Why the left doesn’t believe in free speech

Michael Barone has a fascinating column, excerpted after the jump, about how leftists, on campuses and elsewhere, are trying to silence anyone who disagrees with them.  But this should not be surprising.

The hard left, whether of the Marxist variety or the post-Marxist variety (which substitutes oppression of women, races, or other groups for the Marxist focus on economic oppression and class struggle) nearly always rejects free speech, as well as other civil liberties, whenever they get into power, as we have seen in communist regimes  If you reject individualism in favor of collectivism, believe that liberty is a bourgeois value designed to promote capitalism, and think that those in power always almost by definition suppress those who oppose them, then, yes, you will reject free speech.

The left certainly holds the power at most college campuses and in some other political and cultural circles, so of course they will impose speech codes and punish dissenters. [Read more...]

A sense of place

Paul Greenberg is an acclaimed nationally-syndicated columnist who has spent most of his life and career in small town Arkansas.  A recent column deals with a quality we have been hearing more about lately from the localist movement (see, for example, the Front Porch Republic); namely, “a sense of place.”  He says of those who do not have this connectedness to a specific land and community, “they inspire a certain pity, the way anyone homeless does.” (Excerpt and link after the jump.)

What he is describing is exactly what I am experiencing, now that we have moved back to our native Oklahoma. [Read more...]

Father seeks right to marry adopted son

It seems that before gay marriage was legal, in order to form a family union, an older homosexual man would sometimes adopt his young lover.  Now a father is trying to get a court to dissolve the adoption so that he can marry his son. [Read more...]

Sexual freedom for state control

In a discussion of Playboy Magazine’s new policy of not publishing nude pictures, Mollie Hemingway and colleague Rich Cromwell talk about the magazine’s political liberalism.  She refers to a book that argues that the seemingly opposite ideologies have libertarianism and socialism have come together in a trade-off of sexual freedom in exchange for state control of everything else. [Read more...]

From “God is dead” to “too many gods”

Peter Berger, a Lutheran in the ELCA, is an important sociologist of religion.  Back in the 1970s, he was one of the scholars who advocated the “secularization” thesis, that as societies grew more modern, they grew less religious.  But now he says that he was wrong.  Today, as societies in Asia, Latin America, and Africa are modernizing, they are becoming MORE religious.  Berger says that what modernity brings is not secularism but religious pluralism.  He says that what we face today is not “God is dead,” but “too many gods.” [Read more...]

Why do so few Europeans go to church?

The distinguished sociologist of religion Peter Berger once promoted “the secularization thesis,” arguing that as societies become more modern, they become less religious.  But he has since said that thesis has been falsified, that the world is getting more religious than ever (and that modernity actually has contributed to the growth of religion).  The more interesting question, he says now, is why Europe has resisted that trend.

I am wondering now, though, after my speaking tour of Scandinavia, if Europe is as secular as it appears.

Nearly 80% of the population of Denmark belongs to the state church.  This requires paying a church tax of from .4% to 1.5% of one’s income, on top of an already crushing tax burden.  These members have been baptized and confirmed and they will be married and buried in the church, but only 3% of them go to church on any given Sunday.

Here are further statistics about the religious climate in Denmark:  According to a 2010 poll, 24% are atheists; 47% believe more vaguely in “some sort of spirit or life force”; and 28% believe in God.  Another poll found that 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the son of God and 18% believe He is the savior of the world.

So, yes, Denmark is a very secular country, with lots of non-believers (about a fourth) and liberal believers (about a half), but another fourth appears to confess Christ.  Perhaps a fifth are Gospel-believing Christians.  That’s actually not bad for a supposedly secular country.

But let’s put the statistics together.  If 80% of the country belong to the Church of Denmark, that must include lots of people who do not particularly believe in Christ, or even God.  And if only 3% of the population attends church regularly, that means that lots of Christians are not attending church either. [Read more...]


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