Friday, September 18, 2009

Artificial Standards of ‘Civility’


Restoring Civility: Will You Take the Pledge?

Chuck Colson


September 16, 2009

It will probably go down in history as the first presidential speech remembered not for what the President said, but for how a member of his audience responded.

Even if you didn't watch Barack Obama's health care address last week, I'm sure you've heard what happened. Obama had just finished saying that his health care plan would not cover illegal aliens. In response, Rep. Joe Wilson shouted out, "You lie!" shocking television audiences from coast to coast, not to mention the President.

Talking heads have spent the rest of the week talking about the need for civility in public discourse—and that's a good thing. Two people who are likely paying close attention to this debate are men who are about as far apart politically as it's possible to get. Mark DeMoss is the conservative president of the DeMoss Group. Lanny Davis is a former advisor to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

DeMoss and Davis—both concerned about the sharp decline in civility—have created an online forum called The Civility Project. Its goal: getting Americans to re-learn how to disagree without being so nasty to one another. They are inviting Americans of every political stripe to take a civility pledge, in which they commit to three things: "I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior. I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them. I will stand against incivility when I see it." . . .

I can't excuse Rep. Wilson's outburst. But I do understand his frustration. For months, President Obama himself has been repeatedly accusing his opponents of lying about his health care plan—just as he did in his speech before Congress. Even liberal CNN says Obama's regular use of the word "lie" is "unstatesmanlike." . . .

It's a positive step—albeit a small one—to restore civility to our national discourse.

Kent Comments:

I often agree with Chuck Colson, but this time I cannot.

I, too, believe that honest, polite debate is desirable in many cases.  If we were debating a speed limit, a foreign policy, and many other niceties of political interaction, I would be completely on board with Chuck.

But when we face a demagogue who is clearly bent on the destruction of liberty, civility might be a luxury we cannot afford.  (As an aside, it is difficult to see why the statement ‘you lie’ when addressed to someone who is lying is ‘uncivil.’  That is not name-calling; it is not any kind of personal attack.)

Those who would destroy liberty will hide behind civility when it suits their immediate purpose.  When personal attacks suit their purposes, they will (and they do) gladly employ those.

Thus, it becomes very easy for defenders of liberty to paint themselves into a corner if they define any strong, direct confrontation as ‘uncivil.’  The enemies of liberty do not so restrict themselves.  They never have, and they never will.

If talk about ‘civility’ in public discourse overshadows truth in public discourse, then, contrary to Chuck, it is NOT a good thing.  Barack Obama and his allies are not some kind of misguided seekers after truth who have simply made an honest mistake.  They are clearly working systematically to destroy our liberty.  They are not debating things here like the tariff rate on tires from Asia.  They have made it very clear that they have no regard for your traditional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

When our bodies are attacked by cancer, we do not respond with medicinal ‘civility.’  We do what must be done in order to rid ourselves of the cancer and survive.  There is a way in which that must also be true in the body politic.

If we who would defend liberty decide to impose upon ourselves an artificial and arbitrary standard of ‘civility’ which excludes pointing out in public that an official is using lies in an effort to destroy basic liberty, then you can kiss liberty goodbye.

If the emperor really has no clothes, it is truly ‘uncivil’ to state that fact?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obama: He’s No Adolf Hitler

[this is a repost – the original was not correctly formatted, sorry]

(regarding coverage of the 9-12 rally in D.C.)

On CNN, most of the daytime coverage was respectful, if not as intensive as on FNC. During the 5pm ET hour, the tone began to sour, as correspondent Jim Spellman argued that participants with "outlandish conspiracy theories" and who were "comparing President Obama to Hitler" were "a sizable thread. It's not just a couple of people on the edges."

Kent Comments:

Many comparisons of Obama and Hitler have been made lately.  (I will proudly plead ‘guilty’ to making some of those.)  In the ‘official’ news coverage of such comparisons, they are often described as ‘outlandish’ (as above), outrageous, and other such adjectives.

What is ‘outlandish’ about such a comparison?  I will be the first to admit that such comparisons are not exact, that is, there are plenty of ways in which Hitler and Obama are different.

For example, I see no indication whatever that Obama has any thought of exterminating a particular ethnic group, as did Hitler.  But Obama is very willing to allow legally, and fund from the national treasury, the killing of the unborn.  While he says he would prefer that abortion be ‘rare’ he nevertheless is willing to support and be supported by many groups who would like abortion to be ‘readily available.’  While that does not make Obama equal to Hitler, it does invite the comparison.  Clearly, Obama is much closer to Hitler on this point than someone who is consistently pro-life.

In the fiscal realm, there are also significant Hitler-Obama comparisons to be made.  The difficulty here is in deciding whether Obama is more an international socialist or a national socialist.  While he has shown both tendencies, significant parts of his approach fit the national socialist approach very closely.  He supports government control of many businesses and various aspects of financial matters.  In this he is like the national socialists.

On the other hand, he has also been deeply involved in advocating and implementing government ownership of various businesses, like automobile production and health care.  In this he is more like an international socialist.

So I, for one, would like to be clear that I do not nor have I ever thought that Obama is exactly like Hitler.  He does share some significant policy points in common with Hitler’s national socialism.

But in other ways he is more like the international socialists.  He’s not simply like Hitler.  He is also like Lenin or Stalin.  Good for him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Next Time, Don’t Apologize


This morning I have tried several times to contact Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.  It is currently impossible to access his website at the House of Representatives or get anything but a busy signal at his House phone.  From what I can read, he is being roundly condemned for calling out ‘you lie’ during Obama’s speech last night.  It is reported that he has apologized.

Mr. Wilson, you did not need to apologize.  Obama does nothing but lie, and at some point that is bound to provoke a righteous outburst from any decent man.  You did not need to apologize for speaking the truth – even to the President in a joint session of Congress, a location where truth is often in short supply.

If you were from Kentucky, I would gladly vote for you, for last night’s remark alone if for nothing else.  The Liar-in-Chief needed to be called out in public.  You did it.  I thank God that you did it.  You should be proud of it.

Your only mistake was the apology.  Do it again, and soon.  Next time, don’t apologize.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rise Up and Oppose

I am listening this evening to the lies of der Fuhrer in his speech about ‘health care.’  He thinks he is reassuring us.  But if you are paying attention, you should be frightened, and angered.

Under his dictatorial policy proposal, Americans would be forced to buy health insurance.  Practical considerations, so called, are not important here.  What IS important is the fact that this is tyranny.  Free people are not forced by the government to buy insurance they do not want.

The argument of der Fuhrer that this is akin to states requiring automobile insurance is just an attempt to distract us from the tyranny of this idea.  No state requires citizens to own and operate an automobile.  So the cases are not parallel.

Obama is a demagogue.  He is a dangerous demagogue.  Everything he has implemented, or even proposed (this health care business being just one example) is an attack on liberty.  In fact, for Obama, ‘liberty’ seems to mean the ‘privilege’ he grants you to do whatever HE wants you to do.

The Apostle Paul exhorts us “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Rom 12:18)  Applied to social policy, it becomes clear that if we lend ourselves to measures (Obama style) to coerce others into working, spending, saving, insuring, buying, selling the way we want then we will necessarily violate this principle.  We are not even attempting to live peaceably with others if, for just one example, we attempt to force them to buy health insurance they do not want.  When we do that, we violate the peace; we start a war.

No list of reasons why we think they really should own insurance can justify this attempt – not, that is, if we want to follow the exhortation of the Apostle.  The Obama style of ‘gangster governance’ is completely incompatible with the Christian faith.  It is time for all men of God to rise up and oppose it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Van Jones & the watermelon


Van Jones's Resignation Reveals Vetting Lapse

By Scott Wilson and Garance Franke-Ruta

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 6, 2009; 3:38 PM

The resignation of White House environmental adviser Van Jones has revealed a lapse in the administration's vetting procedures . . .

Jones, a towering figure in the environmental movement, had issued two public apologies in recent days. One was for signing a petition in 2004 from the group that questioned whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war," and the other for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.

His previous involvement with the now-defunct Bay Area radical group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), which had Marxist roots, also emerged as an issue. And on Saturday his advocacy on behalf of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of shooting a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, threatened to further widen the controversy.

Kent comments:

If you have followed the Van Jones story, several things become clear from it.

First, this guy was much more than just ‘involved’ with a group that had Marxist roots.  He was a self-proclaimed Marxist communist.

Second, the attempt to portray this as a ‘lapse in vetting procedures’ requires a lapse in sanity. The views of Obama and Van Jones are almost interchangeable except that Van Jones was more dedicated to his cause that I think Obama would have been in that position.  Obama thinks very highly of himself and would not be so quick to sacrifice himself for any cause,  because Obama’s main cause is himself.

Third, as you listen to Van Jones you see the perfect illustration of the intersection of green environmentalism with red communism.  Over-blown, uncritical environmentalism is the perfect way to convince semi-informed modern Americans to sacrifice their liberty on the alter of socialism.  This approach, like a watermelon, is green on the outside, but red on the inside.

The green and the red have begun to come together in a blur.  The image that finally appears from this is perfectly exemplified in Van Jones.  He is clearly devoted to using the image of environmentalism to subvert liberty.

While it is good that he is now absent from this administration, he will unfortunately now be somewhere at large, hard at work making the world red under the pretense that it should be green.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Madam ‘Bishop’

Episcopal Head Tries to Clarify 'Salvation' Speech

Episcopal Head Tries to Clarify 'Salvation' Speech

Daniel Burke

Religion News Service
September 1, 2009

(RNS) -- Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Thursday (Aug. 27) tried to tamp criticism she received last month after she denounced the "heresy" of individual salvation.

In a statement issued by church headquarters in New York, Jefferts Schori tried to clarify her remarks at the church's General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., saying that individualism is "basically unbiblical and un-Christian."

Kent comments:

There has been a great debate in Christendom about the proper role of women in the church. Apart from the theological side of the debate, this story gives us yet another reason why, for example, women should not be ‘bishops.’

It is because, for some unknown reason, when they are they start to look like “Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori.” She’s just a little bit, well, scary! (Who, do you think, does that to her hair?)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

All His Children

from the Washington Post

September 3, 2009

WH withdraws call for students to 'help' Obama

President Obama's plan to inspire the nation's schoolchildren with a video address next week erupted into controversy Wednesday, forcing the White House to pull out its eraser and rewrite a government recommendation that teachers nationwide assign students a paper on how to "help the president." . . .

Among the activities the government initially suggested for prekindergarten to sixth-grade students: that they " write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

Another task recommended for students immediately after listening to the speech: to engage in a discussion about what "the president wants us to do."

The novel curriculum plan brought sharp criticism from conservatives, including some who complained that classrooms were being used to spread political propaganda.

In response, the White House last night confirmed they were revising the lesson plan that was distributed last week by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kent comments:

Please take your seats. Pay attention now children.  We are going to learn a new phrase today.  The new phrase is, let’s spell it here - “H-i-t-l-e-r Y-o-u-t-h.”  Mr. Hilter died many years ago, so you can’t be in his youth group.  But here at the U.S. Dept. of Education we have something even better for you.  All of you can now be helpers of the President.

We should all want to help the President, shouldn’t we, children?  And when all of you agree that you should help the President (and we will help you agree with that) you will have the great privilege of being part of:

Obama Youth

Young people ‘helping the President’

Don’t Back Off Now, Mac!

'89 Thesis A Different Side of McDonnell

Va. GOP Candidate Wrote on Women, Marriage and Gays

By Amy Gardner

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 30, 2009

At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples. . .

During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.

Kent comments:

Once several years ago near election day, a group sent me a mailer attacking a candidate for the U.S. Senate.  It listed all the ‘horrible’ things this candidate had done.  I thought to myself, “If he has only done half these things, I will make a point to vote for this guy!”  And I did just that.

I was about to make plans to slip across the border into Virginia to vote for old “Mac” (such things seem to be easy to do these days) until I noticed that the story went on to quote him as saying:

"Virginians will judge me on my 18-year record as a legislator and Attorney General and the specific plans I have laid out for our future -- not on a decades-old academic paper I wrote as a student during the Reagan era and haven't thought about in years."

Hey, Mac – what was wrong with what you said in your master’s thesis?  While I would prefer that ‘governmental policy’ be so minimal that it barely matters in everyday life, IF we are going to have such things, what was so wrong with your original ideas?

Feminists are definitely detrimental (I don’t need any quotes around that word) to the family.  Sometimes both parents working can be detrimental to the well-being of children.  (One of the reasons both parents sometimes feel the need to work outside the home is the high cost of intrusive government!)

If government policy is going to ‘favor’ someone, why not married couples?  Married couples are good – definitely better than homosexuals and fornicators.

And that Supreme Court decision from ‘72 about abortion – a reading of the key parts makes ‘illogical’ sound like a very mild way to describe it.

Someday, somewhere, a candidate will say these kinds of things and not back down when the leftist press attacks.  Instead, that candidate will say, “Oh yeah?  You haven’t heard the half of it yet.”  Perhaps (ha!) that candidate will not be elected.  But such a candidate will give voters a very clear choice.  And for the very little it is worth, that candidate will receive my undying admiration.