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Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Taliban West

Correspondent Max sends the following:

Concerning the Dubya Hitler-reincarnated thing, have you seen the piece in World magazine titled, "Taliban West?" Most liberal folk would say the author is targeting a more extreme lefty than they are personally, but I think it covers a decent chunk of the left and is a nice summary for knuckle draggin' fighter guys such as moi.
I have linked to the World article because it provides a very good general introduction to Leftist hatred of Christianity and the proper Christian response to it. Unfortunately, having spent years "wrestling the pig," as it were, I can anticipate much of the Left's response. For instance, to questions like,

If conservative Christians are the same as jihadist Muslims, and President Bush is the same as Osama bin Laden, why are they fighting each other?
The answer will be, "for the same reason Hitler fought Stalin: to divide up the spoils." Still, the article provides an excellent starting point for debate. It contains one particularly nice insight:

Mr. Wills is right, though, when he says that the Enlightenment is over. But surely, as a professor at Northwestern, he knows that this is what postmodernist academics have been saying for decades. The modern era, as an age of reason, is finished. If that is so, relativism is one option. But another is religious faith.
Right. The "Enlightenment" is dead. And that's a good thing. The Age of Reason and its aftermath is history's most effective treatise on the limits of human reason. It spawned the world's first truly totalitarian impulse: the French Revolution and Napoleon's tyranny. The philisophes reasoned correctly: absent some tie to what's eternal, man's nature is malleable, perhaps infinitely so. In that kernel of insight is the origin of every modern form of totalitarianism and tinfoilhatism, from today's soft-core, armchair Bush hatred to the genocides of Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, and Hitler. The Age of Reason released man from the "burden" of being yoked to God and God's nature, and that gave him the "freedom" to then be anything he set his reason to.

Is man born free but is everywhere in chains? Then perhaps we should free him. Most of mankind lives benighted in anti-modern regimes. Let's see... We'll need a big army to free them , won't we? Let's build one and get marching! (Napoleonic Wars, 1 - 6 million killed)

Is man born good and then corrupted by greedy social institutions? Then perhaps he can be trusted to usher in and run a classless society, absent those greedy institutions, where everyone will help everyone else and no one will actually own anything. Man was born good, right? Then he can be brought back to being good. Of course, he made need some help to get there... And a few who stand in the way may have to be "helped to understand"... (Communism, 20 - 40 million killed)

Is man born desperately yearning for some deep Kultur from the dawn of time--some magic sense of community that warmed his soul when he walked the forests or first built his great city states? Then perhaps modern industrialism can help him find his lost soul again by providing a modern version, suitably dressed up by mass media and the state. Of course, all those who don't share that ancient soul are inferior, worthy only of being slaves... (Fascism, 15-30 million killed)

Each of these thought systems came complete with a set of instructions for defining "us" and "not us." And, absent any restraining yoke to the eternal (to concepts like the equality of all before God or the sacredness of all human life), each became an engine for the unscrupulous to exploit the "not us" for the sake of the "us." Human nature being what it is, men have always done this to each other, but in the post-Enlightenment age, an essential set of restraints was removed and a system of rationalizations for liking "us" and disliking "not us" was set in its place, allowing all of man's intellectual and physical energy to be devoted to bettering "us" at the expense of "not us." What followed in every case was savagery, darkness, and death.

The Bible's perspective on man's sinful nature is the only corrective to this. And this is one of the reasons that America's founding was so special: it was fundamentally conservative. It sought to build a government that acknowledged man's eternal nature and restrain or exploit his natural appetites for the common good, not intensify or pander to them. It's important to remember that America's revolutionaries were thought intellectually backward ("how 1688!") by Britain's cognoscenti, who had fallen in love with proto-modern statism and mechantilism. Ours is the only modern revolution that can make this claim. And ours is the only revolution that did not descend into tyranny or rutting barbarism.

Max concludes on a different note:

SpongeBob? Jim Dobson said this one has attracted more media coverage than all the other much weightier issues he has raised in the past. Seems he was taken well out of context, but it makes for juicy newslines, hence the feeding frenzy.

Well, the Spongebob thing is easy to make fun of and that, finally, is the point, isn't it? Still, I have my doubts about the boy, despite what Hans thinks.


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