Political correctitude has evolved into an intolerant, totalitarian, supremacist ideology. One that shouts down dissent and resorts to ad hominems like ‘racist’, ‘bigot’, ‘misogynist’, and ‘Islamophobe’, to derail debate and elicit knee-jerk support. In many ways, left-wing apologists bear a striking resemblance to apologists for Islamism. Just as Islamists have intimidated far too many people, media outlets, and governments into squelching dissent, so has the politically correct left. Just as Islamists believe their ideology to be superior and sacrosanct, so does the politically correct left. Just as everybody must respect Allah, the Quran and Muhammad, so must everybody respect politically correct ideals: if you don’t, you’ll feel the wrath of adherents.
Don’t get me wrong . . . I like liberal ideals like minority rights; gay rights; women’s liberation; inclusion; affirmative action; and support for the poor, disadvantaged, and downtrodden; etc. These values have made our country strong, prosperous, and free. The problem is not our values: it’s how we apply them to domestic and foreign policy.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article called ‘Why Americans Go to Church‘. At the time I was making a rather tongue-in-cheek observation about the amorality of American culture across all of its expressions. Since then I have expanded my reading into this phenomenon.
I think two events spurred me to do this. The first happened a long time ago; it was when US President Bill Clinton denied ‘having sex’ with Monica Lewitt, and was later caught in the lie. Clinton, I read then, was a ‘Southern Baptist’. In this cult only penetration counts as sex, apparently. While I thought it was serious ‘economy with the truth’, I did not dig into it deeply.
More recently, I had an online exchange with someone who insisted that Catholics ‘were not Christians’ and that they had come along ‘later’ and perverted the true meaning of the word. This person exhibited all the lack of education, and absence of any desire to gain some, that is typical of American Baptists.
Being a European, of course, I had no direct experience of Southern Baptism or any of the other so called ‘Evangelical’ cults until about five years ago, and even then it seemed relatively harmless. They were just a bunch of crackpot fringe-dwellers, somewhat like the Moonies or the Baha’i. Still, I was beginning to see pattern, as I read the writings of Baptist seminarians and ‘thinkers’. Was there any substance to this cult at all, or was it just anything anyone wanted it to be? Was it, indeed, actually dangerous? Continue reading Southern Baptism→
The recent exchange between Hollywood star Ben Affleck and writer Sam Harris on Bill Maher’s popular show has highlighted the fundamental problem of the ‘liberal left’. The crux of the argument rested on Affleck’s Politically Correct presumption that it is never acceptable to criticise another culture. This view holds that all cultures are equally valid and that persons inside the dominant culture – in this case a Post-Renaissance, post-Christian European one – may never criticise any aspect of another culture, which in this case was Islam.
Now the rights and wrongs of the argument are clear to anyone who watches the exchange, which is here: (http://youtu.be/vln9D81eO60) and I advise readers to do this. They will see that Harris maintained a reserved and non-confrontational position throughout, whereas Affleck behaved like a hectoring bully.
I’m going to become a Hedonist. No really, I am. Seriously. I am going to join the Church of Hedonism. Yup. Before this happens to me.
Of course, no such church actually exists, and most religions seem to be mainly concerned with stopping people having fun. But anyway. If there isn’t one, I think it’s time we started one.
I am rapidly approaching that watershed in life, the dawn of my seventh decade. I don’t have that much time to waste any more. I quick demographic of my parents’ families suggests that if I remain a non-smoker, keep the drink to a moderate level and eat reasonably healthy food, I have maybe another fifteen years of active life, and another five or so of winding down, before parting the mortal coil and becoming one with the Earth again.
That is not an awful lot of time. And I am beginning to resent every moment of it that is not spent, basically, having fun.
I am proud to be a European. Our culture has many faults, yet at the same time it has given the world so much. Science and democracy, equality under law and social inclusion simply would not exist without it. And across culture, art, science, engineering and technology, our culture remains a brilliant star, without which light, we would still be in the Dark Ages. I am very proud and lucky to be a part of that.
Despite this, I believed, for many years, that other cultures were equal.
But I was wrong. Culture is not a level playing field. The very qualities that define Western culture represent a system of morality, which allow us to judge other cultures. And we definitely should judge them.
Ley-lines were invented by an Englishman called Alfred Watkins, who had spent much time cycling around the countryside near his home. In 1925, he wrote a book called “The Old Straight Track”, in which he described a revelation he’d had while looking at a map of Herefordshire four years earlier. He had suddenly seen a network of straight lines that connected points of human activity, such as
“Mounds, Long-barrows, Cairns, Cursus, Dolmens, Standing stones, mark-stones, Stone circles, Henges, Water-markers (moats, ponds, springs, fords, wells), Castle, Beacon-hills, Churches, Cross-roads, Notches in hills,”
The god proposition is supported not by fact, but by faith. At the end of the day, the final word that the religiously-disposed have is to say that “It is so because I believe it to be so,” before covering their ears. For them, this trumps everything.
This is the hook that caught Descartes when he confronted the issue, and then backed off very quickly. “I think,” he said, “Therefore I am.” This is fine. He is self-aware therefore he is sure he exists. He cannot be entirely sure that he exists as he perceives himself or that anything that is around him is as he perceives it, but he does make a very convincing argument, based on the progression of rational logic, that it is so (and thus takes several hundred pages to confirm what any pragmatist already knows. But that’s an aside.) However, when confronted by the idea of God, God must exist, he says “Because he cannot imagine a world in which he does not.” Oops.
Gender is innate. It is not a social construct This article discusses how it evolved.
Early human society was fluid, with survival always the goal. It was, in general, divided by sex. Women and children formed a home group, which focussed on protection of the children and nursing mothers, foraging, perhaps trapping small game and birds, and the preparation and cooking of food. This group would have been a sisterhood of equals, but led, in all probability, by the elder women, the grandmothers, who were also the teachers, the midwives and shamans.
The other group was of men and older boys, based on the hunt. This group had to be able to respond quickly to the changing circumstances of the hunt, which could, especially when hunting large game, be lethal. A command system developed, probably around the best and most experienced hunters. We call this the ‘away’ group.
These two groups have long been identified and are still obvious in non-Western societies today. They are the evolutionary basis of gender.
The New Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens and many others, purported to offer a sane, secular attempt to roll back religiosity for the betterment of society. Instead, their efforts have begat the mother of all calamities.
How did this come to pass?
Scientific atheism, as promoted by the New Atheists, lacks any unifying central structure or code. Essentially it is based on a negative — not believing in God. So it can’t have a defining structure. Richard Dawkins, one of the most prominent New Atheists, tried to answer this with his ‘brights’ — which was an embarrassment. (Since at least 2014, Dawkins has self-identified as a ‘secular Christian’ anyway.)
After the Enlightenment and especially the French Revolution, European secularism based itself around Reason as the core methodology that would replace, in the minds of those who were atheist, religious belief. This reflected a rejection of hierarchical religious authority, which had begun in the Reformation. The works of philosophers like Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant and Paine promoted the idea of the free-thinking individual whose intellectual scalpel was Reason. Both of these were exported to the US.
World War Three has been much talked about in the seven decades since World War Two ended. At that time, almost all of Europe and large parts of Asia were in ruins, scourged by years of brutal, mechanised, industrial war.
Since the beginning of that peace, war has raged incessantly throughout the world. It has never stopped. The killing, the butchery, the rapes, the genocides, the ethnic cleansings. Mass rapes, murders, enslavements. Whole cities destroyed, nations impoverished or obliterated.