Reblogged from Jewniverse
reblogged from American Minute
Charlie Hebdo, Intolerance, and the Problem of Double Standards
The terrible massacre in Paris could be a “teachable” moment on the meaning of tolerance, but it will require soul searching by America’s cultural leftists.
The outpouring of sympathy and support for the staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo has been enormous. Over a million people poured into the streets of Paris to protest the terrorist attack on its headquarters, a gathering said to be larger than when France celebrated the end of World War II. It appears to be a near universal statement of support for freedom of expression.
But is it? Is there really a consensus, even here in the United States, for freedom of expression in all its forms? Do all the people who hold up signs declaring “the pen is mightier than the sword” really believe it when it comes to those with whom they disagree?
Sadly, many do not. In fact, some of the very same people outraged by the violence committed against Charlie Hebdo are all too happy to limit freedom of speech and inquiry on America’s campuses. Universities routinely use speech codes to limit what can be expressed on campus. Prominent figures such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Harvard University President Larry Summers are prevented from speaking at some of the country’s most prominent universities. A University of Illinois professor who taught a class on Catholicism is fired for explaining the Catholic understanding of natural law and homosexuality; and a training manual for employees at Marquette University (a Jesuit school no less) advises them to report privately expressed criticisms of same-sex marriage to authorities as harassment. Hair-trigger charges of “microaggression” are leveled against professors for an unintended insult. “Trigger warnings” are sent out on social media to warn tender-hearted students that they had best avoid certain lectures (say, on religion and Western Civilization) for fear of being traumatized.
It’s bad enough on America’s campuses, but illiberal shaming rituals of intolerance are coming to the workplace too. If you say or write anything, even privately, that certain groups may find offensive, you can lose your job. Just ask Atlanta’s Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was recently fired because of a book he published outside of work in which he expressed Christianity’s traditional teachings on homosexuality. Mozilla’s Brendan Eich resigned his new post as CEO after an outcry over his private donation to a group supporting a traditional marriage initiative in California. Apparently, some freedom of expression is more equal than others.
It would be easy to conclude that people who oppose the free speech of some are merely hypocrites. They say one thing and do another. And it’s true, they are hypocrites—flagrant partisans of a double standard. But it’s important to realize that the major reason they are not deterred by such criticism is that the double standard is actually a core principle of their ideology. In their minds, to be inconsistent is absolutely necessary to be consistent, just as it is necessary to be intolerant of certain points of view supposedly to be tolerant. It is the necessary illiberal means to advance their idea of a liberal agenda.
The key to making sense of this is to understand that free speech is not really the issue. The elimination of barriers to their vision of absolute equality is the issue. After all, the heirs of the radical “free speech” movement that began in the 1960s—the radical tenured professors who now hold sway in many American universities—are the same people trying to control free speech on campus. Leftists who want to control speech are doing so precisely because they believe that something—namely, their ideology of radical egalitarianism—is more important than free speech.
They may think of themselves as great civil libertarians of free speech, but they tolerate little dissent if someone dares question their most sacred ideas. Their inspiration is not the First Amendment, which is little more than a means to an end—embraced when it’s convenient and rejected when it’s not. Rather it is the cause of making ideological war on certain kinds of people and certain kinds of ideas, and in that war it is perfectly permissible to take no prisoners.
Who are the enemy? Actually, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon targets make up a pretty good enemies’ list—Christians, conservatives, rich people, and Jews, particularly if they can be linked to Israel. Of course, also on the list is the lampooned Prophet Mohammad, but he presents an ideological problem for the left. Often, Muslims are presented as victims of America, Israel, and conservatives. In that context, they become a cause célèbre, a special class right up there with gays, women, and racial minorities.
However, when an Islamist terrorist beheads or blows up an ideological ally such as Charlie Hebdo, they have a problem. Luckily, the problem only lasts until the first mosque is attacked by some unhinged right-winger. Then it’s back to defending Muslims from “Islamophobes,” often making the ridiculous charge that Islamophobia is a species of racism. They have difficulty keeping their enemies straight because their ethics are situational. It depends on how a particular situation fits into the broader ideological war on Christianity, Judaism, and Western culture.
If you don’t believe me, ask Dutch-born cartoonist Bernard Holtrop who worked for Charlie Hebdo. Apparently fed up with so much solidarity from people he despises, he declared, “We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends”—mentioning the Pope and Queen Elizabeth and others who had the temerity to express support for Charlie Hebdo. “I have always defended Charlie Hebdo,” he said, “[and t]here can be no debate on freedom of expression, never.” Never, except of course when it comes to the Pope, who deserves nothing but a splash of bile from his stomach.
Holtrop and Charlie Hebdo’s vulgarity is certainly no excuse for the horrible violence perpetrated against its staff. Moreover, it’s a good thing that so many people around the world spoke out in favor of freedom of expression. I only wish that many of the magazine’s left-wing supporters in America and around the world would apply the same standard to Christian conservatives.
So here is my appeal. If the champions of free speech on the left want to be truly consistent, they should do the following:
Stop making convenient exceptions to freedom of expression. As is often noted, the First Amendment is intended to defend unpopular speech, not popular speech. That includes speech with which you disagree. No self-respecting liberal can call himself that if he violates one of the most sacred of all civil liberties—freedom of expression.
Recognize and embrace the most liberal of all principles—namely, that expressions of personal (and especially religious) opinions are protected by the Constitution. Not only does the First Amendment guarantee freedom of the press, it also protects “the free exercise of religion.” Firing a person for writing a private book expressing his religious views on homosexuality is no less offensive and unconstitutional than dismissing someone for criticizing the Pope or the Prophet Mohammad.
Return the American university to a place of liberal education, learning, and open and free inquiry. Many of America’s universities and colleges are still dedicated to these principles, but too many of them are not. It’s not only the stifling of free speech but monotonous conformity that bedevils academic learning, particularly in the humanities. The ethos of academic freedom should be truly respected, not used as an excuse to shut out certain points of view. Real diversity of opinion should be embraced as an end itself.
Stop exaggerating the threat supposedly posed by Christians and other conservatives. Much of the rationale for prohibiting conservatives from speaking on campuses stems from the outrageously stupid view that they are about to swoop down on the college green like the KKK and start lynching people. Activists actually believe they are conducting a defensive operation, when in reality they are offensively imposing a majoritarian view on minorities (especially on campus). A short look in the mirror would correct that misapprehension. It’s not conservatives who are behaving like intolerant bigots. It is radical leftists.
Drop the collective guilt mindset of identity politics. So much of the intolerance generated by the postmodern left is based on spurious assumptions about how groups of people think. The notion of “white privilege,” for example, that assumes all white people are unconsciously racist is guilty of the same racialist thinking that white supremacists once used to justify their hatred of blacks. Liberals need to go back to thinking of human beings as individuals who should be judged by their merits, not by their racial characteristics.
Get a consistent story on how to think about radical Islam. Depending on whom you talk to, Islamist terrorists are either bloody murderers of liberal cartoonists or “activists” responding to legitimate fears of “Islamophobia.” Leftists can’t make up their minds whether to fear or embrace the radical Islamists. The reason for their confusion stems from the fact that they fear Christians far more than Muslims. They occasionally get shocked out of their delusions by the threat of real violence by Islamist terrorists. But it doesn’t take long for them to realize that they can’t go too far down that road without aiding and abetting the real enemy: Christians.
Thankfully, most leftists who wish to stifle free speech don’t use violence. But they do advocate the coercive use of shaming rituals and the force of law to get their way. The means are not nearly as severe, but the principle of coercion remains. Once someone embarks down the road of saying one’s opponents have no right to their views at all, it’s not too many steps until one is tolerating all sorts of horrible things, like firing someone for his religious views.
The terrible massacre in Paris could be a “teachable” moment on the meaning of tolerance, but it will require soul searching by America’s cultural leftists. Double standards are the defense mechanisms of the confused and the insincere. They can only be exposed by clearing up the confusion and by exposing the insincerity. One hopes that after all the Charlie Hebdo marches are over, we can set to work to establish real freedom of expression in this country for everybody, and not just for a certain special few from one wing of the ideological spectrum.
Kim R. Holmes is a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author ofRebound: Getting America Back to Great (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).
reblogged from The Public Discourse
Watch: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses the Foreign Press Corps.
Reblogged from A Lamplighter Moment by Mark Hamby of Lamplighter Publishing
Get Up the Water Shaft
Recently, my office staff participated in an experiment as we talked over a biblical passage. Picture this. We took two chairs and put them side by side. Then, we made sure the space underneath the chairs measured the approximate size of the water shaft that tunnels into Jerusalem.
We then read the following text from 2nd Samuel 5:
“And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who said to David, ‘You will not come in here…’ And David said on that day, ‘Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft…'”
David was king of a nation but there was one problem. The mocking Jebusites governed the walled fortress of Jerusalem–the heart of the nation. And they weren’t leaving just because David had become king. In fact, when they saw David arrive they mocked him, saying that even the blind and the lame could defend their city.
David realized that it would be foolish to attack, but he had a plan–the water shaft! The water shaft was a small tunnel that brought water into the city. It would have been dark, wet, and cold but if someone was committed, he could crawl through and take the inhabitants by surprise. That is exactly what David and his men did–and exactly what we did in the office. We saw a demonstration of incredible determination.
As king, David was determined to regain the heart of the nation. No longer would it be controlled by the enemy. We are confronted with this same quest today. The enemy has taken up residence in so many homes, and he often mocks us in our complacency. It is time to remove the mocking enemy. Sometimes it takes the same sort of excruciating effort that David and his men expended. Other times, you don’t even have to crawl through a water shaft to do it. Perhaps today we only need to unplug the television and throw it away!
To see us performing this experiment, click here!
The longest lunar eclipse ( moon eclipse ) in 100 years. Lunar Eclipse 2011 — Time Lapse — June 15, 2011
A quote from the Talmud on eclipses and blood red moons,
Succah 29a Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the whole world. This may be illustrated by a parable. To what can this be compared? To a human being who made a banquet for his servants and put up for them a lamp. When he became wroth with them he said to his servant, ‘Take away the lamp from them, and let them sit in the dark’. It was taught: R. Meir said, Whenever the luminaries are in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel since they are inured to blows. This may be compared to a school teacher who comes to school with a strap in his hand. Who becomes apprehensive? He who is accustomed to be daily punished. Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for idolaters; when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons by the moon and idolaters by the sun. If it is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the east; if in the west, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the west; if in the midst of heaven it is bad omen for the whole world. If its face is red as blood, [it is a sign that] the sword is coming to the world; if it is like sack-cloth, the arrows of famine are coming to the world; if it resembles both, the sword and the arrows of famine are coming to the world. If the eclipse is at sunset calamity will tarry in its coming; if at dawn, it hastens on its way: but some say the order is to be reversed. And there is no nation which is smitten that its gods are not smitten together with it, as it is said, And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. But when Israel fulfill the will of the Omnipresent, they need have no fear of all these [omens] as it is said, Thus saith the HaShem,’ Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the nations are dismayed at them, the idolaters will be dismayed, but Israel will not be dismayed. Our Rabbis taught, On account of four things is the sun in eclipse: On account of an Ab Beth din who died and was not mourned fittingly; on account of a betrothed maiden who cried out aloud in the city and there was none to save her; on account of sodomy, and on account of two brothers whose blood was shed at the same time. And on account of four things are the luminaries in eclipse: On account of those who perpetrate forgeries, on account of those who give false witness; on account of those who rear small cattle in the land of Israel; and on account of those who cut down good trees.
I want to ask you a little question while we stop, before we continue on with this service, just a few minutes. I wonder if I could ask you this.
Anyone knows that the world, positionally, everything is sitting in order for His Coming. “Earthquakes in divers places; the moon is spurting out red blood, or red volcanic all over, covering it,” as Jesus said watch for that sign in the last days; “sea roaring, men’s hearts failing for fear, and perplexed of time, distress between the nations.”
— William Branham June 18, 1964, The Presence Of God Unrecognized in Topeka Kansas
Seeing red: How a lunar eclipse and volcanic ash create colourful phenomenon for moon-gazers
Last updated at 3:14 PM on 16th June 2011
- Red colour most vivid in Asia
Sky watchers were treated to a stunning lunar eclipse last night as ash in the atmosphere from a Chilean volcano turned it blood red.
Scientists said the specific phenomenon – known as a ‘deep lunar eclipse’ – often exudes a coppery colour. But the intensity of the colour depends on the amount of ash and dust in the atmosphere.
Luckily for moon-gazers, there was plenty of ash in the air so the moon appeared orange or red, especially in Asia.
Air travellers haven’t been so lucky: The ash has grounded hundreds of flights around the region.
The dramatic event, the longest total lunar eclipse since 2000, turned the moon blood red for 100 minutes during the period of totality.
But Europeans missed the early stages of the eclipse because they occurred before moonrise.
The eclipse began at 6.24pm and ended at midnight but sunset didn’t occur in the UK until 9.19pm.
Scientists had reassured sky watchers that the eclipse could be safely observed with the naked eye.
People in the eastern half of Africa, the Middle East, central Asia and western Australia were able to enjoy the entire event.
However, those in the U.S. missed out as the eclipse occurred during daylight hours.
The moon is normally illuminated by the sun. During a lunar eclipse the Earth, sun and moon are in line and the Earth’s shadow moves across the surface of the full moon.
Sunlight that has passed through the Earth’s atmosphere makes the moon appear red, brown or black.
The moon travels to a similar position every month, but the tilt of the lunar orbit means that it normally passes above or below the terrestrial shadow. This means a full moon is seen but no eclipse takes place.
– Israel, in any future agreement with the Palestinians, has a critical need for defensible borders. This video outlines the threats to Israel from terrorist rockets, ballistic missiles, and conventional ground and air threats from the east.
In light of a widening range of threats to Israel’s security, for the first time a group of senior Israeli generals has come together to outline the basic principles of a defense policy – rooted in a consensus spanning past and present Israeli governments – which is focused on Israel maintaining defensible borders.
The crisis over the Hamas flotilla to Gaza illustrates how some of Israel’s critical alliances in the Middle East are changing, especially its relationship with Turkey, and the importance of designing a defense policy that takes into account the uncertainties that Israel faces with many of its neighbors.
Recent events only underscore that it is critical for Israel to preserve the principle of defending itself by itself.
See more – http://www.defensibleborders.org/security
- Reid rebukes Obama on Israel – Seattle Post Intelligencer (news.google.com)
- Obama, Netanyahu and the 1967 border | Petra Marquardt-Bigman (guardian.co.uk)
- Hamas rejects the 1967 borders, too (hotair.com)
Obama’s Speech Raises Tensions With Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not like President Obama’s speech yesterday. Hours before Obama came out in support of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal based on Israel’s returning to its 1967 borders, Netanyahu made a furious phone call to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an attempt to change the president’s mind. Shortly after the speech, Netanyahu called Obama’s statements “indefensible”. Obama’s speech and Netanyahu’s rebuke came a day before the two are scheduled to meet in Washington. Relations between the two leaders have always been tense, but they’re especially high now. Netanyahu says he believes Obama is pushing Israel too far and wants him to use the U.S.’s diplomatic clout to protect Israel from an upcoming U.N. Vote on Palestinian statehood. Obama has indicated he’ll veto the vote, scheduled for September, but it’s unclear how far he’ll go in convincing other countries to do the same as long as Netanyahu refuses to get onboard with a plan to return his state to its 1967 borders.