Archive for the ‘ Politics & Government ’ Category

Common Sense on Refugees

America has always been the most accepting of nations with respect to immigrants. The doors have almost always been open wide. In the early years, there were no immigration restrictions at all. The real restrictions only applied to citizenship. Immigrants could come over, but if they wanted the privileges of citizenship, they had to meet certain requirements.

The period from approximately 1890-1917 was unprecedented in history as those teeming masses descended upon a country that held greater promise than what the immigrants could expect in their homelands.

After WWI, some restrictions were placed, but only in the manner of percentages from certain countries as concerns about the changing demographics came to the forefront, but compared to the rest of the world, we remained the “golden door” of opportunity.

So I have great sympathy for those who wish to flee persecution and find a safe place here. Yet wisdom must accompany that sympathy. This is, in a sense, a new world we are now confronting. Some of our leaders, though, don’t see it that way:

Huddled Masses

Most of those seeking to enter America are most assuredly not terrorists, but, as we now know in the Paris attacks, some of those involved with those attacks smuggled themselves in disguised as genuine refugees. Concern over the nature of this new immigration is sensible:

Refugee Roulette

A bipartisan bill has recently passed the House and is going to the Senate. It is not a drastic, xenophobic bill at all, but merely an attempt to tighten the vetting process. President Obama now finds himself fighting not only Republicans but many in his own party:

Where'd Everybody Go

Harry Reid already has threatened to filibuster this bill in the Senate. That’s to be expected from Harry Reid. Will enough Democrats abandon his sinking ship and come to their senses, allowing this bill to be sent to Obama’s desk? He will certainly veto it, yet there is a good chance his veto will be overridden this time.

Common sense needs to prevail here. “Common sense” and “Democrats” are not terms that automatically go together. May they be reunited in this case.

Lewis & the Omnicompetent State (Part 3)

Last month, I presented a paper to the C. S. Lewis Foundation’s Academic Roundtable at its fall retreat. This is the third installment of that paper, which focuses on Lewis’s concerns that an elite would create a totalitarian state. This installment shows how Lewis portrayed that in his novel That Hideous Strength.

That Hideous StrengthEnter That Hideous Strength, first published in 1945, one year after the appearance of The Abolition of Man. The centerpiece in the novel of the unholy alliance between science and the omnicompetent state is the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments, or N.I.C.E., a rather clever way of demonstrating how totalitarianism can put on a humane face. In a sentence tinged with an understated sarcasm, Lewis describes the N.I.C.E. as “the first-fruits of that constructive fusion between the state and the laboratory on which so many thoughtful people base their hopes of a better world.”

As the rather vain and eager-to-enter-into-the-inner-ring Bracton professor Mark Studdock is introduced to the goals of the N.I.C.E. by the devious Lord Feverstone, he is informed that someone needs to take over the human race and re-condition it. Techniques will include sterilization, liquidation of backward races, selective breeding, and psychological conditioning leading to biochemical conditioning and direct manipulation of the brain.

Playing to Studdock’s desire to be part of the new age that is dawning, Feverstone entices him with this promise: “Man has got to take charge of Man. That means, remember, that some men have got to take charge of the rest—which is another reason for cashing in on it as soon as one can. You and I want to be the people who do the taking charge, not the ones who are taken charge of.”

Studdock’s role is to be one of the propagandists for the organization, writing untruths to win over the general public and also to influence the House of Commons. Lewis doesn’t seem to see much difference between the two audiences—both are equally and easily led by the nose.

When Studdock questions how they can pull off a “newspaper stunt . . . without being political,” and wonders whether it’s the newspapers on the Right or the Left that will print his articles, Hardcastle [the head of the institution’s police force] schools him on how to manipulate politics:

Don’t you understand anything? Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and a fierce Right, both on their toes and each terrified of the other? That’s how we get things done. Any opposition to the N.I.C.E. is represented as a Left racket in the Right papers and a Right racket in the Left papers. If it’s properly done, you get each side outbidding the other in support of us—to refute the enemy slanders. Of course we’re non-political. The real power always is.

As the N.I.C.E. goes forward with its agenda, it engineers riots, getting the government to declare a state of emergency. Then it maneuvers itself into the position of being given the authority to make the rules for the state of emergency.

To top off the plan, the hope is that Lord Feverstone, who already is a Member of Parliament, will receive the post of emergency governor. Then the N.I.C.E. will, in effect, become the new civil government as its power and influence expands. Totalitarian government will then carry out the nefarious plot of re-conditioning the human race.

How did Lewis see the beginnings of this totalitarian state in his own time? That will be the subject of the next installment.

Dangers of Misguided Compassion

I’m concerned that many of my fellow Christian believers are falling for a lie—the lie that if the US doesn’t take in thousands upon thousands of Syrian refugees that we are a hard-hearted, unchristian people. Accusations against those who want to be cautious about the refugee crisis come from the very top:

You're Racist

First, let’s drop the racist angle; it’s getting pretty old and stale. Then there’s the accusation that those who are opposed to unlimited immigration from Syria are religious bigots who hate Muslims. Again, that’s too stereotyped.

Do I hate Muslims? Absolutely not. I believe they are misguided and have pledged allegiance to a false god, but I would hope that every Christian would want to help them see the truth of the Gospel that can set them free from the chains that bind them.

Yet there is, within Islam itself, a worldview that is basically inconsistent with the American constitutional system of government. Muslims who are not Muslim in name only, and who seek to establish a culture grounded in Islam—not allowing for any dissent—are bent on destroying the edifice of the American Republic.

Of course, we have others who are doing the same from a completely secular viewpoint, but why invite more problems?

It is not hard-hearted to take seriously the responsibility to protect and defend the citizens of one’s country. From a Biblical perspective, that is the primary reason for a government to exist. Too many Christians don’t grasp the essentials of how government is to be carried out in a Biblical manner.

Instead, we often allow our emotions to overrule Biblical principles. True compassion will differentiate between those who deserve help and those who do not. True compassion will make judgments on who is a real refugee who should be granted asylum and who is not.

Christians who are suffering persecution in the Middle East should be first on the list for refugee status because the goal of radical Islam is to kill them all. President Obama, though, calls that an unfair religious test. No, it is facing reality.

All who are fleeing Syria should be thoroughly vetted if they come here at all because it is obvious that the jihadists will use this flood of refugees to insert themselves into our country. It doesn’t take a PhD to realize that.

Good SamaritanThe example of the Good Samaritan is being used to try to shame those of us who want a proper vetting. That is a misplaced analogy. The context is different. In the parable, there is no overarching story about a bloodthirsty, fanatical group devoted to world domination. It’s simply the story of one man in great need who received aid from the most unlikely source.

The true Syrian refugees do deserve compassion and aid. Yet is the best solution an open-borders policy? Why not instead an international approach where they are provided a “safe space” (to use a term floating around so carelessly nowadays) in a culture where they fit in better? Why not apply pressure to Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations to take in their own? Why flood America with the teeming masses who might hide those who wish to destroy us?

Proper Christian compassion does reach out and offer help. We must be wise, though, in how that help is extended. Bring the persecuted Christians into America and find another way to take care of others who deserve our compassion because we just don’t have the means to do a proper vetting, despite what the government tells us.

Misguided compassion could be the death of us all.

Containing Obama

President Obama’s unwillingness to admit he is wrong about Islamic terrorism in general, and ISIS in particular, has reached a new low this week. The attacks in Paris don’t seem to have affected his views at all. Prior to those attacks, he had infamously stated that we have ISIS “contained,” and he refused to alter that statement after Paris.

Perhaps we just didn’t understand him. Perhaps this is what he really meant:

Contained

That’s giving him far too much credit. What’s especially frustrating about his worldview is that facts don’t seem to get in his way:

ISIS Contained

In case you can’t read the commentary at the bottom of that cartoon, I’ll help. It says, “Dedicated to Those Who Believe What Happens ‘Over There’ Does Not Affect Us ‘Over Here.'”

Obama’s press conference at the G-20 only highlighted his foolishness. Many have noted that he came across as aloof (nothing new there) and almost nonchalant about the actual terrorism.

You Bore Me

Yet his blood pressure appeared to rise, and his tone became more bellicose, when the subject was Republicans and their concerns about taking in Syrian refugees. The West certainly wants to help genuine refugees, but there are legitimate questions about the nature of some of those refugees: are there wolves among the distressed masses who will ultimately be our downfall?

Promise to Behave

That “Three Little Pigs” imagery has shown up in more than one political cartoon:

Rigorous Screening

Another theme also has been prominent:

Carefully Screen

No, Mr. President, we’re not afraid of widows, orphans, and small children. We’re concerned about those interspersed among those widows, orphans, and small children. And why are we concerned? We don’t want to repeat the horror of 9/11. In order to avoid a repetition of that terrible day, we must not only be defensive, but we must switch to a better offensive strategy.

You Can

That will never happen with this president. That’s why I applaud other leaders who are willing to stand up to him and speak truth. The goal is not to contain ISIS but to destroy it. Containment is a word that more appropriately applies to President Obama. If only we can contain him for the remainder of his term of office, we might have a chance.

The Rush to Self-Deception

Paris AttacksEveryone who has a blog is probably commenting today on the Paris attacks of last Friday. Although I haven’t superimposed the French flag on my Facebook image (I’m not one for fads of that kind), that doesn’t mean I’m not deeply disturbed over what has occurred. This was another prime example of Islamic terrorism, even if our president stubbornly continues to avoid using that terminology.

Paris Attacks MapThe attacks in Paris took place at a number of locations at approximately the same time. They were well orchestrated. ISIS has claimed credit for them. At least one of the attackers was part of the Syrian refugee flood, a tide of humanity that ISIS takes advantage of by inserting its adherents, knowing that they will not be vetted properly before infiltrating the welcoming nation’s population.

This is nothing new, of course. Western nations have been the greatest abettors of their own destruction. We are so afraid of appearing insensitive, racist, or intolerant, that we opt for allowing avowed enemies into our midst.

I’m reminded of Mark Steyn’s comments in his book America Alone:

America AloneAfter September 11, the first reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, so did the Prince of Wales, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, the prime minister of Canada and many more. And, when the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died away, you couldn’t help feeling that this would strike almost any previous society as, well, bizarre.

Pearl Harbor’s been attacked? Quick, order some sushi and get me into a matinee of Madam Butterfly! Seeking to reassure the co-religionists of those who attack you that you do not regard them all as the enemy is a worthy aim but a curious first priority. And, given that more than a few of the imams in those mosque photo-ops turned out to be at best equivocal on the matter of Islamic terrorism and at worst somewhat enthusiastic supporters of it, it involved way too much self-deception on our part.

That self-deception seems to exist more at the top levels of our government than among our citizens in general. Polls show that most Americans expect Paris-type attacks to be coming soon to a city near us. A government’s first task is to protect its own citizens; are we sure our current government really believes in that?

For Christians, there is kind of a divided mind on these matters at times. We want to help genuine refugees, particularly since we know that some of them are Christian brothers and sisters trying to escape persecution and annihilation. We don’t want them sent back into that maelstrom.

Yet we can help those refugees through some very effective ministries, and we should do so, even as my church is doing now. But that doesn’t mean we ignore the very real threat that this refugee explosion contains. It’s not Christian to blindly accept everyone, thereby endangering our fellow countrymen.

This unfolding tragedy has no easy answers, but governmentally, it could at least start with an acknowledgement of the real problem. With our present government, that will not happen.

Lewis & the Omnicompetent State (Part 2)

Last Saturday I offered the first section of the paper I presented at the C. S. Lewis Foundation’s fall retreat. Here’s the next segment, dealing with Lewis’s concern that we may develop what he called the “omnicompetent state.”

It’s in The Abolition of Man and That Hideous Strength that Lewis’s concerns come to the forefront. The former lays out the philosophical case against the loss of absolutes and the consequences that will follow in the wake of that loss. The latter is his imaginative approach to describe what might happen in a society that suffers from the arrogant amalgamation of science, pseudo-science, occultism, and totalitarian government.

Abolition of ManThe final chapter of The Abolition of Man is where Lewis directs his readers’ thoughts to the practical outworking of the rise of this totalitarianism. “Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized,” he warns, “means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men.”

What we need to understand, he continues, is that “there neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on Man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.” In essence, this will be “the power of some men to make other men what they please.”

He is careful to note that this is not new: men in all ages have attempted such things. However, this time he believes the danger is greater. Even though Plato would have liked every infant “nursed in a bureau,” and others have devised similar educational schemes, he says we can “thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still possesses.” So what is different now?

But the man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they please.

This will be made easier by the rejection of the Tao, or natural law, that all societies have, up until now, acknowledged. The conditioners will concoct an artificial Tao of their own making and will be free, therefore, to start from scratch.

C. S. Lewis 8To the hope that perhaps these new elite planners will somehow be benevolent, Lewis has a rather succinct reply: “I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently. I am inclined to think that the Conditioners will hate the conditioned.” Once we give up our souls to get power in return, we will discover that we have become “slaves and puppets of that to which we have given ourselves.”

Lewis then brings the subject directly to types of government:

The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany.

Traditional values are to be “debunked” and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it.

More on this next Saturday.

The Media vs. the Truth

Journalists can do a lot of good if they take their calling seriously. I’m certainly in favor of trained journalists who understand the need for fairness in reporting. But what do we get when most journalists are schooled in a university atmosphere of progressivism and either cynicism or outright hostility toward traditional Christian beliefs and/or cultural and political conservatism?

We get what has happened to Ben Carson recently—an all-out attempt to destroy an individual who doesn’t fit the progressive mold. In Carson’s case, from the mainstream media’s point of view, he is such an anomaly that he must be taken down.

A black Christian conservative, in their world, cannot exist, and if such a person does exist, he must not be allowed to succeed. Nothing must stand in the way of the progressive agenda, so while journalists mouth the platitudes of their profession—objectivity, etc.—the reality is something else:

Conjoined Twins

And if there’s nothing bad to report, they will create something themselves:

Pant on Fire

Nothing that they have “uncovered” about Carson’s past has any credibility, yet they somehow find a way to ignore another candidate with the greatest history of lies and corruption imaginable:

Media Trash

Did anyone in the mainstream media follow up on the whoppers Hillary has told about Benghazi, for instance—even before a congressional committee? No, they were too busy concentrating on really important matters:

Lies

Carson, to his credit, fought back, boldly contrasting the treatment he has received with the kid gloves used against Hillary and Obama. I love this picture that has been finding its way around social media:

Ben Carson Congratulations

It’s not just Carson, of course, and the attacks don’t come solely from “professional” journalists. Carly Fiorina has had to counter the snide comments from the ladies women on “The View” who decided to attack her personally. She handled them quite well:

Fiorina on the View

I applaud the steadfastness demonstrated by both Carson and Fiorina in the face of this onslaught. For the sake of truth, those who foster the politics of personal destruction must not be allowed to go unanswered.