Implementing the “Benedict/Boniface” option individually.

This is an excerpt from “The Boniface Option”, by Andrew Isker. Italics and underlining are mine.

“Today, the West (and the American Empire in particular) like Rome in Benedict’s day, is in a state of slow, seemingly inexorable decline. Soft times have created soft men. So God has given us hard times. These hard times, this great decline is what the big, important book of the moment, The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher, was written to address.

“To start with, if you don’t know, what is The Benedict Option? My summation of it is this: a movement to emphasize the formation of intentionally Christian communities centered around spiritual and intellectual development as opposed to massive religious right coalitions fighting the culture war on a national scale. I don’t find this to be objectionable. Anyone can see that the church has less influence in American culture than at any point in this nation’s history. The heyday of evangelicalism, where evangelicals were a voting bloc that the creatures in Washington had to appease, is no more.

“There is no way that this kind of Christianity that preaches a gospel of cheap and easy vending machine grace (not to mention apathy toward and neglect of the world which Christ reigns over) could build and sustain a culture that could last centuries. So, instead of fighting quixotic national political campaigns to oppose sodomy and abortion, shifting our emphasis to building local communities of Christians where we can grow strong in theology and liturgy (and be strengthened by good theology and faithful worship) is what we ought to be doing.

“Therefore, if we are going to embark on forming local Christian communities in the face of the chaos of imperial decline, which I think we should, it is of the utmost importance that we have an idea of the kind of men we should be forming. We need men who would trade the cloister for confrontation. Men who would trade the relative comfort of the monastery for missions and martyrdom. We need hard men for hard times.

“We have to learn not to care what unbelievers think. We ought not to care what their opinion of us is. These are people who desperately need to hear the truth. The truth about a God-man who was murdered for speaking the truth. We have to understand, every unbeliever would have killed Jesus if they had the chance. Yet the Lord loved them and gave His life for them. As He was going through the agony of the cross at any instant with a single word He could have eviscerated those responsible for His murder. Instead, He forgave them.

We need to be forming men like Christ. We need to be forming men like Boniface. Men who boldly spoke the truth, no matter the cost. And men who sacrificially laid down their lives for their enemies when the cost came due. Love for our enemies means: 1. recognizing we have enemies. 2. telling these enemies the truth. 3. laying down our lives for them. Most evangelical cultural engagement replaces steps 1 and 2 with: 1. make no distinctions about anything 2. be winsome and try to get everyone to like you. There is only one direction an approach like this can go. Those who adopt it do so out of a mix of apathy, pragmatism, and cowardice.

“Not so with the Boniface Option. This isn’t to say we have to go out of our way to be hated. Picketing the funerals of soldiers telling people ‘God hates fags’ is despicable and obviously not the Boniface Option. But if the culture is increasingly becoming anti-Christian (it is), you won’t have to go out of your way to find enemies. Faithfully worshipping Jesus and leading a godly life will draw them to you like flies to honey. And the Thor’s Oaks they worship won’t be chopped down with pathological niceness. They will be chopped down by men who are ready to lose their careers, reputations, 401ks, etc. for faithfulness to Jesus. Men who chose what is hard because they believe their God. Men who, like their Lord, won’t break a bruised reed, but who follow a God who executes kings in the day of His wrath. The soft times of Pax Americana created soft men. It appears our Lord has given us hard times. It is time to forge hard men.”

So how do we forge “hard men” in the sense that Isker means? I refer to how Jesus himself dealt with persecution. Jesus continued to preach, lead, heal and declare the truth all the while being admonished by the “authorities” to cease and desist–to shut up. Finally, these unjust and hypocritical authorities came for him with torches and swords. At first, after being arrested, when he was being badgered with questions, He “answered them not a word”, even when Pilate wanted to release him. He waited to speak truth directly to the main persecutors themselves, the Sanhedrin, knowing it would churn them up and seal his fate. How do we apply the principle of picking our own battlefield before we reveal our weapons?

1. I believe that every thinking Christian should begin a blog, or at the very least make their Facebook posts meaningful to the cultural conflict we face, and should refrain from wasting their words and intellects with frivolity. Forget Twitter, and all the other abbreviated social media. Your words and thoughts should have enough power that they require a more appropriate venue for expression. Imagine if millions of Christians were articulating what they believe, hopefully eloquently and coherently. If you’re not sure you can, LEARN!

2. If you own a business, it’s only a matter of time before the some unjust law or regulation persecutes you for what you believe–we’ve seen plenty of examples already. I am referring specifically to sexual preference “non-discrimination” laws, NOT racial or ethnic non-discrimination laws. You should have written out precisely and thoroughly, in your bylaws or a business statement of faith, what your stand is on what you will NOT do, before trouble comes, so it is not arbitrary or expedient. Then when a customer asks you to do something against your beliefs, you have something already written to stand on, that can hopefully lead to a fruitful discussion.

Now comes the hard part. If you are sued, continue in your business, refuse to spend one cent or one minute defending yourself, not wasting your words on the flunkies or subordinates who have no power to change anything. Like Jesus, and let the authorities do what they will. There will be subpoenas issued to appear in court, ignore them. There will be fines, don’t pay them. The police will haul you away, go with them, speaking not a word. When you are physically hauled before the magistrate, let your statement of faith speak for you, and demand to read it aloud–that is your main defense. Legal defense of an unjust lawsuit gives a veneer of validity to the lawsuit. If they put you in jail, go, and speak your statement of faith to the jailers, love them as Jesus would.

Before you do all this, make sure your witness has been righteous. Before persecution comes, make sure you have followed all legal and just regulations and codes, paid fees and taxes, and established a good reputation. My prescription above is for unjust persecution, not malfeasance. Now imagine that the majority of Christian business owners did what I am suggesting: It wouldn’t be long before the police were balking at enforcing any more court orders when the aggrieved customer could have just as easily gotten their product or service from a different vendor. Same for judges issuing subpoenas, courts having trials and jailing of innocent defendants. If the LGBTQ (or whatever acronym the tribe wants to be known as) prefer to destroy someone’s business rather than go to another vendor, my prescription would become quite a headache for the system rather than helping their cause.

3. Should each individual business owner fight injustice on their own, or would it be more effective to follow a format that could create a more unified front? Christian business owners and leaders should form groups to support each other, refining their bylaws and statements of faith, perhaps pooling funds to support families of owners willing to go to jail. They could also entreat loyal customers to do the same, after sharing their statements with them.

 

“Sez who”, part two….. Or who is your higher authority?

Authority authority authority. Roll that word around for awhile, what is your visceral reaction? Am I wrong in thinking that most Americans (primarily US citizens rather than the more inclusive group North American or all Americas–not that I am trying to leave the others Americas out, but US Americans worship the idea of individual independence more than anyone) dislike that word and even more, the concept of a higher authority?

One of my favorite Bible passages about authority is Matthew 8:5-10. “When he (Jesus) had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.’  And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’  But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith’.”

The servant was healed from afar with just a word from Jesus. A Roman Centurion was a big deal kind of guy. He commanded a contingent of 100 foot soldiers, and was paid up to 20 times more than ordinary soldiers. He had absolute authority over the training and discipline of his men, but rather than being prideful about it, this centurion readily recognized a higher authority.

Fast forward to the U.S. in 2017. The idea of a “higher authority” is in disrepute among those who set themselves up as their own authority–which is almost everyone who claims the moral high ground without discernible accomplishments or sacrifices. But don’t we all answer to authority? Some know it and even know what authority they answer to. Many people don’t think they answer to an authority (“ain’t nobody gonna tell me nothin”), but they do, they just don’t know to whom….or what.

This concept of the authority you answer to is bound up in the idea that human beings were created to worship–that is, to praise, honor and submit to …..something. To what? Or to whom? It isn’t complicated really. Maybe the word “worship” itself is the problem, because it does imply something that is not you, but to which you give your allegiance, therefore it is larger, higher, more powerful, more omniscient than you. Ugh. No, I don’t necessarily mean God; I mean your god. Those who don’t accept God still worship: their gods are their own opinions, celebrities, sports stars, politicians, tv shows, concepts like vegetarianism, patriotism, diversity, physical fitness, fleeting beauty, 15 minutes of fame, their tweets, oops, I already mentioned opinions (“why are they like armpits? everyone has them and they all stink”). But actually, opinions should be mentioned again, since people can’t separate themselves from their opinions.

All these things are not you, but what you give your thoughts, your time and your loyalty to, i.e. your gods. All things considered, I submit to God, and know Him through the Bible, which I consider His revelation to humanity. I know whom I worship. Do you?

 

Euphemistically, metaphorically, epistemologically, presuppositionally yours.

Big words, but so important. Euphemism: the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt. As in “the final solution” or “pro-choice.” Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance. As in “our God is a mighty fortress.” Epistemology: a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods and limits of human knowledge. As in how you know what you know. Presupposition: a condition taken for granted, usually unconsciously, in order for a statement to be true in the language in which the statement was made. “The boy jumped over the stool.” In this simple example, presuppositions are: the boy is capable of jumping (he is not bedridden, has either both legs or effective prostheses, the stool is low enough that this boy can jump it and the stool was in front of rather than behind the boy). Even more obvious, the stool and a boy are observable, and observer has the ability to see the act.

It may seem as though presuppositions are so obvious that they don’t need to be stated. However, the opposite is also true, presuppositions are so unconscious that they need to be made explicit. Most opinions are formed from presuppositions that the opinion stater is not conscious of, and many of those presuppositions are wrong. That makes challenging opinions, at least as a form of debate, futile. People will vociferously defend their opinions even when they are based on wrong information because they are really defending their presuppositions about the world, their worldview.

To have a meaningful or persuasive debate, we must understand the underlying presuppositions, and question the epistemology–how do you know what you believe, what makes you think it true? It isn’t easy scoping out a person’s presuppositions. They will usually show up in the metaphors and euphemisms that they unconsciously use. For instance, if someone says they are “pro-choice”, that euphemism contains the following presuppositions (whether you like it or not, since all of these presuppositions are necessary to countenance the euphemism): the life of the mother, i.e. a fully alive person, and even her lifestyle is more important than the baby’s life; the mother has the right to decide whether her baby lives or dies; having the power to choose to end life for whatever reason, even to improve your lifestyle temporarily, is more important than the other life itself; the baby isn’t a human being until she or he passes out of the mother.

Just imagine if a pro-choice person could or would engage in a debate and was put in the position of defending those presuppositions. How many of them would defend all those presuppositions? If you disagree with even one of them, then you either would have to oppose aborting babies, or argue that your right to end life trumps all other considerations. Then it becomes simply a matter of power.

 

 

Why Christian martyrs don’t get much press.

I am reblogging this blog from t2gospel t2gospel :

“When 22 people died outside a concert hall in Manchester, England, the media coverage was wall to wall.  The cry went up that something must be done! Journalists followed the investigation.  Press briefings were scheduled regularly. With broken hearts, we pored over color photographs of the victims, many of them only children, and we listened to bystanders describe their horror.  The world grieved as the story unfolded for a week.

“Five days later, 29 Christians in Egypt died when terrorists attacked their bus. Forty-two others were seriously injured and the assassins got away.  That story vanished in less than 48 hours.  No color photos.  No interviews with authorities. No tragic details.

“Here’s what you probably never heard.  The Christian group of parents, grandparents, and children were traveling in two buses to pray at a monastery. Their vehicles were stopped by terrorists outside the town of Minya.  After the buses were surrounded by killers, passengers on one of the buses were forced to exit the bus one by one.  As each reached the door to face masked gunmen, they were asked, ‘Are you Muslim?’ None of them were. Each was then given a chance to renounce Jesus Christ and convert to Islam.

“As each passenger confessed Christ and refused to convert, he was dragged a few feet away to be killed by either a shot in the head or a slit throat.  One at a time, nineteen adults, and ten children were ordered to become Muslims or die.  One by one they were instantly murdered.  The criminals then fired on the group in the second bus, injuring 42, before speeding away to safety.

“Why are tragedies like the one in Manchester more interesting or important than massacres like the one in Minya, Egypt?  I suppose it could be racism.  Or maybe we only care about tragedies that involve celebrities and beautiful people.  But I seriously believe two reasons are more likely.

“The media run away from Christian martyrs because they are a powerful witness to the Christian faith.  When random concert-goers fall prey to terror, in the wrong place at the wrong time, it makes the rest of us feel sad but lucky.  But when Christians die because they refuse to renounce their faith, it speaks to the power and the freedom ordinary people discover in Christ.  No sane person willingly dies for something he knows is a lie. Historically, seeing the deaths of Christian martyrs has inspired others to follow the Savior as well.  The secular media wants no part of anything like that!  So a vague headline about people dying in a bus attack manages to cover the bad news without accentuating the Good News.

“Christians in America turn their backs as well because stories about martyrs in other lands reflect poorly on the quality our faith here in the West.  In persecution lands, believers risk their lives and the safety of their children to attend worship services and even public prayer times. They worship Christ in the open, fully aware that churches and Christian gatherings are soft targets. But in the Land of the Free, we casually skip worship on Sundays to take our kids to soccer practice or recover from a mild headache.  Just imagine, if youth sports leagues existed in Minya, Egypt, those unfortunate children could have saved their lives by skipping church and going to play soccer instead!

“In America, churches report that ‘regular worship attendance’ is now defined as twice a month.  Think about it: when worshipers in Egypt and China become as committed to Christ as we are, the rate of martyrdom could be slashed by half!

“The most difficult question facing the American church today is not ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’  We already know the answer to that question: character, faith and the purposes of God.  The harder question is this one: What is a Christian, anyway?

“Jesus said no one can come after him without first being willing to deny self, pick up a cross, and follow.  In the religious ghetto of American life, that particular Bible verse is just about as welcome as stories of Egyptian children who are willing to die violently before disappointing Jesus.”

My comment: When these murderers–call them jihadi, terrorists, muslim extremists–whatever, the name doesn’t matter, but they try to justify their bloodlust by b.s. excuses like “the crusaders are killing our brothers” etc etc. If that were a valid reason for targeting Christians and Jews and any Muslims that aren’t sufficiently devout (read murderous and self-deluded), and kidnapping innocent girls from their villages simply because they are Christian, THEN CHRISTIANS AND JEWS HAVE FAR MORE REASON TO KILL MUSLIMS! But they don’t choose to do so. The real paradox is this: if these vicious murderers feel they have to make excuses for their behavior, they actually must have a shred of conscience. If they didn’t, they could simply say “we’re killing and raping because we like it; we just enjoy hurting others. no excuses.”

How did we ever get to “safe spaces, micro-aggressions and trigger words”??

My last post was about the larger context of the London Bridge attack, June 5, 2017. It featured Douglas Wilson, my favorite practioner of truly deep critical thinking. Oh yeah, he’s a prolific writer, and also the pastor of Christ Church, Moscow Idaho. This piece doesn’t go as deep but it’s useful for understanding some of the dynamics of how “western” nations (while Britain is the focus, the U.S. is following them into the pit. I believe France, Italy, Spain and Australia are already lost). The following are stories culled from various mainstream news sources, mainly NBC News and the NY Times (so no one can accuse me of conservative bias):

Regarding the most recent London jihadi rampage, “Many people ran but some stood their ground and put up a fight, throwing things at the attackers to try to halt or at least slow their pitiless rampage. ‘People were throwing bottles at them, pint glasses, whatever they could pick up obviously,’ Vowls said. ‘I went, ‘Oi, oi, cowards!’ I remember shouting something like that to them. And then I started picking up bottles, I threw a chair at them a stool, glasses, anything I could get my hands on.’ All of this was happening in the space of just a few minutes.

“By this point, the surrounding area was being flooded by gun-toting police — who make up a small fraction of London’s largely unarmed force.” (MY INSERT Out of every 100 people in Britain, fewer than four of them owns a firearm,  in the U.S. there is more than one gun per person.) “Specialist officers equipped with helmets, body armor and large rifles were seen filling into the Borough Market area and shouting at anyone still around to run away as fast as they could.

“Perhaps believing that the attackers were potentially strapped with explosives, eight different police officers unleashed a hail of 46 bullets. This is in a British policing culture where even firing one round is a big deal, and arrests rarely involve the use of lethal force. Those caught up in the melee didn’t know whether this gunfire was coming from the officers or the attackers themselves.’

LONDON — “Three deadly terror attacks in just 10 weeks have left many Britons wondering what’s suddenly changed and what can be done to reverse the trend. Until March, the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in a London street four years ago had been the country’s most serious Islamist incident since the 7/7 attack on the capital’s transport network that left 52 dead in 2005.

“A total of 33 people have since been killed in vehicle-and-knife rampages on London Bridge and Westminster Bridge in the capital as well as in a suicide bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters late Monday that five plots had been foiled in recent weeks — in addition to the successful attacks.

‘That is completely different to anything we have seen for a long time,’ he said. ‘As the prime minister has indicated, we’re going to need to do some things differently.’ Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that ‘terrorism breeds terrorism’ and that extremists are ‘copying one another.’ In a speech hours after Saturday’s incident in London Bridge and nearby Borough Market, May vowed to work with ‘allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace’ and prevent propaganda from spreading and attacks from being planned online. She added: ‘We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change … There is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.’

“NBC News security analyst Duncan Gardham said that while Britain has ‘always had a problem’ with radicalization, ‘the change in tempo [of attacks] is palpable.’ He blamed both the ‘copycat’ mentality and ISIS’ propaganda push, but also said the number of extremists in the U.K. was increasing. ‘When terrorists see one person launch an attack or commit suicide it emboldens them to do the same thing,’ Gardham said. ‘It does seem to give people toying with the idea a sense of bravado to go through with it.”

“He added: ‘The increase in the number of extremists is largely driven by easy access to homegrown preachers and ISIS propaganda on the internet, particularly YouTube. There are very few cases I deal with in which they have not consumed a huge diet of extremist material from mainstream commercial websites.’

“Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, believes the prime minister is ‘flogging a dead horse’ by attempting to crack down on the internet. While social media plays a role, Maher said the online eco-system is very different from what it was even just a few years ago. ‘Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, are acting far more proactively to remove this content, to disrupt it and to make sure it disappears in a very rapid way,’ he said.

Maher had more sympathy for May’s commitment to tackling extremist preaching and ideology within the U.K. “We’ve tolerated really radical speech from all kinds of people who fundamentally preach a message of separateness,” Maher said. “We’ve been far too tolerant in allowing people to simply opt out of being British, to opt out of our society, and to opt out of our way of life.”

“Our way of life.” What is that? Part of it is “tolerance”, for almost anything, but as Doug Wilson said in my last post, “So a culture that does not stand for something will fall to anything. And this is because somebody else with a different brand of ‘shared values’ will come along and say that they like blowing up little girls at concerts.”

NBC news goes on about their “way of life.” “While shootings involving police are relatively common in the U.S., authorities in Britain say they review each one with painstaking diligence. Every time a British police officer shoots and injures or kills someone, it is automatically referred to an separate watchdog called the Independent Police Complaints Commission, or IPCC. Although the officer who shot Wednesday’s assailant has been branded a hero, they too will likely be referred to the IPCC, although that doesn’t mean there will be a full investigation. This process is not without its critics.

Some police have complained that officers are reluctant to sign up for firearms training because they fear being dragged through years of lengthy investigations in the unlikely event they have to use their weapon. “Officers have seen what happens to their colleagues who have had to use lethal force to protect the public,” outgoing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told reporters last month. “Increasingly, they seem to be portrayed as suspects, based, I can only assume, on an underlying belief that they must have acted in a criminal fashion if someone has died.”

Do you notice the cultural assumptions and the complete lack of real solutions? Every measure suggested is simply a way to manage the carnage, and does nothing to address not only the poisonous ideology behind the crimes BUT THE MORE IMPORTANT FOUNDATIONAL ISSUE: THE BRITISH HAVE NO CLEAR IDEOLOGICAL ANTIDOTE TO THE POISON. Their “way of life” is extreme tolerance, and look where it’s gotten them.

Nor does much of the U.S. populace have an ideological antodote, PARTICULARLY on college campuses. I am going to reference an article from Thefederalist, April 29, 2015 for a description of “safe spaces” and their development. “College campuses have long been on the forefront of this kind of “speech code,” and Judith Shulevitz recently wrote an eye-opening description of the latest innovation: the campus “safe space.” In this case, the safe space was created in response to that most troubling of events: a debate (in this case, between a feminist and a libertarian).”

This description (italics) is from that bastion of conservative right wing thought, the New York Times (sarcasm doesn’t become me?). It reads like satire, but it isn’t–leftists have no sense of irony. It’s long but very informative, and I have only excerpted a small part of it: The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

 Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material. 

Some people trace safe spaces back to the feminist consciousness-raising groups of the 1960s and 1970s, others to the gay and lesbian movement of the early 1990s. In most cases, safe spaces are innocuous gatherings of like-minded people who agree to refrain from ridicule, criticism or what they term microaggressions — subtle displays of racial or sexual bias — so that everyone can relax enough to explore the nuances of, say, a fluid gender identity. As long as all parties consent to such restrictions, these little islands of self-restraint seem like a perfectly fine idea.

But the notion that ticklish conversations must be scrubbed clean of controversy has a way of leaking out and spreading. Once you designate some spaces as safe, you imply that the rest are unsafe. It follows that they should be made safer. 

This logic clearly informed a campaign undertaken this fall by a Columbia University student group called Everyone Allied Against Homophobia that consisted of slipping a flier under the door of every dorm room on campus. The headline of the flier stated, “I want this space to be a safer space.” The text below instructed students to tape the fliers to their windows. The group’s vice president then had the flier published in the Columbia Daily Spectator, the student newspaper, along with an editorial asserting that “making spaces safer is about learning how to be kind to each other.”

A junior named Adam Shapiro decided he didn’t want his room to be a safer space. He printed up his own flier calling it a dangerous space and had that, too, published in the Columbia Daily Spectator. “Kindness alone won’t allow us to gain more insight into truth,” he wrote. In an interview, Mr. Shapiro said, “If the point of a safe space is therapy for people who feel victimized by traumatization, that sounds like a great mission.” But a safe-space mentality has begun infiltrating classrooms, he said, making both professors and students loath to say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings. “I don’t see how you can have a therapeutic space that’s also an intellectual space,” he said.

Still, it’s disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago. But those were hardier souls. Now students’ needs are anticipated by a small army of service professionals — mental health counselors, student-life deans and the like. This new bureaucracy may be exacerbating students’ “self-infantilization,” as Judith Shapiro, the former president of Barnard College, suggested in an essay for Inside Higher Ed.

But why are students so eager to self-infantilize? Their parents should probably share the blame. Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, wrote on Slate last month that although universities cosset students more than they used to, that’s what they have to do, because today’s undergraduates are more puerile than their predecessors. “Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity,” he wrote. But “if college students are children, then they should be protected like children.”

“God forbid anyone should have to encounter viewpoints that go against their beliefs. And on a college campus, of all places! Even some lefty college professors are starting to become uncomfortable—and afraid that the new revolutionary tribunals will devour them, too. Posting anonymously, here is how one academic describes it.

“Saying anything that goes against liberal orthodoxy is now grounds for a firin’. Even if you make a reasonable and respectful case, if you so much as cause your liberal students a second of complication or doubt you face the risk of demonstrations, public call-outs, and severe professional consequences. My friends and colleagues might well agree that the student-teacher relationship ban is misguided, but they’re not allowed to say as much in public.

“C-can you guys see the problem, here?

“Personally, liberal students scare the shit out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.

“The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.

“Is this paranoid? Yes, of course. But paranoia isn’t uncalled for within the current academic job climate. Jobs are really, really, really, really hard to get. And since no reasonable person wants to put their livelihood in danger, we reasonably do not take any risks vis-a-vis momentarily upsetting liberal students. And so we leave upsetting truths unspoken, uncomfortable texts unread.

“There are literally dozens of articles and books I thought nothing of teaching, 5-6 years ago, that I wouldn’t even reference in passing today. I just re-read a passage of Late Victorian Holocausts, an account of the British genocide against India, and, wow, today I’d be scared if someone saw a copy of it in my office. There’s graphic pictures right on the cover, harsh rhetoric (“genocide”), historical accounts filled with racially insensitive epithets, and a profound, disquieting indictment of capitalism. No way in hell would I assign that today. Not even to grad students.”

The Onion, as usual, manages to encapsulate the whole thing in a headline: “College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea: Students, Faculty Invited to Freely Express Single Viewpoint.”

 

IN THE PAST, STUDENTS ESPOUSED A LOT OF UNWORKABLE IDEAS AND UNINFORMED OPINIONS THAT ARE THE PREROGATIVE OF YOUTH, AND MOST OF THEM GREW UP. BUT THEY WERE TOUGH DESPITE THEIR IGNORANCE. THIS STUDENT GENERATION IS A LOT OF THINGS, BUT TOUGH IS NOT AMONG THEM.

 

The London Bridge attacks: The response says more than the acts themselves.

I have excerpted the following paragraphs from a blog by Douglas Wilson entitled “As Hollow As A Jug”. The bold print and colorization are mine. His entire post can be found here.dougwils

“A Culture with AIDS
The recent attacks in London were breathlessly reported on one news channel as a monumental problem. ‘Saturday attack in London a tipping point in a campaign to destroy the West.’ To this one commenter said, in effect, really? The West has gone through a couple world wars, worse terrorism than this in the 70’s, not to mention the Cold War, and now we have reached the tipping point? After all that, we somehow cannot handle ‘a van and two guys with machetes’?

“And of course the commenter has a point if he is comparing threat to threat, attacker to attacker, and danger to danger. But if he has missed the point entirely—as he has—he fails to compare the cultures under attack. He is not comparing the culture that fought the Second World War to the culture that is responding to these current threats. The residents of London withstood a withering bombing campaign by the Nazis with courage and aplomb; we answer the terrorists with teary candlelight vigils, mounds of Teddy Bears propped up against gates, and blathering PC nonsense from our elected officials.

“A man whose immune system has collapsed can’t laugh off what years before—back in his robust days—would have been just a minor infection. The fact that he blew through a bout of pneumonia thirty years ago is irrelevant. What his immune system was like thirty years ago is not to the purpose. We need to know what his immune system is like now. This is because the threat is not the threat. The state of the immune system is the threat.

“So the issue is not whether the West has ever faced greater threats. Of course we have—much greater threats. But that is a different question from whether we have ever been in as great a danger. We are in great peril, not because the threat is so much greater, but rather because we are so much weaker.

“So a culture that does not stand for something will fall to anything. And this is because somebody else with a different brand of “shared values” will come along and say that they like blowing up little girls at concerts. They like driving vans into pedestrians. They like watching the candlelight vigils afterward. They like measuring how bloodless and desiccated and lame our responses are. They like watching us not having a clue. Why wouldn’t they?

“Collectively, we have no God. The ramifications of this are simple. We have absolutely no way to answer the most basic questions. Why are their ‘shared values’ inferior to ours? They prize suicide bombings. We prize sex change operations. They prize one kind of genital mutilation and we prize another another. Tomato, tomahto. So we need to answer the questions.

“And this brings us back to the threats of radical Islam. The issue is not whether a van and two guys with machetes are stronger than all of our assembled might. Of course they are not. But the point is that our society does not have a unified direction or point, and on top of that, we have all of us pretty much noticed this fact. And what that means is that our enervated society has no real reason to rise to its own defense. We cannot articulate to ourselves what we do not possess. And if we do rise to our own defense, we manage to make our displays of strength just as pointless as everything else is. If we send our ships far enough east in the Mediterranean, we could fire our Tomahawks in pretty much any direction. Whatever else it is, that should count as a show of strength. Flexing on the lip of the Void is no more impressive than wailing on the lip of the Void.

“We have no direction, no eschatology. Our politicians do promise to build bridges to “the future” (as though there were anywhere else to go), but the nature of that promised future is shapeless and ill-defined. This is all done under the banner of progress (with that word undefined as well), but maybe it means that we will build machines with sharper blades that can chop babies up into smaller pieces faster. Maybe we can continue to develop this promising new religion that worships the weather gods of the next century.”

Can I ever relate to the immune system analogy! I am 70 years old. Until 2006, I was hardly ever sick, and never hospitalized (except to remove a benign tumor in 2001). Since 2006: well, the list of problems is too long to go into, and who cares. I’m not sure I even do anymore–I am much closer to the end of my life than the beginning. But my children are, God willing, much closer to the beginning of theirs. THAT IS WHY I CARE SO MUCH ABOUT THE FUTURE! Your children should be reading this as well. If not….well, maybe their future looks like the Terminator movies.

FORGIVENESS! This song says it all.

These are the lyrics from a song called “It’s Time”, by Wayne Watson.

It happened many years ago
The memories still haunt you though
And who’s to blame, you really don’t know
You’re just locked all alone in these chains

Some times it’s hard to live at all
The pictures of your history call
Your mind’s a decorated wall
But the Lord has the cure for your pain

It’s time, come back to the land of the living
Come home to the land of the forgiving
Jesus will be faithful to the end

It’s time, break the tangled webs that bind you
Let the grace of God unwind you
Give the Lord your broken heart to mend
It’s time, it’s time

You’ve had your little victories
But perfection’s pretty hard to please
And guilt is an annoying breeze
That blows all that’s peaceful away

And life is too short to go on living like this
Or to brood over who’s done you wrong
If the years pass you by, look at all that you’ll miss
You’ve been walking in shadows too long

It’s time, come back to the land of the living
Come home to the land of the forgiving
Jesus will be faithful to the end

It’s time, break the tangled webs that bind you
Let the grace of God unwind you
Give the Lord your broken heart to mend
It’s time, it’s time.

This link will take you to the song. It’s beautiful!  ITS TIME