Arab revolutions

Just like what happened in the Communist states, popular uprisings have overthrown the autocratic government in Tunisia. Now the similarly autocratic government in Egypt is facing mass demonstrations. It’s also happening in Yemen. The government in Lebanon has also fallen.

We’re glad about that, right? We believe in freedom and democracy and oppose oppressive regimes.

And yet the United States has supported some of the Arab authoritarian regimes because they keep the radical jihadists under their thumb. Some are worried that democracy in the Arab world would mean putting the jihadists in power.

The Tunisian revolutionaries seem to be on the secular, even Westernized side. In Lebanon, though, Hezbollah, the radical Shi’ite terrorists, are taking power. Egypt’s Mubarak has been our guy, despite his dictatorial ways, and radical Islam is waiting in the wings should he be overthrown.

What are we to think about these developments? We went into Iraq to overthrow a ruthless dictator and bring freedom and democracy to an oppressed people. Right? So are we OK when that happens in countries that we didn’t invade and have no control over, and when free might champion terrorism? Help me out here.

HT: tODD

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • BW

    Well, these developments are kinda scary. Both Egypt and Lebanon have prominent radical Islamic factions in them (Hezbollah, as was mentioned, and I believe there’s a part of the group called Islamic Jihad based in Egypt), so it makes you wonder if they do retain control of power, could they destabilize the region?

    It does appear that God seems to give people what they want in these situations. That sometimes, as has been said before here on this blog, He allows even worse tyrants and dictators to take power as a sort of punishment to those that overthrew the government.

    Guys like Harold Camping and Jack Van Impe are probably all worked up because this, to them, is just more evidence of fulfillment of the impending war with Israel, just after the Rapture which obviously must be right around the corner…

  • BW

    Well, these developments are kinda scary. Both Egypt and Lebanon have prominent radical Islamic factions in them (Hezbollah, as was mentioned, and I believe there’s a part of the group called Islamic Jihad based in Egypt), so it makes you wonder if they do retain control of power, could they destabilize the region?

    It does appear that God seems to give people what they want in these situations. That sometimes, as has been said before here on this blog, He allows even worse tyrants and dictators to take power as a sort of punishment to those that overthrew the government.

    Guys like Harold Camping and Jack Van Impe are probably all worked up because this, to them, is just more evidence of fulfillment of the impending war with Israel, just after the Rapture which obviously must be right around the corner…

  • BW

    Also, I had heard that U.S. aid was the third largest source of income/resources to the Egyptian economy. I don’t know if that is true, but it will be interesting to see how that is affected and plays into the turmoil here…

  • BW

    Also, I had heard that U.S. aid was the third largest source of income/resources to the Egyptian economy. I don’t know if that is true, but it will be interesting to see how that is affected and plays into the turmoil here…

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    I’ve read some commentators on the Islamic scene who’ve been predicting these uprisings for several years now. I’ve also just seen a report on TV that the Muslim Brotherhood is actively involved in inciting the protests in Egypt. It’s all very, very interesting, and could change the geo-political reality in the Middle-East quite quickly.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    I’ve read some commentators on the Islamic scene who’ve been predicting these uprisings for several years now. I’ve also just seen a report on TV that the Muslim Brotherhood is actively involved in inciting the protests in Egypt. It’s all very, very interesting, and could change the geo-political reality in the Middle-East quite quickly.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure we’ll see “democratic” governments come to power, but there’s a good chance that some form of Arab populism will emerge that may signify only a changing of the guard or “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” If we could get a few Somalia’s sans piracy out of this, the region might be on the upswing.

    There is another advantage to having radicals take power – they are now out in the open. While having more Syria’s, North Korea’s or Iran’s may not appear to be beneficial, in the long run, I think we will be better off having these groups out in the open. Iran’s revolutionaries have been in power for 30 years and most of the population was in diapers or not born when the current government was installed; for these people, the current government has largely lost any credibility that it once had with the general population. To be sure, this does not indicate that these countries will follow the same path, or if they do, that new tides of popular uprisings sweeping Islamists from power will occur.

    So, I think the best we can do for these countries is to shore up our own democratic and republican institutions, and allow for the blessings of liberty to derive to the American people, and give these countries encouragement when they do right by their people, and admonish them when they don’t.

    A few prayers for them probably wouldn’t hurt, either.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure we’ll see “democratic” governments come to power, but there’s a good chance that some form of Arab populism will emerge that may signify only a changing of the guard or “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” If we could get a few Somalia’s sans piracy out of this, the region might be on the upswing.

    There is another advantage to having radicals take power – they are now out in the open. While having more Syria’s, North Korea’s or Iran’s may not appear to be beneficial, in the long run, I think we will be better off having these groups out in the open. Iran’s revolutionaries have been in power for 30 years and most of the population was in diapers or not born when the current government was installed; for these people, the current government has largely lost any credibility that it once had with the general population. To be sure, this does not indicate that these countries will follow the same path, or if they do, that new tides of popular uprisings sweeping Islamists from power will occur.

    So, I think the best we can do for these countries is to shore up our own democratic and republican institutions, and allow for the blessings of liberty to derive to the American people, and give these countries encouragement when they do right by their people, and admonish them when they don’t.

    A few prayers for them probably wouldn’t hurt, either.

  • kerner

    I can predict at least one thing. Coptic Christians will endure more persecution now than before.

    Another, slightly less confident prediction. The Egyptian birder with the Gaza Strip will become more open, for good and ill.

    I don’t know whether our government will try to put any particular spin on this, but we will try to work with the new regime rather than fight it.

  • kerner

    I can predict at least one thing. Coptic Christians will endure more persecution now than before.

    Another, slightly less confident prediction. The Egyptian birder with the Gaza Strip will become more open, for good and ill.

    I don’t know whether our government will try to put any particular spin on this, but we will try to work with the new regime rather than fight it.

  • kerner

    I can predict at least one thing. Coptic Christians will endure more persecution now than before.

    Another, slightly less confident prediction. The Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip will become more open, for good and ill.

    I don’t know whether our government will try to put any particular spin on this, but we will try to work with the new regime rather than fight it.

  • kerner

    I can predict at least one thing. Coptic Christians will endure more persecution now than before.

    Another, slightly less confident prediction. The Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip will become more open, for good and ill.

    I don’t know whether our government will try to put any particular spin on this, but we will try to work with the new regime rather than fight it.

  • kerner

    oops, double post, sorry.

  • kerner

    oops, double post, sorry.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What kerner says. One one level, we got to support Mubarak because he was better than what populism would deliver–or at least we thought so. On another, supporting Mubarak may have made that populism more virulent in its anti-Coptic, anti-Jewish nature.

    Not easy to win that one, time to pray.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What kerner says. One one level, we got to support Mubarak because he was better than what populism would deliver–or at least we thought so. On another, supporting Mubarak may have made that populism more virulent in its anti-Coptic, anti-Jewish nature.

    Not easy to win that one, time to pray.

  • Helen F

    Interesting recent article here on Egypt:
    http://victorhanson.com/articles/ibrahim012211.html

  • Helen F

    Interesting recent article here on Egypt:
    http://victorhanson.com/articles/ibrahim012211.html

  • Porcell

    In the long run democracy will benefit Arab nations as long as the jihadists don’t use democratic means to establish autocratic power.
    The U.S. will need to support honest, moderate democracies, though when jihadis gain power, we will find ways to undermine them, as we are now doing with Hugo Chavez. In the long run it is unlikely that radical jihadis will not know how to run a free economy or conduct moderate relations with other countries.

    The key with all these nations is to develop a middle class with an interest more in a developing economy than fighting other Arab nations and the U.S. Tunisia has a relatively strong middle class, though, as with Egypt, there are dangerous jihadi elements jockeying for power.

    In the long run democratic stability will be more advantageous to American interests than supporting autocrats, though during the Cold War and the present war against the jihadists, on balance as a practical matter it was necessary to support well entrenched autocrats. This has been from Truman through Obama. In the case of Saddam Hussein, we supported him against the radical Iranian Mullahs, though he stepped over the line in conquering Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia.

  • Porcell

    In the long run democracy will benefit Arab nations as long as the jihadists don’t use democratic means to establish autocratic power.
    The U.S. will need to support honest, moderate democracies, though when jihadis gain power, we will find ways to undermine them, as we are now doing with Hugo Chavez. In the long run it is unlikely that radical jihadis will not know how to run a free economy or conduct moderate relations with other countries.

    The key with all these nations is to develop a middle class with an interest more in a developing economy than fighting other Arab nations and the U.S. Tunisia has a relatively strong middle class, though, as with Egypt, there are dangerous jihadi elements jockeying for power.

    In the long run democratic stability will be more advantageous to American interests than supporting autocrats, though during the Cold War and the present war against the jihadists, on balance as a practical matter it was necessary to support well entrenched autocrats. This has been from Truman through Obama. In the case of Saddam Hussein, we supported him against the radical Iranian Mullahs, though he stepped over the line in conquering Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bike Bubba:

    I have an idea: we could have supported neither. This is yet another instance of that infamous term “blowback.” Why the United States continues to believe that it must manipulate the regimes of most other nations on earth is beyond me.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bike Bubba:

    I have an idea: we could have supported neither. This is yet another instance of that infamous term “blowback.” Why the United States continues to believe that it must manipulate the regimes of most other nations on earth is beyond me.

  • Porcell

    In the above first para., last sentence ignore the “not.”

  • Porcell

    In the above first para., last sentence ignore the “not.”

  • John C

    “We went to Iraq to overthrow a ruthless dictator and to bring freedom and democracy to an oppressed people”.
    Only a handful of people in the Bush regime knew why we invaded Iraq. If George W knew, he has since forgotten.
    According to our Prime Minister, Australian soldiers were sent to Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction. Democracy only became an issue when weapons of mass desruction could not be found.
    I do not think military intervention in the region is a realistic option. It is a region that requires leadership from the White House and a dynamic State Department.

  • John C

    “We went to Iraq to overthrow a ruthless dictator and to bring freedom and democracy to an oppressed people”.
    Only a handful of people in the Bush regime knew why we invaded Iraq. If George W knew, he has since forgotten.
    According to our Prime Minister, Australian soldiers were sent to Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction. Democracy only became an issue when weapons of mass desruction could not be found.
    I do not think military intervention in the region is a realistic option. It is a region that requires leadership from the White House and a dynamic State Department.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, at 11, Robert Kagan, quoted today in the has an answer to your concern as follows:

    Of course it is precisely the success of that [international] strategy that is taken for granted. The enormous benefits that this strategy has provided . . . somehow never appear on the ledger. They should. We might begin by asking about the global security order that the United States has sustained since Word War II—the prevention of major war, the support of an open trading system, and promotion of the liberal principles of free markets and free government. How much is that order worth? What would be the cost of its collapse or transformation into another type of order? Whatever the nature of the current economic difficulties, the past six decades have seen a greater increase in global prosperity than any time in human history.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, at 11, Robert Kagan, quoted today in the has an answer to your concern as follows:

    Of course it is precisely the success of that [international] strategy that is taken for granted. The enormous benefits that this strategy has provided . . . somehow never appear on the ledger. They should. We might begin by asking about the global security order that the United States has sustained since Word War II—the prevention of major war, the support of an open trading system, and promotion of the liberal principles of free markets and free government. How much is that order worth? What would be the cost of its collapse or transformation into another type of order? Whatever the nature of the current economic difficulties, the past six decades have seen a greater increase in global prosperity than any time in human history.

  • trotk

    As Cincinnatus says.

    Let’s quit pretending we know what the consequences will be of our actions, because we don’t. Let quit pretending we understand how people think in another vastly different culture, because we don’t. Let’s quit meddling in other countries, because we cause at least as much harm as good, if not more.

  • trotk

    As Cincinnatus says.

    Let’s quit pretending we know what the consequences will be of our actions, because we don’t. Let quit pretending we understand how people think in another vastly different culture, because we don’t. Let’s quit meddling in other countries, because we cause at least as much harm as good, if not more.

  • trotk

    Porcell, that argument (#14) is seriously flawed, because it assumes (or is based on the premises) that the world would have experienced major wars and wouldn’t have experienced economic growth had we not gotten involved.

    Both of those assumptions are completely impossible to prove. When you have an argument based on unproven and unprovable premises, you have a bad argument.

  • trotk

    Porcell, that argument (#14) is seriously flawed, because it assumes (or is based on the premises) that the world would have experienced major wars and wouldn’t have experienced economic growth had we not gotten involved.

    Both of those assumptions are completely impossible to prove. When you have an argument based on unproven and unprovable premises, you have a bad argument.

  • Joe

    I disagree with the notion that democracy is not necessarily a good thing. It is a neutral thing, like a hammer. It can be put to good or bad use.

  • Joe

    I disagree with the notion that democracy is not necessarily a good thing. It is a neutral thing, like a hammer. It can be put to good or bad use.

  • collie

    I admit to being a little confused over the reasons we intervene in these countries. Is it because we want to spread democracy? If so, we haven’t done a very good job; see: Iraq. I don’t consider Sharia law very “democratic”. Is it because we need them to supply our domestic energy needs? – I think this is the honest answer. We keep kicking the can down the road on the energy issue, putting more restrictions on domestic energy production, siting environmental concerns, yet we buy stuff from countries that have much lesser standards when it comes to pollution. This seems, to me, pretty inconsistent.

  • collie

    I admit to being a little confused over the reasons we intervene in these countries. Is it because we want to spread democracy? If so, we haven’t done a very good job; see: Iraq. I don’t consider Sharia law very “democratic”. Is it because we need them to supply our domestic energy needs? – I think this is the honest answer. We keep kicking the can down the road on the energy issue, putting more restrictions on domestic energy production, siting environmental concerns, yet we buy stuff from countries that have much lesser standards when it comes to pollution. This seems, to me, pretty inconsistent.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, your argument is the one that’s flawed. Kagan proceeds on the eminently provable assumption that in the absence of strong nations interested in stability major wars result with damaging economic, social, and political consequences. Look what happened when the West after WWI went largely isolationist and pacifist, resulting in WWIII with tens of millions of lives lost.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, your argument is the one that’s flawed. Kagan proceeds on the eminently provable assumption that in the absence of strong nations interested in stability major wars result with damaging economic, social, and political consequences. Look what happened when the West after WWI went largely isolationist and pacifist, resulting in WWIII with tens of millions of lives lost.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Egypt had been under “emergency regulations” for 30 years. Opponents of the state dissappeared without a trace. People were arrested never to be heard from again. Government corruptio has been rife.

    The same goes for Tunisia. And now the protests have spread to Yemen as well.

    Meanwhile, Syria (for your refernce, SK), grants more freedom to its Christian population than any other Middle Eastern Country. Yet it is also the fiefdom of the Assad family, members of the Wahadi Branch of Islam, a very moderate branch spurned as heretics by most of the rest.

    No-one can say what will happen. And recent events has been quite illustrative of the fact that “the spread of democracy” is but a smokescreen for national interests, for good or ill. Case in point: The most authoritarian regime of them all, the house of Saud.

    But in all times of uncertainty, lets pray for our Christian Bretheren, which form significant minorities in some of these countries, and peace.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Egypt had been under “emergency regulations” for 30 years. Opponents of the state dissappeared without a trace. People were arrested never to be heard from again. Government corruptio has been rife.

    The same goes for Tunisia. And now the protests have spread to Yemen as well.

    Meanwhile, Syria (for your refernce, SK), grants more freedom to its Christian population than any other Middle Eastern Country. Yet it is also the fiefdom of the Assad family, members of the Wahadi Branch of Islam, a very moderate branch spurned as heretics by most of the rest.

    No-one can say what will happen. And recent events has been quite illustrative of the fact that “the spread of democracy” is but a smokescreen for national interests, for good or ill. Case in point: The most authoritarian regime of them all, the house of Saud.

    But in all times of uncertainty, lets pray for our Christian Bretheren, which form significant minorities in some of these countries, and peace.

  • trotk

    “the eminently provable assumption”

    Then prove it. Simple syllogisms are all I ask, with each premise being irrefutable. If it is “eminently provable,” it must be easy.

    To blame WWIII (sic) on the west going “isolationist and pacifist” is to
    a.) ignore history (ie – pacifist and isolationist is a major simplification)
    b.) draw conclusions without logical support (there is no conclusive evidence that pacifism and isolationism led to WWIII (sic))

    Peter, sometimes I think you make the claims you do because this is the way you want the world to work, in spite of the lack of evidence. Then you claim that there is evidence, but you never provide it. Half the time, when you provide a source, they actually disagree with your stance (see Ut unum sint).

  • trotk

    “the eminently provable assumption”

    Then prove it. Simple syllogisms are all I ask, with each premise being irrefutable. If it is “eminently provable,” it must be easy.

    To blame WWIII (sic) on the west going “isolationist and pacifist” is to
    a.) ignore history (ie – pacifist and isolationist is a major simplification)
    b.) draw conclusions without logical support (there is no conclusive evidence that pacifism and isolationism led to WWIII (sic))

    Peter, sometimes I think you make the claims you do because this is the way you want the world to work, in spite of the lack of evidence. Then you claim that there is evidence, but you never provide it. Half the time, when you provide a source, they actually disagree with your stance (see Ut unum sint).

  • SKPeterson

    Kagan is, at best, a neo-Wilsonian, if not an outright, full-blown Wilsonian. There seems to be no limit to his calls for other people’s blood and treasure to be expended propping up a foreign policy regime that is based upon notions that intervening in the affairs of other nations is not only right, but salutary, while be continually blind to the fact that such a policy creates a precedent for a two-way street. As long as someone else’s oxes are the ones being gored, we have no problem with violating national sovereignty, but if it is our oxes, then we get in a huff, but we cannot understand how our actions in violating other’s sovereignty undermines our own.

    Wilson should be carted off to the ash heap of history and his Progressivism quietly buried.

  • SKPeterson

    Kagan is, at best, a neo-Wilsonian, if not an outright, full-blown Wilsonian. There seems to be no limit to his calls for other people’s blood and treasure to be expended propping up a foreign policy regime that is based upon notions that intervening in the affairs of other nations is not only right, but salutary, while be continually blind to the fact that such a policy creates a precedent for a two-way street. As long as someone else’s oxes are the ones being gored, we have no problem with violating national sovereignty, but if it is our oxes, then we get in a huff, but we cannot understand how our actions in violating other’s sovereignty undermines our own.

    Wilson should be carted off to the ash heap of history and his Progressivism quietly buried.

  • Porcell

    Joe, you might try reading Natan Sharansky’s book, The Case for Democracy in which he argues that true democracies rarely fight agains one another.

    For a short take on his view go to 2005 a Middle East Qquarterly article Peace Will Only Come after Freedom and Democracy including:

    The world is full of doublethink. What it most lacks is moral clarity. It is extremely important to call a spade a spade. It is necessary to understand the nature of the war that we are in the midst of. The battle is not between Israel and the Palestinians or between the United States and Iraq. Rather, the current fight pits the world of freedom against the world of terror. I have told President Bush that the two greatest speeches of my lifetime were Ronald Reagan’s speech casting the Soviet Union as an evil empire and the president’s own speech on June 24, 2002, when he said that Palestinians deserve to live in freedom and that only with freedom would the Middle East enjoy security.[6]

    The reason for my meeting with the president was because he was reading my book, and he wanted to discuss it. There is no doubt that the president’s statements at his press conference [with British prime minister Tony Blair][7] were similar to my ideas. I was very happy to hear the president say that freedom is not something that was given to America but rather it is a gift from God to all mankind. I feel very strongly that peace will only come after freedom and democracy. These are the ideas for which I have been fighting all my life, and these are the ideas to which I believe the president is going to devote the next four years.

  • Porcell

    Joe, you might try reading Natan Sharansky’s book, The Case for Democracy in which he argues that true democracies rarely fight agains one another.

    For a short take on his view go to 2005 a Middle East Qquarterly article Peace Will Only Come after Freedom and Democracy including:

    The world is full of doublethink. What it most lacks is moral clarity. It is extremely important to call a spade a spade. It is necessary to understand the nature of the war that we are in the midst of. The battle is not between Israel and the Palestinians or between the United States and Iraq. Rather, the current fight pits the world of freedom against the world of terror. I have told President Bush that the two greatest speeches of my lifetime were Ronald Reagan’s speech casting the Soviet Union as an evil empire and the president’s own speech on June 24, 2002, when he said that Palestinians deserve to live in freedom and that only with freedom would the Middle East enjoy security.[6]

    The reason for my meeting with the president was because he was reading my book, and he wanted to discuss it. There is no doubt that the president’s statements at his press conference [with British prime minister Tony Blair][7] were similar to my ideas. I was very happy to hear the president say that freedom is not something that was given to America but rather it is a gift from God to all mankind. I feel very strongly that peace will only come after freedom and democracy. These are the ideas for which I have been fighting all my life, and these are the ideas to which I believe the president is going to devote the next four years.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We’re glad about that, right? We believe in freedom and democracy and oppose oppressive regimes.”

    Really? I thought we supported them when it was expedient.

    We should care about justice, which, if we are honest, can say is actually possible in a variety of political systems if the people and leaders are themselves concerned about the common good.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We’re glad about that, right? We believe in freedom and democracy and oppose oppressive regimes.”

    Really? I thought we supported them when it was expedient.

    We should care about justice, which, if we are honest, can say is actually possible in a variety of political systems if the people and leaders are themselves concerned about the common good.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Wilson should be carted off to the ash heap of history and his Progressivism quietly buried.”

    How about one of those Mongolian burials where all his loyal followers bury him and then do themselves in?

    Only speaking metaphorically. Don’t get torqued.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Wilson should be carted off to the ash heap of history and his Progressivism quietly buried.”

    How about one of those Mongolian burials where all his loyal followers bury him and then do themselves in?

    Only speaking metaphorically. Don’t get torqued.

  • trotk

    Peter, I take your silence to be an admission that you are struggling to craft the necessary syllogism.

  • trotk

    Peter, I take your silence to be an admission that you are struggling to craft the necessary syllogism.

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  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t consider Sharia law very “democratic”.”

    That doesn’t make sense. Democratic just means the people voted for it. They can vote for whatever a majority wants. It may not be a wonderful system, but it is still democratic. Hey, look as us here in the US. We voted for folks who have spent us into bankruptcy. It was all done according to democratic principles. It is also stupid and corrupt, but it is still democratic.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t consider Sharia law very “democratic”.”

    That doesn’t make sense. Democratic just means the people voted for it. They can vote for whatever a majority wants. It may not be a wonderful system, but it is still democratic. Hey, look as us here in the US. We voted for folks who have spent us into bankruptcy. It was all done according to democratic principles. It is also stupid and corrupt, but it is still democratic.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    And now protests in Amman, capital of Jordan: Here though, they are not against the king, but against the prime minister.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    And now protests in Amman, capital of Jordan: Here though, they are not against the king, but against the prime minister.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Why the United States continues to believe that it must manipulate the regimes of most other nations on earth is beyond me.”

    To keep asserting ourselves as top dog. Many may not like that kind of thinking, but it is well understood in every culture. It is base and human.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Why the United States continues to believe that it must manipulate the regimes of most other nations on earth is beyond me.”

    To keep asserting ourselves as top dog. Many may not like that kind of thinking, but it is well understood in every culture. It is base and human.

  • collie

    sg, I get what you’re saying, I guess I’m speaking in terms of what Pres. Bush expected us to think when he said he wanted to “spread democracy around the world”. But yes, in a strict sense, you’re absolutely right.

  • collie

    sg, I get what you’re saying, I guess I’m speaking in terms of what Pres. Bush expected us to think when he said he wanted to “spread democracy around the world”. But yes, in a strict sense, you’re absolutely right.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I guess I’m speaking in terms of what Pres. Bush expected us to think when he said he wanted to “spread democracy around the world”.”

    Pure marketing BS.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I guess I’m speaking in terms of what Pres. Bush expected us to think when he said he wanted to “spread democracy around the world”.”

    Pure marketing BS.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – My, you are on a roll today!

    “Pure marketing BS.” :)

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – My, you are on a roll today!

    “Pure marketing BS.” :)

  • collie

    sg: yes, sadly true. I’ve been looking up some of Pres. Bush’s speeches and came across the words freedom and liberty a lot. This is what he was selling us; that we were going to war to give other people a chance to live in a similar society like we have. The reality is we were going there to attempt to stabilize the region with our presence so that we could continue to buy oil at a good price.

    I also think he really believed we could establish a stable government there that guaranteed liberty to the Iraqis. I just don’t think the whole plan was well thought out, and the Bush administration caved when the form of government in Iraq was being debated and set up. Sharia law is definitely not a promoter of freedom, especially for women. I’m highly disappointed that we let this happen.

  • collie

    sg: yes, sadly true. I’ve been looking up some of Pres. Bush’s speeches and came across the words freedom and liberty a lot. This is what he was selling us; that we were going to war to give other people a chance to live in a similar society like we have. The reality is we were going there to attempt to stabilize the region with our presence so that we could continue to buy oil at a good price.

    I also think he really believed we could establish a stable government there that guaranteed liberty to the Iraqis. I just don’t think the whole plan was well thought out, and the Bush administration caved when the form of government in Iraq was being debated and set up. Sharia law is definitely not a promoter of freedom, especially for women. I’m highly disappointed that we let this happen.

  • Jerry

    There’s a big difference between interfering in the operation of a foreign government and supporting that government with the goal of maintaining stability on the world scene. Unfortunately, those now running US foreign policy either do not understand that or worse…The governments in Moslem countries will fall one by one (remember the domino effect) until the US is willing to show its support.

  • Jerry

    There’s a big difference between interfering in the operation of a foreign government and supporting that government with the goal of maintaining stability on the world scene. Unfortunately, those now running US foreign policy either do not understand that or worse…The governments in Moslem countries will fall one by one (remember the domino effect) until the US is willing to show its support.

  • Joe

    Porcell – you mistake democracy for freedom. They are not equals. And, in case you missed it we are free in this country precisely because of the limits we have placed on democracy. Democracy is mob rule, 50%+1 = unlimited power. Democracy killed Socrates, the saying goes. The founders understood this and enacted a republican form of gov’t with express limits on what the gov’t is allowed to do and employs only limited democratic methods for selection of a portion of our leadership.

  • Joe

    Porcell – you mistake democracy for freedom. They are not equals. And, in case you missed it we are free in this country precisely because of the limits we have placed on democracy. Democracy is mob rule, 50%+1 = unlimited power. Democracy killed Socrates, the saying goes. The founders understood this and enacted a republican form of gov’t with express limits on what the gov’t is allowed to do and employs only limited democratic methods for selection of a portion of our leadership.

  • DonS

    I don’t yet know what to think about this Egyptian turmoil, except that U.S. intervention to try to prop up a failing dictatorship, because it is perceived to be relatively friendly to our national interests, has rarely played out well. So my counsel to the U.S. would be to protect our nationals by getting them out of there, and let the uprising take its course. This is especially so since Mubarak is not a good guy and has allowed the Coptic Christians to be oppressed and persecuted for years.

    SG, why does your name link to the CEV Bible on the Bible Gateway website?

  • DonS

    I don’t yet know what to think about this Egyptian turmoil, except that U.S. intervention to try to prop up a failing dictatorship, because it is perceived to be relatively friendly to our national interests, has rarely played out well. So my counsel to the U.S. would be to protect our nationals by getting them out of there, and let the uprising take its course. This is especially so since Mubarak is not a good guy and has allowed the Coptic Christians to be oppressed and persecuted for years.

    SG, why does your name link to the CEV Bible on the Bible Gateway website?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Democracy is mob rule, 50%+1 = unlimited power.”

    Unfortunately we got a lot closer to that when we went to the direct election of senators instead of having them elected by state legislatures.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Democracy is mob rule, 50%+1 = unlimited power.”

    Unfortunately we got a lot closer to that when we went to the direct election of senators instead of having them elected by state legislatures.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    SG, why does your name link to the CEV Bible on the Bible Gateway website?

    I just like that translation, so I linked to it in case someone hadn’t heard of it. It is only 5th grade reading level, so it facilitates fluent reading. Try reading a chapter from it, and you will see. I am not suggesting it as someone’s main study Bible, but for say a 5th grader trying to read through the whole Bible for the first time, it makes it much more accessible.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    SG, why does your name link to the CEV Bible on the Bible Gateway website?

    I just like that translation, so I linked to it in case someone hadn’t heard of it. It is only 5th grade reading level, so it facilitates fluent reading. Try reading a chapter from it, and you will see. I am not suggesting it as someone’s main study Bible, but for say a 5th grader trying to read through the whole Bible for the first time, it makes it much more accessible.

  • DonS

    SG @ 37 & 38:

    Thanks for answering my question. I’ve heard of that version but never read it, so will try to check it out.

    I agree with your point about the election of senators. The current movement to override the electoral college system is another example of our slide to mob rule.

  • DonS

    SG @ 37 & 38:

    Thanks for answering my question. I’ve heard of that version but never read it, so will try to check it out.

    I agree with your point about the election of senators. The current movement to override the electoral college system is another example of our slide to mob rule.

  • SKPeterson

    Another example of the reality of unbridled democracy:
    two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for lunch.

  • SKPeterson

    Another example of the reality of unbridled democracy:
    two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for lunch.

  • BW

    This situation in Egypt is really quite interesting and it seems both sides have legitimate grievances. On one hand you’ve got President Hosni Mubarak who’s been in office for 30 years through some shady elections. So I can see the people getting tired of him and wanting him out of office. On the other hand though, violent revolution doesn’t always provide the change desired, and in fact leads to radical, fast, dramatic change which throws a nation into chaos.

  • BW

    This situation in Egypt is really quite interesting and it seems both sides have legitimate grievances. On one hand you’ve got President Hosni Mubarak who’s been in office for 30 years through some shady elections. So I can see the people getting tired of him and wanting him out of office. On the other hand though, violent revolution doesn’t always provide the change desired, and in fact leads to radical, fast, dramatic change which throws a nation into chaos.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tanks on the streets – but the army isn’t interfering. Internet and mobile phone networks. The curfew is being ignored. And in the Sinai, Bedouin are besieging the police.

    This is getting very serious.

    Next question – what if the riots spread to Pakistan??

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tanks on the streets – but the army isn’t interfering. Internet and mobile phone networks. The curfew is being ignored. And in the Sinai, Bedouin are besieging the police.

    This is getting very serious.

    Next question – what if the riots spread to Pakistan??

  • Cincinnatus

    “Next question – what if the riots spread to Pakistan??”

    Fine by me. What does it matter either way? The only difference, I suppose, is that Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons, so, while I couldn’t possibly care less about events in Egypt, I suppose I should at least pretend to care a little bit about Pakistan.

  • Cincinnatus

    “Next question – what if the riots spread to Pakistan??”

    Fine by me. What does it matter either way? The only difference, I suppose, is that Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons, so, while I couldn’t possibly care less about events in Egypt, I suppose I should at least pretend to care a little bit about Pakistan.

  • George A. Marquart

    The nature of any revolution is most strongly affected by the values of the society in which it takes place. The Czechoslovakian “Velvet Revolution” is a good example, as is the 1917 Soviet revolution. Both reflect entirely different values. The surprising thing is that, with regard to the Czechs and Slovaks, even years of repression did not change their fundamental values all that much. Although laws may change overnight, it takes generations for values to change.

    One of the most difficult realizations is that strong leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and all the others cannot change a society against its will. An old song from the Russian Civil war has these words, “Tyrants are made by slaves; not slaves by tyrants!”

    Often, the consequences of a revolution or “regime change” are a disappointment to those who engineer them. One of the reasons for this is a false perception of human nature. George W. Bush, in his 2004 State of the Union Address said, “I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom.” Therefore, it was inevitable that he would be disappointed by events in Iraq, because God has planted no such things in every human heart, and the Iraqis acted in accord with their real nature.

    When the Soviet Union collapsed in August of 1991, many of us had high hopes for the emergence of a democratic state. We failed to take the values of that society into consideration.

    Many societies do not have a tradition of freedom or democracy; instead, they have known mostly repression and brutality. Just like parents who have experienced abuse as children, these people then consider it right and proper to repress and brutalize when it is their turn to take power. That is what freedom means to them: the ability to do unto others.

    I think that the lesson to be learned from all this is not that we should not promote and encourage freedom and democracy, but that we should take a realistic look at what human nature is capable of, and what the real values of the society are, in which we are trying to effect change. This can be difficult, because the values of some societies can be so different from ours, that we are totally unable to understand what they are. This was true of Soviet society, remains true of Russian society, and is true of the societies of most Middle Eastern nations.

    I think that with regard to the Middle Eastern states we can look forward to a veritable firestorm of revolutions. I have some hope for Tunisia, in part, because the other states in the area will be too busy with their own problems, and they do have some tradition of real freedom.

    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    The nature of any revolution is most strongly affected by the values of the society in which it takes place. The Czechoslovakian “Velvet Revolution” is a good example, as is the 1917 Soviet revolution. Both reflect entirely different values. The surprising thing is that, with regard to the Czechs and Slovaks, even years of repression did not change their fundamental values all that much. Although laws may change overnight, it takes generations for values to change.

    One of the most difficult realizations is that strong leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and all the others cannot change a society against its will. An old song from the Russian Civil war has these words, “Tyrants are made by slaves; not slaves by tyrants!”

    Often, the consequences of a revolution or “regime change” are a disappointment to those who engineer them. One of the reasons for this is a false perception of human nature. George W. Bush, in his 2004 State of the Union Address said, “I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom.” Therefore, it was inevitable that he would be disappointed by events in Iraq, because God has planted no such things in every human heart, and the Iraqis acted in accord with their real nature.

    When the Soviet Union collapsed in August of 1991, many of us had high hopes for the emergence of a democratic state. We failed to take the values of that society into consideration.

    Many societies do not have a tradition of freedom or democracy; instead, they have known mostly repression and brutality. Just like parents who have experienced abuse as children, these people then consider it right and proper to repress and brutalize when it is their turn to take power. That is what freedom means to them: the ability to do unto others.

    I think that the lesson to be learned from all this is not that we should not promote and encourage freedom and democracy, but that we should take a realistic look at what human nature is capable of, and what the real values of the society are, in which we are trying to effect change. This can be difficult, because the values of some societies can be so different from ours, that we are totally unable to understand what they are. This was true of Soviet society, remains true of Russian society, and is true of the societies of most Middle Eastern nations.

    I think that with regard to the Middle Eastern states we can look forward to a veritable firestorm of revolutions. I have some hope for Tunisia, in part, because the other states in the area will be too busy with their own problems, and they do have some tradition of real freedom.

    George A. Marquart

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    George, that was an excellent post!

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    George, that was an excellent post!

  • Grace

    Live feed from Egypt – Al Jazeera English: Live Stream

    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/2007829161423657345.html

    The fire at this time is very near the Cairo Museum.

    HEARTBREAKING -

  • Grace

    Live feed from Egypt – Al Jazeera English: Live Stream

    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/2007829161423657345.html

    The fire at this time is very near the Cairo Museum.

    HEARTBREAKING -

  • BW

    Well, it appears after all that the U.S. will have another look see at that 1.5 billion in aid to Egypt…

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41312962/ns/politics-more_politics/

  • BW

    Well, it appears after all that the U.S. will have another look see at that 1.5 billion in aid to Egypt…

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41312962/ns/politics-more_politics/

  • Porcell

    George Marquart, at 44, actually George Bush quite understood that, while the desire for freedom is indeed universal, some people are so beaten down by totalitarian rulers that they are unable to assert this desire.

    In the case of Iraq, Bush bids fair to end up the liberator of that country from an exceedingly cruel regime, though we shall not know how this turns out for many years to come. Bush, himself in his recent biography remarks that the issue won’t be settled in any of our lifetimes. However, one good sign of the future of Iraq might be the remarkable percentage of voters, many of whom proudly held up those purple fingers.

    America, for all its faults, throughout its history has been a dangerous nation for tyrants who wish to arbitrarily rule their people. We, from necessity, sometimes ally with tyrants, such as Stalin in WW II, though over time we defeated the Soviet regime. Hopefully, just now, Mubarak, whom we have used for short term purposes of stability in the region, will end up in a pathetic retirement in Saudia Arabia.

    America, for all its faults, throughout its history has been a dangerous nation for tyrants who wish to arbitrarily rule their people. We, from necessity, sometimes ally with tyrants, such as Stalin in WW II, though over time we defeated the Soviet regime. Hopefully, just now, Mubarak, whom we have used for short term purposes of stability in the region, will end up in a pathetic retirement in Saudia Arabia

    Meanwhile, heartland isolationists and coastal leftists rail against any involvement of the evil American empire in world affairs.

  • Porcell

    George Marquart, at 44, actually George Bush quite understood that, while the desire for freedom is indeed universal, some people are so beaten down by totalitarian rulers that they are unable to assert this desire.

    In the case of Iraq, Bush bids fair to end up the liberator of that country from an exceedingly cruel regime, though we shall not know how this turns out for many years to come. Bush, himself in his recent biography remarks that the issue won’t be settled in any of our lifetimes. However, one good sign of the future of Iraq might be the remarkable percentage of voters, many of whom proudly held up those purple fingers.

    America, for all its faults, throughout its history has been a dangerous nation for tyrants who wish to arbitrarily rule their people. We, from necessity, sometimes ally with tyrants, such as Stalin in WW II, though over time we defeated the Soviet regime. Hopefully, just now, Mubarak, whom we have used for short term purposes of stability in the region, will end up in a pathetic retirement in Saudia Arabia.

    America, for all its faults, throughout its history has been a dangerous nation for tyrants who wish to arbitrarily rule their people. We, from necessity, sometimes ally with tyrants, such as Stalin in WW II, though over time we defeated the Soviet regime. Hopefully, just now, Mubarak, whom we have used for short term purposes of stability in the region, will end up in a pathetic retirement in Saudia Arabia

    Meanwhile, heartland isolationists and coastal leftists rail against any involvement of the evil American empire in world affairs.

  • Porcell

    Pardon the double paragraph above.

  • Porcell

    Pardon the double paragraph above.

  • George A. Marquart

    Porcell @ 48
    You wrote, “George Marquart, at 44, actually George Bush quite understood that, while the desire for freedom is indeed universal, some people are so beaten down by totalitarian rulers that they are unable to assert this desire. “
    The desire for freedom is not universal. This is true based on what Christianity teaches about the nature of people. That is why so many reject the Gospel and yearn for the Law. It is also true based on the observations of sociologists and psychiatrists. It is part of our civil religion, which has little to do with truth.
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Porcell @ 48
    You wrote, “George Marquart, at 44, actually George Bush quite understood that, while the desire for freedom is indeed universal, some people are so beaten down by totalitarian rulers that they are unable to assert this desire. “
    The desire for freedom is not universal. This is true based on what Christianity teaches about the nature of people. That is why so many reject the Gospel and yearn for the Law. It is also true based on the observations of sociologists and psychiatrists. It is part of our civil religion, which has little to do with truth.
    George A. Marquart

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So, just so we’re all clear …

    Everyone wants “freedom”. There may be those who appear to prefer security over freedom (and those would, of course, include Porcell — cf. his approval of any police-state tactic in the “War on Terror”), but they are merely “unable to assert this desire” for freedom that they actually have.

    Bush “bids fair to end up the liberator of” Iraq, but this will only be established once everyone now alive is dead. In other news, I bid fair to be declared the Greatest Commenter the Internet Has Ever Known. But, again, this will only be unanimously agreed to once you’re all dead.

    And America “has been a dangerous nation for tyrants who wish to arbitrarily rule their people” even though we “sometimes ally with tyrants” — “from necessity”, mind you. So beware, ye tyrants! America will quash thee! Unless, of course, we have use for you, in which case we’ll support you … but only for a few decades! Possibly more! Unless you have oil. Then we can negotiate. Unless you’re a jerk and you appear weak, in which we may take you out and make a mess of your country. But we will fix it. Once everyone who’s alive is dead. Beware!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So, just so we’re all clear …

    Everyone wants “freedom”. There may be those who appear to prefer security over freedom (and those would, of course, include Porcell — cf. his approval of any police-state tactic in the “War on Terror”), but they are merely “unable to assert this desire” for freedom that they actually have.

    Bush “bids fair to end up the liberator of” Iraq, but this will only be established once everyone now alive is dead. In other news, I bid fair to be declared the Greatest Commenter the Internet Has Ever Known. But, again, this will only be unanimously agreed to once you’re all dead.

    And America “has been a dangerous nation for tyrants who wish to arbitrarily rule their people” even though we “sometimes ally with tyrants” — “from necessity”, mind you. So beware, ye tyrants! America will quash thee! Unless, of course, we have use for you, in which case we’ll support you … but only for a few decades! Possibly more! Unless you have oil. Then we can negotiate. Unless you’re a jerk and you appear weak, in which we may take you out and make a mess of your country. But we will fix it. Once everyone who’s alive is dead. Beware!

  • Porcell

    Mr. Marquart, actually, if one pays careful attention to Jesus’ teachings, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the parables, men and women, regardless of social class, are ideally free to make decisions; further, as a result of this men and women are equal before God and the Law.

    The truth is, as George Bush remarked, that the desire for freedom comes in the final analysis from God, not from America or any civil religion. This teaching of Jesus regarding the freedom and equality of men and women, while not quite as important as our salvation through the Cross, is rather important in relation to Jesus’s teaching that Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..

    Just now the Egyptian people are forcefully asserting their freedom, quite in consonance with the teaching of Jesus. Your view that the desire for freedom is not universal ignores the revolutionary teaching of Jesus. Why should Egyptians or Iraqis. be any less free than Americans?

    Your argument that freedom is not universal is based on a mere historicist assumption. For all its faults, America has proven to be the most exemplary nation as regards both freedom and equality.

  • Porcell

    Mr. Marquart, actually, if one pays careful attention to Jesus’ teachings, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the parables, men and women, regardless of social class, are ideally free to make decisions; further, as a result of this men and women are equal before God and the Law.

    The truth is, as George Bush remarked, that the desire for freedom comes in the final analysis from God, not from America or any civil religion. This teaching of Jesus regarding the freedom and equality of men and women, while not quite as important as our salvation through the Cross, is rather important in relation to Jesus’s teaching that Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..

    Just now the Egyptian people are forcefully asserting their freedom, quite in consonance with the teaching of Jesus. Your view that the desire for freedom is not universal ignores the revolutionary teaching of Jesus. Why should Egyptians or Iraqis. be any less free than Americans?

    Your argument that freedom is not universal is based on a mere historicist assumption. For all its faults, America has proven to be the most exemplary nation as regards both freedom and equality.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, you obviously do not believe that prior to Christ saving us, we are dead in our sins. To equate the desire for political freedom with anything that Christ taught on the Mount, or to God’s will being done on earth etc etc, bertrays a Pelagian Understanding of human nature. And that is just wrong.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, you obviously do not believe that prior to Christ saving us, we are dead in our sins. To equate the desire for political freedom with anything that Christ taught on the Mount, or to God’s will being done on earth etc etc, bertrays a Pelagian Understanding of human nature. And that is just wrong.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell, tODD@51 dealt with many of your, well, ludicrous statements better than I could (or at least more humorously), so I won’t repeat those.

    But what is this “freedom” of which you speak and when did God say anything about it? When God did speak of freedom, I’m fairly certain–by which I mean 100% certain–that he did not mean any kind of political liberty, which itself is an ambiguous term. In fact, to claim that all human beings desire political liberty is absurd. If that is the case, why is Stalin the most popular figure in the hearts and minds of the Russian people right now? Indeed, I would venture a guess that most people, in fact, do not secretly long for liberty–in fact, it would seem that most readily favor order and security–and even fewer deserve it, by which I mean that even fewer possess the sense of duty, responsibility, and, to borrow once again your favorite entry from the Spanish (?) lexicon, cajones to use and safeguard liberty properly.

    It doesn’t take a heartland isolationist to figure this out. A quick read of…any political theory (including the Federalist Papers) other than that written by a neoconservative hack or a Wilsonian progressivist (both are synonymous, really) would repeat similar sentiments.

    tl;dr: Your argument is ridiculous. Not everyone wants political freedom, and most people can’t have it and shouldn’t.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell, tODD@51 dealt with many of your, well, ludicrous statements better than I could (or at least more humorously), so I won’t repeat those.

    But what is this “freedom” of which you speak and when did God say anything about it? When God did speak of freedom, I’m fairly certain–by which I mean 100% certain–that he did not mean any kind of political liberty, which itself is an ambiguous term. In fact, to claim that all human beings desire political liberty is absurd. If that is the case, why is Stalin the most popular figure in the hearts and minds of the Russian people right now? Indeed, I would venture a guess that most people, in fact, do not secretly long for liberty–in fact, it would seem that most readily favor order and security–and even fewer deserve it, by which I mean that even fewer possess the sense of duty, responsibility, and, to borrow once again your favorite entry from the Spanish (?) lexicon, cajones to use and safeguard liberty properly.

    It doesn’t take a heartland isolationist to figure this out. A quick read of…any political theory (including the Federalist Papers) other than that written by a neoconservative hack or a Wilsonian progressivist (both are synonymous, really) would repeat similar sentiments.

    tl;dr: Your argument is ridiculous. Not everyone wants political freedom, and most people can’t have it and shouldn’t.

  • Porcell

    Not really, Louis; in the Sermon on the Mount, especially the Beatitudes part, and the parables, Jesus made rather clear what was expected of us on earth. He, also, remarked that we would be finally justified by the fruits of our faith, as well as by our faith itself.

    Pelagians believe solely on earthly merit, while serious Christians believe in a faith of free human beings who take seriously the admonition of your kingdom come, your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.

    Just now, the Egyptians are asserting a fundamental freedom that, far from a mere local historicist event, reflects a universal, God and Jesus driven desire.

  • Porcell

    Not really, Louis; in the Sermon on the Mount, especially the Beatitudes part, and the parables, Jesus made rather clear what was expected of us on earth. He, also, remarked that we would be finally justified by the fruits of our faith, as well as by our faith itself.

    Pelagians believe solely on earthly merit, while serious Christians believe in a faith of free human beings who take seriously the admonition of your kingdom come, your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.

    Just now, the Egyptians are asserting a fundamental freedom that, far from a mere local historicist event, reflects a universal, God and Jesus driven desire.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell, shall I let you borrow my shovel so you can keep digging?

    Aside other flaws that tODD, George, Louis, and I (among others, probably) have pointed out in your bloviations, are you honestly asserting that a rabble in Egypt seeking to overthrow a petty dictator and, more than likely, establish an Islamist dictatorship in his place are fulfilling a “God and Jesus driven desire”?

    While you’re at it, maybe you could tell me where “God and Jesus” say anything whatsoever about political liberty. I’m not saying I’m not a fan of political liberty (for those who have earned it), but the beatitudes are definitely about spiritual virtues (blessed are the poor in spirit, etc.). Where Christ does speak of earthly righteousness, it’s usually about selling one’s possessions, clothing the naked, feeding the poor, etc. I don’t really remember anything about Christ mandating violent revolutions* to establish specific regime types and voting rights. But hey, I could have missed something in my last perusal of the Gospels.

    *I’m not making a general statement against revolt or revolution when necessary (that’s another discussion for another time, and I am likely to disagree with my Lutheran friends, who are otherwise my allies here).

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell, shall I let you borrow my shovel so you can keep digging?

    Aside other flaws that tODD, George, Louis, and I (among others, probably) have pointed out in your bloviations, are you honestly asserting that a rabble in Egypt seeking to overthrow a petty dictator and, more than likely, establish an Islamist dictatorship in his place are fulfilling a “God and Jesus driven desire”?

    While you’re at it, maybe you could tell me where “God and Jesus” say anything whatsoever about political liberty. I’m not saying I’m not a fan of political liberty (for those who have earned it), but the beatitudes are definitely about spiritual virtues (blessed are the poor in spirit, etc.). Where Christ does speak of earthly righteousness, it’s usually about selling one’s possessions, clothing the naked, feeding the poor, etc. I don’t really remember anything about Christ mandating violent revolutions* to establish specific regime types and voting rights. But hey, I could have missed something in my last perusal of the Gospels.

    *I’m not making a general statement against revolt or revolution when necessary (that’s another discussion for another time, and I am likely to disagree with my Lutheran friends, who are otherwise my allies here).

  • Porcell

    The people of Egypt, including a rabble element, are, however crudely, expressing a yearning for a freer society. The Muslim Brotherhood might succeed in taking over this revolution, though that remains to be seen. We can be sure that CIA operatives are hard at work steering the revolution in a better direction.

    The American revolutionaries in Boston included a rabble element, though over time moderates controlled events.

    While Jesus never directly taught political liberty, His teaching that all men and women are fundamentally free and equal has had earthly revolutionary consequences for millennia. It is no accident that political democracy has had its fullest development within Christendom.

  • Porcell

    The people of Egypt, including a rabble element, are, however crudely, expressing a yearning for a freer society. The Muslim Brotherhood might succeed in taking over this revolution, though that remains to be seen. We can be sure that CIA operatives are hard at work steering the revolution in a better direction.

    The American revolutionaries in Boston included a rabble element, though over time moderates controlled events.

    While Jesus never directly taught political liberty, His teaching that all men and women are fundamentally free and equal has had earthly revolutionary consequences for millennia. It is no accident that political democracy has had its fullest development within Christendom.

  • Tom Hering

    “… His teaching that all men and women are fundamentally free and equal …”

    Examples? From Scripture?

  • Tom Hering

    “… His teaching that all men and women are fundamentally free and equal …”

    Examples? From Scripture?

  • SKPeterson

    The Bible does offer a good, extended commentary on the thesis that Todd and Cincinnatus are espousing. I refer to Judges and Samuel (both 1st and 2nd). In Judges (and also parts of Joshua and illustrated in a small, village setting in Ruth), we see the rather liberal political order that prevails under the theocracy of early Israel, mostly noted in “each man did what was right in his own eyes.” While this does not indicate that they did what was right in God’s eyes, there was at least the freedom to do things as one saw fit. Foreign incursions and depredations are the result of falling away from the Law (please fws if you read this, don’t lets start the Law-Gospel distinctives) and boundaries established for Israel.

    So, for some 200 to 400 years, Israel was free. Yet, over time (the period of Samuel) there were more and more complaints from the people that they wanted to have a king to rule over them – just like everybody else and we get those famous lines from God effectively saying “Be careful what you wish for,” and we get the laundry list of the evils that will flow from having kings, i.e. authoritarian government – taxes, sons conscripted for war, daughters sent to serve, lands taken, the Law more violated, than not. And the people said, “Yes! Give it to us, we want all that and more, just give us a king to protect us.” So they got a king, which didn’t go so well, got a better one, but that didn’t turn out too well, got another, after a few little civil wars, hit their apogee, then had a bigger civil war, split the nation, and went to hell in a hand basket until they were overtaken by the foreigners they feared when they had freedom, but which freedom they willingly gave up to be protected from foreigners.

    Delicious irony, but it hits very close to home.

  • SKPeterson

    The Bible does offer a good, extended commentary on the thesis that Todd and Cincinnatus are espousing. I refer to Judges and Samuel (both 1st and 2nd). In Judges (and also parts of Joshua and illustrated in a small, village setting in Ruth), we see the rather liberal political order that prevails under the theocracy of early Israel, mostly noted in “each man did what was right in his own eyes.” While this does not indicate that they did what was right in God’s eyes, there was at least the freedom to do things as one saw fit. Foreign incursions and depredations are the result of falling away from the Law (please fws if you read this, don’t lets start the Law-Gospel distinctives) and boundaries established for Israel.

    So, for some 200 to 400 years, Israel was free. Yet, over time (the period of Samuel) there were more and more complaints from the people that they wanted to have a king to rule over them – just like everybody else and we get those famous lines from God effectively saying “Be careful what you wish for,” and we get the laundry list of the evils that will flow from having kings, i.e. authoritarian government – taxes, sons conscripted for war, daughters sent to serve, lands taken, the Law more violated, than not. And the people said, “Yes! Give it to us, we want all that and more, just give us a king to protect us.” So they got a king, which didn’t go so well, got a better one, but that didn’t turn out too well, got another, after a few little civil wars, hit their apogee, then had a bigger civil war, split the nation, and went to hell in a hand basket until they were overtaken by the foreigners they feared when they had freedom, but which freedom they willingly gave up to be protected from foreigners.

    Delicious irony, but it hits very close to home.

  • trotk

    Tom, if you ask Peter for examples, he will again cite the beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount. I think he honestly reads into that text some sort of political liberation.

    Peter, I am still waiting for your syllogism.

  • trotk

    Tom, if you ask Peter for examples, he will again cite the beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount. I think he honestly reads into that text some sort of political liberation.

    Peter, I am still waiting for your syllogism.

  • Porcell

    SK, our political democracy, for all its faults, continues to serve the nation well. Obama is just now discovering through the check and balance of the 2010 election that he is not a king. If we go down as a nation, the cause won’t be some sort of modern autocracy that has involved the country in international affairs; it will be the spendthrift “entitlement” ways of the leftist political class abetted by some o spineless Republicans.

    America brought down German and Russian tyrants and of late has contributed substantially to bringing down some of the tyranny in the Middle East, something for which likely over time George W Bush will receive due credit. Bush’s view that the desire for freedom is fundamentally rooted in human nature is just now evident in Tunisia and Egypt.

    Comparing contemporary America to ancient theocratic Israel might have a slight germ of truth, though basically it is a dubious argument that confuses the husk of historical circumstance with the kernel of truth.

  • Porcell

    SK, our political democracy, for all its faults, continues to serve the nation well. Obama is just now discovering through the check and balance of the 2010 election that he is not a king. If we go down as a nation, the cause won’t be some sort of modern autocracy that has involved the country in international affairs; it will be the spendthrift “entitlement” ways of the leftist political class abetted by some o spineless Republicans.

    America brought down German and Russian tyrants and of late has contributed substantially to bringing down some of the tyranny in the Middle East, something for which likely over time George W Bush will receive due credit. Bush’s view that the desire for freedom is fundamentally rooted in human nature is just now evident in Tunisia and Egypt.

    Comparing contemporary America to ancient theocratic Israel might have a slight germ of truth, though basically it is a dubious argument that confuses the husk of historical circumstance with the kernel of truth.

  • Tom Hering

    Porcell is a liberation theologian? A strange bedfellow with Marxist priests? Who’da thunk it. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Porcell is a liberation theologian? A strange bedfellow with Marxist priests? Who’da thunk it. :-D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “each man did what was right in his own eyes.”

    Okay, I thought this phrase was also used to describe the sinful behavior before the flood and that doing what is right in our own eyes is the definition of being sinful. Do I misunderstand?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “each man did what was right in his own eyes.”

    Okay, I thought this phrase was also used to describe the sinful behavior before the flood and that doing what is right in our own eyes is the definition of being sinful. Do I misunderstand?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    These verses come to mind when I think of “each man did what was right in his own eyes.”

    Isaiah 53:6
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

    Proverbs 12:15
    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
    but a wise man listens to advice.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    These verses come to mind when I think of “each man did what was right in his own eyes.”

    Isaiah 53:6
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

    Proverbs 12:15
    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
    but a wise man listens to advice.

  • trotk

    sg, you are exactly correct. Those verses aren’t so much about political freedom as they are about sin.

    It is worth noting that moral freedom/responsibility (the kind that Peter sees in the Beatitudes) always exists, regardless of whether political freedom does. We shouldn’t confuse the two, nor should we think that free political societies produce the other. Nor should we think that political freedom only exists in democracies.

    Nor should we think that political freedom is an end. It is merely a set of circumstances that allows a group of people as a whole to govern themselves, hopefully with the end being virtuous society.

    Just like personal, moral freedom isn’t an end. It is a set of circumstances that is necessary for faith and love to have any meaning.

  • trotk

    sg, you are exactly correct. Those verses aren’t so much about political freedom as they are about sin.

    It is worth noting that moral freedom/responsibility (the kind that Peter sees in the Beatitudes) always exists, regardless of whether political freedom does. We shouldn’t confuse the two, nor should we think that free political societies produce the other. Nor should we think that political freedom only exists in democracies.

    Nor should we think that political freedom is an end. It is merely a set of circumstances that allows a group of people as a whole to govern themselves, hopefully with the end being virtuous society.

    Just like personal, moral freedom isn’t an end. It is a set of circumstances that is necessary for faith and love to have any meaning.

  • Another Kerner

    Cincinnatus @ #11 and #54, we are agreed that “neoconservatives” tend to be “globalists”….

    They have “internationalism” in common with progressives, building a New World order.

    Perhaps we would like to review the Shah of Iran’s governance and the revolution which brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979: alas, the country exchanged one dictator for another, one set of bully boys for another.

    sg @#37.
    Absolutely right.

  • Another Kerner

    Cincinnatus @ #11 and #54, we are agreed that “neoconservatives” tend to be “globalists”….

    They have “internationalism” in common with progressives, building a New World order.

    Perhaps we would like to review the Shah of Iran’s governance and the revolution which brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979: alas, the country exchanged one dictator for another, one set of bully boys for another.

    sg @#37.
    Absolutely right.

  • Porcell

    Tom, at 62, liberation theologians tend to plump for a socialist revolution. I’m for liberation of oppressed peoples in order that they achieve both political and economic freedom. According to David Brooks last evening on the News Hour, half of the Egyptian workers earn the equivalent of about two dollars a day.

    When it comes to economic and other freedoms, political democracies far surpass other forms of government. The early devout Christian Pilgrims in Plymouth were careful to establish a political democracy. Even the Puritans in Boston elected representatives to the colonial Massachusetts legislature, Many towns in New England still have town meetings open to all voters.Tocqueville in Democracy in America saw these New England town meetings as the nursery of American democracy.

    Americans ought to be delighted with the nascent development of democracy in the Middle East, notwithstanding that it runs the risk of being corrupted by Islamic jihadis. In the long run the best hope for a moderate Middle East is the development of democratic rule. Just now in Iraq, young people have a far better chance of a decently prosperous and free future than was the case ten years ago.

  • Porcell

    Tom, at 62, liberation theologians tend to plump for a socialist revolution. I’m for liberation of oppressed peoples in order that they achieve both political and economic freedom. According to David Brooks last evening on the News Hour, half of the Egyptian workers earn the equivalent of about two dollars a day.

    When it comes to economic and other freedoms, political democracies far surpass other forms of government. The early devout Christian Pilgrims in Plymouth were careful to establish a political democracy. Even the Puritans in Boston elected representatives to the colonial Massachusetts legislature, Many towns in New England still have town meetings open to all voters.Tocqueville in Democracy in America saw these New England town meetings as the nursery of American democracy.

    Americans ought to be delighted with the nascent development of democracy in the Middle East, notwithstanding that it runs the risk of being corrupted by Islamic jihadis. In the long run the best hope for a moderate Middle East is the development of democratic rule. Just now in Iraq, young people have a far better chance of a decently prosperous and free future than was the case ten years ago.

  • Another Kerner

    Tom @ #58 and Porcell @ #57

    There is “equality” in the Body of Christ, the church militant, expressed in Galatians, the entire Chapter 3 in context, for verses 27-29.
    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Those verses are applicable to freedom in Christ, the kingdom of the right, and tempered, by other verses pertinent to woman as the “weaker vessel” etc., because Scripture interprets Scripture.

    Mixing the two kingdoms presents problems…..however, there obviously are several areas where the two kingdoms intersect with one anothother.

    One is found in Romans, Chapter 13 which announces that government is established to “punish the evil doer” because rulers are not a terror to good works but to evil.

    Luther’s thought can be found in Volume 47 of Luther’s Works, The Christian in Society, Luther’s Warning T0 His Dear German People, where he sanctions active armed resistance to the Emperor.

    Reason for the resistance? If the Emperor is a threat to the proclaiming and preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one must resist.

    (See also Rahab and the spies she protected against the King’s men).

    Defensive action in protection of the Gospel is not counted as rebellion, but is justified by the doctrine of a “just war” if the means are appropriate.

    Obviously, we cannot follow Thomas Munzer nor may we support an Emperor/Ceasar who seeks to destroy the Gospel.

    “We render to God the things that are God’s and to Caesar and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but not to render to the bloodhounds the things that are not theirs…….we must not let everything be considered rebellious which the bloodhounds designate as such”………Martin Luther.

    Actually, Luther himself lived in “civil disobedience” since the Edict of Worms in 1521.

    It is certainly apparent that political freedom is absolutely necessary to the proclamation of the Gospel.

  • Another Kerner

    Tom @ #58 and Porcell @ #57

    There is “equality” in the Body of Christ, the church militant, expressed in Galatians, the entire Chapter 3 in context, for verses 27-29.
    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Those verses are applicable to freedom in Christ, the kingdom of the right, and tempered, by other verses pertinent to woman as the “weaker vessel” etc., because Scripture interprets Scripture.

    Mixing the two kingdoms presents problems…..however, there obviously are several areas where the two kingdoms intersect with one anothother.

    One is found in Romans, Chapter 13 which announces that government is established to “punish the evil doer” because rulers are not a terror to good works but to evil.

    Luther’s thought can be found in Volume 47 of Luther’s Works, The Christian in Society, Luther’s Warning T0 His Dear German People, where he sanctions active armed resistance to the Emperor.

    Reason for the resistance? If the Emperor is a threat to the proclaiming and preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one must resist.

    (See also Rahab and the spies she protected against the King’s men).

    Defensive action in protection of the Gospel is not counted as rebellion, but is justified by the doctrine of a “just war” if the means are appropriate.

    Obviously, we cannot follow Thomas Munzer nor may we support an Emperor/Ceasar who seeks to destroy the Gospel.

    “We render to God the things that are God’s and to Caesar and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but not to render to the bloodhounds the things that are not theirs…….we must not let everything be considered rebellious which the bloodhounds designate as such”………Martin Luther.

    Actually, Luther himself lived in “civil disobedience” since the Edict of Worms in 1521.

    It is certainly apparent that political freedom is absolutely necessary to the proclamation of the Gospel.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    (I tried to post this last night, but the site was down, so the conversation has continued a bit past where it would have been as useful.)

    Porcell (@52, 55), I see little in your arguing here besides evidence that you have read Tod Lindgren’s The Political Teachings of Jesus (indeed, you’ve already explicitly told us several times that you have). You read the book, you liked it, and now you’re repeating its tenets for us here.

    And it’s not surprising that you liked the book, since it was written by a research fellow (and, as is obvious anyhow, not a theologian) at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford. You’ve made it clear that you’re taken with modern American (neo-)”conservative” thought, so, again, it’s not surprising you liked the book.

    This is, of course, so much being blown around by the wind, a mere political screed that is here today and will be gone tomorrow, wrapped up in just enough Bible verses to make it seem like Jesus might have looked forward to our day when finally people would get what he was talking about. (“Blessed is George W. Bush, for he will be called the father of Iraqi democracy.”)

    But you’re not even doing a good job of representing the book’s central thesis, instead serving up hash like this:

    If one pays careful attention to Jesus’ teachings, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the parables, men and women, regardless of social class, are ideally free to make decisions; further, as a result of this men and women are equal before God and the Law.

    “Ideally free to make decisions”? What are you talking about? And what parable or passage from the Sermon on the Mount would you point to to make your case, whatever it is? “Men and women are equal before God and the Law”. Sure, as sinners they are. What does that have to do with democracy or “freedom”?

    “The desire for freedom comes in the final analysis from God”. A fine platitude from the American Civil Bible, from the book of 2 Rousseau. But hardly in keeping with the actual Bible, in which God inspired men to admonish slaves to obey their masters and to remind men to submit to the governing authorities.

    As Cincinnatus has already pointed out, your attempt to equate the recent mob actions of Egyptians (including the lovely Muslim Brotherhood) with “the revolutionary teaching of Jesus” is farcical.

    “Your argument that freedom is not universal is based on a mere historicist assumption.” Indeed. As is this whole notion that the sun will rise tomorrow. I mean, really, just because it has risen every day of recorded history doesn’t mean it will tomorrow! All these mountains of empirical evidence be damned!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    (I tried to post this last night, but the site was down, so the conversation has continued a bit past where it would have been as useful.)

    Porcell (@52, 55), I see little in your arguing here besides evidence that you have read Tod Lindgren’s The Political Teachings of Jesus (indeed, you’ve already explicitly told us several times that you have). You read the book, you liked it, and now you’re repeating its tenets for us here.

    And it’s not surprising that you liked the book, since it was written by a research fellow (and, as is obvious anyhow, not a theologian) at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford. You’ve made it clear that you’re taken with modern American (neo-)”conservative” thought, so, again, it’s not surprising you liked the book.

    This is, of course, so much being blown around by the wind, a mere political screed that is here today and will be gone tomorrow, wrapped up in just enough Bible verses to make it seem like Jesus might have looked forward to our day when finally people would get what he was talking about. (“Blessed is George W. Bush, for he will be called the father of Iraqi democracy.”)

    But you’re not even doing a good job of representing the book’s central thesis, instead serving up hash like this:

    If one pays careful attention to Jesus’ teachings, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the parables, men and women, regardless of social class, are ideally free to make decisions; further, as a result of this men and women are equal before God and the Law.

    “Ideally free to make decisions”? What are you talking about? And what parable or passage from the Sermon on the Mount would you point to to make your case, whatever it is? “Men and women are equal before God and the Law”. Sure, as sinners they are. What does that have to do with democracy or “freedom”?

    “The desire for freedom comes in the final analysis from God”. A fine platitude from the American Civil Bible, from the book of 2 Rousseau. But hardly in keeping with the actual Bible, in which God inspired men to admonish slaves to obey their masters and to remind men to submit to the governing authorities.

    As Cincinnatus has already pointed out, your attempt to equate the recent mob actions of Egyptians (including the lovely Muslim Brotherhood) with “the revolutionary teaching of Jesus” is farcical.

    “Your argument that freedom is not universal is based on a mere historicist assumption.” Indeed. As is this whole notion that the sun will rise tomorrow. I mean, really, just because it has risen every day of recorded history doesn’t mean it will tomorrow! All these mountains of empirical evidence be damned!

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, though not commonly so-called, liberation theologians from the right side of the political spectrum are not unknown – theonomists like North, or Rushdoony, and other manifestations of the reconstructionist/theonomist spectrum, like Doug Wilson.

    While the liberation theologians of both the left and the right are well meant for the most, they miss the mark, and smuggle pelagianism or at least semi-pelagianism in through the back door.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, though not commonly so-called, liberation theologians from the right side of the political spectrum are not unknown – theonomists like North, or Rushdoony, and other manifestations of the reconstructionist/theonomist spectrum, like Doug Wilson.

    While the liberation theologians of both the left and the right are well meant for the most, they miss the mark, and smuggle pelagianism or at least semi-pelagianism in through the back door.

  • Porcell

    Todd, not having read Lindberg’s book, you don’t have a clue as to its content or quality. I read a lot of theology and would rate this book of Lindbergs as equivalent in depth of Christian thought and excellence of style to that of C.S. Lewis. Both Lewis and Lindberg, while not theologians, are masters at understanding Jesus. Though he’s connected with the conservative Hoover Institute, there is essentially zero discussion of conservative or progressive politics in the book. That Jesus viewed men and women as essentially free and equal under God and the Law is hardly original to Lindberg.

    Pelagian is defined as the denial the doctrines of original sin and predestination, defending innate human goodness and free will. Lindberg’s view doesn’t come close to this. He, following Jesus, quite understands the fallenness of men and their need for forgiveness and salvation. Your application of this word to Lindberg is baseless.

    What Lindberg tried to do in the book was to carefully analyze the Sermon on the Mount and parables for Jesus’ teaching related to earthly conduct. In my view, he succeeded rather well at this. Your sneering comments about him, based on mere surmise and guilt by association with Hoover, are mistaken. The only fair way for you to criticize him would be to actually read the book, or at least refer to a credible critic who has read the book.

  • Porcell

    Todd, not having read Lindberg’s book, you don’t have a clue as to its content or quality. I read a lot of theology and would rate this book of Lindbergs as equivalent in depth of Christian thought and excellence of style to that of C.S. Lewis. Both Lewis and Lindberg, while not theologians, are masters at understanding Jesus. Though he’s connected with the conservative Hoover Institute, there is essentially zero discussion of conservative or progressive politics in the book. That Jesus viewed men and women as essentially free and equal under God and the Law is hardly original to Lindberg.

    Pelagian is defined as the denial the doctrines of original sin and predestination, defending innate human goodness and free will. Lindberg’s view doesn’t come close to this. He, following Jesus, quite understands the fallenness of men and their need for forgiveness and salvation. Your application of this word to Lindberg is baseless.

    What Lindberg tried to do in the book was to carefully analyze the Sermon on the Mount and parables for Jesus’ teaching related to earthly conduct. In my view, he succeeded rather well at this. Your sneering comments about him, based on mere surmise and guilt by association with Hoover, are mistaken. The only fair way for you to criticize him would be to actually read the book, or at least refer to a credible critic who has read the book.

  • SKPeterson

    sg – Yes, “the every man did what was right in his own eyes” does imply a certain falling away from the Law. I alluded to that in my post, BUT it also implies that there wasn’t a centralized authority running around ancient Israel forcibly compelling people to behave by restricting them through the force of arms. Judges is replete with instances in which the people of Israel fell away from the Law to such an extent that they were left spiritually and materially open to conquest from outside. Yet, time and time again, God provided a leader to marshal the forces and drive out the threat.

    However, we see that the people clamored to be bound by the authority of an earthly king, by which and through whom, they also continued to fall away from the Law and were found to be materially and spiritually open to conquest from outside.

    And, if one cannot read oneself into the travails, pitfalls, pratfalls and sins of the ancient Israelites, how can one read oneself into the crowds calling for Jesus’ death? I am merely pointing out a common condition of a sinful mankind.

    Thus, we tout democracy and expect such a value to be universally shared, yet history ancient, medieval, early modern and modern, shows that not to be everywhere and always the case. I think that Samuel shows that there is just as strong of a current for people to look for an authority or ruler to provide protection or defense or security or our favorite foreign policy word “stability” as there is a current for freedom or liberty or leaving things alone.

  • SKPeterson

    sg – Yes, “the every man did what was right in his own eyes” does imply a certain falling away from the Law. I alluded to that in my post, BUT it also implies that there wasn’t a centralized authority running around ancient Israel forcibly compelling people to behave by restricting them through the force of arms. Judges is replete with instances in which the people of Israel fell away from the Law to such an extent that they were left spiritually and materially open to conquest from outside. Yet, time and time again, God provided a leader to marshal the forces and drive out the threat.

    However, we see that the people clamored to be bound by the authority of an earthly king, by which and through whom, they also continued to fall away from the Law and were found to be materially and spiritually open to conquest from outside.

    And, if one cannot read oneself into the travails, pitfalls, pratfalls and sins of the ancient Israelites, how can one read oneself into the crowds calling for Jesus’ death? I am merely pointing out a common condition of a sinful mankind.

    Thus, we tout democracy and expect such a value to be universally shared, yet history ancient, medieval, early modern and modern, shows that not to be everywhere and always the case. I think that Samuel shows that there is just as strong of a current for people to look for an authority or ruler to provide protection or defense or security or our favorite foreign policy word “stability” as there is a current for freedom or liberty or leaving things alone.

  • Porcell

    Louis, I couldn’t care less about theonomists, especially including Rushdoony. These folk would have us hearken back to a moralistic Old Testament theocratic charnel house, the opposite of liberation. No, thank you.

  • Porcell

    Louis, I couldn’t care less about theonomists, especially including Rushdoony. These folk would have us hearken back to a moralistic Old Testament theocratic charnel house, the opposite of liberation. No, thank you.

  • Porcell

    SK, I agree that most people hunger for authority, though one must distinguish between authority and tyranny. I would argue that on balance there is far less danger of tyranny in a decent political democracy than in a monarchy or aristocracy.

  • Porcell

    SK, I agree that most people hunger for authority, though one must distinguish between authority and tyranny. I would argue that on balance there is far less danger of tyranny in a decent political democracy than in a monarchy or aristocracy.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg

    what she says here… bravo.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sg

    what she says here… bravo.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    we have this wierd idea that democracy is an end. it is a means to an end. and it is a bad idea. democracy is 50+ dictating to the 50-

    and behind this is the idea that we should all be equal or are equal or the strange idea that under God we are all equal here on earth.

    equality = chaos. structure requires authority. and authority is about INequality.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    we have this wierd idea that democracy is an end. it is a means to an end. and it is a bad idea. democracy is 50+ dictating to the 50-

    and behind this is the idea that we should all be equal or are equal or the strange idea that under God we are all equal here on earth.

    equality = chaos. structure requires authority. and authority is about INequality.

  • helen

    Porcell:
    In the case of Iraq, Bush bids fair to end up the liberator of that country from an exceedingly cruel regime, though we shall not know how this turns out for many years to come….

    What we can be sure of, it appears, is that the Christian population which had survived for 2000 years, will be dead or driven out.

    [The daily bombings in Iraq are less "cruel"?]

    “Democracy” derives its power from the consent of the governed.
    There is no way outsiders can convince a tribal culture, like Afghanistan’s,
    that democracy is in their best interests.

    They look at our own perceived decadence and will have none of it.

    It would be nice if our elite, so concerned about a “middle class” in developing countries, were not aiding in that development by systematically destroying America’s own “middle class” one outsourced industry after another. Our decaying cities, bereft of the employment that maintained prosperity, are evidence against them.

  • helen

    Porcell:
    In the case of Iraq, Bush bids fair to end up the liberator of that country from an exceedingly cruel regime, though we shall not know how this turns out for many years to come….

    What we can be sure of, it appears, is that the Christian population which had survived for 2000 years, will be dead or driven out.

    [The daily bombings in Iraq are less "cruel"?]

    “Democracy” derives its power from the consent of the governed.
    There is no way outsiders can convince a tribal culture, like Afghanistan’s,
    that democracy is in their best interests.

    They look at our own perceived decadence and will have none of it.

    It would be nice if our elite, so concerned about a “middle class” in developing countries, were not aiding in that development by systematically destroying America’s own “middle class” one outsourced industry after another. Our decaying cities, bereft of the employment that maintained prosperity, are evidence against them.

  • helen

    And now, to keep the bankers in bonuses,
    we are tearing down our public educational system, from K-Grad school!!!

    The Chinese, Indians and others, who came here to learn (and take our jobs back home with them) will have to build their own universities also, after the American taxpayer has subsidized their graduate degrees.

  • helen

    And now, to keep the bankers in bonuses,
    we are tearing down our public educational system, from K-Grad school!!!

    The Chinese, Indians and others, who came here to learn (and take our jobs back home with them) will have to build their own universities also, after the American taxpayer has subsidized their graduate degrees.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Right on.

    Since we usually disagree, I thought it might be fruitful to throw in my endorsement of your arguments this time around.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Right on.

    Since we usually disagree, I thought it might be fruitful to throw in my endorsement of your arguments this time around.

  • Porcell

    So, Cincinnatus, you agree with FWS at 76 that, as he says, democracy is a bad idea?

  • Porcell

    So, Cincinnatus, you agree with FWS at 76 that, as he says, democracy is a bad idea?

  • Cincinnatus

    Yes.

  • Cincinnatus

    Yes.

  • DonS

    According to the UK Guardian, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8289686/Egypt-protests-Americas-secret-backing-for-rebel-leaders-behind-uprising.html

    If this report is accurate, the U.S. apparently picked sides a couple of years ago, during the latter stages of the Bush administration, and this report and others appear to indicate that Obama has continued the efforts. So, a bi-partisan push to oust Mubarak?

  • DonS

    According to the UK Guardian, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8289686/Egypt-protests-Americas-secret-backing-for-rebel-leaders-behind-uprising.html

    If this report is accurate, the U.S. apparently picked sides a couple of years ago, during the latter stages of the Bush administration, and this report and others appear to indicate that Obama has continued the efforts. So, a bi-partisan push to oust Mubarak?

  • DonS

    SKP @ 59 & 72: I get exactly what you are saying. The vain yearning for a king, an authoritarian government, to provide security and safety from foreigners. An unattainable desire, bound to disappoint, as is any hope that more government will in any way address or improve the problems endemic in this world. For unbridled authority and power in this world inevitably corrupts.

    It is interesting that Moses warns of this desire and its dangers way back in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

  • DonS

    SKP @ 59 & 72: I get exactly what you are saying. The vain yearning for a king, an authoritarian government, to provide security and safety from foreigners. An unattainable desire, bound to disappoint, as is any hope that more government will in any way address or improve the problems endemic in this world. For unbridled authority and power in this world inevitably corrupts.

    It is interesting that Moses warns of this desire and its dangers way back in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

  • DonS

    FWS, (and Cincinnatus), what is your alternative to democracy? Is it better for the nine (Supreme Court members) to do the dictating, rather than the 50% + 1? Or a monarch or dictator, such as a military general? Should we take away the vote from those not deemed equal or worthy? Maybe return it just to heads of households or property owners? I’m not sure I see where you are going here.

    I do believe that only those who pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits should vote, on the basis that those receiving net government benefits have a conflict of interest, and may not have the interests of the country at large at heart. Any traction for that idea? I haven’t gotten a whole lot of support for it over the years, so I’m guessing not, though it seems right to me.

    Anyway, I am serious about soliciting positive suggestions for a better form of government, rather than just unmitigated criticism for the government we have. You know, it’s cool to be constructive every now and again.

  • DonS

    FWS, (and Cincinnatus), what is your alternative to democracy? Is it better for the nine (Supreme Court members) to do the dictating, rather than the 50% + 1? Or a monarch or dictator, such as a military general? Should we take away the vote from those not deemed equal or worthy? Maybe return it just to heads of households or property owners? I’m not sure I see where you are going here.

    I do believe that only those who pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits should vote, on the basis that those receiving net government benefits have a conflict of interest, and may not have the interests of the country at large at heart. Any traction for that idea? I haven’t gotten a whole lot of support for it over the years, so I’m guessing not, though it seems right to me.

    Anyway, I am serious about soliciting positive suggestions for a better form of government, rather than just unmitigated criticism for the government we have. You know, it’s cool to be constructive every now and again.

  • Grace

    DonS – 84 -” I do believe that only those who pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits should vote, on the basis that those receiving net government benefits have a conflict of interest, and may not have the interests of the country at large at heart. ”

    I agree to a point – I don’t agree when it crosses the line regarding our elders, who have paid into the system and are now on SS. They deserve the same voting privileges as those who are working.

  • Grace

    DonS – 84 -” I do believe that only those who pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits should vote, on the basis that those receiving net government benefits have a conflict of interest, and may not have the interests of the country at large at heart. ”

    I agree to a point – I don’t agree when it crosses the line regarding our elders, who have paid into the system and are now on SS. They deserve the same voting privileges as those who are working.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 85: I agree with you there. At least theoretically, FICA and Medicare are social insurance which you earn by paying taxes into earlier in life. Of course, over the years they have both been expanded far beyond what was ever originally intended, but I would also exclude social security and medicare benefits from the calculation.

    Alas, this will never be anything more than a purely academic discussion, as the Democrats seem hell-bent on increasing the voter pool to include felons and illegal aliens by refusing to even consider basic voter fraud protection measures.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 85: I agree with you there. At least theoretically, FICA and Medicare are social insurance which you earn by paying taxes into earlier in life. Of course, over the years they have both been expanded far beyond what was ever originally intended, but I would also exclude social security and medicare benefits from the calculation.

    Alas, this will never be anything more than a purely academic discussion, as the Democrats seem hell-bent on increasing the voter pool to include felons and illegal aliens by refusing to even consider basic voter fraud protection measures.

  • Grace

    Don – 86

    I believe there are far more people who would agree with you, perhaps not on this blog, but elsewhere.

  • Grace

    Don – 86

    I believe there are far more people who would agree with you, perhaps not on this blog, but elsewhere.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS@86: How about a mixed republic? You know, kind of like the one we used to have, or the one that England once had.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS@86: How about a mixed republic? You know, kind of like the one we used to have, or the one that England once had.

  • Porcell

    Interesting that the people of Tunisia and Egypt are just now demonstrating and dying in the cause of democratic and free government, while some jaded Americans, unable to deal with the complexity and difficulty of democratic rule, have concluded that democracy is a mistake.

    Those Iraqis,who had to put their lives on the line to even vote, held their hands up proudly to show the purple proof that they had voted. After decades of suffering under a cruel dictator they knew that they had taken part in a real democratic election.

    The devout Christian founders of this country knew what they were doing in establishing both an orthodox Christian church and an effective political democracy with checks and balances. We in New England who annually attend town meeting know the value of democracy. Personally, I had the privilege for nineteen years in my Massachusetts town of presiding as an elected town meeting Moderator.

    Franklin was asked after the Constititutional convention, asked by a lady, Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it. …

    This republic has proven on balance to be an excellent one; in fact should ever some wing nuts try to impose some monarchic or aristocratic, they would have a rather serious fight on their hands.

  • Porcell

    Interesting that the people of Tunisia and Egypt are just now demonstrating and dying in the cause of democratic and free government, while some jaded Americans, unable to deal with the complexity and difficulty of democratic rule, have concluded that democracy is a mistake.

    Those Iraqis,who had to put their lives on the line to even vote, held their hands up proudly to show the purple proof that they had voted. After decades of suffering under a cruel dictator they knew that they had taken part in a real democratic election.

    The devout Christian founders of this country knew what they were doing in establishing both an orthodox Christian church and an effective political democracy with checks and balances. We in New England who annually attend town meeting know the value of democracy. Personally, I had the privilege for nineteen years in my Massachusetts town of presiding as an elected town meeting Moderator.

    Franklin was asked after the Constititutional convention, asked by a lady, Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it. …

    This republic has proven on balance to be an excellent one; in fact should ever some wing nuts try to impose some monarchic or aristocratic, they would have a rather serious fight on their hands.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell, don’t be a dolt. A republic is different from a democracy. You were equivocating in your own post. While I am, occasionally and given the right circumstances, in favor of some form of direct democracy at the local level (I have a romantic attachment to the Athenian polis and the New England town meeting), that is, thankfully, not what we have at the national or even state level. Democracy, in the absence of a “virtuous people,” to borrow terminology common to republican thought, is truly the worst regime after tyranny.

    God forbid we ever attempt to make of ourselves a democracy.

    Fortunately, even you don’t want that (apparently), as you’re the one arguing elsewhere for police drones, massive military establishments, a robust executive, and, generally speaking, a securitarian state. Moreover, the question is moot: these days, we’re neither a democracy nor a republic, but a “managerial state,” a bureaucratic apparatus (which, since you now know your Jouvenal, you’ll recognize as the logical conclusion of mass democracy).

    In any case, America didn’t build its republic–the republic it once had–on the back of a mob. If you’re looking for an historic analogy to current events in Egypt (and Tunisia, etc.), I would look to France circa 1790s rather than American circa 1770s. Except this is even more ridiculous than the blood-soaked streets of Paris: I’m asked to take sides in a battle of American-funded rebels (and the Muslim Brotherhood?) against an American-funded government shooting American bullets from American guns. Reality truly is more absurd than fiction.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell, don’t be a dolt. A republic is different from a democracy. You were equivocating in your own post. While I am, occasionally and given the right circumstances, in favor of some form of direct democracy at the local level (I have a romantic attachment to the Athenian polis and the New England town meeting), that is, thankfully, not what we have at the national or even state level. Democracy, in the absence of a “virtuous people,” to borrow terminology common to republican thought, is truly the worst regime after tyranny.

    God forbid we ever attempt to make of ourselves a democracy.

    Fortunately, even you don’t want that (apparently), as you’re the one arguing elsewhere for police drones, massive military establishments, a robust executive, and, generally speaking, a securitarian state. Moreover, the question is moot: these days, we’re neither a democracy nor a republic, but a “managerial state,” a bureaucratic apparatus (which, since you now know your Jouvenal, you’ll recognize as the logical conclusion of mass democracy).

    In any case, America didn’t build its republic–the republic it once had–on the back of a mob. If you’re looking for an historic analogy to current events in Egypt (and Tunisia, etc.), I would look to France circa 1790s rather than American circa 1770s. Except this is even more ridiculous than the blood-soaked streets of Paris: I’m asked to take sides in a battle of American-funded rebels (and the Muslim Brotherhood?) against an American-funded government shooting American bullets from American guns. Reality truly is more absurd than fiction.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Cincinnatus @90

    what he says…

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Cincinnatus @90

    what he says…

  • Another Kerner

    Cincinnatus @90.

    Yes indeed… and Amen.
    This country was established as a republic…..

    Pure democracies are rule by the majority without protection for the minority.

    And sg @37 and DonS @39.

    Rightly so. The direct election of US Senators was not a good idea. And maintaining the electoral college is very necessary.

  • Another Kerner

    Cincinnatus @90.

    Yes indeed… and Amen.
    This country was established as a republic…..

    Pure democracies are rule by the majority without protection for the minority.

    And sg @37 and DonS @39.

    Rightly so. The direct election of US Senators was not a good idea. And maintaining the electoral college is very necessary.

  • Grace

    Another Kerner – 92 – “Pure democracies are rule by the majority without protection for the minority.”

    Who do you consider the minority and why?

  • Grace

    Another Kerner – 92 – “Pure democracies are rule by the majority without protection for the minority.”

    Who do you consider the minority and why?

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, I understand the distinction between a pure direct democracy and a republic of elected officials. Athens and New England town meetings are directly democratic; elected republican officials are indirectly democratic.

    However, the convention is to refer to any government that truly elects its rulers as a democracy. Tocqueville understood that at the state and federal levels America was technically a republic, though he titled his classic book, Democracy in America. Why? In a republic the people rule, as Obama recently discovered.

    As to whether the events in Tunisia and Egypt lead to a radical democratic revolution, like that of France, or a moderate one like ours, time will tell. Your judgment on the matter is premature.

    You’re not clear as to what you mean by a “mixed” republic. I would argue that at the federal level we have a mixed republic, combining a strong presidency with the check and balance of a supreme court and a congress.

    The trouble is that the left has corrupted federal government with a usurping supreme court and a spendthrift, power hungry system of central government. The founders would be appalled at the intrusion of the federal government in government at all levels, though that hardly gives sanction for your view that democracy is a mistake.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, I understand the distinction between a pure direct democracy and a republic of elected officials. Athens and New England town meetings are directly democratic; elected republican officials are indirectly democratic.

    However, the convention is to refer to any government that truly elects its rulers as a democracy. Tocqueville understood that at the state and federal levels America was technically a republic, though he titled his classic book, Democracy in America. Why? In a republic the people rule, as Obama recently discovered.

    As to whether the events in Tunisia and Egypt lead to a radical democratic revolution, like that of France, or a moderate one like ours, time will tell. Your judgment on the matter is premature.

    You’re not clear as to what you mean by a “mixed” republic. I would argue that at the federal level we have a mixed republic, combining a strong presidency with the check and balance of a supreme court and a congress.

    The trouble is that the left has corrupted federal government with a usurping supreme court and a spendthrift, power hungry system of central government. The founders would be appalled at the intrusion of the federal government in government at all levels, though that hardly gives sanction for your view that democracy is a mistake.

  • Porcell

    Actually in any modern democracy, including that of New England town meetings, careful restraints are in place to protect minorities.
    America has elaborate restraints in place to protect minorities.

  • Porcell

    Actually in any modern democracy, including that of New England town meetings, careful restraints are in place to protect minorities.
    America has elaborate restraints in place to protect minorities.

  • Another Kerner

    Grace @ #93.

    51 is a majority.
    49 is a minority.

    That could be applied to carrots and peas ( more carrots than peas) or anything a person wishes when discussing majorities and minorities of something: for instance, in the matter under discussion, the Coptic Christians are a minority in a primarily Muslim country.

  • Another Kerner

    Grace @ #93.

    51 is a majority.
    49 is a minority.

    That could be applied to carrots and peas ( more carrots than peas) or anything a person wishes when discussing majorities and minorities of something: for instance, in the matter under discussion, the Coptic Christians are a minority in a primarily Muslim country.

  • Grace

    FEBRUARY 20, 2009 11:29AM
    Salon.com

    USA: Republic or Democracy? Answer: Yes. ____excerpt:

    “However, our Founders did leave us a Constitution that can be amended.

    The 17th amendment gave us the right to vote for Senators. While the states determine how they choose presidential electors that is also now decided by popular vote.

    Besides the original article 1, section 2 right to vote for House Representatives, and the 17th amendment mentioned above, democracy is expressed several times in these other amendments concerning voting rights: 14th -sec 2, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th.

    We vote.

    We are a Federal Republic and a Constitutional Representative Democracy.

    Lincoln had it right. We are a government of the people (res publica), by the people (demokratia).”

    http://open.salon.com/blog/paul_j_orourke/2009/02/16/usa_republic_or_democracy_answer_yes

  • Grace

    FEBRUARY 20, 2009 11:29AM
    Salon.com

    USA: Republic or Democracy? Answer: Yes. ____excerpt:

    “However, our Founders did leave us a Constitution that can be amended.

    The 17th amendment gave us the right to vote for Senators. While the states determine how they choose presidential electors that is also now decided by popular vote.

    Besides the original article 1, section 2 right to vote for House Representatives, and the 17th amendment mentioned above, democracy is expressed several times in these other amendments concerning voting rights: 14th -sec 2, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th.

    We vote.

    We are a Federal Republic and a Constitutional Representative Democracy.

    Lincoln had it right. We are a government of the people (res publica), by the people (demokratia).”

    http://open.salon.com/blog/paul_j_orourke/2009/02/16/usa_republic_or_democracy_answer_yes

  • Grace

    Another Kerner – 96

    Your answer is simplistic, and does not answer the question. What kind of protection to you believe the minority should have?

  • Grace

    Another Kerner – 96

    Your answer is simplistic, and does not answer the question. What kind of protection to you believe the minority should have?

  • Grace

    Post 97 should have read:

    FEBRUARY 20, 2009 11:29AM

    Salon.com
    USA: Republic or Democracy? Answer: Yes.

    ____excerpt_____

    “However, our Founders did leave us a Constitution that can be amended.

    The 17th amendment gave us the right to vote for Senators. While the states determine how they choose presidential electors that is also now decided by popular vote.

    Besides the original article 1, section 2 right to vote for House Representatives, and the 17th amendment mentioned above, democracy is expressed several times in these other amendments concerning voting rights: 14th -sec 2, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th.

    We vote.

    We are a Federal Republic and a Constitutional Representative Democracy.

    Lincoln had it right. We are a government of the people (res publica), by the people (demokratia).”

    http://open.salon.com/blog/paul_j_orourke/2009/02/16/usa_republic_or_democracy_answer_yes

  • Grace

    Post 97 should have read:

    FEBRUARY 20, 2009 11:29AM

    Salon.com
    USA: Republic or Democracy? Answer: Yes.

    ____excerpt_____

    “However, our Founders did leave us a Constitution that can be amended.

    The 17th amendment gave us the right to vote for Senators. While the states determine how they choose presidential electors that is also now decided by popular vote.

    Besides the original article 1, section 2 right to vote for House Representatives, and the 17th amendment mentioned above, democracy is expressed several times in these other amendments concerning voting rights: 14th -sec 2, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th.

    We vote.

    We are a Federal Republic and a Constitutional Representative Democracy.

    Lincoln had it right. We are a government of the people (res publica), by the people (demokratia).”

    http://open.salon.com/blog/paul_j_orourke/2009/02/16/usa_republic_or_democracy_answer_yes

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@71) said, “Todd, not having read Lindberg’s book, you don’t have a clue as to its content or quality.” And, of course, not being me, you don’t have a clue as to what I know or don’t know, not that such would stop you from attempting to tell me, anyhow.

    And you may remember that the last time you exhorted me to read a text based on what you claimed it said, I found that it said nothing close to what you’d claimed, at which point you just dropped the matter, completely failing to respond to my points. So forgive me if I’m a bit wary of playing that game again with you.

    You also might note that I’m not the one in this discussion using the word “pelagian”, so you might take that up with the one who is, what say?

    Of course, I haven’t read the book — why would I, when even your (incoherent) summary of its premise is ridiculous and shows it to be a surprisingly shallow eisegesis of the Gospels? I did, however, read some of this essay at Real Clear Politics, excerpted from The Political Teachings of Jesus — certainly enough to see that it is nothing but yet another fashioning of Jesus into what the writer wants him to be, in this case a political savior, not a spiritual one.

    There’s not much point in my debating that article with you, because you’ve already read the whole book and still, somehow, concluded that the author has got things right, but for others who would like to see some choice quotes…

    [Of the Beatitudes, he says] This is the opening move of a more drastic and fundamental reassessment of political and social affairs, applying not only to its own time but to all future times, down to our day. More still: It points to the increasing fulfillment in this world of the promise of the human condition as such — and of the struggle against vast and daunting but not insurmountable obstacles that such fulfillment will require. …

    Jesus goes on to say that so long as ordinary people stand for the right things and do not retreat in their rightness before those who seem to have more power, what’s right will prevail. It’s their kingdom — a kingdom organized not from the top down, but from the bottom up. In the Beatitudes, Jesus offers a description of the community of goodwill his teaching will build in this world. …

    With these nine categories [from the Beatitudes], Jesus offers a portrait of the ways in which it is possible to be a good person with respect to others — a description of the various forms human goodness, in this social sense, can take. …

    As for the predictions or promises, what Jesus has done with them is to imagine the consequences of a world comprised of more and more people attuned to the social good as he has described it. He offers in these few lines a description of what the world looks like when good people prevail over bad people — and he makes the bold claim that such a world will come to pass.

    I could go on, but it would only waste everyone’s time. This essay — and the book from which it is taken — is pure theological excrement. This man hasn’t got a clue who Jesus is and why he came, much less what the Sermon on the Mount was about.

    I’m truly sorry you’ve been taken in by this political hatchet-job, Porcell.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@71) said, “Todd, not having read Lindberg’s book, you don’t have a clue as to its content or quality.” And, of course, not being me, you don’t have a clue as to what I know or don’t know, not that such would stop you from attempting to tell me, anyhow.

    And you may remember that the last time you exhorted me to read a text based on what you claimed it said, I found that it said nothing close to what you’d claimed, at which point you just dropped the matter, completely failing to respond to my points. So forgive me if I’m a bit wary of playing that game again with you.

    You also might note that I’m not the one in this discussion using the word “pelagian”, so you might take that up with the one who is, what say?

    Of course, I haven’t read the book — why would I, when even your (incoherent) summary of its premise is ridiculous and shows it to be a surprisingly shallow eisegesis of the Gospels? I did, however, read some of this essay at Real Clear Politics, excerpted from The Political Teachings of Jesus — certainly enough to see that it is nothing but yet another fashioning of Jesus into what the writer wants him to be, in this case a political savior, not a spiritual one.

    There’s not much point in my debating that article with you, because you’ve already read the whole book and still, somehow, concluded that the author has got things right, but for others who would like to see some choice quotes…

    [Of the Beatitudes, he says] This is the opening move of a more drastic and fundamental reassessment of political and social affairs, applying not only to its own time but to all future times, down to our day. More still: It points to the increasing fulfillment in this world of the promise of the human condition as such — and of the struggle against vast and daunting but not insurmountable obstacles that such fulfillment will require. …

    Jesus goes on to say that so long as ordinary people stand for the right things and do not retreat in their rightness before those who seem to have more power, what’s right will prevail. It’s their kingdom — a kingdom organized not from the top down, but from the bottom up. In the Beatitudes, Jesus offers a description of the community of goodwill his teaching will build in this world. …

    With these nine categories [from the Beatitudes], Jesus offers a portrait of the ways in which it is possible to be a good person with respect to others — a description of the various forms human goodness, in this social sense, can take. …

    As for the predictions or promises, what Jesus has done with them is to imagine the consequences of a world comprised of more and more people attuned to the social good as he has described it. He offers in these few lines a description of what the world looks like when good people prevail over bad people — and he makes the bold claim that such a world will come to pass.

    I could go on, but it would only waste everyone’s time. This essay — and the book from which it is taken — is pure theological excrement. This man hasn’t got a clue who Jesus is and why he came, much less what the Sermon on the Mount was about.

    I’m truly sorry you’ve been taken in by this political hatchet-job, Porcell.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, back to the topic at hand, in theory …

    Porcell said (@89), “the people of Tunisia and Egypt are just now demonstrating and dying in the cause of democratic and free government.” Oh, are they? And could you provide one bit of evidence that they are espousing “democratic” ideals, or is this just part of your continued superpower to be able to tell us what any person is thinking (which, oddly, always sounds like your own opinion)? Or do you think that every mob is pro-democracy?

    Of course, there is a remarkable similarity between mobs and democracy, but not in the starry-eyed way you apparently view democracy.

    Point being, these people are protesting Mubarak and his regime. They are not espousing political ideals. Prove to me otherwise, and until you do, I’ll have to assume that you’re once again projecting.

    “The devout Christian founders of this country knew what they were doing in establishing both an orthodox Christian church and an effective political democracy with checks and balances.” What’s that? You’ve gone off your rocker and decided to just make up historical notions? Gotcha. Tell me more about this church that our Founders started. Does it have a Pope? What are their vestments like?

    Anyhow, I like how you get all sloppy (@94) and claim that, you know, words don’t really mean anything specific, and so a republic is a democracy. “Any government that truly elects its rulers as a democracy”. The government elects rulers in a democracy? ;) No, what’s funny is how you then go on to complain about the “usurping supreme court and a spendthrift, power hungry system of central government” in our grand ol’ democracy. Hey, how did those get there? A Supreme Court whose members aren’t elected by the people? Central government bureaucrats appointed by politicians? What what? But but but … we’re a democracy!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, back to the topic at hand, in theory …

    Porcell said (@89), “the people of Tunisia and Egypt are just now demonstrating and dying in the cause of democratic and free government.” Oh, are they? And could you provide one bit of evidence that they are espousing “democratic” ideals, or is this just part of your continued superpower to be able to tell us what any person is thinking (which, oddly, always sounds like your own opinion)? Or do you think that every mob is pro-democracy?

    Of course, there is a remarkable similarity between mobs and democracy, but not in the starry-eyed way you apparently view democracy.

    Point being, these people are protesting Mubarak and his regime. They are not espousing political ideals. Prove to me otherwise, and until you do, I’ll have to assume that you’re once again projecting.

    “The devout Christian founders of this country knew what they were doing in establishing both an orthodox Christian church and an effective political democracy with checks and balances.” What’s that? You’ve gone off your rocker and decided to just make up historical notions? Gotcha. Tell me more about this church that our Founders started. Does it have a Pope? What are their vestments like?

    Anyhow, I like how you get all sloppy (@94) and claim that, you know, words don’t really mean anything specific, and so a republic is a democracy. “Any government that truly elects its rulers as a democracy”. The government elects rulers in a democracy? ;) No, what’s funny is how you then go on to complain about the “usurping supreme court and a spendthrift, power hungry system of central government” in our grand ol’ democracy. Hey, how did those get there? A Supreme Court whose members aren’t elected by the people? Central government bureaucrats appointed by politicians? What what? But but but … we’re a democracy!

  • Porcell

    Todd, The simple fact is that you have not read the book and have labeled it “pure theological excrement.” Critics, including the liberal WAPO writer, EJ Dionne and Michael Novak, have given it excellent reviews. I’ve done a search of the critical reviews of Lindberg’s book and have yet to find one that seriously criticizes the book.

    Serious, balanced writers hardly use such terms as “pure theological excrement.”

  • Porcell

    Todd, The simple fact is that you have not read the book and have labeled it “pure theological excrement.” Critics, including the liberal WAPO writer, EJ Dionne and Michael Novak, have given it excellent reviews. I’ve done a search of the critical reviews of Lindberg’s book and have yet to find one that seriously criticizes the book.

    Serious, balanced writers hardly use such terms as “pure theological excrement.”

  • trotk

    Paul and Luther used comparable terms.

    Peter, if you are correct in your summary of the book (and it appears that you are, based on the excerpt tODD posted), it is entirely skubala.

    The Sermon on the Mount is a rejection of what this book claims it is. It is not about earthly conduct or righting the political/social wrongs of the world. Jesus raises the stakes of the Law so high in it that none qualify. You say you don’t commit adultery? Well how about this – you are guilty if you have ever lusted! And murder? You are guilty if you’ve called someone a fool! kai ta loipa.

    Peter, the reason why this Sermon starts with a promise of the kingdom to the beggars (ptochoi) in spirit is because no qualifies. No one.

    When Christ says, “Thy kingdom come,” He is speaking of this same kingdom, that is, the free grace of God given to sinners.

    To somehow turn this into an idea that the historically put-upon will end up ruling the earth is to be delusional.

    Theo0logical Excrement. Period.

  • trotk

    Paul and Luther used comparable terms.

    Peter, if you are correct in your summary of the book (and it appears that you are, based on the excerpt tODD posted), it is entirely skubala.

    The Sermon on the Mount is a rejection of what this book claims it is. It is not about earthly conduct or righting the political/social wrongs of the world. Jesus raises the stakes of the Law so high in it that none qualify. You say you don’t commit adultery? Well how about this – you are guilty if you have ever lusted! And murder? You are guilty if you’ve called someone a fool! kai ta loipa.

    Peter, the reason why this Sermon starts with a promise of the kingdom to the beggars (ptochoi) in spirit is because no qualifies. No one.

    When Christ says, “Thy kingdom come,” He is speaking of this same kingdom, that is, the free grace of God given to sinners.

    To somehow turn this into an idea that the historically put-upon will end up ruling the earth is to be delusional.

    Theo0logical Excrement. Period.

  • trotk

    By the way, you still haven’t answered my challenge at 21. I take your complete silence on the matter to be proof that you can’t prove what you claimed was “eminently provable.”

    Thus, we are left with the conclusion that no argument can be made that our world is better for the US’s meddling. Perhaps we should quit trying, because it seems to cause more harm than good.

  • trotk

    By the way, you still haven’t answered my challenge at 21. I take your complete silence on the matter to be proof that you can’t prove what you claimed was “eminently provable.”

    Thus, we are left with the conclusion that no argument can be made that our world is better for the US’s meddling. Perhaps we should quit trying, because it seems to cause more harm than good.

  • trotk

    Also, Peter, how does Lindberg deal with Jesus saying clearly that His kingdom is not of this world?

  • trotk

    Also, Peter, how does Lindberg deal with Jesus saying clearly that His kingdom is not of this world?

  • DonS

    Moreover, the question is moot: these days, we’re neither a democracy nor a republic, but a “managerial state,” a bureaucratic apparatus (which, since you now know your Jouvenal, you’ll recognize as the logical conclusion of mass democracy).

    Bingo, Cincinnatus @ 90. And this is our problem. We are run by unelected bureaucrats and a myriad of appointed “commissions”, which have no accountability to the voters or even to other elected officials. And there is nothing constitutional about the FCC, the Fed, the FEC, etc., though the courts, in their cowardice, have put their imprimatur on these extra-constitutional governing bodies.

    The real problem with administrative bureaucracies, which are constitutional, is that our “civil service, which staffs these bureaucracies, has become politically organized through unionization. Early intent was for an apolitical civil service — the Hatch Act was passed to prevent civil servants from being threatened by politics, or by exercising undue political influence from their positions inside government. But the unions have circumvented these protections, and collect substantial dues for the purpose of gaining political influence. As a result, the tail, which is wholly interested in its own advantage and well being, wags the dog.

  • DonS

    Moreover, the question is moot: these days, we’re neither a democracy nor a republic, but a “managerial state,” a bureaucratic apparatus (which, since you now know your Jouvenal, you’ll recognize as the logical conclusion of mass democracy).

    Bingo, Cincinnatus @ 90. And this is our problem. We are run by unelected bureaucrats and a myriad of appointed “commissions”, which have no accountability to the voters or even to other elected officials. And there is nothing constitutional about the FCC, the Fed, the FEC, etc., though the courts, in their cowardice, have put their imprimatur on these extra-constitutional governing bodies.

    The real problem with administrative bureaucracies, which are constitutional, is that our “civil service, which staffs these bureaucracies, has become politically organized through unionization. Early intent was for an apolitical civil service — the Hatch Act was passed to prevent civil servants from being threatened by politics, or by exercising undue political influence from their positions inside government. But the unions have circumvented these protections, and collect substantial dues for the purpose of gaining political influence. As a result, the tail, which is wholly interested in its own advantage and well being, wags the dog.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus,

    According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, democracy is defined as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

    A republic is defined as a a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarchy.

    America still fits well under both definitions, even though we need to drastically scale back the managerial state.

    I’m not through deJuvenal’s Sovereignty yet, though, so far, while he is critical of modern bureaucratic forms of rule, he hasn’t argued for a wholesale rejection of modern political democracy.

    While America has become disturbingly bureaucratic, The people do have power through their representatives to eliminate unneeded bureaucracies, such as, say, the U.S. department of education, or to legislatively and administratively change policies. While the inertia of these bureaucracies is formidable, effective legislation and cabinet direction is possible.

    You say that democracy is a mistake and object, as I do, to the managerial forces, though you’re unclear as to the specific form of government you prefer. However, America has been well served since the colonial period by its democracy, or if you prefer, its republic.

    New England and Virginia led the way in developing effective representative government. If you have some better form of government to offer, you need to be rather more clear as to the form of this government.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus,

    According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, democracy is defined as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

    A republic is defined as a a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarchy.

    America still fits well under both definitions, even though we need to drastically scale back the managerial state.

    I’m not through deJuvenal’s Sovereignty yet, though, so far, while he is critical of modern bureaucratic forms of rule, he hasn’t argued for a wholesale rejection of modern political democracy.

    While America has become disturbingly bureaucratic, The people do have power through their representatives to eliminate unneeded bureaucracies, such as, say, the U.S. department of education, or to legislatively and administratively change policies. While the inertia of these bureaucracies is formidable, effective legislation and cabinet direction is possible.

    You say that democracy is a mistake and object, as I do, to the managerial forces, though you’re unclear as to the specific form of government you prefer. However, America has been well served since the colonial period by its democracy, or if you prefer, its republic.

    New England and Virginia led the way in developing effective representative government. If you have some better form of government to offer, you need to be rather more clear as to the form of this government.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell @ 107

    you are a tired and boring read. You are not in moot court here or on a debating team. Nobody here is interested here in seeing whether your intellectual peepee is bigger than that of cincinnatus or not. This sort of comeback just makes you look pompous and out of touch and tonedeaf to the real issue that underlies and what is interesting to most of us here.

    We are looking at the substance of the matter and not the talking points.

    Yes. (yawn.) We all know that coloquially that term “democracy” has come to mean something extremely broad. Tell us something we do not know. Then you will be a fun read. and you will not sound so full of yourself.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    porcell @ 107

    you are a tired and boring read. You are not in moot court here or on a debating team. Nobody here is interested here in seeing whether your intellectual peepee is bigger than that of cincinnatus or not. This sort of comeback just makes you look pompous and out of touch and tonedeaf to the real issue that underlies and what is interesting to most of us here.

    We are looking at the substance of the matter and not the talking points.

    Yes. (yawn.) We all know that coloquially that term “democracy” has come to mean something extremely broad. Tell us something we do not know. Then you will be a fun read. and you will not sound so full of yourself.

  • Porcell

    FWS, My remarks above were in direct response to the substance of those of Cuncinnatus at 9o. The irony of an accusation of a tired and boring read coming from you, of often rather garrulous mien, is amusing.

  • Porcell

    FWS, My remarks above were in direct response to the substance of those of Cuncinnatus at 9o. The irony of an accusation of a tired and boring read coming from you, of often rather garrulous mien, is amusing.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    procell @ 109

    ok. lets consider that fact: Pot calls kettle black. Good to see that one black kettle recognizes the same qualities in that other kettle.

    I can live with that.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    procell @ 109

    ok. lets consider that fact: Pot calls kettle black. Good to see that one black kettle recognizes the same qualities in that other kettle.

    I can live with that.

  • Grace

    fws 108

    “you are a tired and boring read. You are not in moot court here or on a debating team. Nobody here is interested here in seeing whether your intellectual peepee is bigger than that of cincinnatus or not.”

    Flustered, …….. you resort to distorted blither above, it is you who mirrors your mind, using such comparisons, it has nothing to do with “intellectual” it’s your perception, personally of yourself. That is probably one of the nastiest comments I’ve ever read, but not surprising coming from you.

    Pitiful!

  • Grace

    fws 108

    “you are a tired and boring read. You are not in moot court here or on a debating team. Nobody here is interested here in seeing whether your intellectual peepee is bigger than that of cincinnatus or not.”

    Flustered, …….. you resort to distorted blither above, it is you who mirrors your mind, using such comparisons, it has nothing to do with “intellectual” it’s your perception, personally of yourself. That is probably one of the nastiest comments I’ve ever read, but not surprising coming from you.

    Pitiful!

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, if Frank’s peepee comment is one of the nastiest you’ve ever read, you must spend most of your time online surfing preschool sites. Sheesh.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, if Frank’s peepee comment is one of the nastiest you’ve ever read, you must spend most of your time online surfing preschool sites. Sheesh.

  • Porcell

    Tom, Grace reads adult blog-sites and makes adult remarks. Your arrogant diminution of her intellectual ability is incessant. In this case she called FWS out on a very crude remark.

  • Porcell

    Tom, Grace reads adult blog-sites and makes adult remarks. Your arrogant diminution of her intellectual ability is incessant. In this case she called FWS out on a very crude remark.

  • Tom Hering

    Porcell, incessant means without ceasing, which means I remark on every comment Grace makes. Hardly the case.

  • Tom Hering

    Porcell, incessant means without ceasing, which means I remark on every comment Grace makes. Hardly the case.

  • Porcell

    Tom, well, consider the poetic truth of it. In truth, you often demean her comments on this blog.

  • Porcell

    Tom, well, consider the poetic truth of it. In truth, you often demean her comments on this blog.

  • Tom Hering

    “Often” still seems like an exaggeration, but I’ll gladly enter a guilty plea anyways. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    “Often” still seems like an exaggeration, but I’ll gladly enter a guilty plea anyways. ;-)

  • Porcell

    Tom, your honesty on this is exemplary.

  • Porcell

    Tom, your honesty on this is exemplary.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    On a bit of a tangent here, but bear with me. Part of the problem in Egypt is that folks are unemployed. Anyway that is what I heard. Assuming this is the case, democracy doesn’t matter that much because the country is wasting its human resources. This is a problem in any mismanaged country. Now I am not going to blame the government only, but the types of laws/regulations/practices in some of these countries give special deals to friends and family etc., to an unhealthy extent which is a form of mismanagement. Anyway, Egypt has the Nile and needs to find ways to expand its agriculture because they need the food and the money. With all the unemployed folks. They have the manpower. They have the space, but they still are crowded into Cairo. It seems someone among the 84 million should have thought of something by now. What do you think? Why is it they are having so much trouble channeling their extensive resources into creating value for their people.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    On a bit of a tangent here, but bear with me. Part of the problem in Egypt is that folks are unemployed. Anyway that is what I heard. Assuming this is the case, democracy doesn’t matter that much because the country is wasting its human resources. This is a problem in any mismanaged country. Now I am not going to blame the government only, but the types of laws/regulations/practices in some of these countries give special deals to friends and family etc., to an unhealthy extent which is a form of mismanagement. Anyway, Egypt has the Nile and needs to find ways to expand its agriculture because they need the food and the money. With all the unemployed folks. They have the manpower. They have the space, but they still are crowded into Cairo. It seems someone among the 84 million should have thought of something by now. What do you think? Why is it they are having so much trouble channeling their extensive resources into creating value for their people.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: A good question, to be sure.

    First of all, I dispute the notion that “democracy” is what is being sought here in the first place. Unless one defines democracy as the occasional or perpetual revolt of the people or masses against any form of authority (even supposedly “democratic” authority)–and this is how Sheldon Wolin defines demcracy, though I don’t buy it–what’s going on here is revolt, chaos, and anarchy. If it can be described as anything specifically, it is anti-Mubarek. It seems premature to define the movement as democratic. Aside from that, I’ll remind everyone of yet another warning from the ever-relevant Jouvenel: no revolution has ever increased freedom, but only Power.

    Second–and to your actual question–why should the Egyptians need to figure out ways to be productive and support themselves? Literally their second biggest source of national income is direct “aid” from the United States. Like many other countries in the world, especially this part of the world, Egypt is quite literally the national equivalent of a welfare case. The Social Security fraud collecting disability for his “injuries” in perpetuum has no need to cultivate skills or pursue education. I think the same applies here to some extent.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: A good question, to be sure.

    First of all, I dispute the notion that “democracy” is what is being sought here in the first place. Unless one defines democracy as the occasional or perpetual revolt of the people or masses against any form of authority (even supposedly “democratic” authority)–and this is how Sheldon Wolin defines demcracy, though I don’t buy it–what’s going on here is revolt, chaos, and anarchy. If it can be described as anything specifically, it is anti-Mubarek. It seems premature to define the movement as democratic. Aside from that, I’ll remind everyone of yet another warning from the ever-relevant Jouvenel: no revolution has ever increased freedom, but only Power.

    Second–and to your actual question–why should the Egyptians need to figure out ways to be productive and support themselves? Literally their second biggest source of national income is direct “aid” from the United States. Like many other countries in the world, especially this part of the world, Egypt is quite literally the national equivalent of a welfare case. The Social Security fraud collecting disability for his “injuries” in perpetuum has no need to cultivate skills or pursue education. I think the same applies here to some extent.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “While America has become disturbingly bureaucratic, The people do have power through their representatives to eliminate unneeded bureaucracies, such as, say, the U.S. department of education, or to legislatively and administratively change policies. While the inertia of these bureaucracies is formidable, effective legislation and cabinet direction is possible.”

    In Texas, there is a Sunset Commission that requires all bureaucracies justify their existence and if the legislature is not convinced, they shut them down.

    According to the webpage: “In most cases, agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.”

    http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “While America has become disturbingly bureaucratic, The people do have power through their representatives to eliminate unneeded bureaucracies, such as, say, the U.S. department of education, or to legislatively and administratively change policies. While the inertia of these bureaucracies is formidable, effective legislation and cabinet direction is possible.”

    In Texas, there is a Sunset Commission that requires all bureaucracies justify their existence and if the legislature is not convinced, they shut them down.

    According to the webpage: “In most cases, agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.”

    http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Literally their second biggest source of national income is direct “aid” from the United States.”

    Okay, so what is the first? Anyway, regardless, a big money maker is the Suez Canal. I don’t know how long folks were dreaming of building it, maybe a very long time, but the French finally organized it to “git ‘er done”. That is the spirit the Egyptian people need to rediscover. I mean they used to be a quite valuable piece of property because they were so productive. What happened?

    “The Social Security fraud collecting disability for his “injuries” in perpetuum has no need to cultivate skills or pursue education. I think the same applies here to some extent.”

    The French were motivated to make a profit when they determined to complete the Suez Canal. They took a look at it and thought, gee, we need a canal to move products to people. If the French had had some other steady revenue/cheap product stream, they likely would not have traipsed through the desert dreaming of realizing ambitious plans like the Suez Canal.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Literally their second biggest source of national income is direct “aid” from the United States.”

    Okay, so what is the first? Anyway, regardless, a big money maker is the Suez Canal. I don’t know how long folks were dreaming of building it, maybe a very long time, but the French finally organized it to “git ‘er done”. That is the spirit the Egyptian people need to rediscover. I mean they used to be a quite valuable piece of property because they were so productive. What happened?

    “The Social Security fraud collecting disability for his “injuries” in perpetuum has no need to cultivate skills or pursue education. I think the same applies here to some extent.”

    The French were motivated to make a profit when they determined to complete the Suez Canal. They took a look at it and thought, gee, we need a canal to move products to people. If the French had had some other steady revenue/cheap product stream, they likely would not have traipsed through the desert dreaming of realizing ambitious plans like the Suez Canal.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow

    Let’s check in on Porcell’s claims (via George Bush) that “the desire for freedom is indeed universal”, with the Egyptians “just now … asserting a fundamental freedom that, far from a mere local historicist event, reflects a universal, God and Jesus driven desire.” A quote from today’s Times article on Egypt:

    Still, driven by reports of looting, prison breaks and rumors that swirled across Cairo, fed by Egyptian television’s unrelenting coverage of lawlessness, it was clear that many feared the menace could grow worse, and might even undermine the protesters’ demands.

    “I wish we could be like the United States with our own democracy, but we can’t,” said Sarah Elyashy, a 33-year-old woman in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, where men armed with broomsticks and kitchen knives took to the streets to defend their homes against the threat of looters. “We have to have a ruler with an iron hand.”

    Just one voice, of course, and notably one from a well-to-do area of Egypt.

    But it does remind me of Porcell’s own predilections towards statist security — which, I would argue, are also driven by fear. I have a hard time understanding how someone who so willingly accepts intrusions from the state just so he can feel safer can simultaneously argue that “the desire for freedom is universal”, but there you go. It would seem that the desire for security is also universal, and that not a small part of human history is about finding a balance between those two conflicting desires.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow

    Let’s check in on Porcell’s claims (via George Bush) that “the desire for freedom is indeed universal”, with the Egyptians “just now … asserting a fundamental freedom that, far from a mere local historicist event, reflects a universal, God and Jesus driven desire.” A quote from today’s Times article on Egypt:

    Still, driven by reports of looting, prison breaks and rumors that swirled across Cairo, fed by Egyptian television’s unrelenting coverage of lawlessness, it was clear that many feared the menace could grow worse, and might even undermine the protesters’ demands.

    “I wish we could be like the United States with our own democracy, but we can’t,” said Sarah Elyashy, a 33-year-old woman in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, where men armed with broomsticks and kitchen knives took to the streets to defend their homes against the threat of looters. “We have to have a ruler with an iron hand.”

    Just one voice, of course, and notably one from a well-to-do area of Egypt.

    But it does remind me of Porcell’s own predilections towards statist security — which, I would argue, are also driven by fear. I have a hard time understanding how someone who so willingly accepts intrusions from the state just so he can feel safer can simultaneously argue that “the desire for freedom is universal”, but there you go. It would seem that the desire for security is also universal, and that not a small part of human history is about finding a balance between those two conflicting desires.

  • Grace

    Sg,

    You make some good points, however the situation in Egypt is much more complex.

    U.S. Foreign Aid Summary

    http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/politics/us-foreign-aid.htm

  • Grace

    Sg,

    You make some good points, however the situation in Egypt is much more complex.

    U.S. Foreign Aid Summary

    http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/politics/us-foreign-aid.htm

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    (For the record, my “Anyhow …” was in reference to the digression series before SG’s commment (@118). SG and Cincinnatus managed to sneak in a fairly meaningful conversation before I posted my comment.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    (For the record, my “Anyhow …” was in reference to the digression series before SG’s commment (@118). SG and Cincinnatus managed to sneak in a fairly meaningful conversation before I posted my comment.)

  • Porcell

    SG: Why is it they are having so much trouble channeling their extensive resources into creating value for their people. This is the heart of the matter

    David Brooks, on the News Hour last Friday, mentioned that half the workers in Egypt earn about two dollars a day. The reason for this is a system of culture and government that doesn’t allow the natural tendencies of people to better themselves. The elites of the country defensively hold on to their little power and wealth through oppressive methods. They have no understanding of the benefits of a democratic free economy.

    In America we breathe the air of a cultural and political freedom that, however burdened by contemporary government bureaucracy and excessive taxation, allows people to be productive and hard working in their own interest. This is, also, true of the contemporary Asian tiger economies. Singapore and Hong Kong are among the freest economic regions on earth.

    George Bush, that much disparaged American leader, raised a crucial question, as follows:

    Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?

    Bush in fact infuriated Mubarak with this view. While he continued the traditional $billions of financial aid to Egypt to protect stability in the region, he well understood that in the long run the Egyptian people needed a fundamental freedom in order to prosper.

    Just now, the Egyptian people are putting their lives on the line to achieve their freedom. Despite the risks involved in a possible Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the government, Americans should support these brave Egyptians.

  • Porcell

    SG: Why is it they are having so much trouble channeling their extensive resources into creating value for their people. This is the heart of the matter

    David Brooks, on the News Hour last Friday, mentioned that half the workers in Egypt earn about two dollars a day. The reason for this is a system of culture and government that doesn’t allow the natural tendencies of people to better themselves. The elites of the country defensively hold on to their little power and wealth through oppressive methods. They have no understanding of the benefits of a democratic free economy.

    In America we breathe the air of a cultural and political freedom that, however burdened by contemporary government bureaucracy and excessive taxation, allows people to be productive and hard working in their own interest. This is, also, true of the contemporary Asian tiger economies. Singapore and Hong Kong are among the freest economic regions on earth.

    George Bush, that much disparaged American leader, raised a crucial question, as follows:

    Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?

    Bush in fact infuriated Mubarak with this view. While he continued the traditional $billions of financial aid to Egypt to protect stability in the region, he well understood that in the long run the Egyptian people needed a fundamental freedom in order to prosper.

    Just now, the Egyptian people are putting their lives on the line to achieve their freedom. Despite the risks involved in a possible Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the government, Americans should support these brave Egyptians.

  • Grace

    tODD – 122

    ” A quote from today’s Times article on Egypt:”

    The LINK is:

    Opposition Rallies to ElBaradei as Military Reinforces in Cairo – NYTimes.com
    By ANTHONY SHADID
    Published: January 30, 2011
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/world/middleeast/31-egypt.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

    This quote CAN BE FOUND in the LINK you gave:
    “Still, driven by some instances of looting — and rumors that swirled across Cairo, fed by Egyptian television’s unrelenting coverage of lawlessness — it was clear that many feared the menace could worsen, and might even undermine the protesters’ demands.”

    This quote CANNOT BE FOUND in the LINK you gave:
    “I wish we could be like the United States with our own democracy, but we can’t,” said Sarah Elyashy, a 33-year-old woman in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, where men armed with broomsticks and kitchen knives took to the streets to defend their homes against the threat of looters. “We have to have a ruler with an iron hand.”

    Why is the second quote from your post #122 not in the article you linked to? If it is, and I missed it, what paragraph is it?

  • Grace

    tODD – 122

    ” A quote from today’s Times article on Egypt:”

    The LINK is:

    Opposition Rallies to ElBaradei as Military Reinforces in Cairo – NYTimes.com
    By ANTHONY SHADID
    Published: January 30, 2011
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/world/middleeast/31-egypt.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

    This quote CAN BE FOUND in the LINK you gave:
    “Still, driven by some instances of looting — and rumors that swirled across Cairo, fed by Egyptian television’s unrelenting coverage of lawlessness — it was clear that many feared the menace could worsen, and might even undermine the protesters’ demands.”

    This quote CANNOT BE FOUND in the LINK you gave:
    “I wish we could be like the United States with our own democracy, but we can’t,” said Sarah Elyashy, a 33-year-old woman in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, where men armed with broomsticks and kitchen knives took to the streets to defend their homes against the threat of looters. “We have to have a ruler with an iron hand.”

    Why is the second quote from your post #122 not in the article you linked to? If it is, and I missed it, what paragraph is it?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You make some good points, however the situation in Egypt is much more complex.”

    Yes, of course.

    Is there a particular point you are trying to make by referring to the US aid summary?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You make some good points, however the situation in Egypt is much more complex.”

    Yes, of course.

    Is there a particular point you are trying to make by referring to the US aid summary?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kudlow thinks that inflation caused by quantitative easing is part of the problem.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/kudlows-money-politics/258325/food-riots-bernanke-partially-blame

    What do you all think?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kudlow thinks that inflation caused by quantitative easing is part of the problem.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/kudlows-money-politics/258325/food-riots-bernanke-partially-blame

    What do you all think?

  • Porcell

    SG, the effect of QE2 on food prices might have some minor bearing on what is going on Egypt, though, when it comes to Kudlow, whom I generally respect, he is rather obsessed with Bernanke’s influence on world affairs.

  • Porcell

    SG, the effect of QE2 on food prices might have some minor bearing on what is going on Egypt, though, when it comes to Kudlow, whom I generally respect, he is rather obsessed with Bernanke’s influence on world affairs.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace asked (@126), in bold, “Why is the second quote from your post #122 not in the article you linked to? If it is, and I missed it, what paragraph is it?”

    Grace, I’m not an editor at the Times, so I can’t actually answer your question, but it would appear that they update their stories as things develop, adding and deleting paragraphs.

    However, hopefully you will believe me when I tell you that I copied and pasted that quote directly from the article I linked to. You can tell that it used to be in there if you do a search at NYTimes.com for “a ruler with an iron hand”. Of course, one can find other online sources that grabbed the same version I saw off the news wire.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace asked (@126), in bold, “Why is the second quote from your post #122 not in the article you linked to? If it is, and I missed it, what paragraph is it?”

    Grace, I’m not an editor at the Times, so I can’t actually answer your question, but it would appear that they update their stories as things develop, adding and deleting paragraphs.

    However, hopefully you will believe me when I tell you that I copied and pasted that quote directly from the article I linked to. You can tell that it used to be in there if you do a search at NYTimes.com for “a ruler with an iron hand”. Of course, one can find other online sources that grabbed the same version I saw off the news wire.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Porcell, I wonder what percent of family income is used for food. If it is pretty high, then it is harder on people than if it is fairly low.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Porcell, I wonder what percent of family income is used for food. If it is pretty high, then it is harder on people than if it is fairly low.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, it is true that online stories do get revised and reposted by regular news outlets.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, it is true that online stories do get revised and reposted by regular news outlets.

  • Porcell

    Grace, at 126, be careful regarding elBaradei. See Andy McCarthy’s piece What could be worse than ElBaradei?

    A few days ago, ElBaradei gave an interview to Der Spiegel — Aaron Klein reported on it at WND yesterday. As Klein noted, ElBaradei is widely seen as a staunch ally of the Brotherhood (surprise!) and gave a spirited defense of them that was about as honest as his disclosures about the Iranian nuclear program used to be: “We should stop demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood,” he insisted. According to ElBaradei, the Brothers “have not committed any acts of violence in five decades.” [ACM note: the Brotherhood killed Sadat in 1981; Hamas kills people everyday.] ElBaradei, who also admires President Obama ardently, said that the Brothers just “want change.” Thus, he concludes, “If we want democracy and freedom, we have to include them instead of marginalizing them.” [ACM: Yeah, just like we did with Hamas -- and how's that workin' out?]

    In my view el Baradeii is a snake in the grass of Egypt.

  • Porcell

    Grace, at 126, be careful regarding elBaradei. See Andy McCarthy’s piece What could be worse than ElBaradei?

    A few days ago, ElBaradei gave an interview to Der Spiegel — Aaron Klein reported on it at WND yesterday. As Klein noted, ElBaradei is widely seen as a staunch ally of the Brotherhood (surprise!) and gave a spirited defense of them that was about as honest as his disclosures about the Iranian nuclear program used to be: “We should stop demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood,” he insisted. According to ElBaradei, the Brothers “have not committed any acts of violence in five decades.” [ACM note: the Brotherhood killed Sadat in 1981; Hamas kills people everyday.] ElBaradei, who also admires President Obama ardently, said that the Brothers just “want change.” Thus, he concludes, “If we want democracy and freedom, we have to include them instead of marginalizing them.” [ACM: Yeah, just like we did with Hamas -- and how's that workin' out?]

    In my view el Baradeii is a snake in the grass of Egypt.

  • Grace

    tODD – 130

    That could very well be, however it’s odd that the N.Y. Times would delete such a paragraph. After all you thought it worthy to make a point, using only two paragraphs. Interesting…..

  • Grace

    tODD – 130

    That could very well be, however it’s odd that the N.Y. Times would delete such a paragraph. After all you thought it worthy to make a point, using only two paragraphs. Interesting…..

  • Grace

    Porcell,

    Understood,…. thank you for the link!

  • Grace

    Porcell,

    Understood,…. thank you for the link!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, full text of original article including the paragraphs tODD cited:

    http://defenceforumindia.com/showthread.php?t=18689&page=5

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, full text of original article including the paragraphs tODD cited:

    http://defenceforumindia.com/showthread.php?t=18689&page=5

  • SKPeterson

    Another interesting article on actions taken by the Egyptian government to restrict communications:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703956604576110453371369740.html?mod=WSJ_World_MIDDLENews

  • SKPeterson

    Another interesting article on actions taken by the Egyptian government to restrict communications:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703956604576110453371369740.html?mod=WSJ_World_MIDDLENews

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Correction, I don’t think that is the original article. However it does contain verbatim the entire paragraph tODD linked and it links to the same article.

    Coincidence?

    I think not! :-)

    If you copy the entire paragraph and search for it, the NYTimes article comes up in the results, as well as others who quoted the same original article.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Correction, I don’t think that is the original article. However it does contain verbatim the entire paragraph tODD linked and it links to the same article.

    Coincidence?

    I think not! :-)

    If you copy the entire paragraph and search for it, the NYTimes article comes up in the results, as well as others who quoted the same original article.

  • Grace

    sg – 136

    I do research daily – I found it as well. I asked tODD because it’s very rare that a comment of that type would be deleted.

    His explanation sufficed!

  • Grace

    sg – 136

    I do research daily – I found it as well. I asked tODD because it’s very rare that a comment of that type would be deleted.

    His explanation sufficed!

  • Grace

    sg – 138 “If you copy the entire paragraph and search for it, the NYTimes article comes up in the results, as well as others who quoted the same original article.”

    That’s an old one sg, – as I do a great deal of research, I use that tool, along with a dozen others. I simply asked tODD the question, he answered it sufficently.

  • Grace

    sg – 138 “If you copy the entire paragraph and search for it, the NYTimes article comes up in the results, as well as others who quoted the same original article.”

    That’s an old one sg, – as I do a great deal of research, I use that tool, along with a dozen others. I simply asked tODD the question, he answered it sufficently.

  • SKPeterson

    Can anyone remember for me what the approximate timeline was for the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the East German government? Also, where did it go next? Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia?

    I hesitate to identify Tunisia or Egypt with any of these countries, but when autocratic states with similar ideologies begin to fall, it suddenly points out underlying systemic weaknesses across regimes. I note that Boy Assad made an announcement that there needed to be some political reforms in Syria, which begins to call into question the current direction of Lebanon, and the faint stirrings of something different in what I will call the Soviet Union of Middle Eastern autocracies – the Kingdom of Saud.

    Here’s my lousy prediction – within one month, several regimes other than Tunisia will have fallen across the Middle East, or nothing else happens and only Tunisia makes the change, for good or ill. I sense a tipping point, but which way it will tip is uncertain.

  • SKPeterson

    Can anyone remember for me what the approximate timeline was for the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the East German government? Also, where did it go next? Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia?

    I hesitate to identify Tunisia or Egypt with any of these countries, but when autocratic states with similar ideologies begin to fall, it suddenly points out underlying systemic weaknesses across regimes. I note that Boy Assad made an announcement that there needed to be some political reforms in Syria, which begins to call into question the current direction of Lebanon, and the faint stirrings of something different in what I will call the Soviet Union of Middle Eastern autocracies – the Kingdom of Saud.

    Here’s my lousy prediction – within one month, several regimes other than Tunisia will have fallen across the Middle East, or nothing else happens and only Tunisia makes the change, for good or ill. I sense a tipping point, but which way it will tip is uncertain.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, maybe you missed it, but I did not understand what you were trying to say @ 123.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, maybe you missed it, but I did not understand what you were trying to say @ 123.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The “iron hand” quote has reappeared in this Times article, for what it’s worth: Rich, Poor and a Rift Exposed by Unrest. That article gives more insight into the conflicting desires for freedom and security in Egypt.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The “iron hand” quote has reappeared in this Times article, for what it’s worth: Rich, Poor and a Rift Exposed by Unrest. That article gives more insight into the conflicting desires for freedom and security in Egypt.


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