Mr. Trump is Right about Monuments

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I watched Donald Trump’s news conference yesterday (August 15, 2017) and agree with most of what he said. The only disagreement I have is that I do not believe that economic growth in itself will improve race relations. However, he is correct that it is hypocritical to take Confederate monuments down and still support monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The Left, big business, and establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell are doing their best to turn people into rootless, homeless machines who work for the technocratic state. If history is erased except for a whitewashed history that supposedly is non-controversial, this helps produce the robot-like, echo-chamber world they desire. I have ancestors who fought on both sides in the War between the States. I am a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans. I find the removal of monuments to Robert E. Lee and others who were involved with the Confederacy to be a travesty, an act of historical vandalism fueled by corrupt “history professors” and other members of the Academic Left, the radical Left in general, and the corporate Right to destroy the heritage of an entire group of people. The sheer hypocrisy of such people is astounding. They ignore the fact that most people in the North supported slavery because it kept blacks from moving into their states. They ignore the racism of Lincoln–even most of the Abolitionists were racists. They ignore the fact that one of their most hated figures, Nathan Bedford Forrest, supported full civil rights for blacks in his old age. They ignore the fact that many of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, including those mentioned above, Washington and Jefferson. They ignore the fact that General Ulysses S. Grant owned slaves and refused to release them after the war until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed. Related to that, they ignore the fact that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the Confederate States, not to the other states that remained part of the United States. They pay attention to the Succession Documents of the deep South states, ignoring other motivations for war in the middle South in which states opposed Lincoln’s unjust and illegal invasion of the South. They ignore the brutal war crimes committed by the Union Army, especially but not exclusively under General Sherman. They bring up atrocities in Andersonville yet ignore greater atrocities and a higher death toll in Union POW camps. They ignore the fact that many blacks fought for the South as attested by newspapers covering the war. They ignore the stirring up of the former slaves by corrupt Northern agents during Reconstruction.

Their hypocrisy is bare for all to see, yet the elites–both Democrat and Republican–have power and use that power to suppress dissent and destroy monuments. Organizations such as the SCV and United Daughters of the Confederacy can work to buy up private land on which to put the monuments, but that will not help in places like Baltimore, where the mayor desires not only to remove the monuments in that city, but destroy them. In Durham, North Carolina, a mob destroyed a Confederate monument. These actions are fundamentally evil, and some of the people in Virginia were opposing the removal of the statues and were not part of any white supremacist group. But lumping legitimate groups together with racists such as Nazis is a favorite–if dishonest and unfair–tactic by the Left (and by Mitch McConnell).

Yesterday when I heard Mr. Trump, I felt proud to have him as President of the United States.

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De Facto Treason

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A loose coalition of Democrats, mainstream Republicans, and mainstream media figures are traitors against the United States of America. They are attempting a coup against the duly elected president of the United States, Donald Trump, by appealing to a concocted story of collusion between Mr. Trump and his allies and Russia to alter the results of the 2016 presidential election. With the help of Obama operatives already appointed in the federal agencies, especially the intelligence community, they have orchestrated “leaks” from unnamed sources who may or may not be real persons. I would bet that at least some of them are made up. Those in power do not like to be challenged. Like the bureaucracy of ancient Rome, the powers behind the scenes are often the most powerful figures in a nation. For the United States, that is a dangerous situation, threatening the integrity of what is left of the republic.

None of this should be a surprise. Power corrupts, and the entrenched powers in the federal bureaucracy hate Mr. Trump for challenging them. In the past, outsiders have had mixed results, with Andrew Jackson finding some success, but Jimmy Carter being caught up in battles with his own party in Congress, similar to the situation in which Mr. Trump finds himself.

In addition, anarchists, Marxists, and other radical groups have joined together in violent protests against the expression of any conservative views or of any support for Mr. Trump. They are sending a clear message that if they do not remove Mr. Trump in a bloodless coup, they will take the opposite route. Spoiled, stupid millennials have listened to aging baby boomer New Leftists and are protesting something they know not what. Blinded by public school educations and leftist propaganda from colleges and universities, they have lost the ability to think and only react like zombies. There are exceptions, but most millennials make up a generation second in destructiveness only to the spoiled baby boomers who sponsored the 1960s cultural revolution.

The only group that has kept the United States from falling into a shooting civil war have been the subset of the working classes who supported Mr. Trump. With elites trying to reverse an election through lies and innuendo and a congressional and court witch hunt, those individuals may come to believe their only option is violence.

The politicians and media elites involved in this attempted coup should be arrested and charged with treason. If convicted, they should serve prison time. Freedom of the press does not protect treason and sedition–or at least it should not. However, with both parties caught up in corruption, no one will be held responsible for this coup. Mr. Trump should fight it to the best of his ability. If this coup works, God help us all.

Shake the Dust off Your Feet

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Those of us who are conservative struggle to know what to do in the face of a militant, hostile, and oftentimes violent version of social “democratic” liberalism. Cutting ties with family, friends, and professional associations is difficult, and most of us want to avoid doing that if possible. However, family and friends who are leftist ideologues make harsh, personal comments that make it difficult if not impossible to sustain meaningful relationships with those people. Professional associations in academia are condemning traditionalist positions; even the Society of Christian Philosophers leadership condemned the great Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne for his opposition to homosexual practice. These are times of cutting ties on both sides of our sharply divided political spectrum. Mostly it has been the Left who are cutting ties, unfriending people on Facebook, refusing to invite family members home at holidays, and in the case of celebrities, publicly condemning family members for their “offense” of voting for Mr. Trump (as Ashley Judd did). While conservatives tend not to break ties, there are times in which doing such is unavoidable. Below are some of the ties I have cut.

I rarely unfriend people on Facebook, but I have unfriended a few. Some were personally obnoxious and insulting to me; others were indirectly insulting by labeling all conservatives and Trump supporters as racists, sexists, etc. I can even let that go, but some liberals have posted the most obnoxious, mean, hateful posts that I felt I had no choice but to unfriend them. That has only happened three or four times (0ut of 700 FB friends), and I hated having to do it. I am not going to renew my membership in the Society of Christian Philosophers due to its treatment of Professor Swinburne. I decided not to renew my membership in the North Carolina Poetry Society due to a ridiculous sexual harassment policy that would forbid a single man from asking a woman who is a member of that organization out on a date–even if such asking takes place outside the context of a meeting. It is not merely the silliness that merely asking someone out is sexual harassment; it is the evil and arrogant intrusion into people’s private lives.

I am also not renewing my membership in the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Their meetings have become libfests on the unholy trinity of race, class, and gender. Life is too short for me to waste time on such ignorance and stupidity. I have joined online organizations–a conservative, pro-Trump group of academics and writers, and a group for conservatives of all varieties who are creative writers. Long ago I joined the National Association of Scholars rather than the American Association of University Professors. I am hoping for an organization for philosophers to be founded that is similar to the group for traditionalist scholars in English.

At school I do my job quietly (and hopefully well–I try my best) and work on my research project on ghosts, philosophy, and theology. I continue to do creative writing and have kept up my membership in the Horror Writers Association, which has thus far avoided falling wholly into the politically correct cesspool.  I gladly argue with open-minded liberals and try to avoid those who are not. I stay at home when not required by teaching or office hours or meetings, but if there’s an interesting lecture, film, play, or music concert on campus, I enjoy attending those. But in all of life there seems more bitter division and fewer lasting friendships between people who are ideologically different.

To me, this division is sad. But world views are at stake, and human beings are naturally defensive about the fundamental values by which they live their lives. Since our real battles in society today are world view battles, I see the trend of division continuing indefinitely into the future.

 

 

Why I am not Theologically Liberal

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Sometimes “you can’t win for losing.” Fundamentalist Christians would consider me a liberal for not being a strict inerrantist on scripture–yet I have far more in common with a Fundamentalist Protestant than a theologically liberal Protestant or Roman Catholic. Definitions are important–a theological liberal will not be an inerranist on scripture, but that is not what makes him a theological liberal. Theological liberalism is an attempt to update Christianity for the contemporary period. Such updating may include substantial changes in Christian theological teaching, such as the denial of the full divinity of Christ, His bodily resurrection, His virgin birth as well as a denial of any subjective afterlife for human beings. Liberals may also accept substantial revisions to the doctrine of God such as, for example, denying that God knows the future and believing that God grows along with the universe. Some deny that God can utterly destroy evil. On moral issues, theological liberals tend to accept the rightness of abortion, premarital sex, homosexual practice, and trangenderism. All the above beliefs would be, to any traditional Christian, heretical. While liberals’ acceptance of social democratic economic liberalism is not heretical, one can argue that it is wrongheaded. In some cases, economic Marxists deny that human beings are fallen creatures, and such a belief is heretical.

Theological liberalism has its roots in the eighteenth century Enlightenment. During the age of reason some philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant, held that religion should be bound “within the limits of reason alone.” The French were divided between deists such as Voltaire, who believed in a God that created the universe and let it run like a clock; there is little or no divine providence in such a doctrine. Later, in the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution seemed to make biology like Newtonian physics–free of any need for a deity. In addition, modern Biblical study methods revealed that Moses did not write the first five books of the Old Testament, and the Biblical books in general are neither historically or scientifically without error. If Christians had read the church fathers such as Augustine, they would have known that earlier Christians recognized the Bible was not a science book. Instead, they hunkered down and accepted a modern, literalist interpretation of the Bible, making it something it was never intended to be. Theological liberals were correct in opposing the Fundamentalists’ strict views on inerrancy.

Theological liberals meant well. Friedrich Schliermacher, the “father of liberal Protestantism,” wanted Christianity’s “cultured despisers” to be open to a revised Christian faith that placed an emphasis on a “feeling of absolute dependence” rather than on specific dogmatic claims. Social Gospel liberals emphasized helping the poor and often supported a social democratic economic system, but some of them rejected the transcendent claims of Christianity about Christ. More recently, theological liberals have tended to become deeply politicized and influenced (though they may be unaware of the source) by the Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School (Herbert Marcuse and his de facto disciples such as Saul Alinsky). They rejected the traditional moral teachings of Christianity on sexual ethics, holding that they are remnants of an earlier, outdated social and moral system. Their emphasis is on “social justice,” where “social justice” is defined in terms of the social democratic Left. Many of these do not accept the fundamental teachings of traditional Christianity about God and Christ I mentioned above.

I cannot accept theological liberalism. Without its traditional doctrines of God as Trinity, Christ as God incarnate, born of the Virgin Mary, raised from the dead, and the general resurrection of all people and restoration of the universe at the end of time, Christianity collapses into a watered down social gospel with little theological content. While Process Theologians try to insert more theological content, their concept of God is too limited to support the traditional doctrines of Christianity. St. Paul said if there is no resurrection, “we are of all men most miserable” (in I Corinthians 15). Theological liberals who deny the resurrection except in some vague “metaphorical sense” are indeed, “most miserable” even if they deny such.

The theologian most admired by liberal theologians is Paul Tillich, according to polls of theology professors. Yet Tillich, which interesting, was a mix of Schelling’s philosophy with a watered down version of Christianity. His concepts of religion as ultimate concern and his method of correlation, in which philosophy provides the questions and faith the answers, while not wholly original, are helpful. But overall he was a heretical thinker wedded to some kind of belief in a vague “transcendent.” It is sad that his experiences in World War I destroyed his traditional view of God.

Catholic liberal theology is pretty much a variation on liberal Protestantism with some Catholic language added.

Recently, there have been some new theological liberals who accept the resurrection of Christ and the general resurrection from the dead–Jurgen Moltmann and Ted Peters, for example. However, they do not necessarily accept the moral views of traditional Christianity–Peters does not, for example. They are moving in the right direction, however.

It is clear that Jesus Christ made divine claims, even in the Synoptic Gospels, and such claims are central to Christianity, as the Church Fathers also recognized. I cannot call myself a Christian without believing this doctrine. The church’s teachings on sexuality are essential to the integrity of marriage and the bearing of children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The rules are there because they support the human good. To deny these teachings is not only to deny the natural law; it is to deny Christ.

I am grateful for the vibrant Evangelical movements in some of the liberal mainline Protestant churches. I am grateful for Roman Catholic traditionalists (though the legalism of some of them is unfortunate). I am grateful for my own church, the Anglican Catholic Church, which affirms the traditional doctrines and moral teachings of the Christian faith without lapsing into Fundamentalism on scripture (a few priests here and there may be that way, but the bishops are not). Hopefully we can live the faith better–faith is not merely an intellectual exercise–Satan is theologically orthodox–but it is a way of life, loving God and loving neighbor. Both doctrine and practice, truth and love, are essential to the teachings of Christ and His Church.

 

 

True, There Never Was a Golden Age, but….

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Small town Arizona

I enjoy looking through the books other faculty require as reading at the university where I teach–it gives me a sense of the focus of their classes and the gist of the material taught in a particular class. One day I found a book on the 1950s, arguing that it was not a “golden age” for family life, and that families had severe problems then as they do now. My first response was to say to myself, “No kidding.” Only a fool would think that the 1950s or any other decade was some kind of “Golden Age” that bypassed human frailties. Marriages had problems in the 1950s, some spouses were abused as well as some children, and some families were dysfunctional. However, apart from these obvious facts, and apart from useful advances in technology and medicine since the 1950s, it does appear that, despite its flaws, that decade was the last true “Era of Good Feeling” in the United States. It was also the last decade in which a generally Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic was dominant in American thought, even among most Roman Catholics and Jews. Although divorce was sometimes necessary in extreme circumstances of physical and/or emotional abuse or serial adultery, in most cases divorce was frowned upon. Although the Hollywood set would get abortions as well as others, abortion was recognized as a grave moral evil. Only a small minority disagreed. Premarital sex occurred, of course, and the hypocritical aspects of 1950s sexual mores are well known, but at least there was an ideal that the wedding night would be a special beginning of  a new life between two people that is sealed by their first act of sexual intercourse. More extended families existed, especially in the South, the Midwest, and (as is still the case today) in the Italian-American community. Although people moved, outside of the military or of upper business management, extensive moving was rare. The new suburbs, for a time, retained the notion of a “neighorhood” with cookouts and regular visits between neighbors. Small town life, though declining, still flourished in many parts of the country. Alcoholism was a problem, as was always the case, but extensive use of hard drugs such as heroin was rare outside some inner city neighborhoods. There was a growing problem with juvenile crime, but most teenaged social life was tame by today’s “standards.” Although conformity was sometimes taken to an extreme, there was a strong sense that the older generation felt a responsibility to rear a virtuous younger generation. Perhaps the “greatest generation” did not understand the degree to which easy access to material things would create the spoiled and self-serving whiners of the mid-1960s onward, but most tried to rear their children with high moral values. My parents told me that at least in the 1950s a person knew whom he could trust. Today, they said, it is difficult to trust anyone.

The “Great Society” and the destruction of underclass society which arose through their dependency on federal aid, was in the future. The vast majority of children, white and black, were born in stable two-parent homes. A strong work ethic permeated most of American society.

This is not to say that the 1950s did not have deep flaws–struggles over race and the threat of nuclear war, for example. However, I would have rather lived in that kind of culture rather than the upside down world of 2012, in which people “call evil good and good evil” and Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of values” took place, though not in the direction of the Homeric virtues as Nietzsche desired. Christian culture is rapidly declining in influence, with a new breed of young secularists coming into view who, as Rush Limbaugh (who is right on this point) notes are both desirous of a government “nanny state” to take care of their physical needs while at the same time desiring that the government let them “do their thing” regarding gay marriage, abortion, and other “choices” they deem “personal.” The rapidity of the decline in American character since the 1950s has been astounding. In my own lifetime the world has turned upside down, to the delight of the anti-Christian left and to the chagrin of the few traditionalists standing against the plague of barbarism overwhelming the country.

No generation is unfallen. Yet most members of the 1950s generation would admit when they did wrong. They might do bad things anyway, but they understood them to be morally wrong. Today people strut immoral activity without believing it to be immoral. Academia has been part of the fuel for the fire of relativism, but it is, ironically, an absolutist relativism that denies traditionalists their right to express their views. The universities have become cesspools of relativism, Marxism, and a stifling politically correct orthodoxy. At least in the 1950s, faculty had academic freedom to express their views. Traditional conservatives may have been a small minority, but they were not censored. The university was generally a place of open discussion of ideas rather than the cesspool of radical orthodoxy it has become now.

It is too late to go back–the United States as I knew it as a child is dying. The sense of anomie I and other traditionalists feel has driven some to emigrate from the country and others to retreat to enclaves of like-minded people. In the 1950s I would have felt at home. Even in the 1980s there seemed to be hope for the future. Now I feel like a stranger in a strange land, and I am sure many other people do as well. There are times I want to go back to my grandparents’ house where my parents lived with my sister and I from 1965-1969 and enjoy the simplicity of it all before the madness of the 1960s froze into place in the 1970s. It may be a good thing for Christians, for it forces us to focus on God as the only One who is eternal, the only One who does not change. Going back to the past is pointless–traditionalists have lost the culture. We can trust in God, try to live good moral lives and be good examples to others, be active in church, and enjoy visits with like-minded people without isolating ourselves from the larger society. We know that God will triumph in the end, but until then, we wait “with earnest expectation” for Christ to come.

 

Multiple Reasons for Romney’s Loss

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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today (Photo credit: tvnewsbadge)

Mr. Romney lost the 2012 presidential election for multiple reasons, not just one. The rapid secularization of the United States is one reason, in which the 19% of the population that consider themselves secular vote overwhelmingly Democratic. They also populate the media and Hollywood, institutions that have an exaggerated effect on American thoughts and opinions. The same media adoration of Obama as a god continued during this election cycle. The leftward trend of Americans educated by liberal college and university faculty has accelerated. Even Evangelical Christians have sharply moved to the political left over the past ten years.

The government as an open source of welfare benefits helps a growing number of citizens and immigrants, both legal and illegal. U. S. demographics reveal an increasing minority population dependent on federal benefits rather than doing productive work in order to survive. Such minorities vote overwhelmingly  for the Democratic Party candidates. Now when I turned 18 and voted for the first time, I knew that a vote for Mr. Reagan would mean a reduction in student Pell Grants and students loans, which would hurt the chances of me getting loans or grants. I voted for Ronald Reagan because I believed him to be better for the country if worse for me. Most people are not that way, and if they are welfare-dependent tax consumers, they are more likely to vote for whom they believe will continue or increase their welfare income.As Hayek stated, a socialistic system will inevitably run the characters of people who are under it. Federal entitlements have ruined the character of the American people, and other than older people (over 65) who supported Mr. Romney +11, most people on entitlements voted what was good for them. They do not give a d..m about what is best for the United States of America.

Moral relativism is another reason Mr. Romney lost. Many Americans do not believe in moral absolutes and support unlimited abortion, physician-assisted suicide, active euthanasia, aggressive wars against nations that have not attacked nor harmed the United States, and homosexual marriage. Such a “transvaluation of values,” to use Nietzsche’s term, is more compatible with Mr. Obama rather than with Mr. Romney.

Race-based politics, in which minorities vote for other minorities (at least when such minorities are politically liberal) remains a problem due to the poison of identity politics that college and university professors as well as the NAACP buy into. Obama easily swept up the minority vote.
Changing demographics make it highly unlikely that any Republican candidate will be able to defeat a Democratic candidate, at least for the foreseeable future.

The cultural divide between rural/suburban and urban was clear from the county maps of the votes. Since many more people live in cities, and these inner city voters have been effectively mobilized by the Democratic Party, states with large urban centers are more likely to vote Democratic.

If the culture war is a popularity contest, the Right has lost. Its lingering influence may be seen in a Republican House of Representatives for a few more Congresses, but such a situation is not likely to continue long-term. The economic battles is also lost since Mr. Obama exploits class divisions effectively for his benefit.

I do not find hope for the United States to remain a major world leader in the future. Its course is downward, toward a third-world status. Even if defense suffers large-scale cuts, entitlements will continue to cost more than the country can afford. Defaulting on Chinese loans would be disastrous for the economy. Obama Care will create another massive federal bureaucracy that will further increase the deficit. I know doctors and PAs who are serious about moving to anther country if Obama Care continues—thus weakening an already downsized system overloaded with patients.

The Obama Cult is the final reason I will mention for people voting for Mr. Obama. That cult has gone to nauseating heights–from children signing a “hymn” to Mr. Obama in schools . Obama has replaced MLK as the Great Neo-God of America. The situation is as disturbing at Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and the hymns Chinese schoolchildren sang to honor him. People who worship like this will vote for him.

Mr. Romney ran a good campaign. It was not enough to stop many converging factors that any Republican will have to overcome to win the White House. I do not see how these factors can be overcome by a future GOP candidate.

Pseudo-Intellectual Assumptions

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THE NEW LEFT

THE NEW LEFT (Photo credit: SS&SS)

 

Having been in academia for so many years, and involved in creative writing for the past fourteen years, I have found many of the assumptions of academics and writers to be similar. Both classes would be considered intellectuals of a sort–I know it  takes a great deal of intelligence to do creative writing, and getting a Ph.D. takes a great of intellect and effort. When it comes to moral positions and politics, however, intellectuals seem no smarter than someone who could not make a D in English or science. On those areas, some of the “common people” have far more wisdom than the so-called intellectuals. The problem is that intellectuals believe that because they are experts in an academic discipline, they also have the practical reasoning to give good advice on political and moral positions. In these areas intellectuals often fall into pseudo-intellectuals. One way they reveal their ignorance is by their assumptions. Most academics and writers are liberals, and they assume falsely that other intellectuals and writers are all liberals like them. They also assume falsely that liberalism is self-evident rather than requiring justification and that any conservative is either ignorant, unethical, or both. The arguments of the academic and literary left, in my experience, are either abusive ad hominem, straw man, or poisoning the well. Very few genuine arguments are presented. It is easy to attack a person’s intelligence and/or character rather than engage in the difficult craft of good argumentation. Some academics and writers will listen to alternative points of view, but most, from my experience, are closed minded and identify the political and the personal. Conservatives, except for extremists, have no problems liking liberals personally or having liberal friends, and thankfully some liberals are the same way. But in academia and among many writers I have seen, liberals refuse to be friends with conservatives and tend to think they are bad people, especially those who defend traditional sexual ethics. Since the 1962 Port Huron Meeting, the New Left has gone on to dominate academia, poisoning it, most likely permanently. It is a shame that those who should be the most open to alternate points of view are often the most closed.

 

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