America Is No Longer A Protestant Country

Two enormously significant milestones in 24 hours for the U.S.A. First, America is no longer a Protestant country. The end of an old song.

I am a Catholic, yet am sad, though I was expecting America, the only industrial country which is intensely religious, to become slowly secular. She will thereby be gravely weakened. The future for America looks European and this means wisdom, sophistication and decline. I am much more saddened by this than by the economic statistics showing America losing ground to China. Economics is in itself unimportant - economics reflects culture which reflects, in the broadest sense of the idea, religion (and genetics). In no country have religion, self-belief and sense of purpose always been as closely linked as in America, founded though she was by Deists, with church and state strictly separated.

Repeating History

Duly Noted

Toleration does not moderate radicals: it incites them. 

It is a common place that history does not repeat itself. As so often, this shibboleth panders to a partial truth. Indeed, history’s does not condemn us to bear its repeat performance. It is the ignorant that cause the past’s suffering to return to haunt us.

Memoirs, documentations, and grilled acquaintances tell a recurring story about the Holocaust. Survivors had an interesting response to the “but why did you not leave while you could”? Yes, they were well aware of antisemitism. They were also cognizant that, the National Socialists program promised their liquidation. As Islamists put it today, there was then, too, a stated will to “decapitate” the many that they disliked. The Nazi program –unlike that of the Bolsheviks- was not only not a secret but was even advertised to drum up support. There are contemporary movements that act analogously.

Imbecilities: Unintended But Knowingly Committed

Duly Noted

Small items to illustrate a big subject.

1. Morality for us and for them. Our guides that yield a moral monopoly like to appeal to our principles regarding unqualified tolerance for diversity. This is done, even if society suffers from the criminal lawlessness of uninvited immigrants and fake refugees. According to the sermon, accepting transgressions tests mature democracy and morals. 

Interestingly, when in non-Western countries the indigenous and aliens are subjected to violence by mobs or rulers with a mafia mentality, then censure is said to be inappropriate. The furthest one may go is to express “regret”. Pleas for an appropriate reaction are anathema. Native actions are said to express folkways rooted in culture. “Respect” is due to other cultures. That makes the binding ethical norms for household use here inappropriate abroad for they reflect a cultural bias.

Modernization: Rage And Refusal

Duly Noted

The jihad against modern society reflects the inability to participate in it. 

An insight emerges during the perusal of ideas that are marked for posting. Preferred topics land on the back burner because current affairs set new priorities. Once again, “urgencies” go to the front of the queue, and an Islam-related issue gets the nod. The repeated priority given to the theme tells us something. The unscheduled discussions of “Islam and modernity” suggest that in the back of our skull, we know that, albeit reluctantly, we are at war with Islam as represented by its radicals. 

Two Guevaras

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David Goldberg

Riding To Fame On A Wave Of Envy And Hatred

Let me admit a fair measure of shock about the fact that my friend David Goldberg is being criminalized as a Jewish mohel or circumciser. Now I start wondering what has a pediatrician from Giessen to bother about a Jewish mohel, who has done him no harm whatsoever and whom he does not even know - accusing him of mutilating babies. Don’t hold your breath by thinking of the frightening low birth rate in Germany. By contrast two weeks ago one of the most influential orthodox Rabbis of Israel died in Jerusalem at the biblical age of 102 years, leaving behind the amazing number of one thousand living offspring over five generations. The circumcised orthodox Israelis have on average of ten children, not least a delight to any good natured pediatrician. 

The World Order And Its Enemies

Duly Noted

Diplomacy is a pillar of global security and peace. The Islamists act to topple it.

The Third World is a beneficiary of the system of diplomacy that has evolved through the centuries. It is a fundament of an orderly world and fanatics are now undermining it.

International relations are as problem-laden as are personal relationships. All associations produce conflict. To promise the key to a “perfect” marriage in total harmony exploits the gullible. Promises to unite mankind in a conflict-free order of love are soothing intellectual exercises. Their practical value, however, equals a biology that claims to convert kissed frogs into princes. 

Protection: Who Really Gains?

Duly Noted

Protection allocates benefits but the act of protecting empowers.

Our official culture is PC infected. Among the premises of the imposed propriety of that virus is that certain groups will, unless protected, become victims of the majority. According to this, the view the majority of the minority is generally prejudiced. At the same time, the negative view of the minority concerning the majority is justified because it expresses an unadulterated culture. Illustrative is an element of the US’ election. If 90+% of Afro-Americans vote for Obama that is an expression of rational approval. If 50% of whites contemplate not to vote for BHO, then that is racism. Those favored by PC are said to require varying degrees of protection. The extent to which the sheltering is justified is ignored to avoid the charge of “racism”. 

Right And Wrong

Duly Noted

Pussy Riot confirmed what the Kremlin wants Russians to think of its critics.

Last week’s “Duly Noted” dealt with a protest. The action against Putin came from a punk band, self-branded –and not thusly libeled- as “Pussy Riot”. Your columnist reported how the three women of the gang entered in Moscow the “Christ the Savior” cathedral to put on a show they called a protest. 

By Duly Noted’s judgment, that protest, sold, as a “Punk Prayer” had been an exercise in lewdness. That tastelessness, was rated by the perpetrators as “art”. The term seems to be an excuse for anything. Whatever the real purpose the performance, the women bared everything –except much of a political purpose. Accordingly, the problem did not come from asking the “Virgin Mary” –an insufficiently emancipated Godess- to intercede “further up” to remove Putin. CXlaiming that no support for “Putinism” is intended, the commentary targeted the band. In “The Punk Test of Liberty’s Limits”, a point was made. The piece argued that the previously ignored group gave legitimacy of what Putin does with his presidential power. The focus of the posting had been the improper form of Pussy Riot’s (hereafter “PR”) self-serving action. 

The Success Of Eastern Europe

Year by year, the current nine countries of Eastern and Central Europe that were controlled by the Soviets -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia -- become relatively more prosperous in comparison to the richer nations of Western Europe. As a result of the European debt crisis, this trend is likely to accelerate.

It has been more than two decades since these countries acquired their freedom. All have become multiparty, largely free-market democracies. What seems normal now was far from a foregone conclusion at the time of the dissolution of the old Soviet Union. In fact, most bets would have wagered that not all these nations would have made it. 

I was one of the economists who advised the reformers in Hungary and Estonia -- then later Russia and Ukraine -- and served as co-chairman of the transition team in Bulgaria. To say that at the time we were not all confident that the democratic and economic reforms would be successful would be an understatement.

The Punk-Test Of Liberty’s Limits

Duly Noted

Not every vulgarity is art, and not every publicly performed perversion is political protest.

Can one handle fish and not smell? Is it possible to spread honey without becoming sticky? Could “Pussy Riot” be discussed and not stoop to their level of lewdness? Such thoughts arise as one sets out to discuss a story behind the news that was. 

Here the essentials, in case you missed the matter. “Pussy Riot” (PR) is a once ignored Russian female punk-rock band. It has a record of public sex acts, ranging from simple copulation to the vaginal insertion of a chicken in a supermarket. To “express itself” through an act of “art”, in Moscow PR invaded the cathedral of “Christ the Savior” to stage a political “action”. The analogy is to invade the Vatican. A show was put on. It asked the Virgin Mary – she herself has been told to switch to feminism- to remove Putin. The label: “a punk prayer”. The mischief scored in the internet. After less than a minute, the exhibition that revealed all including the panties of the artists was stopped. Arrests and then a trial followed. The verdict of two years, out of a possible seven, has shocked the foreign media. Count on copycat imitators emerging.

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