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A civilization in decline

It seems as though more and more news items lately have a common element: After decades of steadily attacking, hollowing out or abandoning its own culture, the Western world is showing major signs of social, political and moral decay.

Personally, I am no traditionalist. I think all traditions should be examined in the light of logic and justice – and revised or replaced, where they’re found lacking. This is one reason why I have never called myself a conservative (and have tried not to become GP’s “main blogger”).

But my intention, as a non-traditionalist, is to ‘keep things real’ and build on what’s best in the Western tradition: which is what Jonah Goldberg has called the Lockean Revolution, the idea that the individual owns herself – and is not owned by the Massa, feudal Lord, Village, Community, Tribe, Race, Party, State or Ummah. The leftists who have attacked the West from within, for decades now, have been after the exact opposite idea.

A civilization/culture doesn’t survive unless its young women and men will mostly (regardless of particular individuals’ sexual orientation or practices) do the following together: (a) get along; (b) find a genuine sense of purpose and meaning in that culture/civilization; and therefore (c) actually create and raise new generations for it. We are seeing more and more signs that the West is decrepit, on all three counts.

I could talk about the West’s declining birthrates, or its anti-child and self-terminating “environmentalism”, or its ever-growing political insanity. But, just to restrict it to current events, GayPatriot’s main page presently notices such news items as:

And we can add more items:

I recommend that last link, Lee Smith’s opinion piece titled “Why the Teenage Girls of Europe are Joining ISIS”, for your attention. When a given civilization can no longer persuade its own teenage girls to sign on with it: it’s cooked.

Gay Marriage and the Secular Inquisition

From the Federalist, gay marriage as a tool for subjugation of the individual to the state.

The theory behind gay marriage, in short, was the theory behind the entire secular left: society and the state are the all-powerful forces on which the life of the individual depends, and the most important political task—indeed, the most important task in life—is getting this irresistible power on your side. Once you gain social and political power, you hold on to it by making your preferred views mandatory, a catechism everyone must affirm, while suppressing all heretical views. In this case, to gain social acceptance of homosexuality, you make the affirmation of gay marriages mandatory while officially suppressing any dissenting religious views.

Exactly so. There is no reason to force ordained ministers to perform gay weddings, no reason to force bakers to provide cakes for gay weddings, no reason to force florists and photographers to participate in gay weddings… except to enforce the idea that individual must bow to whoever wields the power of the state.

Iraq

Just one link today and no lengthy comment for it. All I can say is: This is what happens when America wills itself to be led by a president who truly, deep down, does not understand or believe in America.

Two More Victims of the Left’s Intolerance

Two upstate New York Radio hosts were fired today for disagreeing with the City of Rochester’s decision to pay for elective genital mutilation surgery.

Entercom Rochester on Thursday announced the firings of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck from WBZA, calling their comments “hateful” and saying they don’t represent the station.

Ray referred to someone seeking gender reassignment surgery as “a nut job.” Beck equated the issue to having the city pay for breast enhancement or liposuction for a mentally ill woman.

It’s baffling to any sensible person why debt-ridden cities should be paying for elective surgery anyway.

On the other hand, leftist clown Ed Schultz is quitting radio.

Importing the FSA

A study recently found that the reason immigrants favor Democrats 2 to 1 over Republicans is because immigrants want what the Democrats promise: Free [Stuff] from the Government. The more immigrants that get imported, the larger the Free [Stuff] Army (FSA) grows, even in Texas.

So, the Republican Party is doomed… and pro-Amnesty, pro-Mass Immigration types like Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and John McCain… are eager to facilitate the demographic Kervorkianing of the GOP.

One problem though; the economy is way, way past its freeloader carrying capacity. Our actual private economy is in decline; a decline hidden only by massive borrowing and spending by Government at all levels. (Government spending is actually a component of the Gross Domestic Product; which is kind of like if I counted the money I spent every year as part of my annual income). A declining economy and an expanding Government are mutually unsustainable. The USA today is in very much the position of the USSR in the 1980s; except instead of a bloated military complex, we have a bloated entitlement complex.

The appetite for Free [Stuff] from the Government is infinite; but economic resources are limited. The new Democrat majority can vote for everything their greedy little hearts desire; but at some point, there’s no money to pay for it. We are already beyond that point.

Discuss

If a hypothetical male were asked, “What is your opinion on women’s rights?” and he answered, “I take an Islamic view of the rights of women,” should this hypothetical man be:

A. Called out as a chauvinist and a misogynist?

B. Praised for his multicultural tolerance and openness to social diversity?

For the progressive feminist left, this is apparently quite a conundrum.

 

What ARE the aims of Obama’s foreign policy?

Victor Davis Hanson published a memorable piece in the National Review last week entitled “America as Pill Bug.”  The pill bug or the roly-poly bug is one that turns itself into a ball when it feels threatened.  Hanson writes:

That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan, and the scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.

On August 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed on the basis of intelligence reports of planned al-Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.

Yet we still have over a month to go before the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, an iconic date for radical Islamists.

Such preemptive measures are no doubt sober and judicious. Yet if we shut down our entire public profile in the Middle East on the threat of terrorism, what will we do when more anti-American violence arises? Should we close more embassies for more days, or return home altogether?

Hanson makes an excellent point about the way the Obama administration’s closure of embassies is likely to be viewed in the Arab world and around the globe.  Although, as Jeff pointed out in a post last week, the administration may have ulterior motives–by trying to create a distraction–by closing the embassies in this manner, the reality is that the interpretation of the administration’s actions by our international foes is likely to proceed in a manner similar to that Hanson envisions in his article.

Hanson looks at the example of Libya and Syria to illustrate that the administration’s “lead from behind” strategy is not working, and that it appears to be counterproductive:

Instead, the terrorists are getting their second wind, as they interpret our loud magnanimity as weakness — or, more likely, simple confusion. They increasingly do not seem to fear U.S. retaliation for any planned assaults. Instead, al-Qaeda franchises expect Americans to adopt their new pill-bug mode of curling up until danger passes.

Our enemies have grounds for such cockiness. President Obama promised swift punishment for those who attacked U.S. installations in Benghazi and killed four Americans. So far the killers roam free. Rumors abound that they have been seen publicly in Libya.

Instead of blaming radical Islamist killers for that attack, the Obama reelection campaign team fobbed the assault off as the reaction to a supposedly right-wing, Islamophobic videomaker. That yarn was untrue and was greeted as politically correct appeasement in the Middle East.

All these Libyan developments took place against a backdrop of “lead from behind.” Was it wise for American officials to brag that the world’s largest military had taken a subordinate role in removing Moammar Qaddafi — in a military operation contingent on approval from the United Nations and the Arab League but not the U.S. Congress?

No one knows what to do about the mess in Syria. But when you do not know what to do, it is imprudent to periodically lay down “red lines.” Yet the administration has done just that to the Bashar al-Assad regime over the last two years.

Hanson sees the Obama administration’s foreign policy as a disastrous replay of the Carter doctrine, once again illustrating Glenn Reynolds’ frequent observation that a replay of Jimmy Carter is simply the “best-case scenario” for Obama.

While I believe Hanson is right in his characterization of the big picture and the likely consequences of Obama foreign policy, I’d differ from him in seeing Obama as being as feckless and weak as Carter.  I’d maintain that Carter’s foreign policy was guided by a number of naive precepts about the nature of the world.  At least during the years of his presidency, I’d contend that Carter “meant well” in the way the phrase is commonly used to describe a hopelessly incompetent bumbler who seems incapable of recognizing his own shortcomings.  Likewise, early in the Obama administration, Tammy Bruce started referring to Obama as Urkel, the nerdy, awkward, inept kid from the TV show “Family Matters” who had an uncanny ability to mess up almost everything he touched.  That certainly is one narrative for what Obama is doing in the world of foreign policy, but I’m not sure it is the right one.

As I contemplate Obama foreign policy, though, particularly in the Middle East, I find myself thinking more and more that although incompetence might be the simplest explanation, it might not be the best or the right one.  I see no good intentions in the administration’s domestic policy, so why should its foreign policy be exempt from charges that it is motivated more by malevolence to the United States and its role in history than by a supposed set of “liberal” ideals?

This is an administration that seems bent on alienating all of our historical allies as quickly as possible, while taking it easy on our geopolitical foes.  Obama seems to want our allies to view us as unreliable and untrustworthy while making sure our enemies view us as weak, indecisive, and either unable or unwilling to use force to protect our interests or to enforce our stated policy goals.  If there is a better explanation of the administration’s ultimate foreign policy goals, I’d sure like to know what it might be.

 

Hugo Chavez is dead. NPR hardest hit.

Those of us who listen to NPR largely to monitor the bias in the publicly-funded network’s news programming were treated to a whole series of stories about Hugo Chavez and Venezuela this week in advance of that country’s election on Sunday.   While it is easy for NPR to downplay the bias in its reporting on North Korea since few on the American left are foolish enough to openly praise Kim Jong-un, reporting on Chavez and Venezuela poses a large number of challenges for the network, as it tries to appear “balanced” while still advancing its agenda.

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, for instance, I heard part of this interview and couldn’t believe what I was listening to, as NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed Rory Carroll, a correspondent for The Guardian who has written a book about Chavez.  The interview began with Carroll making an observation about Chavez’s strong support among poor Venezuelans:

I would say about a third of Venezuelans adored him right through everything. From the beginning, right until the end. And, it’s impressive. I mean, for a guy who’s in power for 14 years? And you would tramp up the barrios — these hillside slums were his bedrock of support — and these people felt that down below in the palace, in Miraflores, there was a guy who was on their side — that he was their champion. He looked like them, he spoke like them. He was them. And that was an incredibly powerful connection that Chavez was able to maintain all through his 14 years in power.

In a subsequent exchange, Carroll related the story of a “clash” he once had with Chavez on television where Chavez responded to the question in part by deploying the rhetoric of race and class which is so popular on the left.  Summing up the encounter, Carroll made it clear he thought Chavez had made a valuable point: “I was a perfect fall guy or rhetorical punch bag, in the sense that, yes, I’m Irish, freckly and blond, or ginger, if you like — I was in that sense a perfect foil as a stand-in agent of imperialism.”

As the interview continued, though, Carroll acknowledged that the longer Chavez remained in power, the less enthusiastic he and the staff at The Guardian felt about Chavez’s reign.  Carroll talked about economic stagnation in Venezuela, the rising crime rate, and the fact that the failure of many of Chavez’s policies disproportionately affected the poor.  Carroll answered a question about his declining enthusiasm for Chavez as follows:

Well, it’s a good question. Yes, at the beginning — and I think most liberals and right-thinking people would have been, in his first couple of years in power. There was plenty of reason to give him any benefit of the doubt. Now, over time, when he became a bit more oppressive, shutting down television stations, and when the wheels were kind of beginning to come off the economy in some ways, I, in my own reporting, became very critical, just reflecting what I saw on the ground. And this prompted quite a debate, internal debate, in my newspaper, because a lot of editors then and to this day feel and felt that we should have supported Hugo Chavez because he was a standard-bearer for the left. Whereas I, very close up, I thought, well, no, actually. Because sadly, he’s running the country into the ground and we have to report that.

In other words, even a reporter for The Guardian feels compelled to actually practice journalism once in a while.  And it was at this point when this interview–and other stories like it during the week–started to get very challenging for NPR and its listeners.

My reaction to the interview–and other stories like it during the week–was rather like Tim Graham’s take at Newsbusters: “Thatcher, Schmatcher. NPR is still obsessing over its loss of leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.”  But when I actually looked up the interview on the NPR website, I saw something else completely.  Even when normally far-left NPR decides to air a mostly positive story about Chavez, it is still not positive enough for its left-wing listeners.

Many listeners were voicing their anger at NPR for daring to mention any of the negative realities of life under Chavez.  One listener wrote:

The tone of this article is most disappointing. Where do I start and is it worth it, given that NPR has become a mouthpiece for North American pursuit of control over everyone, starting from its docile citizens? Or are they simply immoral and prefer to ignore military intervention so they can continue to shop and charge everything on (more…)

The nature of Hugo Chávez’s appeal on the American left?

Does Rich Lowry get it?

Chávez got his first political break in a failed military coup and never lost his taste for militarizing politics. Fidel Castro was his mentor, and he propped up the Castro regime with Venezuela’s ample oil. He funded guerrillas warring against the democratically elected government of Colombia. He praised every heinous dictator around the planet as a brother-in-arms. He was hell on the plutocrats, and also on the Jews. “Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by those wandering Jews,” he warned his countrymen, in a sentiment worthy of the 15th century.

All of this should make Chávez an unsympathetic figure for everyone in America. Not so, sadly. For some, all is forgiven if you hate the rich with a white-hot passion and talk the language of populist redistribution, while wrapping your program in a bow of rancid, paranoid anti-Americanism. Then, every allowance will be made for your thuggery. Everyone will obsess about your colorful and charming personality. And praise you when you’re gone.

Emphasis added.  Via Powerline Picks.

Social Psychology, Politics, and Disgust

I saw this item at Reason.com the other day.  It’s a short piece reflecting on a video of a speech by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talking about how one’s “sensitivity to disgust” is supposedly some sort of predictor of one’s political views.  I haven’t watched the whole video yet, but the speech was given at the Museum of Sex in New York City, so some amount of its content seems designed to appeal to the audience that would be attending a speech in that location.

Jim Epstein at Reason.com summarizes the key points of the speech as follows:

“Morality isn’t just about stealing and killing and honesty, it’s often about menstruation, and food, and who you are having sex with, and how you handle corpses,” says NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who is author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics.

Haidt argues that our concern over these victimless behaviors is rooted in our biology. Humans evolved to feel disgusted by anything that when consumed makes us sick. That sense of disgust then expanded “to become a guardian of the social order.”

This impulse is at the core of the culture war. Those who have a low sensitivity to disgust tend to be liberals or libertarians; those who are easily disgusted tend to be conservative.

The full video of the speech is available at the above link.

My reaction to all this is that it 1). depends on how one defines conservative, and 2). it depends on what kinds of things one labels or considers to be examples of disgust.

With respect to point 1)., I think that a large portion of the conservative coalition is rather heavily libertarian-leaning, and it just makes more sense for us to identify as conservative and vote for Republicans because  the Libertarian party seems doomed to remain a fringe party, at least as long as that party’s leadership continues to endorse an isolationist or head-in-the-sand approach to foreign policy.  Now while it may be the case that many traditional “social conservatives” have a “high sensitivity to disgust” with respect to issues of sex, I’m not even convinced that that is as widely the case as Haidt’s remarks suggest.  I’ve heard socially-conservative Christian ministers talk about sex in ways that show they may have a better understanding of the variety of human sexual experience than many academics who claim to be experts on the subject.

On the other hand, with respect to point 2)., I can find many, many examples of “disgust” fueling the attitudes of liberals and leftists.  One could begin by looking at their intense hatred of Sarah Palin and anyone like her.  Some of that hatred, I would argue, was fueled by a disgust at the lives of anyone who doesn’t live the life of a modern liberal in a major coastal city.

Most modern liberals are disgusted by hunting, by the people who shop at Wal-Mart, by the petroleum industry, by the food industry, by the military, by evangelical Christians, and by the reality of life in small-town, rural America.  James Taranto and British Philosopher Roger Scruton call it “oikophobia”: it is a worldview which accepts or excuses the transgressions of select special-interest groups or of non-western cultures, while it judges the familiar by a harsh standard and condemns them with expressions of disgust at the nature of their lives.

Christian Radio Show Host Wants Gays Tortured

Aw crap…. I incorrectly spelled “Muslim” in the headline.

Ofcom upheld two complaints from listeners about Leeds based Radio Asian Fever after presenter Rubina Nasir hit out at homosexuality and mixed faith marriages.

She said that homosexuals should be ‘beaten up’ and that a Muslim marrying a non-Mulslim was on ‘the straight path to hellfire’.

The presenter, known as ‘Sister Ruby’, said: “What should be done if they do it? [practise homosexuality].

“If there are two such persons among you, that do this evil, the shameful act, what do you have to do? Torture them; punish them; beat them and give them mental torture.””Allah states, ‘If they do such a deed [i.e. homosexuality], punish them, both physically and mentally.

It’s unfortunate that Advocate Magazine is too busy printing hatred of fellow Americans instead of focusing on systematic anti-gay actions by Islamic regimes in Egypt and Iran that prefer their gays on the end of ropes.

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Carney clueless about Islamofascist anti-Americanism

Somebody needs update White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on the anti-American nature of Islamicist movements. In his press briefing earlier today, he claimed that those protesting in the Middle East are not angry at the United States or its policies, but because of a video released on the Internets.

Via the Blaze, also National Review.

The video was only a pretext.  The protesters were planing to protest.  This mentality is akin to that of the statement the Romney campaign criticized — and which the State Department later retracted.

Oh, and, when Mitt Romney initially criticized that statement, it still stood as the only one of three administration reactions to the attacks on our embassies. The embassy statement stood for nearly fourteen hours until the Obama administration claimed it had not been “cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government”. [NB: Tweaked this paragraph by adding in the italicized words and striking the "struck" words when I learned that Secretary of State Clinton condemned the Benghazi violence before Romney released his statement.]

UPDATE:  A reminder to Mr. Carney:  The attack was pre-planned:  “According to U.S. intel, the attack on the Benghazi consulate was pre-planned and unrelated to the protest over the movie outside the building, except to the extent that it used the latter as a diversion for security.”

We Interrupt Our Petty Lives for this Announcement:

Ever since I first heard of Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor held captive in that horrible subnormal nation by its rulers for the crime of apostasy, I’ve had as my homepage at work the American Center for Law and Justice website which had been counting the days of his incarceration.

That count has ended.

While I was out of town this weekend with my partner and away from the news, Pastor Nadarkhani was released by the court that had originally sentenced him to death. The charge of apostasy has been reduced to that of evangelizing, and his punishment to time served.

There is so much to say that if I did would look like gift-horse material. For now, let’s all just say a prayer of thanksgiving that he has been delivered from these savages and is currently back in the embrace of his family.

Let’s also further pray that now that he’s out of jail he will find safety. All to often in places like Iran, prisoners of conscience are released from official bondage only to be torn apart by the mobs that populate such backward countries.

If you’d like to know more about Pastor Nadarkhani and his trials, check out the link to the ACLJ above.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

They Turned Their Backs On God — Three Times

Someone did that to Jesus, too. Until he became a believer. (YouTube video restored)

This is the modern Democratic Party: anti-religious, anti-freedom, anti-liberty and anti-Israel.  Truly an extremist party if ever I’ve seen it.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Democrats Boo “God” & “Jerusalem” As Platform Chaos Ensues

Well, I am SURE not going into Uptown Charlotte now… until the Godless Democrats leave town!

YouTube Preview Image

If there was any doubt as that anti-Christian and anti-Israel forces have taken over the Obama Democrat Party, there should be none after today.

America worships God and Our Creator, not Barack & Michelle.

 -Bruce (GayPatriot)

Maybe Dan Savage Was Confused?

I just noticed this quote from Savage’s wild-eyed bullying tirade…

“There is no effort to amend state constitutions to make it legal to stone women to death on their wedding nights if they’re not virgins — at least not yet,” Savage said. “We don’t know where the GOP is going these days.”

“People are dying because people can’t clear this one last hurdle,” he said. “They can’t get past this one last thing in the Bible — about homosexuality.

If I didn’t know better, I would think he was criticizing Islamic governments around the world that routinely stone women & hang gays NOW. I don’t recall an American government official doing anything of the sort in at least 50 years. And back then, it would have most likely been a Democrat.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Why do leaders like Havel not win more accolades*?

Don’t expect the media to make a big deal of it,” writes Rand Simberg about the passing of an artist who devoted much of  theatrical career to challenging Communism.

Although Vaclev Havel stood up for artistic freedom and defended the political systems which allowed for freedom of expression, he never achieved the accolades as did many with fewer accomplishments and a smaller vision.  He was, as Simberg put it,

. . . the wrong kind of dissenter, being too American for Europe. The fact that he never won a Peace Prize, while Yasser Arafat and Barack Obama did, says something very fundamental about the corruption and uselessness of that once-honorable achievement.

(Via Insapundit.)  Why do so many on the left so often champion those voices dissenting not just the systems which oppressed them, but also the Western ideals which promote the very idea of dissent?

Bruce Bawer thinks we need more leaders like Havel.   More on this great man, anon.  Much more.

*from Western intellectuals.

Jamie Kirchick’s window into (the reactionary nature of) contemporary liberalism

On Monday, realizing that nearly 500 e-mails had accumulated in my blog and personal e-mail accounts, I started wading through them, going through nearly 200 e-mails.  I did catch a few personal ones I missed, but most (fortunately!) were just links to (or summaries of) news and opinion pieces which I mostly skimmed over.

A number caught my eye, including this one from the globe-trotting Jamie Kirchick:

The subtitle struck me even more than the title, “The political legacy of opposition to apartheid has devolved into hostility toward the West — and sympathy for anyone else engaged in ‘anti-imperial struggle’”. It’s almost as if that statement defines many facets of American liberalism — and other left-wing ideologies — particularly since the Civil Rights movement.

All too many on the left saw segregation not as an ugly stain on a noble experiment, but instead as a defining aspect of America. In opposing that heinous system, many became hostile toward the United States and, by extension, the West. Their animosity is often furthered by the way the legacy of the Civil Rights’ movement is taught on college campi. Western civilization, our teachers tell us, is fundamentally hostile to “the other.”

No wonder some left-wing outfits show support for the ostensible representatives of other oppressed groups, even when those representatives are themselves hostile to those supposedly represented by the groups themselves. Witness Codepink. Or “Queers for Palestine.

All too few (alas!) recognize that Dr. King drew on the very best of the Western tradition in crafting his (successful) movement to end segregation, frequently citing, in his speeches, our country’s founding documents and national hymns and regularly referencing Scripture and lessons drawn from his education in Christian theology.

Why is Codepink supporting Gaza flotilla?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:06 pm - June 23, 2011.
Filed under: Anti-Western Attitudes,Liberal Hypocrisy

Seven months ago today, Khaled Abu Toamah described the plight of women living in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip:

Since Hamas seized full control over the Gaza Strip in 2007, Palestinian women have been deprived of many of basic rights, such as strolling along the beach alone or smoking in public. Under Hamas, female lawyers are not allowed to appear in court unless they are wearing the hijab.

They are also barred from going to male hairdressers. A woman who is seen in public with a man is often stopped by Hamas policemen and questioned about the nature of the relationship between them.

Women in the Gaza Strip who have dared to participate in public political and social events have been repeatedly harassed by the Hamas government. As a result, many of them have been forced to stay at home out of fear for their lives.

Yet, over on Codepink’s website, we find this:

Why is this women’s organization so concerned about how the nation in the Middle East which provides the fewest restrictions on women because of their gender treats a flotilla providing supplies to an enclave run by terrorists who treat women as third-class citizens?

Guess these folks are so opposed to “U.S. funded wars and occupations,” as they bill it, that the enemy of their enemy is their friend even if said “friend” restricts women from participating in civil society.

Where’s the Syria Flotilla?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - June 17, 2011.
Filed under: Anti-Western Attitudes,Liberals,Politics abroad

Reading Glenn’s report of efforts to stop the Gaza Flotilla, I started wondering if those do-gooders eager to help those suffering under the Islamicist tyranny in Gaza had organized such aquatic caravans to provide relief to those suffering under similar regimes in Syria, Iran and Libya or in such impoverished places like Somalia.