An atheist’s defence of religion

The paradox of Camille Paglia, the cultural gunslinger

If there were as such a thing as a scholar-gunslinger, it would be Camille Paglia, the American critic and teacher.

Camille Paglia: a jitterbug thinker who relishes paradoxes. That’s the image she offered us on the cover of Vamps and Tramps, her 1994 collection of essays. Camille is dressed in black, hands raised mid-air, wearing a holster over her hip. But her main weapon is not the classic six-shooter (or the punk makeup she wears on the cover). It’s the Gatling gun that sprays words from her sprightly and sputtering mouth.

Take cover. Her thoughts ricochet like a good ol’ fashioned western shootout.

So I learned when I went to see her at Toronto’s stately and refurbished Royal Ontario Museum for a lecture on the Ten Commandments. (It was one in a series of ROM lectures promoting their Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit).

The hall was packed. People had come to see Camille talk about that immensely popular, old-fashioned idea: religion. Christopher Hitchens, the evangelical atheist, had preceded her by two weeks.

The ‘unObama’ as academic
Camille had come to defend religion, she said, but as an atheist who respects it. She grew up in a working-class Italian family where women went to church and men avoided Sunday Mass if they could. She loved the art, theatre and ceremony, but hated the dogma.

She knows religion can be repressive, joyless and constraining. After all, as a young girl she was once chastised by nuns for asking why the God of mercy couldn’t forgive Satan if He’s so all wise and powerful.

Now, it must be said that Camille (I can’t stop calling her by her first name, I enjoy her so much) talks faster than most people read. She’s so manic, so impatient to complete a sentence, that she runs her words together as if she were speaking in tongues at a service of holy rollers. By her own admission she’s an out of control troublemaker.

She is, by temperament, the unObama.

Nevertheless, Camille knows a great deal about religion and mythology. She holds a PhD from Yale and caused a sensation with her 1990 book, Sexual Personae, a combination of partisan attack and scrupulous scholarship.

She’s been teaching for 38 years. (As a precise scholar, she doesn’t round off her decades). Academia is her natural, embattled home.

Savouring the paradoxes
Part of the fun of watching Camille is the rock ‘n’ roll of opposites she presents. She’s a jitterbug thinker who loves to butt ideas together and relishes paradoxes.

She’s a feminist who hates what she calls a “politically correct” feminist establishment. She’s a lesbian who can’t stand women’s studies and hates all “whining” and “victim”-speak. She listens to right-wing talk radio, as theatre, but is a lifelong Democrat who voted for President Barack Obama.

Paglia is a lover of opera and Madonna, of the high arts and pop culture. She also wants to be known as a serious scholar, which means thorough research and footnotes.

So another paradox: the brilliant entertainer and the careful pedant.

Her case for religion
While managing to engage and entertain, Camille did take some shots in her own, ongoing cultural war. Religion is serious business, she says, and cultural elites like Hitchens are foolish if they think they can jettison it.

For one thing, she says, religion ties into the the glorious art and cultural traditions of the West. With their bare-bones, secular education, students come to university knowing nothing, Camille says. “NOTHING!” she shouts to the audience, the heavens, the ancient statues that lurk in adjacent rooms.

They don’t know Bible stories anymore (except, occasionally, for working-class students from religious homes, she said). They don’t know the story of Moses, fleeing slavery from Egypt.

How can you understand the depth of the American civil rights movement, she asks, without a regard for the religious underpinning of Martin Luther King Jr. and other clergy? “Let my people go,” which black slaves used to sing, had a great resonance that allowed them to unite their pain and longing with a powerful, religious tradition.

What do we have? Homer Simpson? O.J. Simpson? The Terminator?

The supremacy of nature
Now it’s important to be clear about what Camille is getting at: Religion, to her, is not a set of specific beliefs, or theology. It’s about the human relationship with nature. Art helps us to accommodate ourselves to its vastness.

“Religion is the metaphysical system that honours the largeness of the universe,” she writes in the first chapter of Sexual Personae. And society is “our artificial construction, a defence against nature’s power.” It’s our fortress in the wilderness. (We, as Canadians, should know all about that.)

How pathetic, she told us at the ROM, that environmentalists want to turn even nature into a victim. Silly people! Instead, she thunders in Sexual Personae: “Let nature shrug and all is in ruin.”

So Camille doesn’t worry about God as a transcendent being. She doesn’t believe in that ‘Old Man in the Sky’ god. She believes in ALL gods, she told us at the museum. She describes herself as a pagan. But she adds, Italian Catholics flirt with paganism when they worship and revere their host of divinities and saints.

Our small place in the universe
In a way, Camille is no different than other secularists who don’t believe in religious dogma but believe religion has a social purpose. It’s our way of dealing with our small fragile place in the universe. “Without it, culture would revert to fear and despair,” she says in Sexual Personae.

Religion serves a deep need, she tells us at the ROM. It orders our existence and it provides the basis for meaning.

But to believe in the job that religion is doing is not actually “believing” in religion. It’s analyzing its purpose. That’s a pale substitute for meaning.

It’s yet another paradox found in this compelling woman: she wants to restore religion to a central place in our culture, but doesn’t believe it in the usual sense.

Still she, like so many of us, is faced with a vast universe of uncertainty. Let Camille rail on, but the old gods of the past, who gave us a little certitude, are gone and buried. And they won’t be coming back soon. Even when you’re a dandy cultural gunslinger.

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US judges can order removal of Muslim veil


Judges can demand witnesses to remove their facial covering to assess identity and demeanor
CAIRO (AlArabiya.net)

Judges in the United States can now order a veiled woman witness to remove her face covering to testify in court, according to a new court ruling issued last week that has human rights groups worried about potential discrimination against veiled Muslim women.

In a majority 5-2 vote, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled that judges should “exercise reasonable control” over the appearances of witnesses to judge their body language and facial expressions and to ensure proper identification.

The new ruling was passed following the 2006 Hamtramck case, in which Ginnah Mohammad, a Detroit Muslim woman who wore the full face veil known as the niqab, refused to testify in court after Judge Paul Paruk asked her to remove her facial covering in order to determine whether she spoke the truth.

Mohammed sued Paruk in federal court and her case was dismissed. The Michigan Judges Association and Michigan District Judges Association then requested a court ruling giving judges authority over a witness’s attire.

Road renamed after rabbi to stop neo-Nazis picking up litter


(HH here: The similar case was first done, to deal with the KKK wanting to sponsor a highway in NC or SC. The state hemmed and hawed and looked at dropping the whole program. Then they renamed the highway the Rosa Parks Memorial Highway. Case closed. Nice to see the idea is still alive and useful.)

The move came after the Springfield unit of the National Socialist Movement signed up to clear rubbish from a section of Highway 160 near the city limits.

The state found it had no way to reject the group’s application, saying membership in the Adopt-A-Highway program could not be denied because of a group’s political beliefs.

So officials responded with an amendment to a transportation bill that would rename that section of road after Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi who narrowly escaped the Nazis and later marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

A 2005 US Supreme Court ruling arising from a similar incident involving the Ku Klux Klan said membership of the Adopt-A-Highway scheme could not be denied because of a group’s political beliefs.

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Protecting Hate at UC Irvine


by Neelie Genya Milstein

Imagine walking on a campus past buildings where you have taken numerous classes with many peers, past the Student Center where you have eaten lunch many times, past all the familiar places where you have felt safe and accepted. Now imagine walking by those same places and seeing blood-stained flags of a nation that is part of your identity. Posters with “anti-hate = anti-Israel” and “Stop Israeli Genocide” parade in front of you. Displays surround you with images of cruel IDF soldiers, dead Gazans, Anne Frank — a symbol of Jewish tragedy — wearing a kaffiyeh, and of Israel’s barrier to protect Jews from terrorism, labeled an “apartheid wall.” It is as if everything Israel and Jews ever stood for is racism, bloodshed and war. You are a Jew; a proud Jew, a proud supporter of Israel. Now you are seen as nothing but a racist murderer on your own campus.

When I first walked onto campus and saw the Israeli flag blowing in the wind, ripped and blood-stained, I was filled with anger, sadness, and helplessness. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “These are lies. This is disgusting!” I didn’t scream, but I trembled with rage at the Muslim Student Union (MSU), and even more, at the UCI administration for standing by as their students are humiliated, chewed up and spit out, and depicted almost as animals.

Anyone who knows Israel’s history knows of its challenges, triumphs and mistakes. I refuse to accept vicious propaganda that demonizes Israel. I refuse to accept desecration of cherished symbols of Jewish identity. I recognize that freedom of speech entails freedom to preach hate, lies and prejudice, but I am repulsed. The MSU depicts the suffering caused by Israel’s recent war with Hamas, but it never acknowledges the reasons for Israel’s actions, the suffering of Israelis, Hamas’ goal to destroy Israel, or the tactics Hamas used, such as human shields, that raised the civilian toll. I, along with Israelis and the Jewish world, grieve for the innocent civilians who died. Why doesn’t the MSU show equal concern for Jewish fears and suffering? Could they share Hamas’ view that whenever an Israeli man, woman, or child is killed, it should be cause for celebration and passing out candy?

I have been told to censor myself so that potential students are not afraid to come to UCI, but I have had enough censorship. With truth comes power, not fear. The MSU’s hate is dangerous. I have been in Jewish private schools since second grade and I have always been taught that hatred is wrong. I know that Israelis are taught not to hate Arabs, and that Jewish national identity demands equal protection for Muslim religious identity. I know that UCI’s Jewish students never even thought of retaliating with a weeklong campaign of “The World Without Mecca” or “Palestinian Nationalism=Islamic Terrorism and Racism.” Then I came to UCI, and found that my fear of hatred was more than justified. At UCI, hate is a yearly event that lasts for a week. It isn’t just any hatred. It is hatred directed at me, my friends, my community and my history.

After my three years at UCI, you would think I would be desensitized, and could just ignore the MSU’s “apartheid wall.” But I stand for more than that. I am standing up for all the Jews in past generations who did their best to uphold our religion and protect our people. I am standing up for all who understand and support the State of Israel as one of the most extraordinary achievements of the Jewish people.

I am not asking the UCI administration to censor the hate speech. I am asking them to denounce this style of rhetoric and displays just as they would denounce campaigns for white supremacy, sexism, or Islamophobia. I am asking them to be as fearful of countenancing hatred as I was taught to be, not just because of its present impact, but because of what it bodes for the future.

Neelie Genya Milstein is a student at UC Irvine.

Secular Creationism


By: David Horowitz

A year ago the biggest issue in education after budgets was whether “Intelligent Design” should be taught in the nation’s schools. Opponents called it a form of “creationism” and the press dubbed the ensuing legal battle as the biggest clash between faith and science since the Scopes Monkey Trial. In a stinging rebuke to the religious right, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that “Intelligent Design” had no place in classrooms because it was “a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory,” thus violating the separation of church and state.

Yet at that very moment professors in American universities were teaching a form of secular creationism as contrary to the findings of modern science as the Biblical claim that the God had made the world in seven days.

The name of this theory is “social constructionism,” and its churches are Women’s Studies departments situated in universities across the United States. The feminist theory of social construction maintains that the differences between men and women – apart from obvious anatomical ones — are not biologically determined but are created by a patriarchal social structure that is designed by men to oppress women. It is “patriarchal society” that turns naturally bi-sexual infants into male and female personalities by conditioning them from birth to adopt gender roles — the one aggressive, masculine and destined to command, the other passive, feminine and slated to obey.

Critics of feminism such as Christina Hoff Sommers and neuroscientists such as Harvard’s Stephen Pinker have pointed out that this view contradicts the findings of modern science — evolutionary psychology, neuroscience and biology in particular. Men are known to cluster in significantly greater numbers at the high end of testing for mathematical aptitude, though they cluster in greater numbers at the low end of that bell curve as well. The scientific evidence is summarized in a recent book, Sex Differences in Cognitive Ability, whose author, Diane Halperin, is president of the American Psychological Association and was a social constructionist herself before reviewing the scientific literature. She concludes: “Socialization practices are undoubtedly important, but there is also good evidence that biological differences play a role in establishing and maintaining cognitive sex differences, a conclusion I wasn’t prepared to make when I began reviewing the relevant literature.” Similarly, male aggression and competitiveness are not created out of whole cloth by a patriarchal system of dominance, as Women’s Studies feminists argue, but are to a significant degree hormone-inspired. In short, according to modern science, the fault lies not in patriarchal hierarchies but in the genes.

Yet, here is a typical statement from the official course description for “Feminist Political Theory 433, as taught at the University of Arizona by a full Professor of Political Science and recipient of a coveted MacArthur Foundation fellowship: “Because gender is socially constructed, it is instructive to study how gender ideologies — which profoundly shape today’s intellectual inquiries and political realities — have been articulated in the form of political theory.” Obviously the premise of this course must be accepted by students or there is no course. Yet this statement asserts a claim that is not scientifically founded, and in fact is scientifically contradicted. In other words, students are required to believe a religious myth in order to get their academic grade.

Here is a parallel statement from the Kansas State University catalogue: “To qualify for a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Women’s Studies at Kansas State University, students will have demonstrated their familiarity with key Women’s Studies concepts such as the social construction of gender, oppression of and violence against women, heterosexism, racism, classism, and global inequality.”

In other words, a student cannot graduate from the Kansas State Women’s Studies program unless they believe in the ideology that makes up its core, and demonstrate that they do believe in it. Yet the ideological premise is scientifically challenged — a fact that the program does not acknowledge. Yet in the catalogue descriptions of more than a hundred Women’s Studies courses which I have personally examined, these are common themes.

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Women in Iran march against discrimination


By Moni Basu
CNN

(CNN) — Like thousands of other Iranian women, Parisa took to Tehran’s streets this week, her heart brimming with hope. “Change,” said the placards around her.

Women, regarded as second-class citizens under Iranian law, have been noticeably front and center of the massive demonstrations that have unfolded since the presidential election a week ago. Iranians are protesting what they consider a fraudulent vote count favoring hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but for many women like Parisa, the demonstrations are just as much about taking Iran one step closer to democracy.

“Women have become primary agents of change in Iran,” said Nayereh Tohidi, chairwoman of the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.

The remarkable images show women with uncovered heads who are unafraid to speak their minds and crowds that are not segregated — both the opposite of the norm in Iran, Tohidi said.

She said a long-brewing women’s movement may finally be manifesting itself on the streets and empowering women like Parisa.

“This regime is against all humanity, more specifically against all women,” said Parisa, whom CNN is not fully identifying for security reasons.

“I see lots of girls and women in these demonstrations,” she said. “They are all angry, ready to explode, scream out and let the world hear their voice. I want the world to know that as a woman in this country, I have no freedom.”

Though 63 percent of all Iranian college students are women, the law of the land does not see men and women as equal. In cases of divorce, child custody, inheritance and crime, women do not have the same legal rights as men.

In the past four years, Ahmadinejad has made it easier for men to practice polygamy and harder for women to access public sector jobs, according to CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Even the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the architect of the Islamic republic, voiced frustration at the way women are treated.

“Women are just living things,” Zahra Eshraghi told Amanpour. “A woman is there to fill her husband’s stomach and raise children.”

For the first time, women were allowed to register for the presidential race, though none, including Eshraghi, were deemed fit to run by the religious body that vets candidates. But women’s issues surfaced in the campaign.

That was partly the result of a women’s movement comprised of educated, urban, middle-class women that has grown in recent years with the addition of more conservative and poorer women, said Tohidi, a longtime observer of women’s rights in Iran. Ironically, traditional women first gained voice under the clerics.

“Khomeini needed their votes, so he encouraged them to be publicly active,” Tohidi said.

The middle-class women who enjoyed certain freedoms in prerevolutionary days refused to turn back, while a new generation of conservatives were awakened to feminism.

In 2003, lawyer and women’s rights activist Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize, providing a “big boost” for Iranian women, Tohidi said.

At the same time, private organizations and charities that deal with women’s issues blossomed under the presidency of reformist Mohammed Khatami, growing by as much as 700 percent, Tohidi said.

Marriage age increased as more women opted to marry for love, instead of entering arranged marriages. The One Million Signatures Campaign officially launched in 2006 sprouted new discourse and attention with a petition that asks the parliament to reform gender discriminatory laws.

Two opposition candidates, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi, vowed to look into parts of the Iranian constitution that defer women’s rights to what is regarded as an outdated version of sharia, or Islamic, law. Moussavi had even promised to appoint women as cabinet ministers for the first time.

Some women in Iran looked to Moussavi to carry their banner, perhaps because they were inspired by his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a much-admired academic who told CNN’s Amanpour that Iran’s 34 million women want civil laws and family laws revised.

Author and journalist Azadeh Moaveni, who spent several years working in Iran, said Ahmadinejad’s fundamentalism has pushed Iranian women to the edge.

“He has been a catastrophe for women,” said Moaveni, who wrote “Lipstick Jihad” and co-authored “Iran Awakening” with Nobel laureate Ebadi.

The weight of discrimination against women is felt most profoundly through Iran’s legal system, but Moaveni said Ahmadinejad added to the hardship by clamping down on women’s lifestyles. He mandated the way women dress and even censored Web sites that dealt with women’s health, Moaveni said. A woman would be hard-pressed to conduct a Google search for something as simple as breast cancer.

Moaveni was almost arrested because her coat sleeves were too short and exposed too much skin. In that setting, she said, it’s striking to see women protesting, especially without their hijabs, or head coverings.

“While it’s not at the top of women’s grievances, the hijab is symbolic. Taking it off is like waving a red flag,” Moaveni said. “Women are saying they are a force to be reckoned with.”

Azar Nafisi, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” said she has been watching the footage from Iran with “inordinate pride.”

She marched on the streets during the 1979 revolution because she believed in greater freedoms for her people, only to see her dreams shattered as hardline clerics took hold of Iran. “Reading Lolita” is largely a memoir of her harrowing days in Iran until 1997, when she immigrated to the United States.

“The way I walked down the street became a political statement,” Nafisi said.

She recalled her own mother being a devout Muslim who chose not to wear a veil. Her grandmother, like more traditional women in Iran, wore a veil but resented the government ordering her to do so. Covering up, Nafisi said, was a matter of faith, not politics.

Nafisi believes that women have become a symbolic statement of the power of the Islamic state. She called Iranian women canaries of the mind — barometers of how free society is.

It’s impossible to predict what will transpire in Iran in the coming days.

Nafisi believes a regime change will not be enough; that only a change in mindset can lead to greater freedoms for women.

Moaveni said the sheer scale of the demonstrations assures her that the political and social climate will never again be the same in Iran.

Tohidi is keeping her fingers crossed that the protests won’t prompt Iran’s hardliners to clamp down and rule by repression.

But all of them shared the hopes of the women — like Parisa — who are marching on the streets.

“Today, we were wearing black,” Parisa said, referring to the day of mourning to remember those who have died in post-election violence.

“We were holding signs. We said, ‘We are not sheep. We are human beings,'” she said.

Parisa was thankful for all the images being transmitted out of Iran despite the government’s crackdown on international journalists. She was thankful, too, that the world cared.

“Today,” she said, “I had this feeling of hope that things will finally

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Voices from the Middle:Intelligence is Not an Affirmative Action Program


By: Barry Loberfeld

Earlier this year when Long Island’s Newsday printed on its cover the names and headshots of the 59 of the national Intel science contest’s 300 semifinalists who come from the region, it put journalism before politics by not concealing what would be a major problem for certain elements of the Left and Right: The contingent didn’t “look like” America — at least as some conceive it.

Feminists, for example, will be hard pressed to explain how 25 of the 59 could be young women. After all, isn’t there hindering discrimination against females everywhere in our society — especially in the science classroom? How was the number of 25 achieved with only student achievement and no affirmative action? What can feminists denounce — that a full one-half of those featured, 29½ people, weren’t female?

Worse, how will the whites-control-everything crowd explain the most glaring feature of the cover: The majority of the students are not European Christians. On the contrary, Jews, Orientals (“Asians”), and people from the Indian subcontinent (“South Asians”) form the greater part of the group. We find in one row: Feinberg, Fichtelberg, Gittin, Goldaper, and Gurevich. So, where is the “domination” by America’s dominant demographic?

Of course, nativists also can’t be too happy about the line-up. They won’t find a Smith or a Jones or a Johnson, to say nothing of an Alden or a Bradford or a Standish. Indeed, two young men who look as if they actually could have a Pilgrim forebear also have the names “Aleksandr Sinelnikov” and “Yevgeniy Yesilevskiy.” And Buchananite conservatives, for whom “America” is its true-blue-collar Catholics, would no doubt be calling for more than just immigration quotas if they were to learn that there was only one unequivocally Irish name (with one or two possibly Irish ones), as well as only one Italian name. Forget America — this group doesn’t even “look like” Long Island. Alas, young Miss Scavelli is not the only lone member of an “underrepresented” segment of our society: There is only one black student. And while the term “Hispanic” is fairly encompassing, it doesn’t encompass any of the semifinalists (as far as I can tell).

Finally, there is the matter of the number 59 itself, out of 300. Does Long Island have 19.6 percent of the population? As the article observes, that number is “more than double that produced by New York City’s high schools, and also more than double that for the entire state of California.” (In 2002, the number was 88.)

Well, what are we to make of it all? That the “women’s movement” was largely successful — for certain minority groups? Or that gender is irrelevant compared to ethnicity/race? That the judging panel, sponsor Intel Corp., and even the science itself are all biased against Hibernians and Sicilians but in favor of Ashkenazim and Chinese? Can there be “institutional discrimination” against minority and majority groups? If so, who’s instituting that discrimination — a privileged minority group? And why would Santa Clara-based Intel be disproportionately generous to Long Islanders? Taken all together, what we must have here are some very discriminating bigots, indeed.

Clearly, there’s only one real question: What would the contemporary promoters of “equality” consider a just and “natural” outcome, evincive of a total absence of any form of bias?

For that to be true, the 59 must reflect perfectly the ethnic breakdown of the United States — or at least Long Island — or better yet, for the full 300 to be a microcosm of the country. How would that be possible? What are they insisting upon — that the random differences from one individual to the next in ability, ambition, and values all add up to the same proportion of low/medium/high achievers for each demographic group…and that this in turn somehow translate into a “representation” of all groups relative to each one’s percentage of the population? One word: astronomical.

… Hear the words of one of the foremost exponents of faux egalitarianism:

[T]he shell in which the cultural construction and self-education of Communist man will be enclosed, will develop all the vital elements of contemporary art to the highest point. Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.

Leon Trotsky wrote this in his book Literature and Revolution.

Are today’s socialists any less absurd? Only slightly so. Barbara Ehrenreich, a socialist feminist considered by some to be reasonable, was called upon to explain why “fewer men are going to college,” despite the alleged persistence of male privilege. She insisted, “they suspect that they can make a living just as well without a college education; in other words they still have such an advantage over women in the non-professional workforce that they don’t require an education.” Would she assert that “fewer blacks are going to college” because “they suspect that they can make a living just as well without a college education; in other words they still have such an advantage over whites in the non-professional workforce that they don’t require an education”? When fewer women were going to college, was it because “they still had such an advantage over men in the non-professional workforce that they didn’t require an education”? Why would the Learned Elders of Patriarchy maintain male privilege in the non-professional workforce? Except for sports prodigies, who does better — or even “just as well” — without a college degree?

More and more, “discrimination” explains less and less. And yet the “progressive” disintelligentsia demands it be enshrined as the only explanation for any demographic “discrepancy” between any groups — i.e., as America’s defining reality. Hence Ehrenreich: Unable to find men’s “advantage over women” in the world of higher education, the author of Nickel and Dimed projects it onto the world of burger-flipping. Accordingly, the Left has convinced itself that those who contest this diagnosis — and its concomitant cures — do so only because they want to propagate the disease of “inequality.” Dissent from this Ivory Tower dogmatism is maligned as gutter bigotry.

One of the most stark examples — a rebuke to those who pronounce “political correctness” dead or mythological — is the recent blitzkrieg of slander waged against economist Walter Block. The particulars are simple: After giving a speech at Loyola College of Maryland, Block was vilified as a racist and sexist by sundry university and outside entities (call them the “Affirmative Action Diversity Task Force”) for not explaining the white-black and male-female wage gaps solely in terms of the mandatory societal-bias model. A solid scholar, he beat back these ad hominem attacks. But it is a telling indictment of that model that it can be sustained only with the imposition of an ideological litmus test — and in opposition to any intellectual standards.

It is not merely a dogmatic model, but one applied incoherently, i.e., hypocritically. Ehrenreich’s unwillingness to hypothesize women’s advantage over men in academia is one example. Another: If blacks are disproportionately “represented” in the penal system, that in itself “demonstrates” that there must be bias against them and in favor of whites. But if males are disproportionately incarcerated, no one — least of all feminists — argues for the culpability of a systemic bias against men and in favor of women. What kind of egalitarianism can’t maintain “equality” even in its own postulates and yet presumes to do so for the entirety of society?

How long will leftists insist that there must be something wrong if every field of endeavor doesn’t mirror America’s ethnic composition? How long will feminists insist upon their “minority” status even when women outnumber men in positive, successful areas?

And the “cultural conservatives,” who seem concerned less for Western civilization than for Country-and-Western civilization? By every indication they would delightedly set sail a ship of multiracial scientists in exchange for a dinghy of Scots-Irish creationists. What would America be without any non-Christians and non-whites? Evidently a whole lot dumber. And if Mr. Buchanan’s own children are not among any contest winners, he has no one to blame but himself.

In all areas, achievement is an individual responsibility.

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Got Jews?

Here we go again! No matter where I look it seems I keep seeing ads and images and news reports that try to draw a parallel between Israel and Nazi Germany. To me this about like drawing a parallel between Dirty Harry and The Manson Family. In the one case you have someone who has been known to go too far in a good cause. On the other we have a totally evil bunch who tried to justify their atrocities.

I have noticed a trend amongst the morally bankrupt whether they be an insincere “evangelical” preacher or a woman abuser or a radical Muslim. They all like to describe their own evils in great detail. But they assign these evils to their innocent victims; non-Christian(tm)s, woman and Jews.

You can learn volumes about the mindset of the radical Muslim. Just listen to what they say about Jews and apply it all, in total detail, to the speaker! You can’t go far wrong I promise.

When you hear the TV preacher talking about how no one can restrain their sinful ways without “Jayzus” they are merely confessing their own lack of inner moral values. They require an external authority to impose a decent life on them. They just “don’t get it”. Yet they claim the moral high ground in their moral weakness and proclaim those who do NOT need such a supernatural daddy figure are immoral and evil. This totally ignored the success of the totally secular Western system as seen in America.

The reason Thomas Jefferson and other notable agnostics and Deists like Franklin used a lot of Biblical imagery was that simply that the Bible contained a common language of image and theology from which express his Enlightenment era ideas. The Bible can be useful in that capacity today. It is interesting to note how many of the concepts of the New Testament are actually Rabbinical ideas that had their root in Hillel and other Jewish sages of Jesus’ time. One idea that is common to both traditions is very apropos today: Judge them by their fruits.

In every society where Jews are allowed to pursue their lives with any degree of freedom, and some places where they can’t, they bring a yeast-like effect. Simply list a series of German, British, French or American (amongst others) writers, playwrights, scientist, actors, politicians and such and you will find Jewish people represented far beyond their numbers in that society. This obviously seems to be due to the extreme intellectual tradition with which Jewish children are raised. It is GOOD for Jews to know and understand things. This puts them a bit ahead of the game in many fields over us laissez faire Goyim. I would imagine it really irks the ego of folks like Muslims whose religious and intellectual tradition is based on authority and rote memorization instead of enquiry and debate. Hence the almost pathological hatred of Muslims for Jews. And the hatred of many non-Muslims for Jews for that matter. It all comes down to an envy for a richly creative upbringing.

This tradition does not force all Jews to be moral and good people though. I think this is why you see Jewish people EVERYWHERE there are new thoughts being thought and ideas being worked with. Good, bad or indifferent if there are creative minds involved there will probably be a Jew somewhere close. Some people cannot deal with such nuances and simply blame Jews for the people’s own failings. Their small numbers and essentially non-violent philosophy makes them an unfortunately prime target for repression whenever the local authorities need a scapegoat.

There is virtually nothing similar between the situation in Israel and Gaza and the West Bank and what happened with the Nazis. Unless you want to examine the pathological insecurity of the Muslim nations and the Nazis whom they allied with in WWII.