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Orderly Slavery or Dangerous Freedom?

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Canada’s Globe and Mail recently published a horrifying exposé of China’s persecution of religious minorities.

Large numbers – researchers estimate the total in the hundreds of thousands – of people have been placed in Chinese facilities known as re-education centres, where they are forcibly indoctrinated.

The Globe described the “re-education” experience of one woman:

The woman, whose name is not being used by The Globe and Mail for her protection, was put through regular self-criticism sessions.  Part of the content was cultural.  ‘My soul is infected with serious diseases,’ she would repeat.  ‘There is no God.  I don’t believe in God.  I believe in the Communist Party.’

Other content was more explicitly political.  Day after day she would say out loud that she was a traitor, a separatist and a terrorist.

‘I am so blind not to see the greatness of our strong country’s laws. I am so stupid that I was not thankful for our President Xi Jinping,’ she would be told to recite. . . .

Elsewhere, detainees have said authorities appear to have cut the hair of women in re-education as a reprimand to the traditional long hair they maintained, a message that ‘now you are going to have a modern hair style,’ said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Of course, the Chinese authorities believe they have good reasons for persecuting and “reeducating” religious minorities, which they perceive as a threat to the order and security of the Chinese state.

I have a Chinese friend who posts scathing tirades against the United States every time there is a mass shooting here.  I don’t deny that mass shootings are a terrible problem, but it is important to keep the scale of our problem in perspective.  In his book Rampage Nation, gun control advocate Louis Klarevas details the deaths from all mass shootings in the U.S. from 1967 to 2016.  According to Klarevas, the total number of mass shooting deaths in that half-century was 947.

Yes, it is a tragedy that out of a population of hundreds of millions a few deranged individuals have abused their right to keep and bear arms here in the U.S.  But as I remind my Chinese friend, the approximately 1,000 people who have died in mass shootings here in the last 50 years would have been a rounding error in the average month in Maoist China, where, by some estimates, from 1958 to 1962 as many as 55 million people died.  Think about that.  55 million divided by the 1,826 days in that five-year period results in averages deaths per DAY of 30,120.

Why was Mao able to get away with killing, on average, 30,120 people each and every day for five years?  Because he had the power and they did not.  And why did he have all of the power?  I will let Mao answer that question himself:

Every Communist must grasp the truth, ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.’

If political power does ultimately grow out of the barrel of a gun, Mao had all of the power, because his government controlled all of the guns, and he used that power to turn his country into a vast killing field to further his political agenda.  Improvements in Chinese economic circumstances in the last 30 years should not blind us to the fact that Xi Jinping’s government stands in direct and unbroken succession from Mao’s, and, ominously, Xi recently removed the term limit on the presidency instituted by Deng Xiaoping in the wake of Mao’s brutal regime.

The people of the United States will never stand by as the government kills millions of its own citizens.  Nor would any United States government official ever dream of ordering the arrest and brutal persecution of hundreds of thousands of people merely on account of their religious views.  This is not because American government officials are free from religious bigotry and the authoritarian impulse that often accompanies such bigotry.  As we shall see in a moment, they are certainly not.  Nor is it because the American people are better or more courageous than the Chinese people.  It is because, unlike in China, in the United States the government does not have a monopoly on the power that grows out of the barrel of a gun.

I want to pull my hair out every time I hear “you don’t need an AR-15 for hunting.”  The founders did not include the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights as a sop to hunters.  They included the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights, because they feared people like Mao – they called them “tyrants” – would arise, and they wanted to ensure that the American people would always have the means to resist them.  The 20th Century was a 100-year-long object lesson in why they were absolutely right to fear such tyranny.  Yes, the right to keep and bear arms has a price.  There is an irreducible risk that some people are going to abuse that right and murder innocent people.  The founders were willing to pay that price and suffer that risk, because they preferred dangerous freedom to orderly slavery.

“Stop hyperventilating Barry.  The Chinese experience could never be replicated here.  We have a tradition of religious tolerance.”  Yes, we do, but authoritarians are the same all over the world, and American authoritarians (we call them “progressives”) are working feverishly to destroy our tradition of religious pluralism and tolerance.

A couple of years ago I represented a school that was caught up in controversy when a student claimed he was denied the right to speak at a graduation ceremony because he wanted to use the occasion to come out as gay.  Before any of the facts were in, progressive Congressman Jared Polis jumped in and demanded that everyone involved be sent to “reeducation camps-lite” (which he euphemistically called “sensitivity training”).  And he called for me to be fired as the school’s attorney when I responded, “What’s next, a Maoist-style thought reform camp for everyone who has the temerity to disagree with you?”  In the end, an independent external investigation vindicated the school (see here), but not before Polis dragged it through the mud in the national media.

Polis’ intolerance fits seamlessly with the intolerance displayed by progressives in recent senate confirmation hearings.  Senate Democrats have all but announced a religious test for office, i.e., if you are religious, you can’t hold office.  Senators Bernie Sanders and Chris Van Hollen grilled Russell Vought over his religious views and ultimately declared he is unfit for office simply because he adheres to traditional Christian doctrine.  Senator Cory Booker said that Mike Pompeo should not be allowed to be Secretary of State because he holds the same views on same-sex marriage that Barack Obama’s Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) held until 2012.  Senator Diane Feinstein declared that anyone who holds to traditional Catholic teachings is unfit to be a federal judge.

Thankfully, Sanders, Van Hollen, Booker and Feinstein are in the minority, and their religious bigotry did not prevail.  But the pernicious, not to mention unconstitutional, religious test they would impose on all candidates for any federal office is only ever one election away from having the force of law.

Make no mistake – American progressives’ authoritarian anti-religious bigotry is different only in degree – not in kind – from the Chinese variety described in the Globe article.

Twenty years from now will progressives like Sanders be calling for traditional Christians to be rounded up and “reeducated”?  Before you answer that question consider that twenty years ago it would have been unthinkable for a sitting United States senator to publicly declare in a confirmation hearing that a person is unfit to hold office merely because he expressed a doctrine held by all Christians everywhere for nearly two thousand years.

As Jonah Goldberg explained in Liberal Fascism, the authoritarian impulse has always been central to the progressive project.  Now we fight progressive authoritarianism with ink and ballots.  If that fight fails, will we have to fight them with guns and bullets?  I hope not, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, I am glad that, unlike the Chinese people, should that terrible day come, the American people have the means to defend their fundamental rights from authoritarian tyranny.

 

29 Replies to “Orderly Slavery or Dangerous Freedom?

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Social engineering starts with doctrines which are accepted as principles of Faith. As such, they require adherence. Mao’s “barrel of a gun” is necessary because there are no good, rational arguments to defend the project.

    When there is no truth, then there is no good reason to have a rational discussion and try to convince anyone. It’s like academic arguments that go on and on – with greater levels of sophistry and evasion.

    Many people who want to change society reject argumentation, therefore. They want radical, revolutionary change. That kind of change can only occur through sheer force, violence, manipulation, propaganda, brain-washing.

  2. 2
    StephenB says:

    Good work, Barry. You have integrated several important and relevant points into one unifying theme.

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    Thank you SB.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    For Bernie Sanders to impugn Christians as unworthy of holding public office is beyond laughably pathetic.

    If nothing else, it shows that common-sense and consistent coherence are gifts of the Holy Spirit. However there is something else that resembles an elephant in the living-room; and that is, that the many decent components of his world-view tjat he does harbour derive solely from Judaism and Chrstianity !

  5. 5
    mike1962 says:

    +1000000

    oNE OF THE bEST bARRY

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    When you have a president who is bent on packing the Supreme Court with extreme right-wing conservative Christians who he expects will do his bidding and who place their religious beliefs above the law and the Constitution then perhaps the time has come to find a different way to select candidates for the highest court in the land, a way which will ensure that neither side can manipulate the process in this way. Of course, given Trump’s disdain for the law, the FBI, the press and anyone else who doesn’t do what he wants, if he doesn’t get his way, I wouldn’t put it past him to try and create his own Volksgerichtshof.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    “who place their religious beliefs above the law”

    What do you mean by that Sev? I have not heard anyone proposing the establishment of a theocracy.

  8. 8
    vividbleau says:

    Sev re 6

    Bullshit!, As one of these right wing conservative extremist (which is nothing more than a slanderous smear on your part) I just want judges to interpret the Constitution based on its original text. I don’t want judges to base their decisions on “penumbras” and “emanations” and in the end become an unelected super legislative body.

    Vivid

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    If Brett Kavanaugh is “extreme right wing” – who would be an “extreme left wing counterpart”?

  10. 10
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    When you have a president who is bent on packing the Supreme Court with extreme right-wing conservative Christians who he expects will do his bidding and who place their religious beliefs above the law and the Constitution then perhaps the time has come to find a different way to select candidates for the highest court in the land, a way which will ensure that neither side can manipulate the process in this way.

    When/ if that happens people will stand up to it and put a stop to it. But I doubt it will ever happen.

  11. 11
    Nonlin.org says:

    Maybe Seversky meant to talk about OBanana, not Trump and he means left-wing, etc . Thank God that nightmare is over… for now 🙂

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev refused to answer my question at 7. I assume, like most progressives, he fears for Roe v. Wade. And he suggests that any judge who does not genuflect before the alter of Roe is placing his “religious beliefs above the law and the Constitution.”

    Let’s review some history.

    In 1973 the Supreme Court overturned the democratically passed laws of all 50 states. It did so by inventing the constitutional right to abortion. Of course, there is no “abortion clause” in the constitution. Instead, the court majority jammed their policy preferences about abortion down the throats of 212 million follow citizens under the guise of interpreting the constitution.

    And Sev is here to tell us that anyone who does not continue to jam their policy views down our throat is placing his religious beliefs above the Constitution.

    There’s some irony there. Or perhaps Sev can show me the abortion clause in the Constitution. I’ve been studying that document for nearly 40 years and have yet to find it.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, there cannot be a right to enable or carry out holocaust, not even of our living posterity in the womb. That such holocaust was imposed under false colour of law by judges turning their court into an unelected, unaccountable legislature does not change the fact. And, if you wish to deny that the unborn child is a human being who therefore has a presumption to rights starting with life, then that is the real problem: classic dehumanisation of a target group, here laying them open to slaughter at will. And, I beg to remind you that “we were following orders,” for cause, failed as an argument at Nuremberg. One day, our civilisation will wake up from its stupor and we will realise the full magnitude of the horror we have done or enabled. KF

  14. 14
    asauber says:

    And for an a/mat who doesn’t believe in right and wrong, Sev sure has a mighty righteous position staked out.

    Andrew

  15. 15
    mike1962 says:

    +1000000 Should be on the first page of National Review

  16. 16
    mike1962 says:

    Seversky: extreme right-wing conservative Christians

    And so Seversky loses all traces of credibility. Where does this ignoramus live?

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: An interesting question is, what does “right wing” mean these days, the left being already taken by statism and linked political messianism. I suggest that to one in that band, that which moves to limited, Constitutional democratic government rooted in the principles of natural moral law is increasingly being mislabelled as “extreme” right wing, especially if it tends to be patriotic in emphasis. Questions of projection arise. A more correct view would be centre or centre-right. The most sensible meaning of the further right would be libertarianism seeking minimal state and beyond, anarchy. Monarchy, the old “right” is long since dead. As for fascism, it is specifically a form of messiamistic statism and is in fact a form of socialism. Just, it was to the right of Lenin and Stalin. As a telling illustration a certain notorious party was the National Socialist German Workers Party. KF

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    … and also. After 10 years of arguing in favor of ID, I have drawn this conclusion and make this proposal:

    ID is perfectly, 100% compatible with:

    Leftism
    Marxism
    Communism
    Atheism
    Socialism
    Anti-Semitism
    Nazism

    … among many other of the more common beliefs aligned to it.

    You might be surprised to see Atheism listed – but yes, ID is compatible with Atheism (directed panspermia and any sort of non-theistic/deistic designers).

    ID cannot determine what the origin of the universe is, but only that scientifically we observe evidence of Design in the universe.

  19. 19
    Florabama says:

    Sev @ 6

    “When you have a president who is bent on packing the Supreme Court with extreme right-wing conservative Christians…”

    This is spitting coffee on the computer laughable. Do you ever get tired of spouting mindless talking points? Apparently not. I say, “If only”… maybe we would get more like the first Chief Justice.

    http://archive.constantcontact.....71128.html

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    Seversky:

    When you have a president who is bent on packing the Supreme Court with extreme right-wing conservative Christians who he expects will do his bidding and who place their religious beliefs above the law and the Constitution…

    Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory!

    In other news, Nutjobs Anonymous is now holding regular meetings.

  21. 21
    john_a_designer says:

    Opinions are not arguments. Arbitrary subjective opinion carry no interpersonal moral obligation. If all we have in the moral realm are subjective opinions to ground “moral truth” then there is no possibility of finding moral truth or even any kind of common ground. (IOW moral truth does not even exist.) If that’s true the very idea of universal human rights completely collapses. Indeed I think that is what we are seeing is the west. Already in the U.S. there are numerous example of fundamental human rights being undermined or abridged for the sake of new made-up rights. For example, florists, bakers and photographers being fined for not participating in a same sex wedding.

    “Same-sex marriage” is an idea that has been arbitrarily made up whole cloth by the secular progressive left in that last 50 years. It has absolutely no basis in history, tradition or biology– neither two men nor two women cannot make a baby. However, it is a way for the secular progressive left to carry out its anti-religious agenda. After all where do most people get married? In churches, don’t they? One of the fastest ways to destroy religion is to subvert it. SSM is an example of that.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JAD @ 21

    Yes, exactly. The way this has worked is the exaltation of “rights”. As you correctly stated, in a relativistic world, there are no real rights anyway – just whatever the government or authority wants to give or take away.

    Changes in society from gay-rights and now trans-rights have all followed the same, incredibly successful pattern.

    Everything is based on the Civil Rights movement (mostly in USA but same has been elsewhere) for the liberation from slavery and racial-discrimination.

    That movement was based on ideas of equality for people and fairness, non-discrimination because of skin color.

    The most successful part of that movement was assigning guilt to Christianity. Almost all Christians accepted guilt and quickly wanted to change. The Civil Rights movement swept in, and was victorious.

    Exactly the same pattern was used for Feminism. The story of oppression, then assigning guilt to Christianity has worked successfully. Feminism has radically changed society on the basis of Rights and Equality.

    Next has been Gay-Rights and Trans-Rights. This follows the same playbook. Christianity is seen as the oppressor. Christians are made to feel guilt for discrimination against gays.

    A lot of this follows Saul Alinski’s Rules for Radicals – willingness to deceive, ridicule one’s enemies, use any means to the end.

    But it’s also an anti-Christian movement. It exploits weaknesses in Christians. It has been successful in finding a lack of consistency in Christian belief, and using “tolerance” and “non-confrontation” as Christian virtues, then condemning Christians for violating those virtues.

    A counter-reaction to this is the alt-Right movement. That group mostly rejects Christianity as if it is weak and tolerant of evil (as Nietzche criticized, then Hitler) – so it’s a neo-pagan intolerance.

    The neo-Nazis and alt-Right are correct about one thing. They merely say “if we have to be tolerant of SSM and anything the secular left proclaims, for no real reason except they are in power and impose it — well, they need to be tolerant of racism, Nazism, hatred, white-supremacy and whatever else we want to do.”

    That is a failed and destructive idea that leads only to anarchy and violence (or severe return to “order” as with Nazism).

    But when people have no fixed standards, they just make up their values. They take what they want, and lose respect for authority.

    I see the fragmentation of Christianity into a multitude of contradictory sects, denominations, private groups – all with subjective interpretations of religion — as an enormous weakness that is easy to exploit.

  23. 23
    Seversky says:

    As I have written a number of times before, I believe that the right of life should be extended to cover the whole of an individual’s existence, from conception to casket if you like. That means I am opposed to abortion except where the mother’s life and well-being is at risk. What concerns me, however is that the so-called pro-life movement appears to care little for the woman’s rights or the collateral damage caused to women’s health by the vicious campaign against Planned Parenthood. The Christian community apparently wants to shame and shun women who seek abortion in much the same way as they shamed and shunned those who found themselves with an unwanted pregnancy before abortion was legalized. I see nothing Christian about such an attitude in either case.

    Having said that, Trump has made no bones about his desire to pack the Supreme Court with right-wingers and is reveling in the acclaim it has brought him from his base. That base looks forward eagerly to the overturning of both Roe and Obergefell, Yet there was huge opposition by that same base to Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination on the grounds that he was too liberal. Of course, they are utterly oblivious to the outrageous hypocrisy on display. That is why I believe the procedure for selecting Supreme Court justices should be revised so that no one power or group should have the power to do what Trump is doing, regardless of which party or faith they support.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    What concerns me, however is that the so-called pro-life movement appears to care little for the woman’s rights or the collateral damage caused to women’s health by the vicious campaign against Planned Parenthood.

    If Planned Parenthood didn’t exist women would access to health care. Planned Parenthood is an unnecessary, liberal outpost.

    The Christian community apparently wants to shame and shun women who seek abortion…

    Abortion is murder and murder needs to be shamed and shunned.

    To stop unwanted pregnancies we need to start fining the men who cause them. Big fines- garnish wages, for a start

  25. 25

    The idea that “… packing the Supreme Court with extreme right-wing conservative Christians … who place their religious beliefs above the law and the Constitution … ” comes mainly from the divisive issue of abortion and the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision.

    What we have here is a clash between feeling and truth.

    The ‘feeling’ part of this conflict is the perceived right of privacy that allows one to claim that what happens with/to a woman’s body is the woman’s choice, and only the woman’s choice.

    The ‘truth’ part is actually two truths; (1) The Constitutional (thus legal) truth, and (2) the truth of nature and science.

    Religion, in particular Christianity, need not even have to enter the issue.
    Roe v Wade may very well come before the Supreme Court at some point, and at that time, should it happen, the ‘fact’ that abortion is unconstitutional may be recognized in much he same fashion that slavery was finally eradicated in America, even though it was constitutionally acknowledged at the time of the ratification and beyond the Civil War.

    And thus I get to the second truth, the truth of nature and science.
    ___________________

    For years I have asked the question “How can taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?”

    Consider:

    — the target of the abortion is alive from conception as an entity distinct from it’s mother, and has never been anything but alive (nature & science).

    — the target of the abortion is a human being and has never been anything else. He or she has never been a worm, a bird, a cabbage, a monkey, a fish or any other life form other than a human being (nature & science).

    — the target of the abortion, never having entered into the human society, is as innocent as can be imagined (law).

    — the abortion does indeed take this life (nature & science).

    Constitutionally:
    — this life has been taken without “due process of law” as required by the US Constitution.
    — the presumption of innocence, Constitutionally granted in criminal cases, is denied to the object of abortion.
    — legal representation is denied to the object of abortion as is the right to confront the accuser.
    — presentation of legal charges and a jury trial of peers is denied to the object of abortion.

    So the two-fold truths of nature/science and the Constitution argue convincingly against the Roe v Wade decision.

    Again I ask “How can the taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?”

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    AYP, food for thought. Care to draw out a bit more? KF

  27. 27

    KF: Let me give it a shot.

    I have two quotes, framed and hanging on my office walls.

    “There are many, many angles at which one can fall, but only one angle at which one can stand straight. If we do not understand sin, humanity will forever test the angles.” G.K Chesterton

    “There must be a common string by which we tune. There must be a boundary to the waters if the whole world is to not turn soggy. There has to be a system of justice. If that does not happen, then strength of body will determine right and wrong.” Ravi Zacharias (by the way, this quote on my wall is signed by Ravi.)

    The last part of the Zacharias quote “strength of body will determine right and wrong” is exactly why we have such a governing document as our Constitution. It is also why it is important to have a Supreme Court that understands and adheres to our own ‘boundary to the waters.’

    If we bend and twist that boundary we do so at our own peril and run the risk as a nation of testing the angles until we fall. When and if we ‘fall’, then indeed “strength of body will determine right and wrong” and we will enter in a period of great darkness where strength, and only strength, rules.

  28. 28

    KF @26: Over to you.

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Sobering. More later, DV.

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