9/8/18

Senseless Protest:The Emptiness of Both Sides of the Kneeling Issue

Protest and What It Means by Frank Russo

 There has been a lot of talk recently about Colin Kaepernick, kneeling and Nike that has come up once again due to the latter’s politicized usage of the sport stars fame for marketing purposes. Oddly enough, or perhaps not so oddly, this has had a huge effect on the Christian community which has seemed to double down on either the social justice gospel and the self flagellation that comes with it, or in reactionary language and rhetoric, in which they burn their Nike products and counter protest.

Now, the jury really is still out on if kneeling is disrespectful, be it to American values or the American troops. That's not an argument that is meant to be made here. What is my argument to make is that we need to address the racist implication of what is being said and done by the Kaepernick crowd.

First we must look in on the accusations being leveled. I've seen it from two angles, the first of which comes from a secular parody of Christians and the second coming from the Babylon Bee, a Christian parody source. Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Perfect Christian is a Facebook page owned by a secular satirist. One of her segments included a speech about Kaepernick and kneeling in which she accused American Christians, (of course specifically white Christians), of wanting black people to “know their place”, a phrase that it constantly used by leftist demagogues to imply, rather overtly, that white Americans still have a “klan” mentality.

This first source was an older source and the rest of her material is the usual one dimensional leftist propaganda filled with the rantings and delusions of the everyday social justice warrior. The newest source, which mirrored and echoed this sentiment, is the Babylon Bee, who posted a satire about a “conservative male”, (obviously depicted as being white), who supported black people's right to protest as long as they did it “quietly in their own home”. The message, while using differing and less obvious language, was the same one that the secular satirist used, (bad news for the Babylon Bee? Evidence of it becoming and evangellyfish organization? The jury is out),.

The insinuation is the same. White American Christians just don't want to hear black voices in any meaningful way and we are just racists who think black people should, “know their place”.
While there are undoubtedly white people who feel this way, I doubt any of them are actually Christian, (this coming from a former alt righter who claimed to be a Christian at the time so i have a bit of authority on this), and I have to seriously take issue with characterizing an entire group of people based on their skin color. I know that my lack of support for the kneeling crowd has nothing to do with black voices. It just has to do with disagreement. I don't believe black people shouldn't have a voice or should be silenced. In fact I believe they should be given a platform to speak which is a bit better than the media groups who have silenced Alex Jones and other conservatives, (does Facebook have a racist bias against white men? This is that logic in actions).

Simply put just because Colin Kaepernick speaks does not mean I or you or anybody has to agree with him. While it might be ignorant to do so I am not even bound by law to even listen to Black Lives Matter or the kneeling crowd. I don't believe that he shouldn't be allowed to kneel or speak but I do believe I have the right to vocally disagree with what he says or how he does it. Me personally? I don't really care for the protest. I disagree with it's tenets, (blacks are being targeted by police), it's rhetoric, (you disagree with my protest ergo you're a white supremacist who wants blacks to know their place), or it's screeching if I'm being completely honest.

I won't burn my Nike shoes, (I never owned any), or screech in moral indignation. I think the last place morality can come from is the adultery filled, wife beating permeated and felony soaked NFL. I've stated the case of why I think the self flagellation of white Christians is stupid before, I've also stated the case of why this whole if you're not with me you're against me mentally is bad and why it's soaked into the evangellyfish community is bad. Let me go over the facts on why i think the protest itself is stupid. It's over police brutality yes? Let's look at the statistics.

In 2017, 987 people were shot to death by police. Of these 473 were white males while 223 were black males. It is true that whites are the majority population in the United States while blacks constitute about twelve percent of the overall u.s population. This would indicate that blacks are being “targeted” at a higher rate than whites. However, despite being a minority 50% of murders in the United States are committed by black males. There is a myriad of reasons for this such as poverty, social collapse, lack of fathers and none of them involve race as a cause. That's not the argument I'm making. The argument I'm making is that you're more likely to be mauled by a tiger if you're a zookeeper than a normal civilian. Your exposure is the proving point of that. Ergo it's only logical say that with the black community's higher involvement with law enforcement, they are more likely to have violent encounters with law enforcement, especially when you consider how many black males are involved in violent crime. That is not to say white males aren't involved in violent crime, that is to say that it is disproportionate to population size.

Consider this. 940 of the 987 people shot by police in 2017 were men. That means that men in general are being targeted by police at a rate that is 95% more than women. Do we claim that there is a police war on men as a result? Or do we recognize statistically that men are more involved in violent crime than women by a large margin? Or is that sexist to say there are differences between the genders? Wait, I said there are only two genders. I keep making oopsies here.

The fact of the matter is that no, there is not a widespread police bias against black men in general. Are there racist police officers? Of course. Just like there are racist teachers and doctors of every gender,(the two there are), race and sex,(wait gender and sex are the same thing, sorry),.

The knee jerk reaction of those on the right to this issue is not one of statistics and logic, the game we just played above, but of whataboutism such as when they point out black on black crime. The left’s response to this is “why don't we talk about white on white crime?” And then again, it's because you're racist. However, the right is not the one that has to carry the burden of proof on this issue. When the left out out a campaign entitled “Black Lives Matter” one would have to assume that they meant all black lives matter, not just the ones killed by police that can be used as political leverage. So let's do the stereotypical thing and talk about black on black crime, white on white crime, and how it relates.

The number of whites murdered in 2017 numbered 3,005 with only 409 being murdered by black perpetrators. That means that the majority of whites were murdered by other whites. The number of blacks murdered was 2,409 with only 189 being murdered by whites. A rather small number in comparison to the overarching idea of a dangerous America for minorities. That means that 79% of black Americans killed, are killed by other black Americans. My point is that police shootings, which are often justifiable self defense, are not the major focal point of what is killing black males on the streets of America.

My point is that drug related gang violence is the real bane of our communities, and black communities in particular. You do nothing for black Christians by self flagellation, police bashing, kneeling or buying Nike just like you do nothing by burning your Nike shoes, protesting the NFL or fighting back against evangellyfish online. The only way we can health violence in all communities is by sharing the gospel and praying for revival. Racial reconciliation isn't working ladies and gentlemen. Works based salvation will never help. You're avoiding the causes of sin and hoping that if you're just a good enough ally you'll help fix the problem. You're not helping our black brothers and sisters by lying and going along with an agenda based on skin color. You're aiding and abetting racism. Giving ammunition for the real racists to use. Instead read scripture on why killing happens.

James 4:2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

9/6/18

The Fall of the Third Republic and the Reasons Why

By: Frank Russo

On May 10th, 1940, Operation Fall Gelb commenced with German armored forces spearheading assaults through the Ardennes and over the Mouse river into France. In conjunction with this assault came separate assaults on Belgium and the Netherlands, with astonishing success. It was an unprecedented assault, and nobody, not even the German high command flush from successes against Poland, expected it. The French high command was sent reeling and was never able to recover. There are many questions that remain. The most pressing is, “what went wrong” for the French and “what went right” for the Germans.

Modern historians and revisionists alike point to German invincibility and French decadence as the answer to both of these questions. In fact, many consider it a verdict on secular republicanism as a whole. And in many senses they are right. But in many senses they are also dead wrong. Before looking at the events of  May 1940, we must look at the 1930s and French policy as a whole. Following the first world war, threats loomed greatly over the French nation. ¼ of their land was devastated by the fighting and there were still signs everywhere of what happened. Subway seats were still reserved for disabled veterans. Movies and reels were shown every day in French cinemas. The trenches had not even completely vanished.

The French of the post war years were a people who were bound together in a collective memory of suffering, in which their armed forces and countryside had effectively been used by their allies as a blunt to the German colossus. In the event of another war with a rising Germany the French had no desire to once again take the brunt. But in order to forestall such a outcome, the French needed allies. These were short in coming. In 1914 the French could rely on the Russian empire to serve as strong ally and force the Germans to fight a two front war. In 1940 this was not the case. The Russian empire was gone and in its stead stood the Soviet Union, an authoritarian power bent on continental domination just as much as the Nazis. Aside from this stood the fact that anti communism was a uniform ideology that bonded both right and left, (or at least many parties on both ideological sides), in French parliamentary politics.

Aside from that the Soviet Union by the time of the late thirties was no longer in the mood to form an anti fascist Bloc as it was in the early and mid thirties. Josef Stalin, had started to reach out to pro Moscow parties across Europe, the most famous of which was the Popular Front in France, in order to build an anti-fascist coalition. However, following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, attempts were made by many in France, most notably French socialist Prime Minister Leon Blum, to force intervention on the side of the Republican loyalists against the Nationalist forces of Francisco Franco. The Republican forces were soon overtaken by communist and socialist factions which dampered any enthusiasm held by the British for direct military intervention on the behalf of the Republicans. Blum, seeing direct intervention as an impossibility,instead advocated for a mutually agreed upon non-interventionist policy between all major European powers.

This was not to come to fruition either as the Soviet Union, Italy and Germany would send aid to the nationalists,(in the Fascist party Bloc), and the Republicans,(in the communist party Bloc) ,. This left a bad taste in the international community’s mouth, a community already afraid of communist subversion. If a movement to protect democratic institutions could so easily be overtaken by Moscow loyalists, what would come of any such coalition that included the Soviets? In any case the point would become moot for two major reasons. The first being that France was largely subservient to Britain in its foreign policy decision making and in the United Kingdom anti-communist sentiment ran too high. The second was that any such coalition would become impossible on August 23rd, 1939 when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed, a nonaggression treaty between two powers that despised each other. The pact sent shockwaves through the world and left France in a worrying position.

From Stalin’s perspective, the move was one of forward thinking. He knew that Hitler was dedicated to the destruction of communism and the addition of the Soviet Motherland to the German Reich. The nonaggression treaty was simply to buy time. Stalin as well wished to let the western Allies take the brunt of Hitler’s attack and let a world war one style stalemate play out which would drastically weaken German forces and resources. The great purges of the 1930s had killed off 40,000 experienced military officers of the Red army and by all field projections Stalin's advisers had told him that the Red Army was not ready for war.

While Russian political maneuvering would not pay off in short term, France was still left with very few allies. The loss of backing from potential anti-fascist communists,(now being ordered by Moscow to back down), was a harsh blow. To further enhance the embarrassing lack of friends Belgium refused to ally herself to the French via coalition and voided a 1929 agreement, instead opting for strict neutrality. The Dutch were equally, if not more so, uncooperative. While the Belgian government itself struck to the path of appeasement, its top military officers remained in conversation with the French high command, attempting to coordinate defense and assault plans. This is still a indicator of how alone France must have felt. The low countries could not be counted on.

It may come as a shock but Italy was also an ally that France looked to to blunt German aggression. In 1936, Hitler began to saber rattle against Austria, demanding it's addition to the Reich or war. Italy,(a fascist power but at this point not an Axis one), was against such an action as it would put Germany on an even more impressive footing in case of war between the two powers. Thus the Stresa front was born, an alliance between Mussolini,(Italy), Daladier,(France), and Chamberlain,(Britain) that forced Hitler to back off on his demands and leave Austria alone, (for the time being),. The Stresa front was almost a thing of French dreams but it was indeed to good to be true. In 1937, Mussolini would invade Ethiopia, sparking international outrage, especially in England.

While Italy was not officially punished, (in fact it would take over Ethiopia), the relationship was soured. England would begin to distance itself from the Stresa front and not amount of French posturing for unity would keep it together. The same year the pact of steel would be signed, officially tying Italy and Germany together in an alliance. France was quickly running out of options. The United States, while sympathetic, was officially neutral and England was more intent on appeasing Germany than fighting her. It took the 1938 seizure of Czechoslovakia following the Munich agreement to stoke serious British opposition to Germany but at this point it was almost too late, at least for France.

We must now turn to the military side of affairs in order to get a good glimpse of the situation. To all intents and purposes the French army was superior to the Wehrmacht from a numerical scale. It had more numerous and better tanks than the Germans and in fact had more motorized units than the Wehrmacht. This was even before the outbreak of hostilities following the German assault on Poland. In fact, following Poland, Germany was without a full quarter of her armed forces. If there was ever a time for the French to attack, it was the winter-spring of 1939-1940. The French did not attack. The reason for this is well known. The French high command was still dedicated to outdated modes of defensive warfare. In fact France’s overall military plan was to absorb a German attack, (preferably anywhere but on French soil), blunt it, gather supplies and men before pushing back into Germany and winning the war.

Hitler in fact wanted to attack the French Homeland in November, a move that would have been disastrous had the German high command not dissuaded him. The Polish campaign, while a stunning success, had cost the Germans much and they needed time to regroup. They also needed a plan of attack. The Maginot line, spanning from the Mediterranean to the Ardennes, was immediately not an option. Despite being outdated tactically, it represented the world's most impressive defense line. It had only one major flaw. It did not extend all the way to the English channel. The French, not wanting to upset the Belgians, had declined to extend the Maginot line across their border. This left Northern France particularly vulnerable to a Schlieffen style plan of attack, which is exactly what the Germans had originally planned. That was until a German officer, carrying the invasion plans while on a recon flight, was shot down and interrogated revealing the German plan of attack.

This prompted the German command to make a quick change. The Ardennes, considered impassable for tanks, was the new route of invasion. The area was the one that was only sparsely defended by lower quality French troops while the French moved all their motorized and crack troops north to where the German attacks meant to originally be, a fatal mistake as it would turn out.

Many mock the idea of the Maginot line but when it was conceived it was actually quite a brilliant solution to many problems. While undoubtedly expensive the line would be less expensive than maintaining a larger standing army, which was a huge bonus, especially in a time of economic crisis. The French economy actually began to improve by the time of the rearmament drive, the production of planes and tanks actually outpacing the Germans. The SOMUA main battle tank and the CHAR B1 were fearsome threats to German tanks. But they suffered from the same problem that hampered the planners of the Maginot line. They failed to grasp the full measure of modern war. While the Germans used mass tank formations for quick piercing attacks to be followed up by infantry assaults, the French preferred to use line formations for their tanks in mostly defensive maneuvering.

Another fatal flaw of the French tank organization was a lack of radios. Line of sight was necessary for communication whereas the Panzer divisions acted with a good degree of flexibility due to their ability to exercise a fair degree of autonomy. This was proven on May 10th, when a diversionary raid kept the elite French forces in the North busy while General Rommel and Guderian advanced across the Ardennes and the Meuse. Their assault met initially fierce resistance and almost ended in calamity as British air forces and French fought to get a crack at the army advancing into them. However, German anti air was just too good. 45 of the 71 British bombers were downed and German tanks were able to provide lateral fire on the French positions to allow their engineers to build bridges.

General Heinz Guderian, a tank commander, wanted to keep going. However, field marshall Von Kleist, afraid of the idea of his panzers outpacing the infantry. Guderian, ignoring his orders, swept through to the coast cutting allied forces in half and sealing Frances fate. While their soldiers fought hard eventually France would seek a negotiated peace and Marshall Petain would take over, installing an Authoritarian regime that was collaborationist. France was not defeated by Germany alone. It was defeated by outdated military tactics and a political elite that was all too willing to surrender. This is evidenced by Prime Minister Reynaud needing power to Maximillian Weygand and Marshall Petain, both military elites, who disavowed Charles De Gaulle's move to make a government in absentia in London.

They also refused to acknowledge the chance of starting a resistance movement from their African colonies, stating that any Frenchmen who left French soil was committing an act of treachery by doing so. In this way these select few military men had dashed any French hope of continuing the war. France had done everything in it's power to make sure the water did not advance on their own soil. Their adventures in Norway and their hopes of an Eastern front were indicative of this attitude. In the end however, the shocking triunoh of the Wehrmacht had proved too much and French spirit was dampened. The third republic, claimed to be especially weak and decadent but in reality no more so than any other democratic power at the time, was killed by a majority vote in the National Assembly on June 25th, 1940 with Marshall Petain assuming dictatorial powers from the spa town of Vichy in southern France.

9/3/18

Historical disinterest, a values dilemna

By: Jonathan Harris

The study of history cannot be neatly contained behind the tall foreboding doors of an ivory tower nor swept under the rugs of dusty corner offices housing stacks of paper. It bleeds into other fields as it serves to inform both individual and group identity. It gives context to the current world and helps one understand their place in it culturally, socially, and spiritually. The modern disinterest in studying history has more to do with a lack of identification with the subject matter presented than it does an actual disdain for stories of the past. 

Joyce Appleby, a former history professor at UCLA, sought to explain this controversy as a somewhat unsurprising development given the collective nature of history and the cultural change occurring in American culture. For example, Appleby, in discussing the inclusion of African-American experiences into the greater story of America, tells us that “incorporating these details of the African-American experience in national history . . . proved almost impossible, because they represented such an indigestible element in the tale of American democracy (Appleby, Telling the Truth About History, 299). In other words, the traditional consensus would not stand for African-American history that shown poorly on the greater narrative. Part of Appleby’s solution for attracting interest in the subject of history while avoiding the discarding of traditional concerns was to democratize the subject along pragmatic lines. A moderation intended to include newer groups who have been allegedly left out of the American story while still maintaining an overall group cultural identity was the goal.

Appleby’s solution comes across in some ways as overly naive and optimistic. If her assessment is accurate the question then becomes, “Are disenfranchised groups desiring their cultural stories to be incorporated into the larger American story?” Perhaps this is taken for granted since the battle Appleby may have been observing was being played out in board room tug of war matches located in American history textbook manufacturing plants. It would be nice to think that everyone could “just get along,” but this is rarely the case over something so fundamental to national identity. The question is not asked, “Why do Irish, Italian, Jewish, German, and perhaps many Asian cultures not seem (broadly speaking) to have the same problems identifying with the American story as other minority groups, though they experienced varying degrees of bigotry as well?” Could it be that certain groups are not interested in history, especially American and Western history, not because they do not feel included, but rather because they fundamentally have a dislike or disagreement with the country in which they reside. They simply do not wish to identify. Perhaps the common ground with one’s culture necessary for even forming an identity is not present. It is likely that the only exposure to American or Western history known by many is a negative. Since the divide in this matter is also generational, this would certainly suggest that the proposed solution will not work. Appleby may as well have been trying to un-poison a well in that case.

So how can history be made more relevant? Most humans do not wish to know a great deal about something they find offensive. Repulsion gives birth to avoidance. After all, if one knew their great-grandfather was a horse thief, drunk, and a swindler, how much more about their grandfather would they want to know, and would they ever make one of their children his namesake? If parents are not engaged in civic duties, families are too broken down to impart identity, and Hollywood produces art that vilifies American heroes, teaching names and dates will not suffice to cultivate an interest in a topic thought to stink in the first place. Though it be an up-hill battle, perhaps the only option available to the historian is to first become the philosopher. If the values passed down through law, legend, and lore are castigated as fundamentally offensive, then the values themselves are what need explanation and defense first, not the stories that flow from them.

If one thing remains clear it is this: All people use standards by which to judge those who preceded them. If the theme of American history is to be “how the people of the United States did terrible things and continue to do terrible things,” it would not come as a surprise that such a course would need to be mandatory in order to have any participation. The more moderate alternative (hinted at by Appleby), “how the people of the United States failed to live up to their values but are getting better” is not much of a rallying cry either. If the standard of measure for judging the past happens to be egalitarianism, there does not seem to be any way of recovering an interest in American history as a identity marker. Its main function will most likely be sacrificed on the alter of identity politics.

8/26/18

How to Combat the Alt-Right

By Frank Russo

What most people fail to see about the alt right is that it isn’t a homogenous movement. I cannot stretch this enough. When it comes to ideology the alt right is as far from a codified movement. When I was involved i got a separate answer for everything and usually found myself “punching right”, or attacking people who were seen to be on the same “ideological wavelength” as me. One person told me the alt right was always about racial realism while another told me it was about culture war. Some believed it was about both.

However, with that being said there are a good number of racists and neo Nazis on the alt right. That's a fact nobody can deny from the president down. And that's worrying. Not worrying from a leftist multicultural standpoint, or from a right wing capitalism based value standpoint, but from a biblical standpoint. I take us to 1 John 2:11 “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

Hatred is darkness and God does not show partiality based on what we see but looks at matters of the heart, (1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”).
So the important question remains. True the alt right is a dwindling and unimportant faction in American politics but it's not for that reason they should be disregarded. In fact, it’s for that very reason that we should spend extra time in trying to reach them.

It's clear that the “because I said so” morality of the left and right has failed to sway hearts and minds. We need a reason to not hate. Especially in the morally relative landscape of today. If one is intellectually honest they have to ask themselves why it's bad to hate if so many other things once considered evil are now good and even encouraged. What's wrong with personal hate? It's not hurting anybody right? Wrong. It aggrieves God. I had to learn that the hard way. To see my own son for the blackness that it is. Recently I have had to question if I had become as callous as I had been before I was saved to social issues. I cannot whip myself up into a evangellyfish frenzy of self moral indignation over a statue, nor do I see it as my particular duty to make everyone feel comfortable. My duty is to spread the gospel and the gospel isn't one of comfort. Of course there is great joy and comfort in its revelation and in understanding it, but it is one of rebuke as well. A gospel that exposes the darkness of our sin and the necessity of a savior  So telling the alt right they need to make someone feel “comfortable” for past sins of populaces they may or may not be related too doesn't work either. Because they need to made uncomfortable in order to see why evangellyfish want others to be “comfortable”. It's like asking me to labor forever on a project that one obliquely benefits someone on their earthly days, but ultimately does nothing for anybody's walk with the Lord.

The alt right sees what evangellyism is. It really is nothing more than salvation through works. The belief that man can “make things right” and that there needs to extra reconciliation. Racial reconciliation is a myth and the intellectuals on the alt right, (believe me there are many intellectuals), will eat that up and chew it out for breakfast. Doesn't the gospel teach us that the only reconciliation that matters is between God and us? That our sins needed to be wiped away with the blood of Jesus to bring us back to him? That we couldn't do it on our own? Yet we are arriving enough to think we can fix things that 1). We aren't directly responsible for and 2). Aren't actually important to salvation?

Before anyone freaks I am not saying it's okay to be racist. It's not. But reconciliation already happened through Christ if you are truly born again.

E.x.

1). Ezekiel 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2).Ezekiel 36:26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

3). 2 Corinthians 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death

4).2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

5). Jeremiah 24:7'I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

These verses all point to one thing. The sovereignty of God in changing our hearts. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God…” it's important to note that sorrow doesn't occur from shaming somebody. Sorrow occurs when God stokes it in your heart and that sorrow produces true repentance. That is how people are reconciled to God. Repentance and acceptance of the free gift of salvation. I know I went all over the place. To the reader I apologize. But I feel that this logic is pointing to a good direction. No amount of MLK worship, or self flagellation in the form of 13th century Monks over you skin color will ever “reconcile” the races. Only Christ can do that because as Romans 3:23 says “all men have fallen short of the glory of God”. That means white men, brown men, white women, brown women. We are all sinners and no amount of reconciliation is going to make that right. We have sinned against our father. It's kind of like a bunch of kids that have been beating and bullying each other while their dad was out and now that their dad has “come back” they try and make it better by apologizing and being nice to one another. But that doesn't do much as your crime was not only against each other but it was also one of disobedience. You sinned against your father too and his punishment can't be ignored. Although in our case it has.

Try to remember that when speaking to an alt righter. They aren't going to be place by trying to make it right now. They can see right through the theological hypocrisy of this movement.

Do you really want to know how to stop the alt right? Share with them some of these verses. They are sinners, just like you, who need Christ. Who desperately need someone to tell them the truth instead of pointing a finger at them. I'm not telling you to make them “comfortable”, (yuck I hate that word), just as much as I'm telling you it's not our job to make our black neighbors “comfortable”. Our job is to be beacons for Christ and to showcase his saving power. I was once on the alt right. I was saved. So if you want to stop the alt right maybe just say this….

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…..

8/21/18

"What Happened?!" Why Protestors Took Down Silent Sam and What You Can Do

By: Jonathan Harris

It was on this very week one year ago that I embarked on what would become a three hour informal debate with protestors beneath the shadow of the Silent Sam statue at UNC Chapel Hill. I was not sure what I was getting into at the time, but I knew someone had to stand up and say something. Getting angry on social media did not seem to be accomplishing much for me or those on my side of the debate. My goal in confronting the protestors was for myself as much as it was for them. I needed to see them for who they were.

They were indoctrinated, ignorant, malicious, and dangerous. But, as much as their truth suppression had affected them, they were also broken, insecure, lost, and pathetic. Their moral compass off. Their God-given design marred. Their natural tendencies replaced by the unnatural. Yet they were still human and bore the image of their Creator whether or not they believed in Him. Yes they were culprits, but they were also victims of their own beliefs. They may have been my social and political enemy, but they were still my mission field—people I could reach and relate to on a deeper level, because I too, apart from God’s grace, was like them. My purpose in writing this is not to rehash the ins and outs of my three hour exchange. You can read about that here. Since the Silent Sam statue has now been destroyed likely by some of the same protestors I reached out to a year ago, I want to answer a question gnawing at the heart of many on my side of the debate. “What happened?” Not just as it relates to the mob that ripped down Silent Sam, but what happened to our young people? To our culture?

As you may have known, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last three years, what happened earlier this week is not unique. Countless demonstrations in favor of just about every cause on the “Left” or against every caused deemed to be on the “Right” have been the norm now since directly preceding President Trump’s election. In fact, a little over a year ago some of the same culprits who lawlessly tore down Silent Sam, tore down a Confederate monument in Durham. Our side (i.e. traditional Americans who think the admirable aspects of our heritage are worth preserving) has been pretty good at winning arguments, but we are not winning hearts.

We can generally expose the absurdity of neo-Marxists using history and logic. “No, the Confederacy was not fighting to preserve slavery.” “No, the Founding Fathers were not trying to set up a government of white privilege and misogyny.” “No, Donald Trump is not a white supremacist,” and the list goes on. We back up our counterpoints with data, and can usually corner often younger, arrogant, inexperienced Leftists by applying their own standards to themselves (whether they’re listening close enough to spot their refutation is another story). We have a paradigm for reality that attempts to take into account all the facts, good, bad, and ugly. They usually have a belief based on what their professor told them substantiated by a “NowThis” video that can only survive by actively suppressing facts that do not fit the paradigm.

So why are we not trouncing the opposition? Why do they not beat their swords into plowshares as they are dazzled by our impeccable logic? Why do they continue to attack what they often willfully do not understand. Why the vicious hatred for what we stand for even when we are nice? There are two sides of the coin in answering this question. The first side can be summed up in four words.

Because they hate God.

They kick against the goads of the natural order God has set up. They resent the constraints of gender, hierarchy, and privilege. They seek to rip down anything that reminds them of their station and the responsibility attached to it because on a core level they believe they are able to create their own version of reality in which they are god. They have faith in an egalitarian heaven here on earth. As an example focus on these words inscribed still at the base of Silent Sam.
To the Sons of the University who entered the War of 1861-65 in answer to the call of their country and whose lives taught lessons of their great commander that duty is the sublimest word in the English language.
Obviously no white supremacy here. No racism. But we do find duty and hierarchy. Robert E. Lee’s famous dictum, “Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less,” defines this generation of men. About a year ago the self-crowning sophisticates at Duke University decided to commemorate the vandalism of Lee’s statue, taken off the side of Duke Chapel, by updating their interpretive pamphlet with the idea that the hole left by vandals symbolizes the hole in America's race relations. However, Lee's bust sat right next to slaveholding Thomas Jefferson who’s bust was not removed nor was made (yet) to bear the entire burden of America's race issues. 

Could it be that slavery in and of itself is not really the issue? We traditional Americans know this, but we tend to think those on the progressive side do not—that they are somehow duped into believing the war was “all about slavery.” So many of us start spitting facts at them about Northern complicity, the Morrill Tariff, how the Confederate constitution outlawed the slave trade, etc. and while that may work with many fellow conservatives who actually have been duped, it does not seem to make much of a dent when it comes to social justice warriors.

If you remember nothing else, remember this. Social justice warriors cannot be convinced, they must be converted. I am not suggesting we abandon an intellectual defense of tradition, but I do think we ought understand the real issue so we can expand our focus. The protestors are not reacting against slavery per se. They are reacting against a culture of duty, hierarchy, and privilege—vestiges of which still exist in the Christianity, manners, and paternal nature of the South. Kicking the head of an inanimate statue makes no sense to someone who fails to understand the real issue. The statue is not lifeless to the protestor. It represents something very real, felt more than understood. It may have connections to a broken family, abusive parents, and bad relationships, but more than anything it is connected with God. A God who would allow suffering. You think I am talking about slavery but I am not. I am talking about young men and women who think they do not deserve the hand they have been dealt. Nevertheless, they still seek for meaning in what they have been taught is a meaningless world. Deep down they suppress what they know in their heart of hearts: That the Creator’s meaning on this earth includes inequity and suffering. They cannot attack God directly so they go after the most accessible representation of Him they can get away with destroying. A statue that screams the reality of immaterial absolutes such as honor, declares an individual’s responsibility to his culture, and champions the ideal man from the high point of Christian civilization is a perfect target. Add the allurement of instant media attention (the only concept of meaning many of the social media generation can conceive of) and a police force that is ordered to stand down and you have a recipe for disaster. Intellectual arguments are necessary, but love is essential.

As stated previously, hatred for God is the first side of the coin in answering why many of the young protestors are not persuaded by argument. The second side is a disordered identity. When I met a year ago with the protestors at UNC I noticed two things that stood out to me. The first was that my Christianity was more offensive to the protestors than was my Confederate heritage. The second was that many of the protestors lacked respect for their families or even the concept of family. This came out in both discussion on abortion and of the sins of previous generations. It is not that they disdained the concept of family. Indeed, those who perhaps looked like they might be the descendent of a slave were supposed to be justifiably offended by Silent Sam. But this family connection only served to perpetuate a sense of victimhood. There was no positive family identity with which I could appeal as one who was proud of my Confederate ancestors. The protestors were more than willing to throw their ancestors under the bus and understanding them was of little interest.

Contrast this with the way I was raised, which I think will give us the key to engaging with millennial social justice warriors. I was nurtured into three primary identities two of which were birthrights and one in which God had to call me into (I’ll let you guess which one that was). I was a Christian, a Harris, and an American in that order. These were not my only identities, but they were my primary ones. I was privileged to grow up in a house in which I had stability. My parents loved each other and demonstrated quite well the roles I needed to navigate the world around me and become a man. I knew what a father, husband, wife, and mother were. I was proud of my parents, and by extension I was proud of my family. I was taught what it meant to be a Harris (honesty being the chief virtue), and I was provided with living heroes in my immediate and extended family. My grandfather told me about World War Two, and the older members of my extended family told depression-era stories and passed on folklore. My parents were careful to teach me about heroes of the faith (missionaries, Bible heroes, etc.) and of American history. Obviously Robert E. Lee made it onto that list. So much of what I do whether I’m aware of it or not stems from my identity.

Not so for many of my compatriots. The majority live in what I call a “hormone culture,” the exact opposite of a duty-driven culture. They are lost in this world and many are not even aware of it other than the emptiness they feel inside. They know nothing of real faith, family, or country. Most come from broken homes. The majority have never seen what true love between a husband and wife look like. Insecurity is the norm. They have nothing to take pride in other than their individual abilities. This is the essence of hormone culture. Life becomes about sexual exploits, bodily shape, style of clothing, or some other superficial quality. Some of these young people will carry this attitude into adulthood where their whole identity will be wrapped up in their position (ever meet an arrogant professor at a university?). They have lost the divinely intended connections to faith, family, and country, and therefore have lost accountability, responsibility, and meaning. It is in this environment that the Left offers a devil’s bargain. “Come to us and protest those who have what you do not. Pretend that you have moral authority over them. Make yourself feel justified in your own sins. Ease your conscience for a little while. Take your anger out on those who have more privilege than you. We will make you famous and you will finally have the meaning you’ve been missing.” Of course, just like the original Devil’s bargain (to be like God), the promises do not pan out, which is why the protesting never seems to end.

If you recall, I originally set out to answer the question, “What happened?” It’s actually quite simple. In rejecting divine order and engaging in carnal pursuits the culture  has managed to finally “liberate” itself from it’s own heritage. The obvious next question is, “Can this be remedied?” I actually foreshadowed the answer to this question when I stated, “Intellectual arguments are necessary, but love is essential.” Ask yourself, if you are in a heritage group like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, “How many young people do you see in attendance at your typical meeting?” The likely answer is, “Not many.” Now, I do not pretend to know every circumstance or reason for this being the case, but on a macro level something went wrong. Why is it that our sons are not interested in their own heritage? Could it have something to do with us? I say this as a 29 year old who is fascinated by the stories of American and indeed, Confederate heroes. Were they ever taught, as I was, to take pride in family—to look into the mirror and see generations of men staring back into their face. There’s no substitute for telling the stories. My dear readers, please know this: Culture is not built on arguments, but on stories, and stories are only attractive if there is proper respect for the heroes in them which takes me to my last and final point.

Perhaps most important to this entire discussion is this: We are living in a time when there are no real heroes. The protestors do not see the heroism in a man like Robert E. Lee for reasons previously explained, but do they see a hero in you? Treating a protestor like a dignified human is not something they are used to from opposition. In fact they will probably respect your bravery and sincerity. This is the reason I brought sports drinks to those staging the sit in at UNC last year. I listened to what they said, showed them respect, and I was shown a shocking amount of respect by most of them at the end of our conversation. I know if it were possible I could have carried on a relationship with some of them past our conversation. Most of the younger ones especially are hungry for the relationships they have never had, they just do not know it. Some do not even have a concept of what a home to be proud of looks like because stability to the is a foreign concept. You can be that stability. Sure it takes patience, but true love is worth the work.

I have not touched on the cowardly cops or the corrupt school administration in this post. Let me say this though: We ought to let UNC and Chapel Hill know how upset we are over this. (UNC Police - (919) 962-8100, Mayor's Office - (919) 968-2743, Office of Chancellor (919) 962-1365, Donate to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Heritage Defense Fund here) There needs to be some righteous indignation toward what amount to a mob of spoiled brats. Justice and love flow together and it is not loving to justify evil activity. If anyone finishes this and gets the impression I am not angry about what happened, they need to read it again. I am angry, but I also have compassion on those whose lives are so pathetic as to find meaning by being out late at night destroying property. We are generally good at the justice side, I’m suggesting, without changing this, we also become good at the compassion side. Here are two parting biblical passages that help me remember that justice will come one day, and it will be from someone greater than me.

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.”  Romans 12:19

“For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

7/12/18

Exporting Social Justice: What happens when we send these ideas to the rest of the world?

By: David Harris

In consideration of the current swing in American evangelical circles toward social justice, especially in reference to the recent interdenominational conferences, it seems necessary to reflect on what I will call the “consequences of exportation” of social justice ideas to other parts of the world. Any individual who has traveled internationally and has stayed among evangelicals of other nations will be able to attest to the fact that biblically minded Christians in the United States have had a profound influence on the biblically minded church internationally. Our authors are read, our pastors listened to and our theological trends often adopted in churches throughout the world. The reason for this American influence on the international Christian community has everything to do with the freedom and prosperity that the United States has encouraged since its inception – our prosperity has allowed for our influence: the largest mission organizations, the biggest Christian booksellers, the most mega mega-churches and so on. While there have been tremendous blessings from this prosperity and influence, there have also been negative consequences because influence can very easily be corrupted and misused.


The point is this: with the great influence of the American church comes a great responsibility to export biblical truth, not just in an abstract sense, but in carefully considering how theological ideas and constructs are going to affect not only the American church, but the church abroad. And so we come to the exportation of the idea of social justice: how will we affect the international Christian community?

First, for the sake of clarification, the assumed application of social justice is basically this: traditionally or currently oppressed people groups demand or expect contrition and/or repentance from the perpetrators of said oppression (qualifier: the perpetrators don’t need to be alive today, as their posterity can/should repent for them – though it is not necessary to have ancestor perpetrators, as ethnic and cultural markers also are cause for contrition as they may indicate current status of privilege). Once ongoing contrition has been established, the perpetrators need to stand in solidarity with the oppressed group and pursue vague goals of “justice” and “equality,” especially agreeing with the oppressed group on views of history, justice, privilege and even economic policy.  (NOTE: It does not matter if the perpetrators and/or oppressed were individually Christian at the time of injustice – the point of applying social justice is just that, social, and the concern is the reconciliation of both parties)

To develop a picture of what this might look like in several places throughout the world, I’d like to apply the social justice standards to a number of ethnic/cultural hotspots (historical and current). To avoid redundancy, I will stay within roughly the last one hundred years.

1) Turkey

Oppressors: Turks          
Oppressed: Armenian Christians

In 1915 and over several years following, well over 1 million Armenian Christians in Turkey were systematically exterminated by the Turkish regime. As the Turkish government has yet to issue any recognition or apology, it is especially crucial for Turkish people, especially Turkish Christians, to recognize and repent for the deeds of their ancestors and for the privilege they enjoy in a nation that has largely been expunged of Armenians. While obviously not all Turks were involved, the application of social justice demands a collective responsibility among Turks in general that created the environment for the genocide to occur.
               
2) China/Japan

Oppressors: Japan          
Oppressed: Chinese throughout northeastern China

While the holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany was egregiously horrific, the actual numbers of those killed somewhat pale in contrast to the genocide perpetrated against the Chinese by the Japanese during their period of expansion in the early 1930s through the mid 1940s during World War II. While death camps were not set up exactly in a way that mirrored the Nazi Holocaust, the horrors of the invasion defy imagination – execution contests, “rape camps,” and even reports of cannibalism. While social justice demands that the Japanese repent for the gross sins committed during the “Rape of Nanking,” Japanese Christians should be the most vocal, as many of their ancestors more than likely served in the Japanese military during the genocide. When comparing Japanese and Chinese standards of living, personal income and social standing in general, there is blatant inequity in privilege – Japanese are far more affluent and live in a system of much greater personal freedom and security when compared to Chinese. Should not Japanese Christians be the most outspoken and lead by example in contrition for these acts that their predecessors perpetrated, as well as recognize the privilege that they enjoy because of the crimes committed against their neighbors?

3)  Germany/Eastern Europe

Oppressors: Germans and Nazi Allies     
Oppressed: Jews living in Germany and Eastern Europe

An especially egregious crime of the 20th century, the Holocaust stands out for its systematic planning of genocide of Jews in Europe. The fact that the genocide was perpetrated out of a traditionally Christian nation speaks volumes – the Christians of Germany must have an attitude of repentance toward their Jewish neighbors, and participate in collective truth-telling about the part their ancestors played  or didn’t – whether or not their ancestors participated directly, there must be collective contrition for creating an atmosphere that allowed for the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime – it does not matter that many, even prominent Luftwaffe soldiers were against what was going on or had no knowledge of it (for example, Erwin Rommel), the collective responsibility and necessary repentance must be felt from those with German blood wherever they are in the world, especially considering that they continue to benefit from their privilege in Germany today.  

4) Rwanda
Oppressors: Hutus, Tutsis, Belgians, French, United Nations, United States
Oppressed: Hutus, Tutsis, Belgian soldiers
   
The Rwandan genocide is one of those horrid events that sticks out in collective memory because of how recent it was – only 24 years ago. Because of this, many are still alive who were either victims of mistreatment at the hands of the Hutu extremists, or were actually participants in the massacre of Tutsi and Hutu moderates from April to June, 1994. While the genocide was primarily a Hutu on Tutsi affair, the collective responsibility stems back over a century, back to the traditional animosity between the two Rwandan tribes, the favoring of the Tutsi over the Hutu during colonization by the Belgians, the supplying of training of the Hutu extremists by the French Government prior to the genocide, the inaction of the United Nations during the genocide and the failure of the Clinton administration to accurately label the event, what it was, a genocide.

While the Nazi perpetrated Holocaust may have been shocking for its systematic efficiency, the shock of the Rwandan Genocide stems from its premeditation and grotesque brutality. Neighbors killed neighbors. Friends killed friends. No one outside Rwanda intervened for over 100 days, and by the time intervention occurred, at least 800,000 Rwandans were dead and millions more displaced. Since the number of those involved in the genocide was so high, many will never be brought to justice.

5) South Africa

Oppressors: British, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaners, Apartheid Government, current government, black South Africans, White South Africans  
Oppressed: Zulu, Xhosa, Ntebele, Swati, Shangaan (etc.), Afrikaners, black South Africans, white South Africans, colored South Africans, bushman

A brief history: when the Dutch colonists and French Huguenots settled the Western Cape of South Africa in the mid-1600s (after Portuguese discover nearly 200 years earlier), they found a number of native tribes, many who had been oppressing each other for long periods of time. The Dutch settlers practiced some slavery (as did the African tribes already present). Since the Dutch were white and had guns, this made them the worst of the lot. The British came in the mid-1700s and seized the Dutch colony by force. Many of the Dutch fled north into the interior where they were met by the Zulus. The Zulus had been oppressing… essentially everyone around them for some time and were building an empire of sorts. The Voortrekkers (as they were called) defeated the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River – interestingly, their relationship improved afterwards. After about 40 years, several colonies were coexisting in South Africa – the British and the Zulus oppressed each other through armed conflict, the British eventually being victorious. The British then decided to seize more of the Boers (as the Dutch were not called since they weren’t really Dutch any more) land. The Boers won the first war with some of the most incredible long range shooting in history. A decade later the British got smart and built concentration camps to put the Boer families in. The Boers lost.

The British ran the show in South Africa from the early to mid 1900s. Besides Christianity, education, hospitals, roads, technology (to the degree that the first heart transplant was done in South Africa), a modernized economy, international business investment and economic stability, the British colonial government brought only oppression. In fact, the oppression was so bad that a young Mohandas Gandhi (of later fame during the Indian Independence Movement) protested so much about being segregated as “colored” and forced to use the same facilities as black Africans (who he saw himself as superior to) that he was put in jail. This helped jump-start his career of not doing things authorities said to do on purpose in order to get arrested. He was very successful in his career, especially posthumously.

After World War II, the British left South Africa to a white minority that immediately began a policy of “apartheid,” which after every systematic genocide mentioned above and every similar event in human history, was the (in the words of Nelson Mandela) “greatest evil in the history of the world.” Black South Africans were oppressed and occasionally murdered by the white ruling party until international pressure and internal upheaval forced an end to the policy and the beginning of the true freedom of democracy – as is popular throughout Africa and with democracy in general, the first free election resulted in one party essentially ruling the country by an 8-2 margin, so far for 24 years.
    
The oppression of the whites during apartheid was reversed through “Black-Economic-Empowerment,” a policy that essentially seizes capital from white businesses when they reach a certain income bracket. Incredibly, this policy saw an exodus of business and a reversal of economic progress in the country. The rapid economic downturn made everyone in the country feel oppressed. At the same time an unprecedented rise in crime led to increased misery all around the country, but especially on the rural farms where white farmers were targeted for murder at genocidal numbers. In 2018 the government decided that all of South Africa’s problems came from the Dutch and British coming in the first place. They also decided that the best fix for this would be taking land from white people and putting it under government control, which they call, “justice.” In the midst of all of this, the “colored” people (“mixed-race” to Americans) were essentially the most oppressed, as they were too small to enjoy any influence. To complicate matters, people from all over Africa are fleeing their countries and coming to South Africa because it’s still better than wherever they’re coming from. The response from some groups of South Africans has been to ostracize, beat and murder them. This is called “xenophobia.”
By the way, the majority of South Africans claim some sort of Christianity.

So, my social-justice-advocating-friend, as you have advocated, those who bear collective and historical  guilt need to recognize past faults, make restitution and identify/rectify current privilege enjoyed  from these past transgressions. I give you 5 international examples of where this should be applied, the last being perhaps the most difficult to sort.

Good luck.

7/10/18

But what if abortion is illegal?

by Frank Russo


There has been a lot of debate recently over abortion, and most of it is coming from a good place. That place being the pro-life place of course. The left no longer controls the debate on this subject and recently we have seen a resurgence in the movement due to the election of president Trump and the selection of a new supreme court judge. This nation has also seen a huge uptick in protest and screeching concerning the possible repeal of Roe V. Wade and unfortunately the arguments are the same tired and stale ones we have heard since the feminist movement decided it was a woman’s right to commit murder. The most prevalent one that has been seen recently is the argument concerning quality of life. The argument goes that children who are raised in single parent households or into a poor family will have a low quality of life, ergo it’s better that they never be born than have to go through said hardship. This is what I like to call the “Overall Happiness Argument” where the life of a child is gauged by its speculative future happiness in conjunction with a formula made up of social circumstances. This argument notably saw legitimate traction with Dr. Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal physician, who used this argument to justify his euthanasia program in the 1930s. His was based on racial theory instead of social circumstances but it is the same argument. He was hanged for war crimes on October 16th, 1946 following the Nuremberg trials.

But his philosophy is well and alive with modern leftists. How do I see this as a racist proclamation? Good question, let me get into some statistics which may have a bearing on this case. 72% of black youths will grow up in a single parent household. This is an indisputable fact. 27% of black Americans live below the poverty line. That means that by leftist standards of the forty five million black people who live in the United States, 12,120,000 should either have been aborted or be susceptible to abortion at a philosophical level. This is just one segment of the minority population in America. Imagine how leftists must feel about Hispanics if 12,120,000 blacks shouldn’t be born under their philosophy? Or poor whites? This number for one demographic alone shows just how big this issue is and why its a cultural war that needs to be fought and won without and care for the feelings of our opponents.

I am not saying that all leftists want there to be no black people. Nor am I saying that they want all these abortions to happen. What I am sayings is that their philosophy leads to a complete collapse of morality and will eventually deteriorate to the dystopian point I have outlined for the black community. My evidence of this is that it already has. When Roe V. Wade was passed it was put forward that abortion was a necessary medical operation that would be done on a minimal scale for those that absolutely needed it. Another look at statistics can show us just how that has not been the case, especially in the year of 2018. There are 161 million women living in the United States. There are 1.2 million abortions performed in the United States each year with an unknown number of illegal abortions performed. That means that roughly 0.75% of women in the United States get abortions. By contrast 22,000 women a year are diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. 14,000 will die from it.Cancer treatment accounts for roughly 0.01% of necessary medical treatment women will receive  in a year. Women get abortions at seventy four times the rate that they will receive care for cancer. While not conclusive, (women get other diseases), it does show a disturbing trend. Women are using abortion, not as a necessary medical treatment, but as birth control.
This is irregardless of the fact that leftists seem to believe that a fetus is not life. A rock cannot turn into an eagle, and an eagle does not turn into a walrus. Ergo if something later “becomes” something then it always was that thing it was said to have “become”. The left also needs to stop telling people  that aren’t as privileged financially and in terms of family situations that they, for the good of society, shouldn’t have been born at all. My birth mother was promiscuous and had numerous children out of wedlock. She put us all up for adoption. She obviously wasn't ready to be a parent and her economic situation most likely was not good but I was adopted by a loving family and I love my life, warts and all, because I have Christ. Christ is what this country really needs to end abortion but in ending this I'm going to quote Dr. Seuss. Normally I’d think that childish but since the left weaponized the Lorax I have free reign.

“A persons a person, no matter how small”-Horton

6/21/18

The Horror of Wilsonisn Interventionism

By: Frank Russo

Robert E. Lee warned about the growth of the federal government leading to constant oversea intervention in foreign affairs. To a large extension he was correct but not in the initial phases.

The Spanish American war of 1898 was triggered by American journalism and can be seen as the final paint on the wall of the Monroe Doctrine, formally kicking Spain out of its last colonial remnants in the new world and guaranteeing American hegemony. In 1911 America would invade Mexico in response to Pancho Villa’s assaults along the Mexican-American border culminating in the first armored action in American military history.

However, these foreign entanglements were not what General Lee was warning about, at least not in spirit. These actions, as well as small scale actions in South America, were directly linked to American economic and military interests. With the exception of the acquisition of Guam and the Philippines, cases from the European style of imperialism can be applied. Hawaii was necessary for the maintenance of a Pacific fleet, Mexico and other Latin American countries needed to be kept stable and the Panama canal for easy access between oceans were all necessary steps towards securing American interests.

In 1914 however, things changed. With the election of the progressive father of American interventionism, Woodrow Wilson, to the office of the presidency things would change dramatically. Wilson saw democracy, or at least the American version of it, as the world's best form of government and sought to install it wherever possible. Prior to U.S entry into world war one in 1917, Wilson was involved in over 100 military actions in South America with the hopes of installing American style democracy. Countless lives were lost and the reputation of America still feels the effects of Wilson's rampage through South America.

Economics brought us into close proximity to the allies but Wilsonian sympathies brought us to the trenches. Simple facts kept us from equitable trade with both the central and allied powers during world war one. A shared language, and lack of a German naval blockade brought America, at least initially, into the economic fold of the British empire. Despite Wilson's promise to remain neutral the stunning battlefield successes of the central powers unnerved him. First the German proximity to Paris, then the Austrian Trentino offensive, the Ottoman Victory at Gallipoli and the push on the Suez canal worried him. To Wilson democracy in Europe was under threat of destruction.

What didn't help is the American media parroting of Allied propaganda such as the Rape of Belgium and the constant denouncement of “the Hun” as a barbaric race. German Americans at the American entry of the war were horribly molested, forced to take loyalty oaths and in a few cases German churches burned. The treatment of these men and women was reminiscent of Japanese internment at the beginning of world war two yet this is never taught in classrooms as to do so would undermine the glorifying of Wilson's principles.

The same reason stated for the us entry into the war are possibly the greatest indictments there of. The resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare around the isles of Britain and Ireland, (it wasn't the whole Atlantic as they'd have you believe), resulted in the sinking of the Lusitania, a  cruise liner which was pre warned before launch of German submarines and was carrying arms to England. This was a known fact. A fact the Germans thought would assume the angered Americans despite the fact that 100 of their citizens had been killed. Logic was lost on the American public and the Hun was so hated and lambasted by newspapers that a American senator who dared to bring up this fact was censured by his peers.

The Zimmerman telegram was the last nail in the coffin of American neutrality and the hypothetical military alliance between Germany and Mexico in event of America joining the allies ,(a proposal so detached from reality it might as well be on the moon), led Wilson to declare that the world must be made safe for democracy.

What followed was American entry into the war turning the tide, the collapse of four stabilizing empires, one a multiethnic conglomerate , and the collapse of a balance of power that had left Europe in relative peace since Napoleon. Wilson's fourteen points reflect two things. His desire to rewrite the world along American lines , and his complete detachment from the reality of the situation.

The creation of Poland, Ukraine and Yugoslavia angered Italy, (promised territory in the former Austro-Hungarian empire), The Newly formed Soviet Union,( who lost land in Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Eastern Poland, Ukraine and Belarus despite having suffered the most during the war), Germany,( as it lost 13% of it's land, coal and it's entire colonial empire not to mention it's reparations and the guilt clause, ) as well as China who was forced to cede the Liaodong Peninsula to Japan despite being an allied powers intact at the end of the war.

Japan would be emboldened by its territorial acquisitions to become increasingly imperialistic in Asia. Italy and Germany would quickly turn to authoritarianism and Russia would do the same while killing millions in forced famines and show trials which would have been prevented had Germany won the war and kept Ukraine as a client state. The Soviet Union likely never would've existed had there been a German victory on the Western front in world war one.

All these things, though some not directly, have much to do with Wilson's cavalier attitude about the superiority of his vision. A son of the south, he had seen the danger and horror of one people forcing their views of government on another and yet he sparked a long tradition of doing the same.

Despite the moral superiority of the second world war from the allied perspective the war would've been avoided had it not been for Wilson's intervention. In fact, the cold war would see a resumption of such attitudes with American lives being wasted in Vietnam, Korea and many other places in order to impose and American worldview on others. America has not sought to export our ideas through leading by example, but through force of Arms and that has much to do with Woodrow Wilson. Today we have the horrors of Iraq and Afghanistan under Bush and those plus Libya and Yemen under Obama, (another Wilsonian but a much weaker one), to remind us of the failure of nation building and democratic election in these places.

We see a marked difference in president Trump, who so far has used economic and diplomatic pressure to gain his foreign policy objectives and this has resulted in much greater success. The cost of this summit in Indonesia came in the form of paper and money, not bullets, blood and tears and that is a model worth following more than any tyrannical progressive foreign policy .

6/14/18

Why North Korea May be Trump’s Ticket to Re-Election

By: Frank Russo

For two years we have heard a massive critique of the Trump white house as “unstable”, many media heads comparing a position in the Trump administration to being that of a revolving door. With the firing of numerous high profile individuals such as Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, pundits claimed that Trump was unstable and that the White House would be hamstrung due to inefficiencies. These fears and critiques were put to rest and even proved wrong however, this last Tuesday, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un signed a bilateral agreement towards peace.

What the media fails to understand is that President Trump, through grandiose and bombastic statements, in conjunction with economic pressure placed on China, was able to officially end the Korean war, which has been in a state of Armistice since 1953. No credit will be given but Mr. Trump should be feeling high and mighty at this point in time.

However, what does this mean for his election, or rather re-election chances? Well the economy is doing well. It’s doing really well actually. It’s doing so well that leftist political pundit Bill Maher wants a big recession to happen in order that President Trump not be re-elected. Let it be noted that Mr. Maher is worth millions of dollars and would not be affected by said recession he wishes upon the rest of us plebians. But the important part of what happened Tuesday is this. Trump’s executive populism works. Rex Tillerson was an  Exxonmobil executive and a stale conservative. He is the swamp. His initial hiring for a position of such prominence when it comes to foreign policy was certainly a sore point for many Trump supporters. However, Trump did the thing Trump is known for and is best at. He fired him and took charge. He stopped listening to his advisers and started to take drastic action into his own hands and we have success because of it.

Leftists will bemoan the fact that Trump didn’t achieve a full denuclearization agreement or that he did not address the human rights violations of North Korea but that’s just another example of critics of the president moving the goal post. He was able to sit down, face to face with the leader of North Korea and achieve some form of accord and agreement to continue working together in the future. This is something that hasn’t been achieved in 65 years and the critique that any administration prior to his could’ve done it is hamstrung by the fact that none of them did. In fact Barack Obama was offered a chance to do so when Dennis Rodman communicated Kim Jong Un’s desire to speak with the president and yet Rodman and Kim were both rebuffed by the foreign policy in retreat president.

So why do I say that this could mean Trump’s reelection? As I said it proves that Trumpism works. It proves that Trump’s bombastic rhetoric towards a bully in conjunction with his shrewd economic prowess in comparison to our other presidents worked. By putting economic pressure on China we were able to bring North Korea to the table with a position of strength that hasn’t been possible before. Everybody critiqued every single one of president Trump’s policies and denounced him as a lunatic. When he passed our tariffs on China numerous people screeched about negative effects on our economy. Within a week Kim Jong Un was summoned to China to have a conversation with the Chinese government. When Trump started using our military power to back up his bombastic responses to North Korean jingoism, it was Kim Jong Un who backed down and Guam remained untouched. Trump might possibly be the new Bismarck, with his fluency in RealPolitik and recognition of an economy’s importance to foreign policy.

I can only hope that president Trump will rewrite the Iran deal as shrewdly and cunningly as  to undercut the failings of the former administration. It’s just a shame that Mr. Trump inherited such a foreign policy mess but he’s quickly proving to be apt at cleaning it all up. Considering that Mr Trump ran on fixing the mistakes of president’s past and how he has deviated so far from the establishment line one has to say that he is succeeding and keeping these promises are vital to mobilizing the same base that elected him the last time and even turning some new voters.

(The views expressed are the views of the author)

5/7/18

On Remaining Humble in Modern Academia

By: Jonathan Harris

After reading Richard Weaver’s monumental work Ideas Have Consequences last semester I was struck with one characterization of the “ideal man” that has since been shaping the way I look at my own academic future. For a young seminary student like myself pursuing “Christ-likeness” was a given, but my eyes were never fully open to what that meant in relation to my academic career and my identity in connection with it. Let me explain.

Weaver roughly traces the concept of the ideal man from the time of Plato up through the modern age by focusing on three different characters: the philosopher/theologian, the gentleman, and the specialist. Simply stated, the philosopher/theologian ought to be the ideal man, not because he is the smartest, but because he is the wisest. He is the wisest because he understands the connections which exist between fields of study and in knowing such connections has a more direct understanding of the immaterial eternal world of ideals and principles. The gentleman who replaced the philosopher/theologian retained the noble moral code of the previous station without the other-worldly glow. In short, he was the man of tradition defending the world passed on to him, but without a transcendent standard to be self-conscious of. While it was the case that the vast majority of gentleman drew their precepts from religion, it was not a requirement to be religious in order to attain to the status. The gentleman gave way to the specialist as modernity waxed. This is the world we currently live in. If you’ve ever seen someone dressed up in a lab coat trying to sell you the newest invention or medicine you are witnessing the elevation of the specialist. The specialist understands his limited narrow field of study and that is about all he is expected to comprehend. Those in society elevate the specialist because he is the “best” in his field. Not all of this is wrong in every way, but there is a fundamental deceptive element to it, and it relates directly to Christ-likeness, academia, and humility.

You see, the specialist is in danger of catching a disease all men are prone to, but not all men are exposed to, at least not to the same degree. Call it a bad case of having a “big head.” The Apostle Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians 8:1. “knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” Of course knowledge itself is not the problem, otherwise the Apostle’s reference to the “gift of knowledge” (12:8), or his multiple positive uses of the same term (i.e. 11:3) in the same epistle would make little sense. It is best to understand the warning as one of motivation and not education. It is the soil in which the seeds of knowledge are planted that prove to make the field inhospitable to the ideal of love. Academics is incapable of corrupting a heart, but a heart is capable of corrupting academics, and the heart of the classical philosopher/theologian has a much different purpose than the heart of the modern specialist.

The specialist approaches his field with an eye toward efficiency and success as chief virtues, and prestige and security as chief rewards. His is a world of competition against an ever shrinking group of participants the higher he climbs and the narrower his field becomes. To state it in a  vulgar way, the ivory tower has become the world where the nerds are finally able to gain the illusion of out-competing the jocks. I say “illusion”, because the nerds have simply found a field in which the jocks and most others simply do not compete for reasons usually having to do with pursuing other more traditional life goals.

Now, it is not wrong to pursue higher education. If it were, I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world. It is the way education is pursued, viewed, and used. The philosopher/theologian pursues education the way a loving man pursues his wife. He is not studying her to manipulate her. He does not view her like a stepping stone toward greater personal success. He does not use her strengths to boost his career. He pursues her because he loves her. He wants to know her because he cares about her. Romance is relational, and so is wisdom. The philosopher/theologian has a soul captivated with the mysteries of the divine and dives into the deep end knowing he will never explore the depths of the sea of learning as long as he lives. No academic program can contain it. It is a pursuit which never ends. The result of such a pursuit is a humble well-rounded man of wisdom. He knows he has merely scratched the surface. He knows his place is that of the passive observer attempting to comprehend principles set in place by someone far greater than him. He does not manipulate the world around him but uses the wisdom he obtains to faithfully occupy whatever station he possesses. If the philosopher/theologian has any responsibility it can be summarized with one word: duty.

The beauty of the philosopher/theologian is that any person is capable of being one. Academic accolades are not required, just a love for truth. Understanding one’s role as an inheritor of a tradition, culture, and religion are prerequisites however. The specialist often has a hard time seeing beyond his own nose because he has set out to make a way for himself solely based upon his alleged ability in one or two narrow areas. Take that away from him and he’s done for. This is why so often professors at academic institutions can exude an ere of arrogance. It must be understood by everyone they surround themselves with that they are important because of their expertise. Thus they are in danger of becoming insecure one trick ponies. Truth is not their pursuit. Domination in their field is. Not so for the philosopher/theologian who primarily sees himself as part of a faith, a heritage, and a family. Take his academic status from him and his pride is not hurt. He probably has a trade he knows a thing or two about. He may have even inherited it from his father. He knows his family and faith will continue well after he’s gone. His faith, hope, and love are rooted in heavenly institutions.

So what does this all have to do with Jesus? It’s quite simple really. He was the ideal man. But He was also the ideal philosopher/theologian. He worked for thirty years as a carpenter before he pursued his ministry calling. He bypassed the prestigious centers of education and instead “increased in wisdom and stature” through conversing with older religious leaders in a Socratic sort of way. He found his strength through His connection with God and upheld the tradition of His faith and people perfectly. His wisdom knew no limitation making Him the most profound speaker on every subject he chose to address. Finally, he fulfilled his heavenly and highest duty while being knowingly humiliated. His actions flowed from His character. He was the Savior of the world, as his name suggests, even before his ultimate duty was fulfilled. His identity was and still is secure in the eyes of heaven whether or not any recognition is afforded him on earth. 

As a young man with a strong connection to the academy, my goal and struggle is to keep the person of Jesus in mind as I pursue the next steps in my education and career. Part of this process is avoiding Weaver’s “specialist,” while embracing his, “philosopher/theologian.” My identity is not found in “what I do.” My function in a narrow field is not my source of worth. My goal is not the approval of men in the same field.

One of Richard Weaver’s interesting observations about the South is that it is in this region that modernity has been resisted for the longest period of time in the Western world. The echoes of the pre-modern world of the philosopher/theologian and certainly the gentleman still exist in pockets here. One such pocket is represented by the Abbeville Institute. I have had the privilege of attending one of the organization’s summer schools and one of their summits and have formed relationships with many of the faculty. I recently wrote Dr. Clyde Wilson who I met at an Abbeville event to gain his advise on remaining humble in graduate school. It is with our exchange that I close this contemplation.

Dr. Wilson,

After visiting the university you recommended me to over the weekend with my wife I am pleased to inform you that Dr. Smith offered me a position as a Graduate Assistant. I do believe I will accept his offer. Thank you once again for writing the kind recommendation.

The main reason I'm writing you is to ask a question about humility. You see, my wife and I were discussing how down to earth Dr. Roberts and Smith were when we had lunch with them. Dr. Roberts is a dean and Dr. Smith the head of an entire department at the largest Christian university in the world. Yet, there we were dipping French fries in ketchup at Five Guys and talking about the most common things one could imagine. They were approachable and accessible. I commented that they would be just as happy at a Nascar track as they are sitting in their ivory towers- perhaps happier.

Then it occurred to me that the professors at Abbeville are without a doubt the most humble group of academics, and perhaps men, I've ever met in my entire academic experience. To use yourself as an example- I've been slowly making my way through "Defending Dixie," and I've been simply amazed at your insight and use of the English language, yet you were humble enough to ask me about myself and listen to what I had to say---a 28 year old with an undergraduate degree---while eating Banana pudding at Marice's.

A few years ago I had the displeasure of meeting without a doubt the most arrogant group of men I have ever witnessed in my entire life. They inhabited the graduate history department at the University of Albany. I will spare you the story of the their condescension toward me, but it was quite potent. The seminary I attend is a great deal better, but still I find that many of the professors love to hear the sound of themselves talk, and are not capable of admitting they may not know something when it is clear they don't.

How is it that you remain as humble as you do after having the academic profession that you've had? How is it that this general kindness and humility seems to be common among the Abbeville professors? Is it a Christian/Southern influence? I'm asking because as I reach higher levels of learning I want to remain humble myself and not fall into the trap of arrogance most academics inevitably fall into.

-Jon

Dear Jon,

I find your message deeply interesting and gratifying.  Would you mind if I shared it with a few Abbeville Scholars?  They would be pleased at the evidence of their good works.

There is not the slightest danger that you will ever be like the bad professors that you describe, and for many reasons.

To explain them fully would require major study of English and German social, intellectual, and cultural history back into the Middle Ages.  You have DEFENDING DIXIE.  In my pieces "Scratching the Fleas"  and "The Yankee Problem" I make a stab at the margins of the problem.

These people have no religion, no culture, and no vocation.  You are guilty of none of these things.  All they have is their status which they cling to rigidly.  Without their status they would be nobody---just one more average cipher among the millions in modern urban society.

No religion?  Obviously they have no conception of a higher purpose of life, either as individuals and in their view of humanity.

No culture?  They lack any visceral inward connection with Western civilization such as has been for long been possessed by any uneducated farm boy or worker. Probably your good Welsh name is helpful in this regard.

No vocation?  Unlike you, they have no drive to understand life and our great cultural heritage, no devotion to learning.  They have merely picked out some niche of "expertise" that will give them status in a bureaucratic, soulless society.

Another reason that you can never be like them is that your career will be a struggle that will depend on ability, effort, and the small help that we can give you.  There will be no comfortable bureaucratic niche for you.

Thanks for your kind remarks about us Abbevilleans. We are not status conscious.  More importantly, we are civilized Christian men who feel an obligation to mentor the young to carry on a great tradition.  Those other people regard talented young people not as a blessing but as a threat.

Hope this helps.

As ever, Clyde
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