live in a time when, thanks as much to educators as to our own laziness, fallacies are a staple of even educated opinion. There's only one way to overcome that, to take our undeniably natural language abilities and, by training, example, and trial, turn them into skills. When one is skilled in language, that implies familiarity with logic, the principal tool of reason, and with the capacity to express temporal change, which is the basis of narrative. Combining those encourages a beautiful and emergent order, well-expressed thought. With faith, competent thought is one of the few tools available to keep us from plunging into the abyss.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Rangel Does "The Kerry"

In case no one's figured it out yet, we're a little partisan here, although we prefer to focus on the more subtle slights of hand the left uses to manipulate the national debate and undermine American laws, government, education, and culture. Some of our posts are a little long, as the subterfuges used by the left are complex and nuanced, all the better to fool people.

So we take great pleasure when a card-carrying lefty like Congressman Charlie Rangel not only makes an idiot out of himself by parrotting John Kerry's recent slander of our fighting men and women, but steps in that particular cow pie even more deeply, revealing his contempt for our soldiers as well as his own unbelievable bias. Video is from Fox News via Power Line's news service.

Take a look. It speaks for itself.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Democrat Party? Democratic Party?

We didn't have time to comment last week on Ruth Marcus' sublimely asinine and eminently fisk-able prattling in the Washington Post's op-ed pages. In an opinion piece entitled "One Syllable of Civility," Marcus decries the ingrained Republican habit of calling the "Democratic Party" the "Democrat Party." What's the difference, you say? Why all the fuss? Well, let Ruth tell it:
If he wanted to, President Bush could change the tone in Washington with a single syllable: He could just say "ic." That is, he could stop referring to the opposition as the "Democrat Party" and call the other side, as it prefers, the Democratic Party.
As the other side prefers, eh? Is that a little like how President Bush might prefer to be called "President Bush" instead of "Chimpy BushMcHitler" and similar epithets as the left-wing blogosphere is so fond of writing? And does that mean the "Iraq War" or the "Global War on Terror" or "World War III" as Republicans "prefer" could be accepted terminology for our current international conflicts instead of snide, routine references to "Bush's War" or "Bush's ill-advised war?" Well maybe not. Because all this nastiness is Bush's fault.
The derisive use of "Democrat" in this way was a Bush staple during the recent campaign. "There are people in the Democrat Party who think they can spend your money far better than you can," he would say in his stump speech, or, "Raising taxes is a Democrat idea of growing the economy," or, "However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."
Gosh, that Bush really is a bastard, isn't he? Every one of the above quotations encapsulates the truth. But he should downplay this lest the cut-and-run Democrats be offended, right? And that's not all. Bush is actually in good historical company, as nasty Republican partisans have been using the "-ic"-less term for Democrats since, gasp, the days of that evil, nefarious, and corrupt Republican Warren G. Harding:
The president isn't alone in his adjectival aversion to "Democratic" when it comes to the party. The provenance of the sneering label "Democrat Party" stretches back to the Harding administration. William Safire traced an early usage to Harold Stassen, who was managing Wendell Willkie's 1940 campaign against Franklin D. Roosevelt. A party run by political bosses, Stassen told Safire for a 1984 column, "should not be called a 'Democratic Party.' It should be called the 'Democrat party.'"
Sneering? Gosh, did anyone ever hear Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, the Sultana and Sultan of sneer, revile Bush, the Republicans, or our troops on a personal level in the run-up to the November elections? Or Al Gore? Or John Kerry? Heaven forefend! They would never do that! (Although you could even read the citations in the Post.) Yet there must be some reason why those mean-spirited Republicans are so, so disrespectful toward their betters. Ruth thinks she has found the smoking gun:
Democrat Party was used, pardon the phrase, liberally by Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy. According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English," Democrat as an adjective is still sometimes used by some twentieth-century Republicans as a campaign tool but was used with particular virulence" by McCarthy, "who sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic." The word also achieved a prominent run with Bob Dole's especially ugly reference to "Democrat wars" during the 1976 vice presidential debate.
Aha! Now we have it, the root of all evil. That Great Satan, Senator Joseph McCarthy—who, in spite of his drunkenness, verbal excesses, and bullying, actually did help expose the fifth columnists who still infest government, Hollywood, the media, and the arts—used the term "Democrat" with "particular virulence" as defined by the Columbia Guide to Standard American English. Which proves the case for Ruth, except for the fact that many written reference guides in standard library and college use today including this one (which is generally well-regarded) are reflexively sympathetic to left-of-center standards of meaning and interpretation.

Faux-intellectuals in textbooks, guides, dictionaries, and elsewhere, have employed the term "McCarthyism" along with references to the Wisconsin senator for over 50 years as an convenient to demonize the opposition, as it causes all discussion to cease when it is invoked, much like "racist," their other favorite show-stopper. This in turn has allowed these self-proclaimed intellectuals the opportunity to avoid constructive reasoning with their opponents for roughly the same time period.

The cited definition is selectively quoted and without context. And we should note the allegation that McCarthy used the term with "particular virulence" does not necessarily mean his usage was not a correct or merited usage. The Guide's author, English professor Kenneth G. Wilson, began his academic teaching career in 1951 and could not fail to have been influenced by the current events of his own times, however. But without a copy of the Guide, and operating with full knowledge of the MSM's propensity to shift meaning by denying access to context, we can't help being a bit skeptical here.

As to "Bob Dole's especially ugly reference to 'Democrat wars' during the 1976 vice-presidential debate?" Gosh, we should probably be offended by that, too, I guess. Except, see "Bush's war" above. Which, of course, is not a nasty or "ugly" term, but objective and factual as every intellectual and MSMer must know.

Having now emphasized the virulence and lineage of Bush's and the Republican's lack of respect for the Democrat, oops, I mean DemocratIC Party (sorry, sorry, please don't suspend this blog without due process) via linkages to the Harding and McCarthy demonologies that have become part of the left's sacred writ; and having cited the alleged final word on this, the Columbia Guide to Standard English, which is supposed to impress us, Marcus follows another argument from "authority," this time citing the presumably august and totally non-partisan Hendrik Hertzberg:
As Hendrik Hertzberg pointed out in the New Yorker in August, the conservative Web site takes pains to scrub Associated Press copy "to de-'ic' references" to the party.
Argument from authority, as we recall, is one of many logical fallacies that tend to undercut an argument, since, among other things, a cited authority may or may not be reliable. But it's one of the favorite tools of journos who are either too lazy to attempt objectivity or who might be running out of column inches or original thoughts.

As anyone who reads the New Yorker, even a hard lefty, would know—and Marcus clearly knows—Hertzberg, a lifetime doctrinaire socialist and onetime scribe for the disgraceful Jimmy Carter, has been the New Yorker's anti-Bush pit-bull throughout this president's entire term, including before the 2000 elections that brought him to power. Nearly every single week since, and with increasing recklessness and virulence, Hertzberg has slimed the President, his people, and the Americans who support him and his policies with a breathtaking disregard for the facts. His columns are caricatures of the Democrats' positions on most issues, particularly the War on Terror.

The fact that a given web-site takes pains to scrub the "-ic" off "Democratic" proves nothing, and it proves even less when the cited "fact" is attributed to a lifelong propagandist for the left and a notorious Bush-hater to boot. (As are, routinely, AP writers whose text was allegedly "scrubbed.") By citing Hertzberg as an authority on the matter of name-calling and civility, Marcus undercuts, entirely, her already feeble argument in favor of using terminology the Democrats prefer. It is a tribute to her intellectual myopia that she fails to see the irony in this. We're used to this so let's move on to the primary text:
But as a matter of simple politeness -- something the Bush family is famously good at -- it's rude to call people by a term that makes them bristle, even a seemingly innocuous one.
Hold this in your thoughts for a moment. We should, once again, do exactly what the Democrats want because they want us to??? As a matter of "politeness"? So then, it follows that the Democrats should make nice with Bush, right? Maybe not:
In the few weeks since the election, the president has followed up his syrupy rhetoric of cooperation with a series of face slaps: pushing the doomed nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations, resubmitting the equally doomed nominations of a quartet of offensive judicial selections and naming a physician to head the federal family planning program who works for clinics that refuse to offer birth control.
The horror! The horror! Bush (who was still President the last time we looked) actually wants the nomination of his able UN ambassador to be confirmed, and his judicial picks as well! How dastardly! How little respect Bush shows the elites on the Democrat side of the aisle! How could America have re-elected such an obvious simpleton!

Of course, the Democrat heroes Marcus prefers have been happily rejecting or stalling the bulk of Bush's judicial nominees and a few others for the better part now of his two terms of office. But hey, let bygones be bygones rather than cover things up with "syrupy" rhetoric. Rather than indulge in "a series of face slaps" with "doomed" [by whom?] nominations, including those "offensive judicial selections." Offensive to whom, BTW? Marcus provides no guidance on this alleged offensiveness. But since she's a lefty journo, I guess we're supposed to accept this observation as a statement of fact. The fact is, Marcus is dodging the explanation for why the judicial selections are "offensive." So let's provide one:

These nominees are ideologically unacceptable to leftists. They are unlikely to legislate socialism from the bench.

Thus, there is no logical reason to oppose them unless you are ideologically biased in favor of allowing socialist jurists to usurp the prerogatives of the legislative branch, thus saving them from having to face the voters for endorsing boneheaded redistributionist legislation.

Perusing this paragraph once again cuts the knees out from under Marcus' already feeble argument in favor of civility. She is effectively stating that to the victor belongs the spoils, so Bush should cut and run and give in to the Democrats' wishes and desires. It's funny she never wrote that way when the Republicans controlled both houses. And we don't recall saying that when Clinton lost both houses of Congress to Newt's revolution and Hilary's DOA national healthcare scheme (it's ba-a-ack).

Marcus pilfers a little more theology from St. Hendrik to bolster her flagging position:
"'Democrat Party' is a slur, or intended to be -- a handy way to express contempt," Hertzberg wrote. "At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it's an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation."
Hendrik ought to know a "slur" when he sees one, since he's been mastering the art of the slur for a lifetime. Contempt is precisely what he's been expressing toward Bush and the Republicans since even before 2000, trashing Bush at every turn and in the most colorful, most damning, and most absolute negative language possible, thrilling true-blue New Yorkers. Writers like Hertzberg and Marcus can indeed dish it out. But they can't take it.

It's clear that Marcus is on cruise-control in this trivial pre-holiday "evergreen" column, putting the bulk of the argumentation on Hertzberg's back by cribbing from his already-dated "Talk of the Town" column. But she's made a fundamental mistake if she expects this highly partisan hackwork to be taken seriously.

Here's the issue: Hertzberg, and by extension Marcus, are irritated at the Republicans' significant success in attacking an important cultural bastion of leftist ideology. Both writers want the Republicans to capitulate to preferred Democrat political usage. Dems are supposed to own words, and they want their preferred terminology back. Habitual use of the term "Democratic" in the media—as is indeed mostly the case anyway—would afford Democrats yet another of the countless small rhetorical and definitional victories that enable them to subvert the American way of life as it is viewed by a majority of middle-Americans.

Propagating the term "Democratic" to describe the Democrats would subtly connote that they, and only they, are synonymous with a "democratic" America. Which would continue to mask the Democrats' own stunning hypocrisy in this regard.

Hertzberg, a polished propagandist but no dummy, actually gets this. And he proves it in a passage Marcus neglects to cite since it's not germane to her polemic. Here's Hertzberg in his August column, just cited:
...among those of the Republican persuasion “Democrat Party” is now nearly universal. This is partly the work of Newt Gingrich, the nominal author of the notorious 1990 memo “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” and his Contract with America pollster, Frank Luntz, the Johnny Appleseed of such linguistic innovations as “death tax” for estate tax and “personal accounts” for Social Security privatization. Luntz, who road-tested the adjectival use of “Democrat” with a focus group in 2001, has concluded that the only people who really dislike it are highly partisan adherents of the—how you say?—Democratic Party. “Those two letters actually do matter,” Luntz said the other day. He added that he recently finished writing a book—it’s entitled “Words That Work”—and has been diligently going through the galley proofs taking out the hundreds of “ic”s that his copy editor, one of those partisan Dems, had stuck in.
[Link to the Luntz book above is by Wonker, and the book is not yet available, BTW.]

There you have it. And Hertzberg convince you that only Republicans play this game, look at the Democrats' mastery of it over the last 60 years, particularly in the Clinton Administration which camouflaged increased taxes as "revenue enhancements" and massive spending as "investments." Republicans are relatively new to this kind of rhetorical spin machine, and may actually have come too late to the party.

The point I'm ultimately making here is that, unlike Smith Barney in those old commercials, the Democrats have not earned the honorific "Democratic." They hate "the rich," whom they never define and are probably you and me; prevent free speech on campuses; refuse to vote on conservative judicial nominations (preferring instead subversive jurists who legislate a socialistic agenda from the bench); promote and reward anti-American writing in the media and anti-American representations in the arts; believe in choice in everything except schools; and either actively condemn or entirely freeze out from the publicity stream the large segments of this country's population that reject their party's largely Marxist utopian ideals, such as they are.

Calling this viral infestation the "Democratic Party" would put another nail in the coffin of truth and objectivity and win the propagandists of the left a major victory in the ongoing culture wars, subtly redefining their party as representatives of the "true America." They are, of course, nothing of the sort.

Marcus' column is facile, poorly-reasoned, and condescending. It lazily borrows its impetus from Hendrik Hertzberg's better but equally shallow column. Both writers demand civility toward themselves and their cadre while denying that same civility to their opponents. And both are typical of the kind of writer that is applauded, rewarded, and quoted by a left so eager to embrace its own narcissistic viewpoints that it has left truth, objectivity, and yes, civility far behind.

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Christianists vs. Islamists: More Fun with Words

Innocently blog-surfing today, I stumbled into an almost indecipherable brouhaha involving a debate on the use of the terms "Christianist" and "Islamist." It's hard to figure out just how this got started. But it seems as if the increasingly puerile Andrew Sullivan's habitual use of the term got to Ann Althouse and/or Glenn Reynolds (aka "Instapundit") and eventually involved web propagandist Glen Greenwald here and (indirectly) here in something called the "Middle Earth Journal." If you're interested in this kind of stuff, each of the links above have multiple links themselves. The whole terminology issue is of interest to us here at HazZzMat, of course, since many of our political discussions on this site are meant to expose the left's clever and highly manipulative use of terminology to create an intellectual environment that's overwhelmingly opposed to the American way of life.

At base, it would appear that both Sullivan and Middle Earth are viewing the political machinations of "Islamists" (loosely defined as Muslim extremists) and "Christianists" (loosely defined as fundamentalists who believe in Christ, aka Christian extremists) as one in the same. This, of course, is a nifty Gramscian twist of defining deviancy (Islamism) down in order to tar one's "Christianist" antangonists. In other words, using and accepting both these terms allows one to operate as if Islamism and Christianism were morally equivalent. They are not. But you can't deal with that, in an argumentative sense, by using these two words, as they imply an acceptance of moral equivalency.

Academics (including Glenn Reynolds and Ann Althouse to a great extent, unfortunately) have been pushing the use of "Islamist" to describe Muslim extremists, eschewing the use of the term "Islamofascist"—the more accurate term—as a tool of right-wing and presumably Christian fundamentalist "extremists." Apparently, some on the left side of this crowd have been happy to counter "Islamist" with the term "Christianist" to describe the latter, thus rendering them impotent via the tool of moral equivalency. MEJ, the Middle Earth Journal, wraps this up rather succinctly in the link cited above:
Primarily, Greenwald and Sullivan are simply pointing out that certain Right wing elements in this country have been frighteningly successful in conflating the religion of Islam, and it's [sic] billions of global Muslim practitioners, with the tiny number of extremists who espouse terrorism. There are those (the vast majority) who simply view Islam as their religion and the foundation for their personal beliefs and philosophy. (Muslims) There are others who wish to take that viewpoint and make the centerpiece of their political and governmental structure. (Islamists) And then there are the extreme whackos, who right wingers choose to call "Islamofascists" and such, rather than simply labeling them as the criminals they are. The fact is, all three of these groups have Christian counterparts right here in our country and around the world.
This is a pretty nifty summation, except that it's exactly wrong. Preliminary comment: Note the use of the word "frightening" above. Everything that is said and done by anyone even slightly to the right of doctrinaire leftists is "frightening." (One wonders what they'd call Freddie Krueger. Or Osama bin Laden. "Tragically misunderstood?")

First of all, we don't need Sullivan or Greenwald condescendingly paint those who believe that Muslim extremists, who are politically dominant right now in both the Sunni and Shi'a strains of Islam, as "Islamofascists." They are extreme adherents of one strain of Islam or another, and if you don't bow and scrape to them, you will be killed. There's no ambiguity here, as we saw in 9/11 and are currently seeing in Lebanon. No hairsplitting. No moral equivalency. It's their way or the highway. They are actually highly right-wing and paleo-conservative in the context of their own culture, and are thus the inheritors of the fascist dictatorships of the mid 20th century which they all quite openly admire. Ergo, it's no stretch at all and entirely accurate to label them "Islamofascists," for that is what they are. And we don't need Christian fundamentalists—who won't kill you if you disagree with them, BTW—to tell us this.

Second, I am constantly told, the "vast majority" of Muslims don't favor violence and extremism as a means of propagating their religion. That's really great to hear, except that, well, I never hear Muslims saying that—en masse. No demonstrations against Al Qaeda; none against the medievalist Shi'a who run Iraq and are actively seeking a global nuclear holocaust; and certainly none against Iran's clients, Hezbollah, who are perfectly happy to trash Lebanon, again, to further their murderous and Apocalyptic aims. When I see big Muslim peace demonstrations in Damascus, Baghdad, Teheran, Riyadh, and elsewhere, I might be persuaded that this "silent majority" of peaceful Muslims actually exists. Right now, for some reason, I am persuaded otherwise. So please, folks, don't give me this silent majority stuff. You'll have to prove it, and right now at least, you can't.

Which brings us right back to our original point, which addresses the final thoughts in MEJ's circular logic above. MEJ objects to the "extreme right" calling Islamofascist mass-murderers Islamofascists because they're really only criminals, and can clearly be persuaded if we arrest them and put them on trial. Shades of Bill Clinton. 6 years after 9/11 and these folks still regard religiously motivated mass murder as something that could easily play out on one or two episodes of "Law & Order."

This erroneous train of thought is either dangerously naive and simplistic. Or worse, it's simply another chapter in the left's ceaseless efforts to undermine the ability of the United States to defend itself against a clearly-defined, implacable enemy that has never made any secret of its murderous intentions. To link Islamofascist thugs, morally, with Christian fundamentalist "counterparts" in this country—who, as I pointed out, do not use mass-murder to further their beliefs—is so obviously and factually wrong that it becomes blatantly dishonest. But that's just fine in the minds of the moral equivalency crowd, since Christian fundamentalists, er, "Christianists," are obviously far more dangerous to our freedom than Islamofascists, since the "Christianists" live right here.

The conclusion: fear the "Christianists" far more than the Islamofascists, ah, "Islamists."

Note, we're not exactly Christian fundamentalists here at HazZzMat. In fact, since both writers are at least nominal Catholics, some of these fundamentalist folks probably don't consider us Christian at all, since we still do worship the occasional statue. Nonetheless, to equate Bible-thumping Christians with savages who mass-murder in the name of religion is yet another cynical attempt by the left to foment class warfare in this country, causing some of us to turn on others while the Islamofacsists continue, un-impeded, their ceaseless war of attrition against the West in general and the U.S. in particular.

Today's leftists, heirs of the Woodstock Generation and the younger ideologues who are succeeding them, hate the U.S. with such a passion that they'd prefer we be overcome by the Islamofascists rather than allowing anyone besides themselves any voice in this country's future at all. By demonizing fundamentalist Christians, as they have already successfully demonized other individuals and organizations they hate such as Catholics, Jews, Republicans, the Boy Scouts, white males (including dead white European males), and anyone who actually makes money from a businesss, the left continues its program of dividing and weakening this country via the device of a manufactured class struggle which none of us really want.

As we've said many, many times here, watch for the terminology in news stories, arguments, or discussions. Words do have meaning, which is while the left manipulates them so. Don't let the left define the argument for you, or you will lose each and every time. The arguments of the left are inferior, cynical, and dangerously wrong and really amount to nothing more than the kind of propaganda that was toppled along with the Berlin Wall. But if you inadvertently adopt the left's subtle, reality-altering terminology to describe people and events, you'll never be able to see where their dangerous propaganda offensive is leading us.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Having taken time to take Google to task in our previous post, we now settle into a more pleasant, less contentious mode, and wish everyone, even Democrats, a Happy, Safe, and even a Blessed Thanksgiving. As we sit in front of our televisions and watch the world eviscerate itself in new and different ways every day, we should use this holiday opportunity to take stock of ourselves, our lives, and the fact that we actually have futures to look forward to; and then give thanks to the fact that we somehow were lucky enough to be born in or be able to emigrate to the only country in history that's ever given people of all races, nationalities, and walks of life a decent chance to live long and prosper. Sure, some groups were in the queue longer than they'd planned while others were dragged here against their will. But in the end, we've continually evolved toward something better, even as others seem to grope inexorably toward something worse, particularly in the Middle Eastern portion of the globe.

But here we are, for better or worse and as lucky as all get out to be Americans. Let's not tarnish what we have but, rather, work harder to make it better.

Have a great holiday. We'll save politics for tomorrow and enjoy one of our finer, if somewhat caloric, cultural traditions today without worrying about the other guys!

Why Mommy Isn't a Democrat...

Wonker has noticed that the small "AdSense" banner ads we've been trying out for a few months here at HazZzMat have been consistently running an ad for a book of left-wing propaganda entitled "Why Mommy Is a Democrat." Point one, Wonker's mom is NOT a Democrat although she and ex-Marine Dad-Wonker used to be not only Democrats but rabid ones; and Mom-Wonker's dad happened to be a Roosevelt New Dealer, the sheriff of a major Ohio county, and, for years, a Democrat in the Ohio House of Representatives. But, as was the case eventually with Wonker and with Dutch Reagan, we didn't leave the Democrats. They left us.

Which leaves us to wonder...why on such an obviously right-leaning site like HazZzMat does Google's AdSense insist on running Democrat-oriented ads? We never see this on leftwing sites, and I can assure you that Sean Hannity's, Rush Limbaugh's, and Bill O'Reilly's books are never hawked on the Daily Kos. So what gives, Google dudes? Just a little MSM-style subversion come to the Internet?

We've written to Google asking them to cease and desist this stuff. We understand banner ads like these are random. But they aren't very random if this book keeps coming up every time the site is hit. If we don't get a suitable response, the banner goes. Not that it's ever made us a dime.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Religious Worker Visas: This Took 5 Years?

It sounds like a perfectly good reason to come to the United States: Applying for a religious worker visa so that one can teach, work for a religion-affiliated organization or conduct religious ceremonies...But it is becoming a big immigration loophole, one that needs to be closed so that only legitimate applicants are granted entry into our country...The religious worker visa program is being scrutinized by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials for good reason. Last year, a review of the program revealed that Homeland Security officials found fraud in one out of every three religious visas they reviewed....Officials Right To Crack Down On Visa Program, Editorial, Battle Creek Enquirer, 11/22/2006

The date on this editorial (today) from Battle Creek, Michigan, is mind-boggling. For a very long time we've known, and officials in DC have known better, that religious "workers," especially those trained in Saudi-financed madrassas, are a primary source of Islamic terrorists. Look at the homicide-bomber pilots of 9/11, for instance. It took US Immigration and Custom Enforcement until 2006 to start restricting a visa program that allowed such people into the United States? Has anyone there noticed that there's a war on? Or the big hole in the ground in New York, or memorials in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon? Hello. Anybody home?


Following The Logic Of Race-Based Thinking

Looking to draw attention to what they call the "worst form of bigotry confronting America today," Boston University's College Republicans are circulating an application for a "Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship" that requires applicants be at least 25 percent Caucasian....BU Group Offers White Scholarship, Discover the Networks

Though the 'scholarship' discussed is deliberately inflammatory, and aimed by Boston University College Republicans at exposing the hypocrisy of race-based scholarships generally, it should be regarded as an early warning signal of what will happen, in fact, what must happen if the rule of law is to continue to have meaning. Quotas, diversity goals, and similar, disciminatory efforts to increase the participation of all groups in education and the work have forced current US, state and local law into the untenable position of upholding two diametrically opposed principles: A) equality before the law, or non-discrimination; and B) compensatory bias, or discrimination. The legal system on which our politics and business is based cannot stand holding diametrically opposed principles. And some day, some court, and eventually the Supreme Court will pick one or the other as the precedent for all actions stemming from that principle going forward.

Race-thinking leads to racism. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism