How France conquered Europe

There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks when decades happen, as a quote dubiously attributed to Lenin states. Last week was one of those weeks. As it began, I argued that the most significant short term effect of the Aukus agreement would not be in the distant Pacific, but rather here on our home continent,…

How France conquered Europe

East Germany’s bitter lessons for Cuba

“Homeland or Death — We Shall Overcome!” Cuba’s state motto still reflects the country’s combative self-image. Over sixty years have passed since Fidel Castro marched his revolutionary forces into Havana — now, it seems, many Cubans are tired of the permanent struggle they are asked to undertake in the name of socialism. It is likely…

East Germany’s bitter lessons for Cuba

Welcome to fully automated luxury gnosticism

Is in-person human contact now a luxury good? You might be forgiven for this impression, at least in elite coastal America, after seeing the photos from New York’s $30,000-a-ticket Met Gala last week. In one already-notorious image Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic representative for New York City, sports a gown that trailed multiple banners bearing the…

Welcome to fully automated luxury gnosticism

Missing the Signs: The Religious Motivations of the 9/11 Attackers

America is reeling from President Biden’s chaotic abandonment of American citizens, our Afghan allies, and religious minorities in Afghanistan. Twenty years ago this very week, America was also reeling when two jetliners smashed into the World Trade Center, a third slammed into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania as its valiant passengers overpowered their Islamist captors.

Read it all: Missing the Signs: The Religious Motivations of the 9/11 Attackers

After 9/11, the Ministry Remains

Today of course is the twentieth anniversary of the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Centres and the Pentagon. I’ve done this before but I’m going to post again the slide show/video I made for the Church of God Chaplains Commission about that event and the ministry response the church made, presented at the Church of God General Assembly the following year.

The video is divided into two parts. The first is a photo montage of the attacks; they’re still hard to watch. The second is a “roll call” of those in the church who ministered during and after the attacks, including some from Afghanistan.

In preparing this under the direction of the then Executive Director of the Commission, Dr. Robert Crick, it wasn’t our intention to produce a patriotic presentation but to focus on the Christian ministry that took place. Given recent events in Afghanistan, the wisdom of that choice has been underscored. What we do in ministry has eternal results that transcend the successes and failures of temporal nations and causes.

And so Jesus, also, to purify the People by his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go out to him ‘outside the camp,’ bearing the same reproaches as he; for here we have no permanent city, but are looking for the City that is to be.

Hebrews 13:12-14 TCNT

Secular Blasphemy is Out in the Open

On Vox, at least:

What policymakers can aim for is not a total end to Covid-19 but a balancing act. On one side of that scale is containing Covid-19 with restrictions and precautions. On the other is resuming normal, pre-pandemic life. Vaccines have changed the balance by giving us the ability to contain Covid-19’s worst outcomes — hospitalization and death — with less weight on the side of restrictions. But vaccines alone can’t drive hospitalizations and deaths to zero if all the weight on the restriction side is removed.

In part, that was the point of my piece Teaching Secular Blasphemy. Given the fact that we are continually “behind the curve” in suppressing the virus, and the natural uncertainties built into processes like this, eliminating COVID altogether in a short time frame was a fool’s errand from the start. But our leaders–and that includes those in the public health community–played on Americans’ obsession with the “perfect life” concept. (And the Aussies have done that on steroids.) No one would admit that there were trade-offs in this whole process.

Perhaps this is a sign that a reality check is underway. Perhaps.

When Labour believed in Brexit

In October 1980, the colourful trade union leader Clive Jenkins took to the podium at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Blackpool with a simple message: the British public had been deceived in the referendum on European membership held in 1975. Far from the economic uplands promised by those who campaigned to remain, British industry…

When Labour believed in Brexit

Life is one big status game

Two decades before he landed in Australia, Captain James Cook was at sea facing a desperate matter of life and death. The problem was scurvy, a deadly illness caused by Vitamin C deficiency and which had been the curse of sailors for centuries. By the time that Capt Cook set sail for the South Pacific…

Life is one big status game

How did we get here? Religious freedom never took off in Afghanistan

For those appalled by the potential of widespread Christian persecution in Afghanistan, I have bad news: the persecution imposed during the era of Taliban rule beginning in the 1990s never stopped. The Taliban’s ouster in 2001 did little to change societal norms that are anti-Christian and anti-religious minority generally. Let’s take a look back at the situation shortly after the new Afghan government was elected (November 2005) and at cases of blasphemy and apostasy, and then we’ll fast forward to conditions on the ground in 2020…

How did we get here? Religious freedom never took off in Afghanistan

This is by Eric Patterson, Executive Vice President, Religious Freedom Institute. Also about Dr. Patterson: Book Review: Eric Patterson’s Just American Wars: Ethical Dilemmas in U.S. Military History.

Another Reason to Take Down William Fulbright’s Statue

This gushing review of the Fulbright Program for “citizen diplomats” is elite pap:

Since Aug. 1, 1946, the Fulbright Program — the U.S. Department of State’s flagship international exchange program — has withstood the test of time to continually enhance mutual understanding between Americans and citizens of more than 160 partner countries worldwide. But what makes the Fulbright Program a remarkable return-on-investment for the U.S. government, as well as partner governments globally?

The only actual example he cites is from Afghanistan. Needless to say, that hasn’t aged well: my guess is that the article was written before that debacle.

I think programs like this may be designed to expose people to other cultures and make them understand them better, but I think the result is that it pushes people to see everything through the narrow, provincial woke lens that is fashionable these days. That’s what’s basically wrong with the way Americans view the world around them: products of a monoculture, they are incapable of seeing anything in any terms other than their own. The Afghanistan disaster is just an outsized example of the consequences of this kind of blindness, but there are others.

I said in an earlier post about Fulbright that “Fulbright was one of those people who was educated far past his ability to properly absorb it”, and I think his program simply perpetuates it to others. If they take down his statue at the University of Arkansas for whatever reason, there may be tears shed, but they won’t be mine.

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