Progressives Also Seek Freedom — Just a Different Kind

The modern Left is not actually against freedom, like many on the Right think. The problem with the Left is that it stands for a very selective freedom, born of a binary view of society that divides all people into oppressed and oppressor classes.

The Left is actually obsessed with freedom, but only for those currently suffering under the bonds of oppression (in its view). The Left is not interested in maintaining, defending or sustaining the freedoms of those who it deems to belong to oppressor classes. If anything, these classes have too much power, which is to say too much freedom, which they use to oppress and marginalise minorities.

Neo-Marxism

It naturally follows that the oppressed classes, which objectively lack fundamental freedoms, according to the Left, can only increase their freedom at the expense of the oppressor classes, which have much more freedom than is due to any class.

This view is predicated on a conflictual view of society which says that the freedom of one individual can only come at the expense of another, which makes politics a zero-sum fight to win freedom for your particular sect, and bugger the others. Why would you stand up for the freedom of your opponents when you are locked in combat with them to control and inhabit the finite space that exists in any society to be free?

A better view is to begin with the inherent dignity of the individual, irrespective of class (real or imagined), and to seek to ensure, enshrine, protect and defend those individual freedoms to the greatest extent possible, seeking to balance conflicting freedoms in a prudential manner that does not work from the perverse logic that some individuals deserve more or less freedom depending on historical contingency and biological attributes that no individual chooses, nor can escape.

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Originally published on Dr Jonathan Cole’s page.

Subscribe to his podcast, The Political Animals, for more insights.
Photo: BigStock

Thank the Source

Book Review: “Against the Great Reset”

To understand the diabolical nature of the Davos deities, read this book.

This is not the first book to appear in recent times critiquing the Great Reset, Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum, and related matters. Some of these volumes I have already reviewed. But this is the newest and perhaps the best. At nearly 500 pages, the collection of essays found here is first-rate.

The editor has assembled a great lineup of leading intellectual heavyweights, including Douglas Murray, Victor Davis Hanson, Conrad Black, Roger Kimball, Angelo Codevilla, David Goldman and a number of others. All up the book has 16 important essays, plus introductory and concluding pieces by Walsh.

All the key issues are examined here: Covid tyranny, socialism, globalism, economics, politics, China and the social credit system, Big Tech, national sovereignty, the WHO, the WEF, Schwab, Bill Gates, critical theory, green energy, population matters, politicised science, cultural Marxism, climate alarmism, health fascism and so much more.

Against the Great Reset bookIt is good that all the bases are so carefully covered here. Given the rapid pace at which the nefarious agenda items of the Davos elitists are being realised, this book could not be more timely. The plans the activists have for their globalist utopia are not something that lies ahead — all this is already well underway.

Walsh explains early on why such a volume is so very much needed. It will be too late if we wait around for the history books to look back on the Great Reset. The issue NOW is whether “the formerly free world of the Western democracies will succumb to the paternalistic totalitarianism of the oligarchical Resetters.”

False Religion

He is right to speak of how the secular left West is so receptive to all this: “In an age of atheism and disbelief, note the religious fervour of neo- and cultural-Marxism and the messianic quality of Schwab’s anti-humanistic Great Reset.” Quite so. Once you ditch Christianity, plenty of false religions will rush in to take its place.

His closing paragraph nicely informs us of just where we are heading in the Schwabian dystopia:

“The satraps of Davos don’t want to simply reset a post-Covid world. Or a post-fossil fuels world. Or even a post-racial world. They want to run it, forever, and while they no longer have need of a god, they’ll always need an enemy. They may not believe in a power higher than themselves, but they certainly believe in demons, and their most irksome devil is you.”

Others pick up on the quasi-religious nature of all this. As Hanson puts it in his essay, “When ‘great’ is applied to a proposed transnational comprehensive revolution, we should also equate it with near-religious zealotry.” Marxism and radical greenism have both been pseudo-religions, and they come together in the Great Reset.

Absolute Control

He and others of course note how Schwab and Co have capitalised on Covid, and want the whole world under their thumb in order to ‘keep us safe’ from further pandemics, including climate change disasters they assure us are just around the corner.

Many of the writers give us terrific descriptions of who these folks are and what they want. But I especially like how Conrad Black characterises our Davos Divines:

Davos is for democracy, as long as everyone votes for increased public sector authority in pursuit of green egalitarianism and the homogenization of all peoples in a conformist world. …

The Covid-19 pandemic caused Davos Man to break out of his Alpine closet and reveal the secret but suspected plan: the whole world is to become a giant Davos — humorless, style-less, unspontaneous, unrelievedly materialistic, as long as the accumulation and application of capital is directed by the little Alpine gnomes of Davos and their underlings and disciples.

John Tierney carefully looks at how science and medicine were politicised during Covid, and concludes his chapter with this dismal outlook:

The Great Reseters will create jobs for the laptop class and subsidies for crony capitalists while stifling the economic growth that lifts people out of poverty. While promising “environmental justice,” they will burden the poor and the despised middle class with regressive taxes and higher energy costs. Their war on fossil fuels will be devastating to sub-Saharan Africa, where half the homes still lack electricity, but it won’t stop technocrats from flying to Davos for conferences on “climate equity.”

Hmm, did we not pretty much see all of that during the past few years? We will just be getting more of the same. The elites then, as during the past few years, will not feel any ill effects from this. It is us mere peons who will fully face the awful consequences.

Revisionism and Fake Compassion

History of course is under attack here. As Jeremy Black writes:

History’s place at the fore of culture wars is no surprise. The destruction of alternative values, of the sense of continuity, and of anything short of a self-righteous presentist internationalism, is central to the attempt at a “Great Reset”.

Moreover, in a variety of forms, including cultural Marxism and, particularly and very noisily at present, critical race theory, such a “reset” is part of a total assault on the past, one that is explicitly designed to lead the present, and determine the future.

With the assault on history goes an assault on open discussion and free debate. He continues:

“What is possibly most striking is the apparent suspension of any real sense of critique of the new order. Maybe, debate is so beneath you when you possess all truth. Much better just to steamroll people into compliance. Debate is seen as oppressive. Those who hold contrasting views are readily dismissed and shunned…”

Of course, freedom itself is going to be the biggest casualty here. As Walsh says in his concluding piece: “The Great Reset’s gambit is to mask and cloak itself, like an obedient handmaiden, in good intentions while stealing you blind and enslaving you. It positively radiates concern for its billions of fellow men even as it consigns them to indefinite house arrest.”

But on a lighter note, humourist Harry Stein manages to find a ray of hope in all this:

When the Soviets banned typewriters, the good guys produced samizdat by hand and continued on with the business of undermining an empire. We’ve now got podcasts and Substack and the emergence of alternative social-media platforms. We’ve got Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais, and The Babylon Bee. The truth is, we couldn’t be more fortunate in our enemy.

Dissident wise guys looking to bring down the Iron Curtain had only the likes of anabolic women weightlifters and a glowering Leonid Brezhnev as material, but in our current war with the elites we’ve got high school “girl” track stars with balls, a non compos mentis Biden, and largely peaceful demonstrators trashing our history and burning down our cities. Tell me that isn’t funny. Better yet, tell it to Klaus Schwab and his band of anti-merry men. We’re already laughing at them, too!

It should be noted that a wide spectrum of views is found here with the authors. Sure, they all oppose Schwab and the Davos madness big time. But other differences exist. Consider religious convictions: we have Christians and non-Christians writing here. Walsh for example prefers talking in terms of ‘Greek and Roman’ instead of ‘Judeo-Christian’. Contrast that with how James Poulos concludes his helpful chapter on Big Tech.

He says our “technoethical elites” are worried about whether they can “wield powers denied them by God. In this fateful moment, our digital politics is revealed to be a spiritual war. To survive victorious, we must remember: the greatest spiritual weapon against errant human reset is divine revelation.”

In sum, the revolutionaries always want to create a new world order, but always end up destroying man and civilisation in the process. Nothing new here. But the Davos elites have no interest in history. We should, however. If we will not learn from history, the prospect looks very bleak indeed. Hopefully, a volume like this will wake up enough people to take a united and forceful stand against this great globalist evil.

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Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo: Natalie Behring/Wikimedia Commons

Thank the Source

Critical Theory or Critical Thinking?

These two terms sound very similar, don’t they? Nothing could be further from the truth. Today I would like to explore their differences, as well as the danger of one and the importance of the other.

Critical Theory

Critical theory (CT) can be traced back to the Marxist-inspired movement in social and political philosophy known as the Frankfurt School in the 1920s. Since the 1970s, CT has become immensely influential in the study of history, law, literature, and the social sciences.

From the 1980s, it has gained an even bigger following on the back of ‘critical race theory’ (CRT), which has proven to be the central backbone of the CT movement. Recently, CRT came to the fore in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. He was a black man, killed in the US city of Minneapolis by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, the tragedy igniting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests around the globe.

CT focuses on the twin dynamics of ‘power’ and ‘submission’. It challenges the assumptions of power and seeks to liberate those in slavery. That sounds good, doesn’t it? However, in contrast to the traditional concept of a ‘theory’ that relies on evidence and data to prove or disprove, CT simply relies on ‘perspective’ and a ‘person’s lived experience’ alone. That’s where it gets dangerous.

A theory is, by definition, a cold hard, unemotional objective ‘theory’, until proven to be true. Then it can become a cold hard, unemotional objective ‘fact’. But CT and CRT are ‘right’ only because someone says so. There is no debate, questioning or discussion. What is more, so many in society are following it, not even aware that they are.

CT has its roots firmly in Marxism, a left-wing social and political movement that favours communism and socialism over capitalism. As such, it is at pains to stand up for the underdog, the minority, and those perceived to be discriminated against. That’s good, yes?

Yes, laudable goals, I agree. But with the goal to demolish capitalism and the abolition of the need to provide objective evidence, the outcomes of CT can be tragic for the individual and for civilisation as a whole. I will give a few examples of the effects of CT from the state of Victoria, Australia, under the leadership of Daniel Andrews. You may say I am being extreme. Well, this short piece does not have the space to explore the full chain from CT to the premier of Victoria, but it is quite clear that his regime is firmly rooted in far-left socialism, Marxism without the name:

  1. So as not to discriminate, Victoria became the first state in Australia to adopt same-sex adoption laws.
  2. Again, supportive of minorities, the establishment of the Pride Centre in St Kilda to encourage LGBTIQA+ activism.
  3. The introduction of Hate Speech laws.
  4. In 2008, Victoria was the first state in Australia to introduce abortion on demand right up to birth.
  5. The introduction of a criminal offence for offering alternatives to those seeking abortion.
  6. The “conversion therapy” laws prohibit parents from being able to object to a child wishing to change their gender.
  7. The abolition of Special Religious Education in schools and its replacement with ideological classes which have resulted in an explosion in the number of children with gender dysphoria.
  8. The banning of Christmas Carols in schools.
  9. The funding and promotion of the compulsory Safe Schools Program for children with its overt emphasis on anti-Christian views on morality.
  10. Employment laws are making it extremely difficult for Christian schools to employ teachers who can support their own ethos.
  11. The introduction of doctors into schools so children can consult a doctor without their parent’s knowledge or support.
  12. The politicisation of the police force, that no longer supports the keeping of law and order around Christian events.

These are just some of the legacies of the Daniel Andrews government in Victoria that I have collated from a piece by Martyn Iles, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

Critical Thinking

In a study on critical thinking and education in 1941, Edward Glaser defined critical thinking as the ability to think critically, involving three elements:

  1. an attitude of being disposed to consider, in a thoughtful way, the problems and subjects that come within the range of one’s experiences
  2. knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and
  3. some skill in applying those methods

Critical thinking expects a persistent effort to examine any belief or form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it. It also generally requires an ability to recognise problems, find workable solutions for those problems, gather and marshal pertinent information, recognise unstated assumptions and values, comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discrimination, interpret data, appraise evidence and evaluate arguments, recognise the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions, and draw warranted conclusions and generalisations. (Glaser, 1941, An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking, Teacher’s College, Columbia University)

critical thinking

This figure is from a modern take on critical thinking by Jennifer Herrity (2022). It always starts with careful observation of the facts; it is never sidetracked by a subjective perspective or individual lived experiences alone. The second step returns to the first observation and seeks to collect a deeper understanding of the issue or circumstance.

The third stage is very exciting — it is an exercise in lateral thinking. Namely, an examination of the implications for others and apparently unrelated situations if we progress along this line of thinking. In essence, it is being careful and thoughtful about the impact of our thinking on those around us and society at large.

The fourth stage can be described as testing out our thinking with trusted others, a safeguard against self-deception. And finally, at stage five, the problem is solved, or the situation is understood.

Further, I would like to add an additional dimension to critical thinking, namely the ‘scientific method’ (I wrote about this in the Daily Declaration, 22 December 2021). It seems to me that the rationality, and objectivity of the scientific method of enquiry is a natural partner with critical thinking. At the heart of this method is the assumption that something is ‘not true’ until it can be ‘proven’ by the evidence.

It seems to me that as a society and as individuals, we have lost our appetite for the scientific method and for critical thinking and as a result, we have become prey to the onslaught of critical theory (CT).

I would argue that if we have lived our own lives unaware of the advance of CT into our own lives, our families, and our communities, it is because we have neglected or ignored critical thinking and the scientific method. For me, critical thinking is the clear first line of defence against CT and the march of modern Marxism into every aspect of our lives.

Cosying Up to the CCP

Let me conclude with the story of the Belt and Road Initiative. This is an investment strategy developed nearly ten years ago by the Chinese. This initiative seeks to form a network of Chinese infrastructure and investment that covers the globe an empire in all but name. It has often focused on the takeover of key ports such as Haifa in Israel and Piraeus in Greece, to say nothing of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia.

With great fanfare, the Victorian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese government on October 8, 2018, and later a ‘framework’ agreement on October 23, 2019, to develop one of the Belt and Road Initiatives for Victoria. This was done behind the then Prime Minister Morrison’s back; he swiftly wound it back. What does this say about Daniel Andrews’ agenda? Not just the concept of facilitating even greater Chinese investment/ownership in Australia, but his seeking to do this international trade deal without the federal government’s approval!

Let’s never give up on the importance of critical thinking and always be aware of the dangers inherent in critical theory (CT).

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Photo by cottonbro.

Thank the Source

Statist Religions: Communism and Nazism

Statism and its war on God — a closer look at twentieth-century atheistic political ideologies which sought to make the state supreme at the grievous cost of human freedom and lives.

This is a follow-up piece to the earlier article I wrote on political religion. In that essay, I spoke of how the modern state increasingly began to see itself as saviour and lord back in the time of the Enlightenment, with the French Revolution being a primary example of this. The attempt to de-Christianise France and deify the state was brutal and bloody, with the guillotine one major aspect of this.

I mentioned that Communism and Nazism are also key examples of this, so here I want to examine those two political systems a bit further. Both have sought to replace God with the state, and both took on the form of religion to do so. To examine these issues in more detail, I will for the most part make use of some of the same commentators that I did in my earlier piece.

Stately Idols

First, some general introductory remarks. We do well to recall the words of Chesterton: “Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.” Or as Fulton J. Sheen put it in his 1948 work, Communism and the Conscience of the West:

“The basic struggle today is not between individualism and collectivism, free enterprise and socialism, democracy and dictatorship. These are only the superficial manifestations of a deeper struggle which is moral and spiritual and involves above all else whether man shall exist for the state, or the state for man, and whether freedom is of the spirit or a concession of a materialized society.”

R. J. Rushdoony, looking at the scene in the US, said this in Our Threatened Freedom:

“The plain fact is that we have two rival plans of salvation at war today. Humanism seeks to discredit and destroy Christianity and capture America for itself. We have thus a religious war under way in the United States: humanism versus Christianity. Your future will be determined by the outcome of that battle.”

In his 1952 volume The New Science of Politics, Eric Voegelin discusses Modern Gnosticism. He says that it can “assume the form of activist redemption of man and society, as in the instance of revolutionary activists like Comte, Marx, or Hitler. These Gnostic experiences, in the amplitude of their variety, are the core of the redivinization of society, for the men who fall into these experiences divinize themselves by substituting more massive modes of participation in divinity for faith in the Christian sense.”

As to Marxism, there are hundreds of books that examine its anti-Christian emphasis and how that played out when Communists came to power. Having featured two volumes by historian Michael Burleigh that discuss political religion, let me again appeal to him.

Historical Roots

He looks at how both the earlier utopian socialists and the later Communists could trace back their views to Enlightenment thought and its expression in the French Revolution. He writes:

Communists emphasised equality and identified with the most drastic, Jacobin phase of the French Revolution. On these grounds Communism was distinct from utopian socialism, which had little time for equality, rejected violent revolution and was more concerned with how to achieve harmony than with how to capitalise upon human strife. What it could not ignore in socialism was that it had got there first in providing workers with rudimentary organisation. In a zoomorphic sense, Communists resembled those aggressive African bees that colonise and transform more placid hives.

He notes how Communism became a secularised version of Christianity:

It is relatively easy to transpose some of the key terms from the Judaeo-Christian heritage to Marxism: ‘consciousness’ (soul), ‘comrades’ (faithful), ‘capitalist’ (sinner), ‘devil’ (counter-revolutionary), ‘proletariat’ (chosen people) and ‘classless society’ (paradise). The ruling classes were also going to face a revolutionary form of ‘Last Judgement’ (Weltgericht).

But there were far deeper unacknowledged correspondences, including nostalgia for a lost oneness and the beliefs that time was linear (the ancients thought it was cyclical), that the achievement of higher consciousness brought salvation, and that history was progressing with its meaning and purpose evident to the discerning, knowledgeable vanguard.

Although Marxists dispensed with a God capable of intervening in this world, their scheme of history replicated Judaeo-Christian eschatology, with what was good and perfect evident only at the beginning and at the end of the story. If the religious account of time concerned what occurred between the Fall of Adam and the Apocalypse, so for Marxists time began with the Great Expropriation, when primitive communism was replaced by class society and man’s alienation commenced, and it would end with a global revolution, which would restore man to an even higher version of his unalienated humanity.

He also looks at the Gnostic connection:

Marxism managed to incorporate what Christianity since St Augustine has managed to push to the heterodox margins with the certainty of the orthodox version. Marxism combined the assurance that everything was operating according to the dispositions of secularised versions of higher powers with Gnostic sectarian belief that the messianic elect that had grasped these laws was morally entitled to destroy existing society (which was entirely without virtue) in order to achieve earthly paradise. …

Communists took it upon themselves to realise heaven on earth through transforming violence: that exercise in regrettable but necessary killing which would murder eighty or a hundred million people in the twentieth century. Like Marxists, medieval millenarians believed they would be able to extricate man from a ‘darkened level of being’, successfully reintegrating him into the light. Perhaps appropriately enough, when Marx came to explain how the proletariat became the saviour class, he had recourse to the Gnostic concept of ‘pneumatics’ and talked mysteriously of ‘that breath of spirit’. For it was otherwise hard to explain how, if the proletariat was history’s creator-subject, it had emerged only in Marx’s own century.

The number of Communism’s victims may well be more than one hundred million. Whatever the exact number, this is the result of this diabolical political religion. Killing or enslaving the masses is always the outcome. As Vincent Miceli rightly stated:

Freedom is rooted in the spiritual, in the divine; servitude is rooted in the material, in the creaturely. Communism immerses man in matter, in the creaturely, in man himself. And there is no greater tyrant over man than man himself. For when man becomes his own God, as in communist humanism he inevitably does, this self-idolatry becomes so arrogantly irrational that it demands the life of every human being as its victim.

Denying God

A brief word about Hitler and the Nazis. They too were pushing a coercive utopianism, one based on the all-powerful state and the subservient masses. Once again, plenty of experts could be appealed to here, but let me again run with some choice words from Stephen Strehle:Dark Side French Revolution Nazism book

At the beginning of 1934, Nazi leaders like Goebbels, Rosenberg, Goering, and Schirach began a public campaign expressing open hostility toward the church. Many ministers were arrested, and important theologians and  philosophers were dismissed from their professorships, including Paul Tillich, Martin Buber, K. L. Schmidt, and Karl Barth.

Theological faculties were placed under constant surveillance, since they served as mentors for the future leaders of the church, and enrollment among their student bodies plummeted accordingly. Christian literature was suppressed everywhere and anti-Christian material circulated freely and widely among the masses. …

Hitler let others handle the specific anti-Christian measures, while trying to distance his public persona from all those groups who would “destroy the church,” but his general policy of Gleichschaltung was designed to align everything in Germany with the aspirations of National Socialism and could lead in no other direction or result than the complete elimination of all opposing forces, including the church.

To effect this policy, Hitler and the Nazis followed and emphasized the clandestine approach of the French Enlightenment, calling for a separation between church and state as if creating a secret boundary, hoping to limit the church to a private sphere, which will recede before the increasing power of the state. To destroy the church, the Nazis only needed to emphasize the separation of the two spheres, just like Luther and the Reformers, and then use the godless power of the state to reeducate the people into a different system of belief. Wilhelm Frick, the Minister of the Interior, said, “We do not want Protestant or Catholic civil servants, we want German civil servants.”

Hmm, why does so much of this sound so very familiar today? This hatred of Christianity makes perfect sense, since the political state must at all costs eliminate all opposition. And since the totalist state wants to take upon itself godlike status and powers, then all rival Gods must be destroyed.

With Christianity being the one true faith, and the one that is most opposed to all other claimants to the divine throne, the totalitarians reserve their real animus and rage for it. A closing quote from Rushdoony discussing the scene in America is worth featuring here:

The colonists were afraid of ‘big government.’ They were even more afraid of the combination of a powerful civil government and a state church. The independence of the church was to help ensure the protection of the people from a power-hungry state. In fact, both in colonial and early constitutional America, an important aspect of church life was the preaching of election sermons, to spell out the moral and religious issues at stake in civil and political affairs. It would be a disaster if that moral voice were silenced.

We certainly could use sermons like that again today — if it is not already too late.

References

  • Burleigh, Michael, Earthly Powers: The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe, From the French Revolution to the Great War. HarperCollins, 2005.
  • Miceli, Vincent, The Gods of Atheism. Arlington House, 1971.
  • Rushdoony, Rousas John, Our Threatened Freedom. Ross House Books, 2014.
  • Sheen, Fulton J., Communism and the Conscience of the West. Cluny, 1948, 2021.
  • Strehle, Stephen. The Dark Side of Church/State Separation: The French Revolution, Nazi Germany, and International Communism. Routledge, 2014, 2017.
  • Voegelin, Eric, The New Science of Politics. University of Chicago Press, 1952.

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Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo by Nico Becker.

Thank the Source

Carl F.H. Henry’s Great “I Told You So”

Carl F.H. Henry’s Great “I Told You So”

In the long list of 20th-century books still relevant today, Carl F.H. Henry’s Twilight of a Great Civilisation fits well in the “I told you so” category.

Published in 1988, Henry’s 182-page foresight about the West’s drift toward neo-paganism joins the work with other late 80s and early 90s books like Jacques Ellul’s Jesus and Marx, or Gene Veith’s Modern Fascism.

While Henry’s work is applicable to more than just the Andrew Thorburn story, Henry warned complacent Christians of a coming time when that complacency would come home to roost.

He would not be surprised to read about a Christian being pressured from a dream job because far-left overlords, applauded by a fake church, forced them to choose between a job they love, and the Lord they serve.

Losing the Way

Henry, an American evangelical theologian, was no prophet, and yet Twilight of a Great Civilisation has an undeniable prophetic edge undeserving of the dust it has collected over the years from neglect.

In 1988, Henry warned that the Church was losing ‘missional momentum’ because it had married ‘liberal theology to the god of revolution and scuttled the criterion that distinguished the divine from the demonic.’ (p. 19)

The Barbarians are coming, Henry wrote, because,

‘The organised Church has been too busy either powdering her nose to preserve an attractive public image, or powdering the revolutionaries and reactionaries who need rather to be remade in Christ’s image.’ (p. 17)

He foresaw a future church that had rejected Christ, by joining forces with the brethren of Iscariot: a Church infatuated with the Social Gospel, infiltrated by Social Justice Warriors. A Church devoted to utopianism, appearances, and bureaucracy, ‘preaching an unclear Gospel from a blurred Bible.’

Discerning the false dawn of liberation theology, Henry warned, this ‘step-child to revolution theology was sociological, more than theological.’

False God

This future church was one led by Karl Marx, not Jesus the Christ.

Its goals are anti-Christ, powered by a transformation of theology, rather than the power of the Cross transforming society.

This was a Mark 7:8 church that ‘forsook the truth of revelation, and taught the doctrines of man instead.’

A church with a ‘skewed sense of justice,’ that ‘cloaked Marxist revolution in the symbols of Christianity, measured by political allegiance, not Christological Christian faith.’

This was a church, Henry stated, that ‘denied the centrality of Christ,’ and turned Christianity into just another ‘speculative cult.’ Marxism, Henry wrote, ‘is a secular version of Biblical soteriology.’

He predicted a Lordless church ripped from its moorings in revelation.

This would be a church that had replaced Christ with culture, voiding itself of joy, and hope, because it had assimilated with a ‘larger social context afflicted by a pervasive melancholy,’ which he said, was a symptom of the ‘breakdown of culture.’

He forewarned that ‘what was underway was a redefinition of the good life, a redefinition that not only perverts the word “good,” but perverts the term “life” as well.’ (p. 40)

Stay the Course

A few pages further along, Henry asserted, ‘Christianity is qualitatively different or it has nothing distinctive to offer — we need to do more than sponsor a Christian subculture. We need Christian counterculture.’

Admonishing the defeatist, “learn to lose well,” weak-kneed, “winsome” ethos of niceness preached by today’s clergy, Henry declared, ‘we must not be timid or isolate ourselves. We must not be held at bay by the powers of this world, or allow ourselves to be defanged by the spirit of our age.’ (p. 55)

‘We need,’ Henry stated, ‘a theology braced for the collapse of contemporary civilisation.’ (p. 56)

For the ‘fight of the day’ — the fight of our day — as Henry alluded, isn’t left vs. right, black vs. white: it’s truth vs. falsehood.

If the Church doesn’t stand as a distinct alternative to ‘modernity’s badly skewed ethical compass’, by holding to God’s revelatory truth, and His perpetual moral agenda,’ Henry warned, ‘it may find itself as an alien in a once promised land.’

He wasn’t wrong.

The darker the age, the brighter the Gospel shines, and the bolder Biblical Christians need to be.

Perhaps, if we hold the line, Henry concluded, ‘we may even be remembered as those who used their hands, hearts, minds, and very bodies to plug the dikes against impending doom.’

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Photo by Suliman Sallehi.

Thank the Source

While The West Deepens Ukraine Entanglements, Xi Signals Designs To Expand Chinese Marxism At Home And Abroad

While The West Deepens Ukraine Entanglements, Xi Signals Designs To Expand Chinese Marxism At Home And Abroad

Chinese dictator Xi Jinping forecast his government’s plans to further expand Marxist tyranny throughout China and the world during a nearly two-hour-long speech on Sunday, which included direct references to Beijing’s ambitions toward Hong Kong and Taiwan.

While speaking before the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 20th National Party Congress, Xi highlighted numerous domestic and foreign policy issues, including the country’s ongoing bid to limit the spread of Covid-19 by any means necessary. Since major case outbreaks became known earlier this year in cities such as Shanghai, the CCP has embraced a “Zero Covid” strategy, which the government has used to cripple the few existing freedoms of the Chinese people. As a result, citizens have been forcibly locked in their homes against their will, with food shortages and lack of access to medical care becoming commonplace.

Despite the proven failures of lockdown-style policies, Xi took the time during his Sunday speech to reaffirm the CCP’s commitment to “Zero Covid,” while giving no indication as to when such policies would cease.

“In launching an all-out people’s war to stop the spread of the virus, we have protected the people’s health and safety to the greatest extent possible and made tremendously encouraging achievements in both epidemic response and economic and social development,” Xi claimed.

Frustrations with the government’s Covid approach seem to be boiling among segments of the Chinese population, with protest banners calling out Xi by name popping up in Beijing a few days prior to the CCP’s quinquennial meeting.

But Xi’s celebratory mood over his regime’s embrace of tyrannical methods didn’t just stop at Covid. During the same speech, Xi proceeded to champion China’s unilateral takeover of Hong Kong, the nearby semi-autonomous region that once enjoyed basic freedoms before Beijing’s passage of a “national security” law in 2020 that allowed the CCP to extinguish the city’s dissenting voices.

“In the face of turbulent developments in Hong Kong, the central government exercised its overall jurisdiction over the special administrative region as prescribed by China’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” Xi said, pushing the CCP narrative. “It ensured that Hong Kong is governed by patriots. Order has been restored in Hong Kong, marking a major turn for the better in the region.”

In continuing his discussion of foreign policy, Xi also went on to emphasize China’s growing ambitions towards Taiwan, saying that while the CCP “will continue to strive for peaceful reunification,” it will “never promise to renounce the use of force” and “reserve the option of taking all measures necessary.”

“The wheels of history are rolling on towards China’s reunification and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The complete reunification of our country must be realized and it can without a doubt be realized,” he said to applause from the more than 2,300 gathered delegates.

Following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island back in August, Taiwan has experienced an increase in Chinese military activity around its territorial waters and airspace, including a series of live-fire drills orchestrated by the People’s Liberation Army. A Chinese takeover of the island would almost assuredly lead to a decimation of Taiwan’s democratic government, as well as its free market economy and the civil liberties of the Taiwanese people.

Having served two terms as general secretary of the CCP and chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2012, Xi is widely expected to secure a rare, third term during the party’s meeting this week. Since coming to power, he has steadily increased the authoritarian nature of China’s communist government, while also working to expand the country’s power on a global scale.

By and large, Xi’s continued push for Chinese dominance throughout the world has largely gone unchallenged by the West, whose nations have routinely cowered in the face of aggression from the CCP while increasing their entanglements in the Russia-Ukraine war. In addition to their silence over China’s “Zero Covid” barbarism, the West also sent their greatest athletes to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics and have refused to hold China’s government to account for covering up the origins of Covid-19.


Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood

Source

Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn – A Reflection

What does the Essendon Football Club debacle demonstrate about how the “virtue” of “tolerance” has changed in modern Western society?

There has been a great deal written in the past day or two by a number of Christian commentators on the “resignation” of the new Essendon Football Club CEO, Andrew Thorburn. Added to those now are my fellow contributors, Bill Muehlenberg and Cody Mitchell. And I have to say that together their various views have been, at least for me, a “multitude of counsellors” (Proverbs 15:22).

And I want to draw on some of that wisdom, but also look at the wider issue of “tolerance”.
First, to give credit to those commentators who have torn away the thin tissue of lies and excuses given by the parties involved, such as those in charge at Essendon, the media and their coverage, and the State Premier, Daniel Andrews, whose insidious influence as a supporter of Essendon cannot go without mention.

I think Karl Faase got it right when he wrote that it was “an appalling turn of events in Australian public life”. I agree. We need to see this event from that perspective. Thorburn is a public figure of note, and even more so in football-mad Melbourne. So if this can happen to such a high-profile public figure, simply because of his faith, and due to nothing he said or did himself, with hardly a flicker of protest beyond the Christian community, then who among us is safe? If this doesn’t signify a distinct turn of the tide, what does?

Avoid Capitulation

Two other articles which impressed me were by Stephen McAlpine and Murray Campbell.

McAlpine particularly targets those Christians who believe our primary method of appealing to the culture is by being “winsome”. I agree with his criticism: the time for assuming that you can by means of sweet reason explain your position to those who aren’t Christians is past, if it were ever the case at all.

Surely we first need to discern the attitude of those we encounter. If we’re being winsome with those who are expressing opposition or hostility to our views, then all we’re really doing is “casting pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).

Or as McAlpine wrote:

“Winsomeness is a failed strategy if you think that you will stave off the attack dogs by being so. Does that mean don’t be winsome? No, not at all. Winsomeness is not a failed stance. As Christians, we should always be winsome. But don’t expect it to be a strategy that will get you by in the increasingly hostile Sexular Age. Because it won’t.”

The Premier’s Troubling Remarks

Murray Campbell, on the other hand, lasered in on the utterly disgraceful comment by Premier Daniel Andrews:

“Those views are absolutely appalling. I don’t support those views; that kind of intolerance, that kind of hatred, bigotry is just wrong. All of you know my views on these things. Those sort of attitudes are simply wrong, and to dress that up as anything other than bigotry is just obviously false.”

Campbell takes Andrews’ statement to its logical and deeply disturbing dystopian conclusion:

“Let’s assume the Premier is serious about his stance against those most evil and terrible and dangerous Christians. He has just told the world that he thinks that AFL clubs shouldn’t appoint Christians. It raises the question, in what areas is the Premier okay with Christians finding employment?

Does the Premier believe Christians can stand for Parliament? What about working for the Government? Is he comfortable with corporations appointing Christians to senior management positions? What about Christians working in state schools, hospitals and the police force? Does he believe local councils should employ Christians as gardeners or garbage collectors?

Does Mr Andrews believe that there should be some kind of religious test before you can get a job? It’s only been a few months since his Government shredded religious freedom by no longer allowing religious schools and organisations to employ people who share their values. And yet, he can speak imperviously of there being no place for Bible-believing Christians in high-profile positions in the AFL…”

But as I said, I want to dive a bit deeper into the whole issue of what is being passed off as “tolerance” these days, because early this morning I dived back into possibly the most valuable book on what we’re now increasingly witnessing in the West, The Intolerance of Tolerance by D. A. Carson, published a decade ago, yet grasping in such a compelling way the situations we’re now facing.

In the Introduction, Carson points out the fact that the “notion of tolerance is changing”, and that “the sad reality is that this new, contemporary tolerance is intrinsically intolerant. It is blind to its own shortcomings because it erroneously thinks it holds the moral high ground.”

Hence Premier Andrews’ outburst claiming Thorburn’s orthodox Biblical views are “appalling… hatred, bigotry”, and therefore that it should be obvious to all that they are “wrong” and “false”.

Absolute Relativism

In relation to the change in how tolerance is defined, throughout the book he writes about the “old tolerance” and the “new tolerance”:

“The old tolerance is the willingness to put up with, allow, or endure people and ideas with whom we disagree; in its purest form, the new tolerance is the social commitment to treat all ideas and people as equally right, save for those people who disagree with this view of tolerance…

So those who uphold and practice the older tolerance, enmeshed as they inevitably are in some value system, are written off as intolerant. Thus banished, they no longer deserve a place at the table.”

The logical contradiction should be clear, but Carson explains how it comes from the relativism where “all ideas and people are equally right”, which he describes as “structures of thought”, which becomes the monolithic prevailing view either blindly adopted by the community or imposed from above. This is what serves to entrench the contradiction as the new orthodoxy:

“The problem is worse than mere inconsistency, for the new tolerance regularly smuggles into the culture massive structures of thought and imposes them on others who disagree, while insisting that the others are the intolerant people.”

Does the situation during the same-sex marriage debate come to mind here? The parallels I think should be obvious. And Carson also notes what we have witnessed once that issue was resolved in spite of the public claims that such an outcome as they achieved was their sole aim, and that those making “slippery slope” predictions were being overly pessimistic:

“One might have thought that the broad cultural triumph of (the new) tolerance would be limited in reach: it would dictate what is acceptable in the culture at large, but would not presume to reshape every private enclave within the culture.

After all, if this new tolerance can be enforced in the culture at large, there is little need to seek similar control within private institutions or within churches or denominations. These private groupings can proceed on their benighted way without threat to the broader culture.

Increasingly, however, that is precisely what is not happening. Especially when churches take a moral stance that runs counter to the dominant stance adopted by the media, the media feels no qualms about attacking the churches for their intolerance.”

Hence, in the case of Andrew Thorburn, his church, City on a Hill, is described as “controversial” for holding traditional, biblically orthodox views on sex and abortion held by millions, and I might add, plenty of non-Christians as well.

Carson concludes:

“Are not the media proving intolerant of the churches that they judge to be intolerant?…Only the most amazingly narrow reading of history warrants the view that citizens with moral values grounded in religious beliefs are forbidden to articulate those beliefs.”

Grasping for Control

Finally, it is the prevailing relativism in morality which, because truth itself is relative, becomes a grab for power, and those with power will dictate to everyone else what is to be regarded as truth.
In this respect Carson quotes a famous essay published in Time magazine in 1978 by David Aikman, writing on the horrors of the Cambodian “killing fields” orchestrated by Pol Pot:

“In the West today, there is a pervasive consent to the notion of moral relativism, a reluctance to admit that absolute evil can and does exist. This makes it especially difficult for some to accept the fact that the Cambodian experience is something far worse than a revolutionary aberration.

Rather, it is the deadly logical consequence of an atheistic, man-centred system of values, enforced by fallible human beings with total power, who believe, with Marx, that morality is whatever the powerful define it to be…”

And doesn’t that sum up those in power, Premier Andrews and the media, in this episode: “fallible human beings with total power” defining orthodox Christian beliefs as “views [which] are absolutely appalling… hatred, bigotry… wrong”?

But Aikman didn’t stop at Marx’s ideological musing. He took the ideology of power to its logical conclusion: “… and, with Mao, that power grows from gun barrels.”

But can we in Australia really believe that such an extreme situation could play out here? The words of Benjamin Disraeli come to mind here: “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.” Of course, we all hope and pray for a divine breakthrough in our circumstances, that revival would break out and transform the culture. And that is precisely the focus of this month of prayer and fasting, that “millions… find Christ”.

At the same time, though, we know that Scripture tells us all to expect the kind of treatment dished out to Andrew Thorburn. But we should also realise that both are possible outcomes. We need to accept the fact that there are times when God chooses to use the persecution of His children to bring about millions finding Christ.

In fact, He has been impressing on me for many months now that we should be looking to the persecuted church to learn how they respond to their persecution, because in there are the “hidden seeds” of the harvest.

Finally, and even in that context of persecution, we should be inspired by the grace under fire shown by Andrew Thorburn himself in his media release, and so to Andrew Thorburn belongs the last word in all of this, because I firmly believe that, if and when persecution comes to the rest of us, it is this grace, this inner strength and conviction under pressure, that will cause others to take notice of those qualities and inquire about the source of that grace and inner strength.

___

Photo: Essendon FC

Thank the Source

Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn – A Reflection

Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn – A Reflection

What does the Essendon Football Club debacle demonstrate about how the “virtue” of “tolerance” has changed in modern Western society?

There has been a great deal written in the past day or two by a number of Christian commentators on the “resignation” of the new Essendon Football Club CEO, Andrew Thorburn. Added to those now are my fellow contributors, Bill Muehlenberg and Cody Mitchell. And I have to say that together their various views have been, at least for me, a “multitude of counsellors” (Proverbs 15:22).

And I want to draw on some of that wisdom, but also look at the wider issue of “tolerance”.
First, to give credit to those commentators who have torn away the thin tissue of lies and excuses given by the parties involved, such as those in charge at Essendon, the media and their coverage, and the State Premier, Daniel Andrews, whose insidious influence as a supporter of Essendon cannot go without mention.

I think Karl Faase got it right when he wrote that it was “an appalling turn of events in Australian public life”. I agree. We need to see this event from that perspective. Thorburn is a public figure of note, and even more so in football-mad Melbourne. So if this can happen to such a high-profile public figure, simply because of his faith, and due to nothing he said or did himself, with hardly a flicker of protest beyond the Christian community, then who among us is safe? If this doesn’t signify a distinct turn of the tide, what does?

Avoid Capitulation

Two other articles which impressed me were by Stephen McAlpine and Murray Campbell.

McAlpine particularly targets those Christians who believe our primary method of appealing to the culture is by being “winsome”. I agree with his criticism: the time for assuming that you can by means of sweet reason explain your position to those who aren’t Christians is past, if it were ever the case at all.

Surely we first need to discern the attitude of those we encounter. If we’re being winsome with those who are expressing opposition or hostility to our views, then all we’re really doing is “casting pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).

Or as McAlpine wrote:

“Winsomeness is a failed strategy if you think that you will stave off the attack dogs by being so. Does that mean don’t be winsome? No, not at all. Winsomeness is not a failed stance. As Christians, we should always be winsome. But don’t expect it to be a strategy that will get you by in the increasingly hostile Sexular Age. Because it won’t.”

The Premier’s Troubling Remarks

Murray Campbell, on the other hand, lasered in on the utterly disgraceful comment by Premier Daniel Andrews:

“Those views are absolutely appalling. I don’t support those views; that kind of intolerance, that kind of hatred, bigotry is just wrong. All of you know my views on these things. Those sort of attitudes are simply wrong, and to dress that up as anything other than bigotry is just obviously false.”

Campbell takes Andrews’ statement to its logical and deeply disturbing dystopian conclusion:

“Let’s assume the Premier is serious about his stance against those most evil and terrible and dangerous Christians. He has just told the world that he thinks that AFL clubs shouldn’t appoint Christians. It raises the question, in what areas is the Premier okay with Christians finding employment?

Does the Premier believe Christians can stand for Parliament? What about working for the Government? Is he comfortable with corporations appointing Christians to senior management positions? What about Christians working in state schools, hospitals and the police force? Does he believe local councils should employ Christians as gardeners or garbage collectors?

Does Mr Andrews believe that there should be some kind of religious test before you can get a job? It’s only been a few months since his Government shredded religious freedom by no longer allowing religious schools and organisations to employ people who share their values. And yet, he can speak imperviously of there being no place for Bible-believing Christians in high-profile positions in the AFL…”

But as I said, I want to dive a bit deeper into the whole issue of what is being passed off as “tolerance” these days, because early this morning I dived back into possibly the most valuable book on what we’re now increasingly witnessing in the West, The Intolerance of Tolerance by D. A. Carson, published a decade ago, yet grasping in such a compelling way the situations we’re now facing.

In the Introduction, Carson points out the fact that the “notion of tolerance is changing”, and that “the sad reality is that this new, contemporary tolerance is intrinsically intolerant. It is blind to its own shortcomings because it erroneously thinks it holds the moral high ground.”

Hence Premier Andrews’ outburst claiming Thorburn’s orthodox Biblical views are “appalling… hatred, bigotry”, and therefore that it should be obvious to all that they are “wrong” and “false”.

Absolute Relativism

In relation to the change in how tolerance is defined, throughout the book he writes about the “old tolerance” and the “new tolerance”:

“The old tolerance is the willingness to put up with, allow, or endure people and ideas with whom we disagree; in its purest form, the new tolerance is the social commitment to treat all ideas and people as equally right, save for those people who disagree with this view of tolerance…

So those who uphold and practice the older tolerance, enmeshed as they inevitably are in some value system, are written off as intolerant. Thus banished, they no longer deserve a place at the table.”

The logical contradiction should be clear, but Carson explains how it comes from the relativism where “all ideas and people are equally right”, which he describes as “structures of thought”, which becomes the monolithic prevailing view either blindly adopted by the community or imposed from above. This is what serves to entrench the contradiction as the new orthodoxy:

“The problem is worse than mere inconsistency, for the new tolerance regularly smuggles into the culture massive structures of thought and imposes them on others who disagree, while insisting that the others are the intolerant people.”

Does the situation during the same-sex marriage debate come to mind here? The parallels I think should be obvious. And Carson also notes what we have witnessed once that issue was resolved in spite of the public claims that such an outcome as they achieved was their sole aim, and that those making “slippery slope” predictions were being overly pessimistic:

“One might have thought that the broad cultural triumph of (the new) tolerance would be limited in reach: it would dictate what is acceptable in the culture at large, but would not presume to reshape every private enclave within the culture.

After all, if this new tolerance can be enforced in the culture at large, there is little need to seek similar control within private institutions or within churches or denominations. These private groupings can proceed on their benighted way without threat to the broader culture.

Increasingly, however, that is precisely what is not happening. Especially when churches take a moral stance that runs counter to the dominant stance adopted by the media, the media feels no qualms about attacking the churches for their intolerance.”

Hence, in the case of Andrew Thorburn, his church, City on a Hill, is described as “controversial” for holding traditional, biblically orthodox views on sex and abortion held by millions, and I might add, plenty of non-Christians as well.

Carson concludes:

“Are not the media proving intolerant of the churches that they judge to be intolerant?…Only the most amazingly narrow reading of history warrants the view that citizens with moral values grounded in religious beliefs are forbidden to articulate those beliefs.”

Grasping for Control

Finally, it is the prevailing relativism in morality which, because truth itself is relative, becomes a grab for power, and those with power will dictate to everyone else what is to be regarded as truth.
In this respect Carson quotes a famous essay published in Time magazine in 1978 by David Aikman, writing on the horrors of the Cambodian “killing fields” orchestrated by Pol Pot:

“In the West today, there is a pervasive consent to the notion of moral relativism, a reluctance to admit that absolute evil can and does exist. This makes it especially difficult for some to accept the fact that the Cambodian experience is something far worse than a revolutionary aberration.

Rather, it is the deadly logical consequence of an atheistic, man-centred system of values, enforced by fallible human beings with total power, who believe, with Marx, that morality is whatever the powerful define it to be…”

And doesn’t that sum up those in power, Premier Andrews and the media, in this episode: “fallible human beings with total power” defining orthodox Christian beliefs as “views [which] are absolutely appalling… hatred, bigotry… wrong”?

But Aikman didn’t stop at Marx’s ideological musing. He took the ideology of power to its logical conclusion: “… and, with Mao, that power grows from gun barrels.”

But can we in Australia really believe that such an extreme situation could play out here? The words of Benjamin Disraeli come to mind here: “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.” Of course, we all hope and pray for a divine breakthrough in our circumstances, that revival would break out and transform the culture. And that is precisely the focus of this month of prayer and fasting, that “millions… find Christ”.

At the same time, though, we know that Scripture tells us all to expect the kind of treatment dished out to Andrew Thorburn. But we should also realise that both are possible outcomes. We need to accept the fact that there are times when God chooses to use the persecution of His children to bring about millions finding Christ.

In fact, He has been impressing on me for many months now that we should be looking to the persecuted church to learn how they respond to their persecution, because in there are the “hidden seeds” of the harvest.

Finally, and even in that context of persecution, we should be inspired by the grace under fire shown by Andrew Thorburn himself in his media release, and so to Andrew Thorburn belongs the last word in all of this, because I firmly believe that, if and when persecution comes to the rest of us, it is this grace, this inner strength and conviction under pressure, that will cause others to take notice of those qualities and inquire about the source of that grace and inner strength.

___

Photo: Essendon FC

Thank the Source

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