A Word to the Best of God’s People…

chocolatesThe Idolatry of Rationalism

By Jeremy Swanson

“It is not sufficient for everyone to obey and to listen to the Divine message of the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City. In order to propagate that message among the heathen, nay, in order to understand it as clearly and as fully as is humanly possible, one must also consider to what extent man could discern the outlines of that City if left to himself, to the proper exercise of his own powers.”  (-Leo Strauss, The City and Man)AAB

These words of prominent twentieth-century political philosopher Leo Strauss are a clear manifestation of his rationalistic spirit, of his rationalistic desiderata. But let’s make this personal: I fear that the impure, unsubmissive, hidden corners of our hearts find a certain needfulness or security in the desiderata of Leo Strauss’ rationalism. May the Holy Spirit be with us as we compare the spirit of these words of the man Leo Strauss with the Word, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the Word of God pierce to the bone and marrow; may the contact not be mere external superficiality, mere “argument.”

plantingLet us begin, in humility before God, with the end of the above quotation: Strauss refers to “the proper exercise of his own [man’s own] powers.” What are these “powers” to which Strauss is referring? These powers are the powers of the human intellect, that is, the power of autonomous human reason. The Word does not speak of this thing “reason” if by “reason” is meant an independent capacity or faculty of the human creature that, if “properly exercised,” allows one to ascend from mere opinion, convention, to genuine knowledge, or the “idea of the good.” The human intellect, the human mind, “reason,” is not something that stands alone, or even can stand alone, through its proper exercise.livingwater

Rather, the thoughts and operations of the mind, of “reason,” are tied to or flow out of the human heart. And what is the state of the human heart? “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). A grave statement indeed, and one that justifies the judgment that followed in the flood. But perhaps now you will contend that this statement of utter gravity and hopelessness applies only to the unregenerate. That this hopelessness applies only to the unregenerate, I agree. That this gravity applies only to the unregenerate, I do not agree.

Consider the statement of God following the flood, after which only Noah, “a just man, perfect in his generations, who walked with God,” and his family, remained on earth: “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). But how could God say this after He had destroyed all the wicked, violent men of the earth, saving only just Noah and his family? Were not Noah and his family God’s chosen, covenant people, set apart, separate from the world of violence that surrounded them?

Consider also Ezekiel 14:1: “Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.” Once again, here we have the chosen people of God, separate from the rest of the world, drawn out from among the nations of the earth. Not only are we here presented with the chosen people of God, but we are also presented with the elders of the chosen people of God, the best of the people of God. And what does the LORD say about the best of his chosen people? “And the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity'” (Eze.14:2-3). What a tragedy we have here! God’s chosen people: Idolaters, harlots! In the words of Isaiah: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward me is taught by the commandment of men” (Isa. 29:13). God’s chosen people, and yet possessing wicked, hard, rebellious hearts!

Therefore, God’s chosen people, possessing the wisdom of God, the oracles of God, beyond any wisdom of man outside those oracles; and yet God’s chosen people, blind (Isa. 29:9-10)! This does not bode well for Strauss’ “proper exercise of his own powers” thesis, when even the chosen children of God are rebellious, wicked, idolatrous, and blind. This does not bode well for Strauss’ “proper exercise of his own powers” when even those to whom have been committed the explicit oracles of God, whose “reason” should be the most honed and “properly exercised,” are called blind: “Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind!” (Isa. 29:9)

But immediately after these grave, just statements of God, He promises a cure for this blindness, for this blasphemy, for this hardness of heart: “Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden” (Isa. 29:14). What is the complete, full, absolute manifestation and culmination of this marvelous work and wonder that causes the wisdom of the wise men to perish and the understanding of the prudent men to be hidden? The answer is found in the Who, not the what, that is, in Jesus Christ: “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (Mt. 11:25).

So much for human wisdom. So much for “reason.” So much for even the possibility of Strauss’ “proper exercise of his own powers.” But wait, you are contending that regeneration through Christ allows for or enables one to attain the “proper exercise of his own powers.” You contend that since we have been born again, we are now able to exercise “reason” properly, in a holy manner. But let us examine the term “reason” as such, that is, “logos.” This term is one taken from classical Greece, from Platonic philosophy. But are these the terms that the Word gives us? Are we redeemed in order to attain autonomy through autonomous human reason, through reason properly exercised? But there is no such thing as “autonomous human reason.” There is only slavery — slavery to sin leading to death — or slavery to obedience leading to righteousness (Rom. 6:16).

Strauss enjoys speaking of man’s “highest possibilities.” Perhaps you are also concerned with man’s “highest possibilities.” And well you should be. But let us remember that in Christianity, man’s highest possibility is submission, slavery, obedience to God. This is true liberty. In contrast, the rationalistic spirit tells us that man’s highest possibility is gaining as much clarity as possible through the native human intellect, that man’s highest possibility is “discovering” as much as possible through autonomous human reason, that is, no submission to God, that is, slavery to sin, that is, at best (like the elders of Israel), being driven by an idolatrous heart that blinds.

There is no simple, clean state of “objective rationality.” This implies human autonomy in some capacity. This is impossible – there is only slavery to sin and the blindness of the wicked human heart or the liberty of taking up Christ’s yoke which is good for a man to bear in his youth (Lam. 3:27, Mt. 11:29-30). There is only submission or rebellion. There is no liberation through “logos.” There is only liberation through the Person, Christ: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile'” (1 Cor. 3:18-20).

What is this wisdom of the Lord that is so inimical to the world, that the world calls foolishness? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 110:10). Why is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind” (Jer.17:9-10). The fear of the LORD comes from the realization and experience of the fact that we are naked individuals before God who nevertheless cloak ourselves in deceit and wickedness. We cannot comprehend even our own deceit and wickedness. God does.

What greater cause for fear and trembling is there than this? “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind.” This realization and experience of our attempt to cover our nakedness before God with the fig leaf of deceit before His most holy sight should drive us to a point of absolute despair, that is, the despair that gives up all attempts to self-redeem, that instead drives us to seek God with a broken heart and a contrite spirit (Ps. 34:18), that finally leads to the peace that passes all understanding and the joy of simple submission, obedience, and humility. “For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8).

This is the foolishness of Christ: Finding hope only in humility, in absolute submission. This is what the wisdom of the world denies as even a possibility. Rather, “It is not sufficient for everyone to obey and to listen to the Divine message of the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.” Rather, the “proper exercise of his own powers.” But this is not the spirit of submission. This is the language of human autonomy. Human autonomy is nihilism, for it seeks to exalt itself in pride and separate itself from God. It makes no difference before our most holy God whether this language speaks with the vocabulary of universal, objective human reason or with the vocabulary of contextual, relative human will. In fact, the spirit in which rational rationalists seek to so pridefully distinguish themselves from relativistic nihilists is not only a prideful spirit, but one that also cultivates profound self-deception.

Before God, what is the difference between an autonomous human intellect and an autonomous human will? Are we as Christians, as God’s chosen people, liberated in order to enjoy the “proper exercise” of our own “rational” powers (clever self-deceit!)? Are we liberated in order to enjoy the proper exercise of our own irrational powers (clever self-deceit!)? Or are we liberated to take up the foolish cross of Christ? Are we liberated in order to be “rational”? Are we liberated in order to be “irrational”? Or are we liberated in order to be humble, submissive, obedient? Just as our goal should not be to be “rational,” so our goal should not be to be “irrational.”

“But,” you still contend, “obeying God is the height of rationality! And what’s more, you can’t even communicate with me unless you utilize reason!” But “these things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13). “Reason” is nothing. All “reason” signifies is that some mental activity is going on, or that the attempt to intelligibly communicate something is occurring. But how do we gain true clarity, how do we truly communicate? Not through an independent faculty, but through the Holy Spirit, through relation with God, through simple submission and obedience. If we understand things in any other manner, we are blind, self-deceiving. And it is true that it is possible to presuppose the identity of obedience and reason, that is, we can simply assert that obedience equals reason. But let us be careful here! Let us be very careful! When our Lord commands us to obey, He says “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”; He does not say “properly exercise your reason” or “be rational.” He says “submit, obey the law I have given you.”

When we start using different words, asserting that they have identical meanings with what the Word commands, oh on what treacherous ground we stand! We must consider the vocabulary, the language, the philosophy from whence these words come. From whence does the term “reason” come? From Greek philosophy. Is Greek philosophy, is any philosophy a morally neutral, clean endeavor? Is the philosopher able to somehow ascend from “mere opinion” to “genuine knowledge”? Consider again 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 and Jeremiah 17:9. Remember that the heart informs the mind. If the heart hates God, is philosophy “discovery,” or is it a creation of the world in its own image, that is, a reflection of the idol within the philosopher?

But even more than that, being Christians, do we even engage in philosophy as such (classical Greek philosophy), that is, the attempt to, through “reason,” to discover eternal Platonic forms or the “idea of the good,” seeing it for what it “truly and eternally is”? Is Christianity a relationship with abstract, universal principles? Can this even be called a relationship? How can we have a relationship with things (forms) or a thing (“the idea of the good”)? Is not the Christian relationship one with the Person, Jesus Christ, one of communing in the Spirit? Is this not life, being drawn nearer and nearer to our Savior as He purifies us in His faithful love? Is not the utter nullification of passing through the impersonal, mechanistic gears of Platonic forms death? How can there be Spirit, Life, Love, if the Christian “life” merely entails properly intellectually positioning oneself with a fixed system of cold, impartial, universal abstractions? No, we are not told to be “rational.” We are told by our loving Father to be; as children – obedient, humble, in awe of His majesty and grace, communing with Him in the Spirit, trusting in His providence, — hoping for life more abundantly, loving Him. May God in His grace grant us this joyful, abundant life. May we not, like the elders of the children of Israel, set up in our hearts idols that make us fall into iniquity; and if we have set up in our hearts such idols, may our God destroy them.

For then comes hope: “For by one suffering He has perfected forever those who are being perfected” (Heb. 10:14). We are perfect, yet being perfected; justified yet, in need of sanctification; redeemed, yet unfaithful. Therefore “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). Let us hold fast to Jesus Christ, He alone our only hope! “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). Being in need of sanctification, let us embrace His purification of our hearts: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:5-6). Yes, let us embrace His chastening, let us humbly submit when He reveals an idol within (already the self-deceit is lifting when this happens!), for “no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11). Let us embrace this lifelong purification and enjoy the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” that it bears. Let us continue to submit, not only in the sense of simple obedience, but also in the sense of humbly accepting His chastisement, or the conviction that we have not been submissive and obedient, that we lack the purity (autonomy?) we thought we had – and let us see this unsettling conviction as redemptive, embracing it, not trying to again hide the once hidden self-deceit that has been made manifest by God’s grace! This is the most difficult kind of submission (indeed it is impossible without the grace of God), but it entails such life! This submission yields the “peaceable fruit of righteousness,” true love, which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). Submitting, seeking God with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, let us look forward in hope to the final rest that awaits us after we have, for a lifetime, clung to no One save Christ, after we have cast “aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,” and have “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).


Jeremy Swanson holds a B.A. in political science from Hillsdale College. He can be reached at FinalNihil@email.com.


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Redefining “Religious Liberty” in America?

Religion and Public Life in AmericaEmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929

crossBy R. R. Reno
Editor, First Things

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Religious Liberty is being redefined in America, or at least many would like it to be. Our secular establishment wants to reduce the autonomy of religious institutions and limit the influence of faith in the public square. The reason is not hard to grasp. In America, “religion” largely means Christianity, and today our secular culture views orthodox Christian churches as troublesome, retrograde, and reactionary forces. They’re seen as anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-women—which is to say anti-progress as the Left defines progress. Not surprisingly, then, the Left believes society will be best served if Christians are limited in their influence on public life. And in the short run this view is likely to succeed. There will be many arguments urging Christians to keep their religion strictly religious rather than “political.” And there won’t just be arguments; there will be laws as well. We’re in the midst of climate change—one that’s getting colder and colder toward religion.

AAARecent court cases and controversies suggest trends unfriendly to religion in public life. In 2005, a former teacher at Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Redford, Michigan, filed an employment lawsuit claiming discrimination based on disability. The school fired her for violating St. Paul’s teaching that Christians should not bring their disputes before secular judges. The subsequent lawsuit revolved around the question of whether a religious school could invoke a religious principle to justify firing an employee. The school said it could, drawing on a legal doctrine known as the ministerial exception, which allows religious institutions wide latitude in hiring and firing their religious leaders. It’s in the nature of legal arguments to be complex and multi-layered, but in this case the Obama administration’s lawyers made a shockingly blunt argument: Their brief claimed that there should be no ministerial exception.

court justicesThe Supreme Court rejected this argument in a unanimous 9-0 vote. But it’s telling nonetheless that lawyers in the Justice Department wanted to eliminate this exception. Their argument was straightforward: Government needs to have broad powers to address the problem of discrimination—in this case disability—as well as other injustices. Conceding too much to religious institutions limits those powers. Why should the theological doctrines of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, or of any other church, trump the legal doctrines of the United States when the important principle of non-discrimination is at stake? It is an arresting question, to say the least—especially when we remember that the Left is currently pushing to add gay marriage to the list of civil rights.Travel Trend Myanmar Tourism

Concerns about the autonomy of religious institutions are also at work in the Obama administration’s tussle with the Catholic Church and her religious allies over the mandate to provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. After the initial public outcry, the administration announced a supposed compromise, which has been recently revised and re-proposed. The Obama administration allows that churches and organizations directly under the control of those churches are religious employers and can opt out of the morally controversial coverage. But religious colleges and charities are not and cannot. To them, the administration offers a so-called accommodation.

The details are complex, but a recent statement issued by Cardinal Dolan of New York identifies the key issue: Who counts as a religious employer? It’s a question closely related to the issue in the Hosanna-Tabor case, which asks who counts as a religious employee. Once again the Obama administration seeks a narrow definition, “accommodating” others in an act of lèse majesté, as it were. The Catholic Church and her allies want a broad definition that includes Catholic health care, Catholic universities, and Catholic charities. The Church knows that it cannot count on accommodations—after all, when various states such as Illinois passed laws allowing gay adoptions, they did not “accommodate” Catholic charities, but instead demanded compliance with principles of non-discrimination, forcing the Church to shut down her adoption agencies in those jurisdictions.

Cardinal Dolan’s statement went still further. For-profit companies are not religious in the way that Notre Dame University is religious. Nonetheless, the religious beliefs of those who own and run businesses in America should be accorded some protection. This idea the Obama administration flatly rejects. By their progressive way of thinking, economic life should be under the full and unlimited control of the federal government.

Religious liberty is undermined in a third and different way as well. For a long time, political theorists like John Rawls have argued that our laws must be based on so-called public reason, which is in fact an ambiguous, ill-defined concept that gives privileged status to liberalism. In 2010, Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8—the ballot measure that reversed the California Supreme Court’s 2006 decision that homosexuals have a right to marry—citing the lack of a rational basis for thinking that only men and women can marry. “The evidence shows conclusively,” he wrote, “that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.” He continues by observing that many supporters of Proposition 8 were motivated by their religious convictions, which—following Rawls—he presumes should not be allowed to govern public law.

This line of thinking is not unique to Judge Walker. The influence of Rawls has been extensive, leading to restrictions on the use of religious reasons or even religiously-influenced reasons in public debate. In striking down Texas sodomy laws, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that moral censure of homosexuality has “been shaped by religious beliefs.” The idea seems to be that moral views historically supported by religion—which of course means all moral views other than modern secular ones—are constitutionally suspect.

Here we come to the unifying feature of contemporary challenges to religious freedom—the desire to limit the influence of religion over public life. In the world envisioned by Obama administration lawyers, churches will have freedom as “houses of worship,” but unless they accept the secular consensus they can’t inspire their adherents to form institutions to educate and serve society in accordance with the principles of their faith. Under a legal regime influenced by the concept of public reason, religious people are free to speak—but when their voices contradict the secular consensus, they’re not allowed into our legislative chambers or courtrooms.

Thus our present clashes over religious liberty. The Constitution protects religious liberty in two ways. First, it prohibits laws establishing a religion. This prevents the dominant religion from using the political power of majority rule to privilege its own doctrines to the disadvantage of others. Second, it prohibits laws that limit the free exercise of religion. What we’re seeing today is a secular liberalism that wants to expand the prohibition of establishment to silence articulate religious voices and disenfranchise religiously motivated voters, and at the same time to narrow the scope of free exercise so that the new secular morality can reign over American society unimpeded.

Rise of the Nones

This shift in legal thinking on the Left reflects underlying religious trends. As the religious character of our society changes, so do our assumptions about religious freedom. The main change has been the rise of the Nones. In the 1950s, around three percent of Americans checked the “none” box when asked about their religious affiliation. That number has grown, especially in the last decade, to 20 percent of the population. And Nones are heavily represented in elite culture. A great deal of higher education is dominated by Nones, as are important cultural institutions, the media, and Hollywood. They are conscious of their power, and they feel the momentum of their growth.

At the same time, the number of Americans who say they go to church every week has remained strikingly constant over the last 50 years, at around 35 percent. Sociologists of religion think this self-reported number is higher than the actual one, which may be closer to 25 percent. In any event, the social reality is the same. As the Nones have emerged as a significant cohort, the committed core of religious people has not declined and in fact has become unified and increasingly battle tested. Protestants and Catholics alike know they’re up against an often hostile secular culture—and although a far smaller portion of the population, the same holds for Jews and Muslims as well.

These two trends—the rise of the Nones and the consolidation of the committed core of believers—have led to friction in public life. The Nones and religious Americans collide culturally and politically, not just theologically.

For a long time, the press has reported on the influence of religious voters, especially Evangelicals. Polling data shows that religiosity has become increasingly reliable as a predictor of political loyalties. But what’s far less commonly reported is that this goes both ways. In their recent book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, Robert Putnam and William Campbell focused on the practice of saying grace before meals as an indication of religious commitment and found a striking correlation. Seventy percent of those who never say grace before meals identify as Democrats, compared to slightly more than 20 percent who identify as Republicans. Nones are extremely ideological. Meanwhile, among those who say grace daily, 40 percent identify as Democrats and 50 percent as Republicans. Religious people are more diverse, but they trend to the political right, and the more religious they are the more likely they are to vote Republican.

Other data also suggests a growing divide between the irreligious and religious. A recent Pew study confirms that Nones are the single most ideologically committed cohort of white Americans, rivaled only by Evangelical Protestants. They overwhelmingly support abortion and gay marriage. Seventy-five percent of them voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and they played a decisive role in his victory in 2012. In Ohio, Obama lost the Protestant vote by three percent and the Catholic vote by eleven percent—and both numbers rise if we isolate Protestants and Catholics who say they go to church every week. But he won the Nones, who make up 12 percent of the electorate in Ohio, by an astounding 47 percent.

I think it’s fair to say that Obama ran a values campaign last fall that gambled that the Nones would cast the decisive votes. For the first time in American political history, the winning party deliberately attacked religion. Its national convention famously struck God from the platform, only to have it restored by anxious party leaders in a comical session characterized by the kind of frivolity that comes when people recognize that it doesn’t really matter. Democratic talking points included the “war on women” and other well-crafted slogans that rallied their base, the Nones, who at 24 percent of all Democrat and Democratic-leaning voters have become the single largest identifiable cohort in the liberal coalition.

This presents the deepest threat to religious liberty today. It’s not good when the most numerous and powerful constituency in the Democratic Party has no time for religion. This is all the more true when its ideology has the effect of encouraging the rest of the party to view religion—especially Christianity—as the enemy; and when law professors provide reasons why the Constitution doesn’t protect religious people.

Religious Liberty Under the Gun

From the end of the Civil War until the 1960s, the wealthiest, best educated, and most powerful Americans remained largely loyal to Christianity. That’s changed. There were warning signs. William F. Buckley, Jr. chronicled how Yale in the early ’50s could no longer support even the bland religiosity of liberal Protestantism. Today, Yale and other elite institutions can be relied upon to provide anti-Christian propaganda. Stephen Pinker and Stephen Greenblatt at Harvard publish books that show how Christianity pretty much ruins everything, as Christopher Hitchens put it so bluntly. The major presses publish book after book by scholars like Elaine Pagels at Princeton, who argues that Christianity is for the most part an invention of power hungry bishops who suppressed the genuine diversity and spiritual richness of early followers of Jesus.

One can dispute the accuracy of the books, articles, and lectures of these and other authors. This is necessary, but unlikely to be effective. Experts savaged Greenblatt’s book on Lucretius, The Swerve, but it won the National Book Award for non-fiction. That’s not an accident. Greenblatt and others at elite universities are serving an important ideological purpose by using their academic authority to discredit Christianity, whose adherents are obstacles not only to abortion and gay rights, but to medical research unrestricted by moral concerns about the use of fetal tissue, to new reproductive technologies, to doctor-assisted suicide, and in general to liquefying traditional moral limits so that they can be reconstructed according to the desires of the Nones. Books by these elite academics reassure the Nones and their fellow travelers that they are not opposed to anything good or even respectable, but rather to historic forms of oppression, ignorance, and prejudice.

I cannot overstate the importance of these ideological attacks on Christianity. Our Constitution accords us rights, and the courts cannot void these rights willy-nilly. But history shows that the Constitution is a plastic document. When our elite culture thinks something is bad for society as a whole, judges find ways to suppress it. The First Amendment offered no protection to Bob Jones University, which lost its tax-exempt status because of a policy that prohibited inter-racial dating. As the Supreme Court majority in 1983 wrote in that case: “Government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education . . . which substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on [the University’s] exercise of their religious beliefs.”

In recent years the Supreme Court has been largely solicitous of religious freedom, sensing perhaps that our cultural conflicts over religion and morality need to be kept within bounds. But the law professors are preparing the way for changes. Martha Nussbaum, who teaches at the University of Chicago Law School, has opined that the colleges and universities run by Catholic religious orders that require their presidents or other leaders to be members of the order should lose their tax exempt status, because they discriminate against women. She allows that current interpretations of the First Amendment don’t support her view, but that’s not much comfort. All Nussbaum is doing is applying the logic of the Bob Jones case to the feminist project of eradicating discrimination based on sex.

Former Georgetown law professor Chai Feldblum—who is also a current Obama appointee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—has written about the coming conflicts between gay rights and religious liberty. With an admirable frankness she admits, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” Again, the Bob Jones case is in the background, as are other aspects of civil rights law designed to stamp out racial discrimination. For someone like Feldblum, when religious individuals and institutions don’t conform to the new consensus about sexual morality, their freedoms should be limited.

It is precisely the possibilities evoked by Nussbaum and Feldblum that now motivate the Obama administration’s intransigence about allowing places like Notre Dame to be classified as religious employers. In the Bob Jones case, the justices were very careful to stipulate that “churches or other purely religious institutions” remain protected by the First Amendment’s principle of free exercise. By “accommodating” rather than counting Notre Dame and other educational and charitable organizations as religious employers, secular liberalism can target them in the future, as they have done to Catholic adoption agencies that won’t place children with homosexual couples.

A recent book by University of Chicago professor of philosophy and law Brian Leiter outlines what I believe will become the theoretical consensus that does away with religious liberty in spirit if not in letter. “There is no principled reason,” he writes, “for legal or constitutional regimes to single out religion for protection.” Leiter describes religious belief as a uniquely bad combination of moral fervor and mental blindness, serving no public good that justifies special protection. More significantly—and this is Leiter’s main thesis—it is patently unfair to afford religion such protection. Why should a Catholic or a Baptist have a special right while Peter Singer, a committed utilitarian, does not? Evoking the principle of fairness, Leiter argues that everybody’s conscience should be accorded the same legal protections. Thus he proposes to replace religious liberty with a plenary “liberty of conscience.”

Leiter’s argument is libertarian. He wants to get the government out of the business of deciding whose conscience is worth protecting. This mentality seems to expand freedom, but that’s an illusion. In practice it will lead to diminished freedom, as is always the case with any thoroughgoing libertarianism.

Let me give an example. The urban high school my son attended strictly prohibits hats and headgear. It does so in order to keep gang-related symbols and regalia out of the school. However, the school recognizes a special right of religious freedom, and my son, whose mother is Jewish and who was raised as a Jew, was permitted to wear a yarmulke. Leiter’s argument prohibits this special right, but his alternative is unworkable. The gang members could claim that their deep commitments of loyalty to each other create a conscientious duty to wear gang regalia. If everybody’s conscience must be respected, then nobody’s will be, for order and safety must be preserved.

* * *

The Arabic word dhimmi means non-Muslim. Under Muslim rule, non-Muslims were allowed to survive only insofar as they accepted Muslim dominance. Our times are not those times, and the secularism of the Nones is not Islam. Nevertheless, I think many powerful forces in America would like to impose a soft but real dhimmitude. The liberal and libertarian Nones will quarrel, as do the Shi’a and Sunni, but they will, I think, largely unify against the public influence of religion.

What can be done to prevent them from succeeding?

First and most obvious—defend religious liberty in the courts. Although I have depicted deep cultural pressures that work against religious liberty, we live in a society governed by the rule of law. Precedent matters, and good lawyering can make a substantive difference.

Second—fight against the emerging legal theories that threaten to undermine religious liberty. This is a battle to be carried out in the law schools and among political theorists. For decades, legal activists on the Left have been subsidized by legal clinics and special programs run in law schools. Defenders of religious liberty need to push back.

Third—fight the cultural battle. Legal theory flexes and bends in accord with the dominant consensus. This Brian Leiter knows, which is why he does not much worry about the current state of constitutional law. He goes directly to the underlying issues, which concern the role of religion in public life.

We must meet the challenge by showing that religion is indeed special. Religious people are the most likely Americans to be involved in civic life, and the most generous in their charitable contributions. This needs to be highlighted again and again. Moreover, we need to draw a contrast with the Nones, who tend to outsource their civic responsibilities and charitable obligations to government in the form of expanded government programs and higher taxes.

There is another, deeper argument that must be made in defense of religion: It is the most secure guarantee of freedom. America’s Founders, some of them Christian and others not, agreed as a matter of principle that the law of God trumps the law of men. This has obvious political implications: The Declaration of Independence appeals to the unalienable rights given by our Creator that cannot be overridden or taken away. In this sense, religion is especially beneficial. As Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI both emphasized, it gives transcendent substance to the rights of man that limit government. Put somewhat differently, religion gives us a place to stand outside politics, and without it we’re vulnerable to a system in which the state defines everything, which is the essence of tyranny. This is why gay marriage, which is sold as an expansion of freedom, is in fact a profound threat to liberty.

Finally, we must not accept a mentality of dhimmitude. The church, synagogue, and mosque have a tremendous solidity born of a communion of wills fused together in obedience to God. This gives people of faith the ability to fight with white fury for what they perceive to be a divine cause, which is of course a great force for righteousness—but also a dangerous threat to social peace, as early modern Europe knew only too well.

In conclusion, I want to focus not on fury but on the remarkable capacity for communities of faith to endure. My wife’s ancestors lived for generations in the contested borderlands of Poland and Russia. As Jews they were tremendously vulnerable, and yet through their children and their children’s children they endured in spite of discrimination, violence, and attempted genocide. Where now, I ask, are the Russian and Polish aristocrats who dominated them for centuries? Where now is the Thousand Year Reich? Where now is the Soviet worker’s paradise? They have gone to dust. The Torah is still read in the synagogue.

The same holds for Christianity. The Church did not need constitutional protections in order to take root in a hostile pagan culture two thousand years ago.

Right now the Nones seem to have the upper hand in America. But what seems powerful is not always so. If I had to bet on Harvard or the Catholic Church, Yale or the Mennonites in Goshen, Indiana, the New York Times or yeshivas in Brooklyn, I wouldn’t hesitate. Over the long haul, religious faith has proven itself the most powerful and enduring force in human history.


  1. R. Renois the editor of First Things, a journal of religion in public life. He received his B.A. from Haverford College and his Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University, and taught theology and ethics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, for 20 years. He is the author of Fighting the Noonday DevilSanctified Vision, and a commentary on the Book of Genesis, as well as a number of other books and essays.

Article from imprimis.hillsdale.edu

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Justice, Injustice, the First Amendment, and Terrorism

washington dcJustice and the Obama Justice Department

By Michael Mukasey, Former U.S. Attorney Generalsupreme court

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on July 19, 2015, aboard the Crystal Serenity, during a Hillsdale College cruise from Lisbon to London.

If you think about it, it makes sense that in America—the only nation in the world to define itself not by blood or land, but by a law, the Constitution—the government agency charged with enforcing that law, and enforcing the laws passed under it, would be called the Department of Justice. As such, the work of the Justice Department is highly important. It plays a fundamental role in our nation’s life, because its work has to do in one way or another with how honest, how fair, and how safe our country is.

U.N. BuildingThat being said, I’m regretful to have to add that in a country where honesty, fairness, and safety are so strongly influenced by one department of government, over the past six years—largely because of that department’s work—our country has grown less honest, less fair, and less safe than it ought to be. Let me give you some examples.

Recently we hear a great deal about the prosecution of “evildoing” corporations, but not so much about the prosecution of individuals who are the alleged evildoers. Why is that? To be specific, a lot of what we hear with respect to corporations is not about prosecutions at all—it’s about “deferred-prosecution agreements” or “non-prosecution agreements,” agreements that extract enormous financial penalties. Indeed, the current Justice Department takes pride in setting record after record in terms of collecting these penalties.

Other attorneys general, myself included, made such agreements. But the penalties that wall streethave been extracted over the past six years are unprecedented. They involve numbers in the billions, and are of a scale that makes it appear that the Justice Department is acting as a profit center for the government.

Justice Department investigations begin by looking into claims, for example, of unlawful payments to foreign officials or of unsafe motor vehicles. Corporations often face disastrous collateral consequences simply from having charges brought against them, which is why they are often willing to admit to conduct that the government cannot prove, to pay enormous fines, and to accept the oversight of monitors. In return, the government agrees that no charges will be filed so long as the corporations remain on good behavior for some specified period of time. Charges are rarely brought against individuals, on the other hand, because individuals can be put in jail. When faced with this, people usually fight back—and when they fight back, they frequently win.

This process generates cynicism about the American justice system, as individuals go uncharged, billion-dollar penalties are assessed, and the ones who pay are not wrongdoers, but corporate shareholders and employees.

* * *

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is the one we think of as having the main responsibility for protecting fairness. Yet its recent record has indicated other priorities. Recently its Voting Section went out of its way to review a decision to change the system of municipal elections in Kinston, North Carolina, from partisan to non-partisan. That change had been approved by the voters of Kinston, which is a majority black town. Indeed, it had been approved by an overwhelming two-to-one vote.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department may intervene when voting rules are changed in any state where there’s historically been discrimination. But because black citizens were in the majority in Kinston, there should have been no occasion to intervene. The DOJ justified its intervention by saying that blacks were not always a majority of voters, even though they were a majority of the citizens; it argued further that the removing of party labels might deprive black voters of an identifying label necessary for them to vote for black candidates—i.e., the label “Democrat.” In other words, the Justice Department was arguing that the black voters of Kinston needed the paternalism of the Justice Department to protect them from themselves.

Fairness and safety are sometimes related to one another. During the 2008 election, two members of the New Black Panther Party showed up at a polling place in Philadelphia dressed in black battle fatigues, one of them brandishing a nightstick and the other yelling at white voters that they would soon be ruled by a black man. The scene was described in an affidavit by a poll watcher—a veteran civil rights activist who had often supported Democratic candidates—as something he had never seen or heard of in his 40 years of political involvement.

In the waning days of the Bush administration, the DOJ’s Voting Section filed a lawsuit and won a default judgment. But in the spring of 2009, after the Obama administration took over, those handling the case were directed to drop it. The only penalty left in place was a limited injunction that barred the person with the nightstick from repeating that conduct for a period of time in Philadelphia. And when the Office of Professional Responsibility looked into the matter, their finding criticized the bringing of the case more than the dropping of it.

Contrast that response with the DOJ’s treatment of a 79-year-old protestor outside an abortion clinic who was sued by the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section for praying outside the clinic and urging entrants to reconsider abortion. When that protestor was pepper sprayed by an abortion supporter for exercising his First Amendment rights, the Criminal Section did nothing.

Consider as well the 2012 case of Trayvon Martin, a young man who was shot in an encounter with a neighborhood watch member. Notwithstanding that the shooter was not a member of any police department, and that he was acquitted of criminal responsibility in the incident—nevertheless, in the wake of the case the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division zeroed in on the police department of Sanford, Florida, where the incident occurred, suggesting discriminatory policing. A similar pattern—whereby a confrontation between a police officer and an African-American is followed by a Justice Department proceeding against the jurisdiction, regardless of the legal outcome or the equities of the incident—has been followed in cities such as Baltimore, New York, and Ferguson, Missouri.

State and local jurisdictions do not have the resources or the political will to fight the federal government. As a result, more than 20 cities are now operating under consent decrees secured by the Justice Department, with court-appointed monitors imposing restrictive standards on police officers who now think twice before they stop suspects or make arrests. The results are predictable. Shootings are on the rise in New York, as are quality-of-life crimes that create a sense of public disorder and social deterioration. Seattle is also a good example: a federal lawsuit and a court-appointed monitor followed on the heels of a publicized incident, and now homicides are up 25 percent, car theft is up 44 percent, and aggravated assault is up 14 percent.

One lesson to draw from all this is that personnel is policy. If you examine the resumés of people hired into the DOJ beginning in 2009, you will find that the governing credential of new hires was a history of support for left-leaning causes or membership in leftist organizations. By the time of the 2012 election, it was considered unremarkable for DOJ lawyers to display political posters on their office walls, and even outside their offices—something inimical to the spirit and mission of the Department of Justice.

* * *

When it comes to defending against terrorism, one would think that the role of the Justice Department would be relatively limited compared to that of the military and of our intelligence gathering agencies. But for six years the DOJ has played an outsized and unhelpful role. This results, in part, from a policy set by the current administration of viewing terrorism as it was viewed before 9/11—as a crime to be prosecuted rather than an act of war to be combatted.

This administration is also unwilling to draw any connection between radical Islam and terrorism. Just in the last few days, it has been reported that officials are trying to determine a motive for the conduct of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, who is accused of killing five U.S. servicemen in Chattanooga. He had travelled to Jordan and posted admiring statements about ISIS on his web page, and yet officials are puzzling over why he acted as he did. The DOJ refuses to use the word terrorism in relation to this investigation.

A man named Ali Muhammad Brown is charged with three counts of murder in Seattle, allegedly motivated by his desire to avenge attacks on Muslims by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also been prosecuted in the state courts of New Jersey on state terrorism charges—the first time such charges have ever been filed in New Jersey’s history. The charges there are based on a fourth murder that he committed—the murder of a teenager named Brendan Tevlin that had the same motivation as the Seattle murders. The maximum for this crime under the New Jersey statute is life imprisonment, whereas the federal statute carries the death penalty. But the Justice Department has declined to bring this prosecution. It’s utterly beyond understanding why the DOJ would yield to a state charge with a lesser penalty—unless, of course, one realizes that it would simply prefer not to discuss the matter.

This aversion goes further, and it has further effect. In 2009, Khalid Sheik Muhammad and others were to be tried before a military commission at Guantanamo for their roles in the 9/11 attacks. The defendants had announced their intention to plead guilty and proceed to martyrdom. Notwithstanding that these detainees were in the custody of the military and the Department of Defense, the Attorney General, with the President’s cooperation, suspended the trials and announced in 2010 that he would bring those defendants to Manhattan, near where the World Trade Center attack had occurred, to stand trial in a civilian court.

This plan caused a bipartisan furor. Congress went so far as to pass a statute barring the use of any federal funds to bring detainees from Guantanamo to the U.S. As a result, the plan was cancelled in 2011. But by that time the military commission had been aborted and the prosecution had to be recommenced from scratch. In addition, Khalid Sheik Muhammad and his friends got the message that the new administration’s heart wasn’t in it. They took to resisting every step in the process, which is still in the pre-trial stage.

Also in 2009, the Attorney General, following up on his stated belief that the CIA had violated the torture statute in the interrogation of captured terrorists, publicly disclosed what had been classified memos describing the CIA’s interrogation program—a program that had not been in use since 2003. He presumably released those memos in the belief that disclosure would bring on a firestorm of criticism. The effect was to disclose to potential terrorists what was in the program so they could train to resist it, just as they train using the publicly available Army Field Manual in order to resist interrogations described in it. When the hoped-for firestorm failed to develop, the Attorney General announced that even though prior investigations of CIA conduct by career DOJ prosecutors had concluded that there was not enough evidence to justify criminal prosecution, he was going to re-open those cases. He did so without bothering to read the detailed memos by those previous prosecutors explaining why no criminal charges were warranted. You can imagine the effect on the morale of the CIA.

The re-opened investigations yielded no criminal charges, and the result was announced two years later as part of a news dump on a Friday afternoon. We currently have no interrogation program in place beyond the Army Field Manual, and in any case current policy seems to favor prosecution over capturing terrorists abroad for interrogation. This is due in part to the efforts of the DOJ, and our ability to gather intelligence is correspondingly limited.

Defenders of current policy trumpet electronic intelligence. But electronic intelligence comes in bits and pieces, and it’s very difficult to know which bits and pieces are relevant and which are simply noise. As former CIA Director Michael Hayden once put it, it’s kind of like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle when you have thousands of pieces, you don’t know which ones are part of the puzzle, and you haven’t been able to look at the picture on the box. Human intelligence, by contrast, comes in narrative form—which is to say you get to look at the picture.

The Obama administration also supported the recent restriction that was put on bulk intelligence gathering by the CIA, in the mistaken belief that such a policy compromised Americans’ privacy. In point of fact, the only information gathered was the calling number, the called number, the length of the call, and its date. That information was saved, and when we got a suspicious telephone number—for example, the number of the Chattanooga terrorist—we could take it and figure out which numbers had called that number and which numbers had been called by it. As a result of the recent restriction, we are not going to have that information anymore. It is going to be kept by the carriers, if they agree to keep it.

Are there any bright spots in the Justice Department? The National Security Division, which handles oversight of electronic intelligence on applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, is the newest division in the department. Formed in 2006, it is staffed by people who are dedicated to protecting the country, and it continues to function very well insofar as the legislation that is now in place allows it to function. Otherwise, there is very little good to report.

* * *

How did we get to where we are today? Even before the 2008 election, the warning signs were there. The man who was to become U.S. Attorney General told an audience during the election campaign that the Bush administration had permitted abuses in fighting terrorism. He said there would have to be “a reckoning.” During his subsequent tenure, in a moment of unguarded candor, he described himself as the President’s “wingman.” From the standpoint of the Justice Department, I can’t overstate the demoralizing significance of an attorney general saying something like that. If I had ever described myself, during my tenure, as President Bush’s wingman, I would have expected to come back to find the Justice Department building empty and a pile of resignations on my desk. Even Attorney General Robert Kennedy, President Kennedy’s brother, to my knowledge never described himself in such terms. Yes, the attorney general is a member of the administration—but his principal responsibility is to provide neutral advice on what the law requires, not to fly in political formation.

The problems in the DOJ won’t be solved simply by electing a less ideological president in 2016. Many of the political appointees of the past seven years will resign and take up career positions within the department, and once such people receive civil service status, it is virtually impossible to fire them. In other words, the next attorney general will be confronted with a department that’s prepared to resist policy changes. This will require great patience and dedication by the new political appointees in their efforts to return the department to its true mandate—not doing justice according to your own lights, or even according to the lights of the president who appoints you, but defending law and having enough faith in law to believe that the result, more often than not, will be justice.



Michael B. Mukasey served as the Attorney General of the United States from 2007-2009, as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York from 1988-2006, and as an assistant U.S. attorney for that same district from 1972-1976. In 1995, he presided over the trial of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and others for a plot to blow up New York area landmarks. He received his B.A. from Columbia University and his LL.B. from Yale Law School.

Article from imprimis.hillsdale.edu

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A Tribute to French Philosopher — Andre Glucksmann

tulipsDeath of a Righteous ManO

Andre Glucksmann

André Glucksmann, RIP
10 November 2015

by Guy Sorman

My generation of French writers has a powerful image, dated June 1979, etched forever in our memories: that of an exhausted Jean-Paul Sartre climbing the steps of the Élysée Palace alongside Raymond Aron, his former friend and longtime intellectual opponent, both escorted by a tall, long-haired young philosopher named André Glucksmann. French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing waited for them at the top. He had heard their demands and was ready to open the French borders to more than 100,000 refugees fleeing the Communist regime in Vietnam in makeshift rafts, much like the Syrians of today.

This essential moment in French intellectual history, and in European public life—inspired by Glucksmann—came to represent the end of extreme ideological conflicts and recognition of their absurdity when immediate and real evils confronted the conscience. Symbolically, it marked the end of Marxism, a worldview that had helped forge the young Glucksmann, and which Sartre had supported his entire life. Glucksmann was a leading voice of an emerging generation of thinkers, the New Philosophers. His writings not only renounced Marxism but also accused it of providing a theoretical foundation for some of the large-scale massacres of the twentieth century. Aron had always made this charge, though less forcefully. French classical liberals, alongside Aron, tended to be pessimistic, worried about the likelihood of the USSR’s eventual victory over democracy. But Glucksmann—similar to neoconservative Americans in this regard—believed Communism could be beaten with human rights, pitting morals against suffering.

From then on, across a range of essays (including for City Journal, to which he regularly contributed) and books (including The Master Thinkers, on the roots of totalitarianism in German thought, and his autobiography, Une rage d’enfant), Glucksmann became the voice of all victims of every totalitarian ideology, up to and including Islamism, which he identified as a form of fascism in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York. But another opponent of human rights also reared its head, one that Glucksmann had not predicted: cultural relativism. The West chose not to intervene in support of the Chechens while the Russians were crushing them because, well, the Russians aren’t like us, you see. We could never impose our humanist ideals upon them. Glucksmann found himself at a loss before this hypocrisy, which, more often than not, served as a mask for realpolitik. He refused ever to accept realpolitik or moral evasions. The West, he lamented, tended to rally to the cause of human rights when faced with weak regimes but stood idly by when confronted with powerful governments, such as those of the Russians or the Chinese.

Glucksmann was a historical exemplar of public morality—and also of the relative inefficiency of this morality. A quote from French poet Charles Péguy comes to mind: Moralists, he said, “have clean hands but, in a manner of speaking, actually no hands.” Glucksmann kept his hands clean until the end, yet without indulging in self-deception. He was a righteous, pure man—a rare man.


Guy Sorman, a City Journal contributing editor and French public intellectual, is the author of many books, including Economics Does Not Lie.

Article from: http://www.city-journal.org/2015/eon1110gs.html


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A Retrospective: The Transition from Socialism to Capitalism

The Velvet Philosophical Revolutiondistant sun

by Andre Glucksmann

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the battle for political freedom goes on.

On the evening of November 9, 1989, the wall of shame was breached. The next morning, I took off for Berlin; shortly afterward, I experienced the Velvet Revolution in Prague, and finally the fall of Ceauşescu in Bucharest. The year 1990 opened joyfully fortrees the human race. But I was struck by the difference in the emotions felt in the East and in the West. Representative of the West was Francis Fukuyama and his idea, which caused a sensation, that history had just come to an end. But those in the East realized that this was far from the case. Less than a month before the Berlin Wall fell, I had given a speech in front of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the cream of the Federal Republic of Germany in honor of Czech dissident Václav Havel, who was receiving the Frankfurt Book Fair’s prestigious Peace Prize while still a prisoner in his own country. I entitled the speech “To Leave Communism Is to Enter History”—the view of those emerging from behind the Iron Curtain.

pathway doorsThe West’s confusion arose because it wasn’t prepared for such a fundamental unsettling of postwar geopolitics. During four decades of ideological confrontation, theoreticians and journalists had argued about how a society should move from capitalism to socialism. There was no research on the opposite question—that is, on the transition from socialism to capitalism—apart from a few inconclusive studies, most notably in Poland, concerning the possibility of introducing some elements of the free market into a Communist society. As the philosopher Josep Ramoneda has observed, the whole world—Communists, anti-Communists, and those in between—took it as given that the Soviet Union and its satellites could not “return” to capitalism. So when, during the Velvet Revolution, demonstrators posed exactly this question—How can we go from socialism to capitalism?—there was no ready answer.

As Western intellectuals watched Berlin in November 1989, they reconsidered their long belief that the world was fated to be Communist—but retained their belief in fate. Providence had at last spoken, chance was abolished, the terrible parenthesis of the twentieth century had closed. Forgotten, erased, transcended, surpassed were 1914–1989, the bloodiest and cruelest 75 years of the human adventure to date. Tocquevilleans rediscovered the ineluctable movement of universal democracy; Saint-Simonians passed on to ecologists the promise that the administration of things would replace the government of men; Hegelians like Fukuyama celebrated the End of History and of history’s wars; Social Democrats promised that understanding among peoples would grow. We were entering the peaceful, postmodern Promised Land, where great heroes, great dangers, great peoples, and great goals would all disappear, as Jean-François Lyotard, author of The Postmodern Condition, notoriously argued. The end of the Cold War plunged the “free world,” as it had been called, into a boundless euphoria. Western Europe immediately eliminated its military budgets, while Washington announced a “new world order.”

The other Europe, just emancipated from Moscow’s domination, did not share this optimism. The peoples extricating themselves from totalitarian despotism were at the same time rejoining history as freely choosing agents.

And they found before them two possible futures. One is symbolized today by Havel and Lech Walesa, Charter 77 and Poland’s Solidarity; the other by Slobodan Milošević and Vladimir Putin.

Czechs and Serbs faced the same post-1989 challenges as they confronted the dismantling of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. In Prague, widespread poverty and corruption tempted the antitotalitarian dissidents whom the Velvet Revolution brought to power to choose repression rather than democracy. Their ultimate decision, though, was decisive: freedom would be the highest priority. Slovakia and the Czech Republic separated without conflict, and in the end, both entered the European Union. In Belgrade, by contrast, a sly and corrupt Communist bureaucrat seized power. Milošević forged an alliance of various forces of repression against the contagion of liberty. While he set aside Marxist ideology, he preserved its coercive methods. Wars and waves of ethnic cleansing ravaged Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1999. Milošević proved ready to spill blood in order to regain lost territories, and he ended up in The Hague, facing charges of crimes against humanity.

Ecstatic Westerners dreamed that the period of totalitarian cruelty was over, as if former Soviet bureaucrats could somehow emerge as new men, despite 70 years of brainwashing, or as if the chaos of radically nationalist dictatorships would easily resolve itself. But no great political savior awaited, Havel argued; Czechs were left to their own responsibilities, to “the power of the powerless,” to what the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka, who inspired Havel, called the “solidarity of the shaken”—of those, that is, shaken by totalitarian regimes and devoted to opposing them.

More recently, we have seen this solidarity in the democratic uprisings in Georgia in 2003 and in Ukraine in 2004, which should have drawn the attention of those who remained deaf through 12 years and 200,000 deaths in the martyrdom of Chechnya. In Ukraine, President Putin intervened shamelessly in the affairs of a state whose independence he refused to recognize. In Georgia, he sent in the tanks. Responding to the international press, Putin denounced the peaceful uprisings that swept away post-Soviet puppets in Tbilisi and Kiev as “permanent revolution” and “its dangerous disorders.” Thus he defamed a liberating uprising of long duration, one that started in the blood of East Berlin in 1953; continued in Poznań and Budapest in 1956, in Russia with the dissidence of the sixties, in Prague in 1968, and in the struggle of Solidarity in the 1980s; and was crowned by the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It is an uprising that in Poland brought together Catholics and freethinkers, at odds for more than a century, who together founded Solidarity. In Russia, moderns like Andrey Sakharov and traditional believers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn worked side by side. In Prague and Bratislava, university professors, instead of teaching the official lies, chose to be window washers or furnace repairmen, and Charter 77 brought together the Left and the Right, skeptics and the religious. Anti-totalitarianism cultivates its own convictions, without sectarianism; dissidence does not attempt to replace the official dogma with another one but instead introduces an intellectual revolution that precedes—and that alone makes possible—the social and political changes that will remake the map of Europe.

This revolution has not ended, which is why the Kremlin does not appreciate insurrections in Georgia and Ukraine. Europe’s new frontier is at stake on the uncertain terrain of history, and the alternatives are still these: Havel and Milošević.


André Glucksmann is a French philosopher. His story was translated by Alexis Cornel.

Article from City-Journal.org.  http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_1_velvet-revolution.html


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A Short Dialogue on “Just War” and Morality

great plains 1Andre Glucksmann and Monique Canto-SperberAPTOPIX Lightning Weather
“Polemos Is the Father of All Things”
A short dialogue on” just war” and morality

André Glucksmann: It may surprise you to hear me say that I do not find the notion of “just war” very pertinent. If a just war is a war that I consider just, this does not mean very much; it’s nothing but a personal opinion. On the other hand, the notion as it is elaborated by Cicero or by Saint Augustine is deeply ontological. It derives from the idea that there is order in the world that can be disturbed by an act of aggression. In this Roman and Christian model, a just war is one that either restores peace to the world (Cicero) or that reestablishes the order of Providence (Augustine). But here lies the mystery: How do you account for the popularity of this notion in a world in which we do not believe in order as understood by the Romans or as understood in Christianity? This popularity shows that we continue to understand war within a horizon of peace that we take to be more fundamental: order is primary, and war is secondary. This model implies the right to make war (jus ad bellum) in order to restore peace.

light and darknessIn the Greek paradigm, on the other hand, it is the state of war that has priority. We are always in bello—in a state of conflict—and war is justified insofar as it aims to moderate violence or to avoid the end of the world. Thus, the central problem is that of jus in bello (justice in wartime). To sum up: either we understand war within a horizon of peace, or we understand peace within a horizon of war. These two paradigms imply very different codes of conduct. In our day, I would say that our ways of justifying war must derive essentially from jus in bello and not from jus ad bellum; this is because we are immersed in situations in which war is always possible and in which the effort to master this possibility is open to question. In brief, just as the idea of a just war strikes me as anachronistic, so the idea of justice within war (the rules of which were codified in the Geneva Convention or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) is urgently relevant.

Monique Canto-Sperber: For me, the notion of just war remains relevant because it testifies to our double heritage of reflection on the ethics of violence. In the ancient world, war was regarded as a quasi-natural consequence of interactions among cities and among human beings.

It is only in early Christianity, which tended to recommend abstinence from all violence, that we first see even the possibility of a “just war.” This teaching, in which war and the good are closely linked, would be significantly modified by Grotius, a contemporary of Descartes. Grotius detaches the recourse to war from the pursuit of the good and gives “just war” a more procedural definition. The following question then comes to the fore: To what degree, within a given juridical order, are there legitimate reasons to make war, and by what means? Henceforth, states are held responsible, and criteria must be fixed. These criteria relate both to legitimate reasons to enter into war (jus ad bellum: the right to self-defense, the duty to put an end to a massacre) and to acceptable means of making war (jus in bello). We today are heirs of both these visions (Augustine’s and Grotius’s), whether we acknowledge it or not. According to the first, war is legitimate if its goal is to eradicate an evil and to establish a good. Humanitarian interventions, or wars that are supposed to promote freedom and democracy, take their inspiration from this principle. Their tendency is to identify the justice of war with a general moral claim. According to the second vision, the justice of a war cannot be conceived without reference to a complex network of reasons, justifications, rules, and limits. This view holds justice within warfare (jus in bello) to be the central question. Both these conceptions are opposed to pacifism, according to which, strictly speaking, any use of violence is intrinsically evil.

A.G.: In the 1980s, in the middle of a discussion with German pacifists, I put this question to them: If you (environmentalists and leftists) had possessed weapons of mass destruction in 1943, would you have been willing to give them to the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto to enable them to dissuade the Nazis from exterminating them? I never had a response. Pacifists kill by letting people be killed. To resist the injustice of a killer is to base one’s authority and legitimacy on the negation of this injustice. And this justice in no way depends on the existence of God, as Grotius wrote. Grotius had a tragic sense of history, on the Greek model. He did not appeal either to a divine or to a Roman peace but rather to the necessity to control and to oppose war’s fury, even by taking up arms. He thus made war on war in a framework that came to be called jus in bello.

M.C.-S.: I would like to emphasize how artificial the opposition between idealism and realism often appears in the area of international relations. Values and norms are no less real than passions and interests. The world’s violence is a fact, not a thesis. The fundamental moral question is thus how to channel this irreducible violence; hence the intellectual utility of elaborating rules that avoid moralism while preserving a minimal justice. Thus, a just war will be, first, one that accords with an irresistible moral judgment that says, “That is intolerable, we cannot let that happen” (because of harm inflicted on individuals or because of a direct threat to global security). Second, a just war will be one that requires moderation and a justification of the means used in combat. To be sure, other kinds of wars might claim a moral justification and might be undertaken in the name of some good, but such wars risk escaping all limitation; they risk an escalation of violence that cannot be contained because it is based on moral arguments.

A.G.: Morality and realism are polar opposites only in philosophy classes. Take the example of the Kremlin’s war in Chechnya. One can oppose this war on moral grounds because it killed as many as one out of five Chechnyans, including several thousand children. Or one can oppose it pragmatically: thanks to this carnage, the Kremlin is becoming harder and harder to control, while civil society suffers repression and censure. Morality and realism go together: an autocratic power that disposes of the world’s second-greatest nuclear arsenal is a danger not only for the Chechnyans but for the Russians themselves and for the entire world. Similarly, since we allowed the genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda, a true pestilence has spread over Africa, as we have seen in the Congo and in Darfur.

M.C.-S.: It is important to note that, until the mid-twentieth century, wars were conducted by states, the only recognized international actors, and this in a context marked by fairly clear distinctions between war and peace. Today, these distinctions are no longer so clear. Wars no longer involve two clearly identified opposing states, which renders obsolete the traditional means of regulation, such as reprisals, deterrence, and so on. This is obvious in the case of terrorism—this invisible, elusive, unpredictable enemy for whom the notion of a truce has little meaning. It follows that the main danger no longer seems to lie in some “clash of civilizations” but rather in the profusion of cases of competitive mimicry: passions are fed by rivalries that spring inevitably from the interaction of cultures. On this point, Raymond Aron’s views have proved prophetic: he predicted that the internationalization of the world threatened to engender violence. This leaves us with a very difficult question: how to define justice in the fight against terrorism—or rather, against terrorists. How can rules be respected in the face of an enemy that respects none at all? This recalls the classic dilemma: How do we treat an arrested terrorist who might possess information that could save hundreds of people? Here perhaps a moment of humility is in order. But one condition still obtains: anyone who might depart from accepted rules concerning the treatment of prisoners is under an absolute obligation to take responsibility for his actions.

A.G.: In uniform or not, whether in the service of a state or of a group working in its own name, the terrorist is defined as an armed person who deliberately attacks those who are not armed. What is the solution? Despite what seems to be the view of French officials, it certainly is not to double Interpol connections between states to facilitate the policing of terrorists. There is a simple reason that this will not work: several states use terrorists as their agents. The age of Great Wars is over, but “there are still warriors,” Ernst von Salomon prophesied in 1920. The great dragon—the Soviet system—has collapsed, but its totalitarian offspring have swarmed across the planet, as the dissident Vladimir Bukovsky has observed. Contemporary movements motivated by hatred of the West are Westernized movements; we have exported not only our weapons but also our techniques, our typewriters and then our computers, and our intellectual methods. Over and above the globalization of commerce, there is the world market in armed violence. “Polemos is the father of all things,” Heraclitus wrote. Polemos—war, and not divine Providence or the love of peace. Polemos “designates some as mortals and others as immortals”; he disenchants, demythologizes, and sows revolution. He “makes some men free, and others slave.”

Polemos raises the ultimate stake: liberty or death. Troy was a well-ordered city, but Troy had to fall. “Polemos is the father of all things”—such was the watchword of the Greek conquerors. The end of the Cold War confirms the views of Shakespeare and Heraclitus, thinkers of war, against those of most contemporary experts who were dreaming of a pacified history. On the other hand, I would tend to defend Kant. The philosopher of Königsberg does not seem to embody the pacifist spirit.

Kant was more ironic; when he titled his treatise “Perpetual Peace,” it referred to a sign above a cemetery. Perpetual peace is death! But he was also more positive. He thought that nations by themselves could not control the furor of war and thus that there had to be alliances among republics and states ruled by law—not against terrorism but against terrorists: mafias, religious groups, nationalists, or God knows what. You are right to introduce this nuance. This perspective strikes me as absolutely fundamental, as long as we clearly understand that we have enemies. Unfortunately, we are instead in the process of breaking up the European Union and the Atlantic alliance, which might have been tools for the mastery of global violence.

M.C.-S.: Over the last 15 years, we have seen an increasing enthusiasm for cosmopolitanism, for the idea that the management of the world’s affairs can be turned over to a global civil society. But this is a deformation of Kant’s thought. My interpretation of Kant’s cosmopolitanism has much in common with yours: Kant was opposed to the notion of world government. For him, the moral quality of agreements between states depended upon the rule of law as a moral principle that the state would export into its alliances with other states. This is something that we could attain as Europeans and, more broadly, throughout the Western world.

A.G.: In his famous speech on Iraq at the United Nations, Dominique de Villepin sang the praises of “international law.” But this law has had nothing to say and no means of action during most of the great crises of our time: Cambodia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and the Caucasus.

M.C.-S.: What I find most striking is that we find ourselves engulfed in violence to an unprecedented degree, and at the same time we talk ceaselessly about international harmony, except for occasional interruptions by American initiatives—and all that with an utterly naïve optimism and good conscience. This conjunction is also unprecedented in human history. Lucidity would require us instead to reconcile pessimism in diagnosis with optimism in action, to cite one more formula from Raymond Aron.

A.G.: I note the same paradox. The reigning international doctrine assumes that we are made to get along, but the problem is that the evidence does not support this view; it is a lovely vision that the evening news contradicts every day. Thus we are compelled to seek a guilty party that must be the sole cause of all evil. And here again I observe that we have still not left behind the Roman-Christian model, for which peace is primary. Since peace does not happen, it must be the fault of some single bad actor, and this happens to be America! The Greek model seems to me more judicious: by accepting war, devastation, and fury as our horizon, we will elaborate strategies of prevention and deterrence—and thus increase the chances for peace.

Interview conducted by Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine and translated by Alexis Cornel

Monique Canto-Sperber is president of Paris Sciences et Lettres–Quartier latin, a higher education and research institution. Her conversation with André Glucksmann originally appeared, in slightly different form, in Philosophie magazine.


André Glucksmann is a French philosopher and author of many books, including The Discourse of War.

Article from City-Journal.org. http://www.city-journal.org/2014/24_2_war-and-morality.html


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Apocalyptic Daze (Repost) “Spreading the Language of Fear”

woman of deathApocalyptic Daze
Secular elites prophesy a doomsday without redemption.

By Pascal Bruckner

As an asteroid hurtles toward Earth, terrified citizens pour into the streets of Brussels to stare at the mammoth object growing before their eyes. Soon, it will pass harmlessly by—but first, a strange old man, Professor Philippulus, dressed in a white sheet and wearing a long beard, appears, beating a gong and crying: “This is a punishment; repent, for the world is ending!”

We smile at the silliness of this scene from the Tintin comic strip L’Étoile Mystérieuse, homer_endpublished in Belgium in 1941. Yet it is also familiar, since so many people in both Europe and the United States have recently convinced themselves that ‘the End’ is nigh. This depressing conviction may seem surprising, given that the West continues to enjoy an unparalleled standard of living. But Professor Philippulus has nevertheless managed to achieve power in governments, the media, and high places generally. Constantly, he spreads fear: of progress, of science, of demographics, of global warming, of technology, of food. In five years or in ten years, temperatures will rise, Earth will be uninhabitable, natural disasters will multiply, the climate will bring us to war, and nuclear plants will explode. Man has committed the sin of pride; he has destroyed his habitat and ravaged the planet; he must atone.

fall fashions 2My point is not to minimize the dangers that we face. Rather, it is to understand why apocalyptic fear has gripped so many of our leaders, scientists, and intellectuals, who insist on reasoning and arguing as though they were following the scripts of mediocre Hollywood disaster movies.

Around the turn of the twenty-first century, a paradigm shift in our thinking took place: poverty 2we decided that the era of revolutions was over and that the era of catastrophes had begun. The former had involved expectation, the hope that the human race would proceed toward some goal. But once the end of history was announced, the Communist enemy vanquished, and, more recently, the War on Terror all but won, the idea of progress lay moribund. What replaced the world’s human future was the future of the world as a material entity. The long list of emblematic victims—Jews, blacks, slaves, proletarians, colonized peoples—was likewise replaced, little by little, with the Planet, the new paragon of all misery. No longer were we summoned to participate in a particular community; rather, we were invited to identify ourselves with the spatial vessel that carried us, groaning.

in a flashHow did this change happen? Over the last half-century, leftist intellectuals have identified two great scapegoats for the world’s woes. First, Marxism designated capitalism as responsible for human misery. Second, “Third World” ideology, disappointed by the bourgeois indulgences of the working class, targeted the West, supposedly the inventor of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. The guilty party that environmentalism now accuses—mankind itself, in its will to dominate the planet—is essentially a composite of the previous two, a capitalism invented by a West that oppresses peoples and destroys the earth. Indeed, environmentalism sees itself as the fulfillment of all earlier critiques. “There are only two solutions,” Bolivian president Evo Morales declared in 2009. “Either capitalism dies, or Mother Earth dies.”earth

So the planet has become the new proletariat that must be saved from exploitation—if necessary, by reducing the number of human beings, as oceanographer Jacques Cousteau said in 1991. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, a group of people who have decided not to reproduce, has announced: “Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom. When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory.” The British environmentalist James Lovelock, a chemist by training, regards Earth as a living organism and human beings as an infection within it, proliferating at the expense of the whole, which tries to reject and expel them. Journalist Alan Weisman’s 2007 book “The World Without Us” envisions in detail a planet from which humanity has disappeared. In France, a Green politician, Yves Cochet, has proposed a “womb strike,” which would be reinforced by penalties against couples who conceive a third child, since each child means, in terms of pollution, the equivalent of 620 round trips between Paris and New York.

Our house is burning, but we are not paying attention,” said Jacques Chirac at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. “Nature, mutilated, overexploited, cannot recover, and we refuse to admit it.” Sir Martin Rees, a British astrophysicist and former president of the Royal Society, gives humanity a 50 percent chance of surviving beyond the twenty-first century. Oncologists and toxicologists predict that the end of mankind should arrive even earlier than foreseen, around 2060, thanks to a general sterilization of sperm. In view of the overall acceleration of natural disorders, droughts, and pandemics, “we all know now that we are going down,” says the scholar Serge Latouche. Peter Barrett, director of the Antarctica Research Centre at New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington, is more specific: “If we continue our present growth path we are facing the end of civilization as we know it—not in millions of years, or even millennia, but by the end of this century.”

One could go on citing such quotations forever, given the spread of the cliché-ridden apocalyptic literature. Environmentalism has become a global ideology that covers all of existence—not merely modes of production but ways of life as well. We rediscover in it the whole range of Marxist rhetoric, now applied to the environment: ubiquitous scientism, horrifying visions of reality, even admonitions to the guilty parties who misunderstand those who wish them well. Authors, journalists, politicians, and scientists compete in the portrayal of abomination and claim for themselves a hyper-lucidity: they alone see clearly while others vegetate in the darkness.

The “fear” that these intellectuals spread is like a gluttonous enzyme that swallows up an anxiety, feeds on it, and then leaves it behind for new ones. When the Fukushima nuclear plant melted down after the enormous earthquake in Japan in March 2011, it only confirmed a feeling of anxiety that was already there, looking for some content. In six months, some new concern will grip us: a pandemic, bird flu, the food supply, melting ice caps, cell-phone radiation.

The fear also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the press reporting, as though it were a surprising finding, that young people are haunted by the very concerns about global warming that the press continually instills in them. As in an echo chamber, opinion polls reflect the views promulgated by the media. We are inoculated against anxiety by the repetition of the same themes, which become a narcotic we can’t do without.

To wake people up requires ever more extreme rhetoric, including a striking number of analogies to the Holocaust. Noël Mamère, a French politician in the Green party, has accused another politician, Claude Allègre, of being a négationniste about global warming—a French word that refers to those who deny the Jewish and Armenian genocides. Economist Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has explicitly compared the Danish statistician and eco-skeptic Bjørn Lomborg to the Führer. The American climate scientist James Hansen has accused oil companies trying to “spread doubt about global warming” of “high crimes against humanity and nature” and called trains transporting American coal “death trains.” Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman has written that “global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.”

A time-honored strategy of cataclysmic discourse, whether performed by preachers or by propagandists, is the retroactive correction. This technique consists of accumulating a staggering amount of horrifying news and then—at the end—tempering it with a slim ray of hope. First you break down all resistance; then you offer an escape route to your stunned audience. And so the advertising copy for the Al Gore–starring documentary An Inconvenient Truth reads: “Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet’s climate system into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced—a catastrophe of our own making.”

Now here are the means that the former vice president, like most environmentalists, proposes to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions: using low-energy lightbulbs; driving less; checking your tire pressure; recycling; rejecting unnecessary packaging; adjusting your thermostat; planting a tree; and turning off electrical appliances. Since we find ourselves at a loss before planetary threats, we will convert our powerlessness into propitiatory gestures, which will give us the illusion of action. First the ideology of catastrophe terrorizes us; then it appeases us by proposing the little rituals of a post-technological animism. But let’s be clear: a cosmic calamity is not averted by checking tire pressure or sorting garbage.

Similarly, we are told that “our power exceeds our knowledge,” as the German philosopher Hans Jonas once put it—yet we are also told, with a certainty puzzling from such skeptics, that we must change our diets, cut back on air travel, consume fewer material goods, and stop driving gas guzzlers. This is the central aporia of green neo-asceticism: it attributes a wildly exaggerated importance to ordinary human behavior, thus weakening its appeal to the very humility that it tries to instill.

Another contradiction inherent in apocalyptic discourse is that, though it tries desperately to awaken us, to convince us of planetary chaos, it eventually deadens us, making our eventual disappearance part of our everyday routine. At first, yes, the kinds of doom that we hear about—the acidification of the oceans, the pollution of our air—charge our calm existence with a strange excitement. The enemy is among us, and he waits for our slightest lapses, all the more insidious because he is invisible. If the function of ancient rites was to purge a community’s violence on a sacrificial victim, the function of our contemporary rites is—at first—to dramatize the status quo and to exalt us through proximity to cataclysm.

But the certainty of the prophecies makes this effect short-lived. The language of fear does not include the word “maybe.” It tells us, rather, that the horror is inevitable. Resistant to all doubt, it is satisfied to mark the stages of degradation. This is another paradox of fear: it is ultimately reassuring. At least we know where we are heading—toward the worst.

One consequence of this certainty is that we begin to suspect that the numberless Cassandras who prophesy all around us do not intend to warn us so much as to condemn us. In classical Judaism, the prophet sought to give new life to God’s cause against kings and the powerful. In Christianity, millenarian movements embodied a hope for justice against a Church wallowing in luxury and vice. But in a secular society, a prophet has no function other than indignation. So it happens that he becomes intoxicated with his own words and claims a legitimacy with no basis, calling down the destruction that he pretends to warn against. You’ll get what you’ve got coming!—that is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us. These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy. It is a short distance from lucidity to bitterness, from prediction to anathema.

Another result of the doomsayers’ certainty is that their preaching, by inoculating us against the poison of terror, brings about petrification. The trembling that they want to inculcate falls flat. Anxiety has the last word. We were supposed to be alerted; instead, we are disarmed. This may even be the goal of the noisy panic: to dazzle us in order to make us docile. Instead of encouraging resistance, it propagates discouragement and despair. The ideology of catastrophe becomes an instrument of political and philosophical resignation.

What is surprising is that the mood of catastrophe prevails especially in the West, as if it were particular to privileged peoples. Despite the economic crises of the last few years, people live better in Europe and the United States than anywhere else, which is why migrants the world over want to come to those places. Yet never have we been so inclined to condemn our societies.

Perhaps the new Green puritanism is nothing but the reaction of a West deprived of its supreme competence, the last avatar of an unhappy neocolonialism that preaches to other cultures a wisdom that it has never practiced. For the last 20 years, non-European peoples have become masters of their own futures and have stopped regarding us as infallible models. They are likely to receive our professions of environmentalist faith with polite indifference. Billions of people look to economic growth, with all the pollution that accompanies it, to improve their condition. Who are we to refuse it to them?

Environmental worry is universal; the sickness of the end of the world is purely Western. To counter this pessimism, we might list the good news of the last 20 years: democracy is making slow progress; more than a billion people have escaped absolute poverty; life expectancy has increased in most countries; war is becoming rarer; many serious illnesses have been eradicated. But it would do little good. Our perception is inversely proportional to reality.

The Christian apocalypse saw itself as a hopeful revelation of the coming of God’s kingdom. Today’s has nothing to offer. There is no promise of redemption; the only hope is that those human beings who repent of their errors may escape the chaos, as in Cormac McCarthy’s fine novel The Road. How can we be surprised, then, that so many bright minds have become delirious and that so many strange predictions flourish?


Pascal Bruckner is a French writer and philosopher whose latest book is The Paradox of Love. His article was translated by Alexis Cornel.

Article from city-journal.org


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