Dr. Strangepresident

I was very slow to draw judgment against Obama regarding his reaction to the Iran controversy of past weeks.  Now, judging from his statements and understanding the situation more clearly, I disagree with the manner in which he hesitated and with, frankly, his tone when answering questions about it.  I was slow to draw judgment because I am no Chris Jones when it comes to foreign affairs (his biting commentary regarding Honduras can be read HERE).  Therefore, when I learned about Obama’s outright repudiation of the current happenings in Honduras I was also very slow to understand what was going on, and reserved judgment.  And, frankly I don’t like to add to the pile-on of the plethora of conservative websites spouting like talking points because I think it makes us look predictable and dependent.  But, now it is getting down right weird.

The White House has condemned the Honduras Supreme Court’s decision to oust former president Manuel Zelaya.  Obama said the following about it: “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there.”  The US also co-sponsored a U.N. resolution that supported Zelaya with Bolivia, Mexico, and Venezuela.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also come out with statements, going so far as to say that it was a “coup.”  What is confusing to me regarding the issue is the fact that as far as I can tell, the “coup” was legal.

Apparently Zelaya (who may visit the U.S. soon) wanted to change the constitution of his country (reports indicate that he ultimately wanted to eliminate term-limits as Hugo Chavez has done) through an illegal referendum.  The Supreme Court explained that he could not.  But, Zelaya got Chavez to ship some ballots from Venezuela anyway and had the blame thing.  The Supreme Court and the attorney general called his referendum illegal.  Nonetheless, Miguel “never give up” Zelaya fired the guy that told him “no,” gathered a mob, broke into the building that had the ballots, and tried to do it all over again.  Following constitutional procedure, the military was ordered by the Supreme Court to arrest him.

All of this is a bit eerie, the military ousting a president, but if anyone was the aggressor or attempting a “coup,” it would be the former  president.  Following the constitution, again, the Honduran congress has elected an interim president until the previously scheduled November elections.  The new president chosen to serve out Zelaya’s term recently stated, “We have established a democratic government, and we will not cede to pressure from anyone. We are a sovereign country.”

So, my question that will sound old-hat to the political talk-show junkies like me is, whatever happened to the no meddling theme that we heard so much about during the Iran crisis?  I don’t get it.  Perhaps someone with a different perspective can fill me in.

41 thoughts on “Dr. Strangepresident

  1. I’ll have to say that I agreed with President Obama’s handling of Iran, but I agree that his meddling with the Zeyala affair is further proof (like we needed further proof) that he is a Marxist.

  2. Yeah, Obama is a Marxist. I forgot about that. I guess that makes almost every country in the Western Hemisphere, the Organization of American States, and the U.N. General Assembly Marxists as well. Where’s the logic there? I don’t think Obama was correct in saying that the “coup” was illegal. It is quasi-legal under the Honduran constitution. However, in my opinion, I think they ousted him too quickly — he hadn’t really committed “treason” yet. He was only calling for a plebiscite (legal under the constitution); of what demeanor one can speculate, but he hadn’t done anything that was technically illegal.

    I know it’s liberal, but the DailyKos does an awesome job of explaining the Honduran constitution and the arguments on both sides:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/1/748843/-Honduran-coup:-legal-but-illegitimate

    And Justin, there is a great distinction between handling Iran and Honduras. They are completely different countries with completely different histories. Plus, Iran hates us and uses our actions and condemnations for propaganda purposes. We share a much friendlier relationship with Honduras. Those points alone suffice to show why Obama would react completely differently to each situation. You wouldn’t want him to have one blanket approach to every country, would you?

  3. “Yeah, Obama is a Marxist. I forgot about that. I guess that makes almost every country in the Western Hemisphere, the Organization of American States, and the U.N. General Assembly Marxists as well. Where’s the logic there?”

    Yes, I can pretty confidently state that the U.N. General Assembly is Marxist–maybe worse. I’m not going to lie, however–I don’t know a lot about the Organization of American States, but, since this is the 21st Century, if I were a betting man, I’d bet my new car that it is just as Marxist as the U.N. General Assembly. And, yes, Obama is a Marxist.

    Johnny Q, I’m not going to place much confidence in your ability to research (I really don’t mean that disrespectfully, but I’ve engaged in “conversation” with you before…), but, before you voted for Obama, did you, by chance, read his book “Dreams from my Father,” or were you just one of the many Obama groupies?

    Let me sum up Obama, your holy redeemer, for you. He has a twenty-year connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in which he not only listened content to outrageous tirades against whites and America, but also had Rev. Wright marry him and his wife and baptize his children. As if Rev. Wright’s own words don’t speak enough as to who he is, Wright also has connections to Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Moreover, Obama himself also quotes extensive conversations he had with black nationalists and basically said that he only disagreed with them because it wouldn’t be politically expedient for black people to separate from whites. And although he ran for and won the presidency of a Western nation, he doesn’t consider himself a Westerner:

    “And by the end of the first week or so, I realized that I’d made a mistake. It wasn’t that Europe wasn’t beautiful; everything was just as I’d imagined it. IT JUST WASN’T MINE. I FELT AS IF I WERE LIVING OUT SOMEONE ELSE’S ROMANCE; the incompleteness of my own history stood between me and the sites I saw like a hard pane of glass.” (emphasis mine)

    Congratulations, Johnny Q. You have just helped to elect a man who overtly considers Europe, the heart of Western Civilization, not his. As it turns out, Obama seems to have been and to be obsessed with his racial identity. This is a common Marxist ploy–make everything about race, and pit black against white and white against black.

    Obama also referred to himself as a “community organizer.” Now, most people (especially almost all conservatives) totally missed Obama’s cue here. The reason why all the crazy leftists worked so hard for Obama is because they saw in him a true radical. Ever heard of the book “Rules for Radicals”? Considering Obama’s background in Chicago, his work as a far-left “community organizer” in the Chicago scene, his connections with communists, and his reputation as the former most liberal Senator in the Senate, it is safe to say that Obama was, in part, trained, perhaps only indirectly, by Saul Alinsky’s book–“Rules for Radicals”–which was dedicated to Satan (http://www.tnr.com/story_print.html?id=a74fca23-f6ac-4736-9c78-f4163d4f25c7).

    Trust me, Johnny Q, Obama’s a radical communist. Check out this article as well: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/06/obama_the_african_colonial.html

  4. Um, I think I’m going to wait until Obama starts talking about things like the abolition of private property, international proletarian revolution, and economic central planning before claiming that he’s a communist.

  5. Joe, his policies are going to make private property less private, he’s very much an international thinker and figure, and, since he came into office, the government owns GM and has started enormous “stimulus packages.” Also, being a Marxist/communist isn’t as simple as having a specific economic policy. Marxists are radical leftists who basically hate every aspect of traditional Western societies. There’s a reason why anarchists and Marxists were (and are) so similar. They both have a common goal of bringing down not only traditional governments and nations, they also intend to bring down social norms that have arisen as a result of Western progress, such as using soap and taking showers–no kidding.

    After I introduced Virgil Goode at UNC, I sat down, unknowingly, right in front of some SDS protesters. (They were quiet before the speech started, so I didn’t notice them.) A second later, I smelt an awful stench–and realized to my horror that it was overwhelming body odor. Yes, body odor. I turned around, and, sure enough, some Marxist SDS students were sitting behind me. You see, they reject the bourgeois, “socially constructed” notion of what smells good. Since soap and showers are luxuries that not all people can afford, stinking is their way of protesting against the wealthy. It’s almost as if they see soap and showers as a means of oppressing the poor–soap separates the poor from the wealthy. Also, if the “socially constructed” notion of what smells good is not the lowest common denominator–unchecked BO–then some people are going to be left out, i.e., the people who can’t afford to have a smell other than their unchecked BO.

    Sounds crazy, but it’s true. That’s the SDS for you. Just take a gander at them if you ever get the chance (just make sure you plug your nose).

    Now, I’m not saying that Obama is as bad as the SDS. I was only trying to make the point that being a Marxist is not quite so simple as having certain economic policies.

  6. hahahaha, this is all quite silly. I didn’t really think quasi-educated people had such crazy thoughts about our government. But, I guess there are always a few apples in the bag that are full of worms.

    No soap & water = Marxist? haha. That’s quite a leap. So wait, doesn’t Obama have to first maintain a dictatorial rule and then cede power and turn America into a classless society? When’s that happening, Riley? What’s your time frame?

    IN ALL HONESTY: If this doesn’t happen by the time Obama’s presidency is over, will you reconsider your beliefs? Please be rational. That’s all that I ask. The world is not a conspiracy theory.

  7. “Congratulations, Johnny Q. You have just helped to elect a man who overtly considers Europe, the heart of Western Civilization, not his.”

    Last time I checked, the United States was not part of Europe…

  8. Again, being a Marxist doesn’t mean that you think that there will ever be a classless system–most realistic Marxists realize that this will never really happen. I’m not going to keep repeating myself–especially to you, Johnny. Are you going to address the FACTS that I’ve presented, or are you just going to continue to ignore them, just as you’ve ignored all the other facts and arguments that I’ve presented in the past?

    If you’re going to be honest about the crazy theories that leftists/Marxists have, Johnny, I suggest you take a Women’s Studies class. Being the open-minded man that I am, I took one. In fact, that’s where I learned the so-called “conspiracy theory” of which you speak. I didn’t learn it from conservatives.

    Chris, America is a Western nation, and Europe is the heart of Western Civilization. Americans have always had deep and various connections to Europe. Now we have a president who, because he is obsessed with his racial identity, does not consider Europe his in the sense that he believes that he doesn’t have a connection to it that most Americans consider themselves to have. That’s what I meant, and that’s what Obama meant.

    America isn’t America if she forgets her Mother–Europe.

  9. “America is a Western nation, and Europe is the heart of Western Civilization.”

    Samuel Huntington argued that Western Civilization has two cores: America, and France/Germany.

    America is not Europe. America is not Europe culturally. America’s values are not Europe’s values. America’s history is not Europe’s history, America’s past is not Europe’s past. Hardly anyone in America was born in Europe, and a very large minority of Americans are not descended from Europeans and therefore have no cultural connection to the place.

  10. “Samuel Huntington argued that Western Civilization has two cores: America, and France/Germany.”

    I’ll be honest–I’m not much familiar with Samuel Huntington’s work. But (and take this for what it’s worth) according to Wikipedia, Huntington considered Western Civilization much more than simply America, France, and Germany:

    And if that’s really what Huntington argued, then I can’t imagine what his reasoning could have been. Not to consider England, Italy, Greece, Norway, Sweden, and much (if not all) of Eastern European nations (such as Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, etc.) Western Civilization is quite preposterous, in my opinion.

    “America is not Europe.”

    I never said that America is Europe. Can you quote me saying so?

    “America is not Europe culturally.”

    Well, certainly there are differences. But America got her culture directly from Europe—-America is a branch on the tree of the Western Civilization, which Europe birthed, and which Europe and such nations as America maintain. Also, America has always been quite similar, culturally speaking, to Western Europe. To be honest, I’ve never really heard anyone dispute this.

    “America’s values are not Europe’s values.”

    I think you’d be surprised just how much we have (and have had) in common in terms of values. Just go study the history of WWI and the subsequent behavior of the British towards the Americans.

    “America’s history is not Europe’s history, America’s past is not Europe’s past.”

    Well, of course. We have had a lot of interaction, though.

    “Hardly anyone in America was born in Europe, and a very large minority of Americans are not descended from Europeans and therefore have no cultural connection to the place.”

    So? How does this debunk my original statements? There’s a reason why so many Americans make pilgrimages to the Mother Continent to visit the lands of their ancestors. My uncle recently took a trip to Scotland, and he was greeted as a brother by several Scotsmen because his last name is “Matheson,” which is a Scottish Clan.

    As I said, if you know the history of America, you know that we got our culture from Europe, whether you are descended from Europeans or not. In fact, Tom Tancredo goes so far as to say that America is an Anglo-Saxon country. Of course, Tancredo is, ethnically, pure Italian. But he still makes the claim that America is, culturally, an Anglo-Saxon nation, and he fights to keep it that way. He believes that, despite his heritage, he can fully participate in this Anglo-Saxon culture by assimilating into it, and trying his best to preserve the Anglo-Saxon traditions that were here before his ancestors ever came. I once heard a story about his Italian grandparents arguing. His grandfather became so angry that he broke out into a rant in Italian. His grandmother said to his grandfather, “No, in America, we argue in English.”

    Chris, I’m surprised that you would make the claim that “a very large minority of Americans are not descended from Europeans and therefore have no cultural connection to the place.” Are you saying that black Americans who speak English, participate in our judicial system, participate in our republican government, go trick-or-treating on Halloween (a very old Western tradition), etc., “have no cultural connection to [Europe]?”

  11. Sorry, I wasn’t clear on that first point. Huntington’s model of civilizations holds that civilizations have “core states” that take on leadership roles within these civilizations and are the source of many of the features of that civilization. For example, Russia is the core state of the Orthodox civilization, India the core of the Hindu civilization, etc. He argues that the West has two cores: America, and France/Germany.

    “America got her culture directly from Europe”

    This is not entirely true. Yes, America got SOME culture directly from Europe. However, we also got it from Mexico (in the Southwest), Africa (in the Southeast), China (in the west) Cuba (in Florida), Japan (in Hawaii and California), and Russia (in Alaska). Not to mention the myriad and diverse cultures which were already here when the Europeans arrived.

    All of this is part of America, something which is not shared by Europe. America is a diverse nation whose culture and origins of its people cannot be traced back to a single region.

    “There’s a reason why so many Americans make pilgrimages to the Mother Continent to visit the lands of their ancestors.”

    And I can see why Barack Obama doesn’t feel this way about Europe. Instead, he visited the land of his ancestors by visiting Kenya, a land with which he feels an ancestral connection. This doesn’t make him any less of an American for doing so.

  12. Also, your last paragraph is somewhat puzzling to me: Are you saying that black American culture is the same as white American culture? Because that simply is not true.

  13. ” ‘America got her culture directly from Europe’

    “This is not entirely true. Yes, America got SOME culture directly from Europe. However, we also got it from Mexico (in the Southwest), Africa (in the Southeast), China (in the west) Cuba (in Florida), Japan (in Hawaii and California), and Russia (in Alaska). Not to mention the myriad and diverse cultures which were already here when the Europeans arrived.”

    Again, I’ve never made the assertion that America’s culture is uniform or homogenous, nor have I made the assertion that America has never mixed with any other culture. But let’s consider Mexico. Whence did Mexico get her culture? From Spain, of course. So in the case of Mexico, Southwest America ultimately did get her culture from Europe. Also, I would say that you are attributing an excessive amount of influence to Mexico. Certainly, Mexico did influence the Southwest, but don’t forget that Texas used to be Mexican, and then it ended up being annexed by the Yanks because of the Mexicans’ foolish decision to invite a bunch of Americans, who were not properly assimilated into Mexican culture, to inhabit Texas. If not for the Americans living in Texas, it’s quite possible that Texas would be Mexican territory today. So actually, there was something of a clash of civilizations in Texas between the Americans and the Mexicans, and the Americans won out.

    As far as African culture affecting the Southeast, Chinese culture affecting the West, Japanese culture affecting California, and Russian culture (which I consider Western anyway) affecting Alaska, you are definitely attributing too much to Africa, China, and Japan (who got much of her culture from the West previously).

    So my claim is very, very close to being “entirely true.”

    ” ‘There’s a reason why so many Americans make pilgrimages to the Mother Continent to visit the lands of their ancestors.’

    “And I can see why Barack Obama doesn’t feel this way about Europe. Instead, he visited the land of his ancestors by visiting Kenya, a land with which he feels an ancestral connection. This doesn’t make him any less of an American for doing so.”

    Barack Obama is half-European (I’m not exactly sure what his lineage is, but he’s definitely half-European), so I, on the other hand, can’t see why he feels this way about Europe, unless his feelings are explained by his Marxist/anti-West sentiments. Kenya is not the only land of his ancestors. Again, I believe that America is rooted in the European tradition, so I don’t think that people who don’t identify with Europe CULTURALLY (I’m not talking about their racial/ethnic heritage, mind you) can be very good Americans.

    “Also, your last paragraph is somewhat puzzling to me: Are you saying that black American culture is the same as white American culture? Because that simply is not true.”

    I think the paragraph to which you are referring is perfectly clear. I don’t think in racial or ethnic terms, so I think that people of all racial or ethnic backgrounds can adopt whatever culture they want. What I’m saying is that black Americans DO have a cultural connection to Europe if they adopt and practice cultural traditions that originated in Europe. YOU are the one who said that they “have no cultural connection to [Europe].” This is patently false. If I were to have said exactly what you said, I would have been denounced as a racist. Perhaps “black culture” is different from “white culture,” but this doesn’t mean that blacks “have no cultural connection to [Europe].”

    By the way, I don’t mean to be a pain in the neck, but what exactly is “white culture?” What’s “black culture?”

  14. “Whence did Mexico get her culture? From Spain, of course. So in the case of Mexico, Southwest America ultimately did get her culture from Europe.”

    Mexican culture is not exclusively Spanish. It is a mixture of Spanish culture and the cultures that existed in Spain before the Spanish conquest. It then developed apart from Spain for ~500 years.

    “Also, I would say that you are attributing an excessive amount of influence to Mexico. Certainly, Mexico did influence the Southwest, but don’t forget that Texas used to be Mexican, and then it ended up being annexed by the Yanks because of the Mexicans’ foolish decision to invite a bunch of Americans, who were not properly assimilated into Mexican culture, to inhabit Texas. If not for the Americans living in Texas, it’s quite possible that Texas would be Mexican territory today. So actually, there was something of a clash of civilizations in Texas between the Americans and the Mexicans, and the Americans won out.”

    There were many Texians of Mexican descent (Tejanos) who fought in the Texas war of Independence against Mexico.

    Also, Texas seceded from Mexico because of harsh laws being passed by Santa Anna’s regime, not because they felt like joining the United States due to cultural connections.

    “As far as African culture affecting the Southeast, Chinese culture affecting the West, Japanese culture affecting California, and Russian culture (which I consider Western anyway) affecting Alaska, you are definitely attributing too much to Africa, China, and Japan (who got much of her culture from the West previously).”

    Well, considering that African-Americans are the largest ethnic group in the southeast, I don’t consider that “attributing too much”. Also, considering that Japanese are the largest ethnic group in Hawaii, that’s also not “attributing too much.”

    I’d like to hear why you consider Russian culture to be Western, considering that most scholars consider it to be different, and most Russians would agree.

    I’d also like to hear why you think Japanese culture is western, especially since Japan practiced a policy of strictly isolating itself from the rest of the world up until the 1860s, and therefore received no western cultural influences at all.

    Even today, I’d say that Japanese culture makes its way over here more than American culture makes its way to Japan.

    “Barack Obama is half-European (I’m not exactly sure what his lineage is, but he’s definitely half-European), so I, on the other hand, can’t see why he feels this way about Europe”

    Barack Obama identifies himself culturally as African-American.

    African-American culture is different from European-American culture, and European-American culture is different from European culture. African-Americans don’t see Europe as their “ancestral homeland” because it isn’t. And they can all still be “good Americans” because America is more than transplanted Europeans.

  15. “Mexican culture is not exclusively Spanish. It is a mixture of Spanish culture and the cultures that existed in Spain before the Spanish conquest. It then developed apart from Spain for ~500 years.”

    That’s correct, but the Spanish gave them a new religion and a new language, replacing two of the main pillars of a culture. I’d say that Mexico is (or at least was) Western because of these cultural influences. Now, perhaps today Mexicans don’t see themselves as Western, but the best parts of their culture came from the West. Before the Spanish, they were sacrificing each other.

    “There were many Texians of Mexican descent (Tejanos) who fought in the Texas war of Independence against Mexico.

    “Also, Texas seceded from Mexico because of harsh laws being passed by Santa Anna’s regime, not because they felt like joining the United States due to cultural connections.”

    This is partially true, but you’re not being realistic. If it weren’t for the Americans present in Texas, Texas probably wouldn’t have been annexed by America, and it probably wouldn’t have even won independence from Mexico, considering that Sam Houston, an American, headed the Texian Army against Santa Anna. Also, after Texas won independence, the Americans must have had quite a bit of influence, considering that there was one nationalist movement (headed by an American) to kick out the Indians and keep Texas an independent Republic, and the opposing movement (also headed by an American) sought to get Texas annexed by the U.S.

    You see, Americans, back then, were a lot like John Wayne—they were independent. They didn’t like being told what to do. They were of the protestant Anglo-Saxon tradition, the Mexicans were of the Catholic Spanish tradition. It was very unwise for the Mexicans to allow such Americans to inhabit Texas. Of course, the Mexicans gave a halfhearted attempt to assimilate them. The Americans were supposed to learn Spanish and convert to Roman Catholicism, if I remember correctly. The Americans not only didn’t follow more basic laws, they never really converted to Roman Catholicism, and they never really spoke Spanish. Yet, the Mexicans continued to let the Americans come.

    To their credit, eventually the Mexicans realized the danger that Texas was in to become too Americanized, and halted Yankee immigration. Unfortunately for Mexico, it was too late. The damage was done. Not to credit the Americans (who, of course, called themselves Texans) with the winning of Texas’ independence, and with getting Texas annexed by the U.S., is absolutely ludicrous.

    What’s horribly ironic is that America is repeating Mexico’s error. We are allowing a huge number of Mexicans to cross the border illegally, to practice their Mexican culture, and therefore not to assimilate to American culture. There have already been movements in American cities and towns to declare Spanish the official language. There have also been other movements to revert the American Southwest to Mexico via various other means. Ricky Sierra, a member of the Chicano National Guard, once said: “We’re recolonizing America, so they’re afraid of us. It’s time to take back what is ours.”

    At least Mexico recognized her error—we never will, though, because the people who sound the warning bells are called “racist,” “anti-immigrant,” “morally offensive,” etc.

  16. “Oh, so all of a sudden “African” is an ethnic group? If “Africans” are an ethnic group, then why aren’t “Europeans” considered an ethnic group?”

    Just like in the Caribbean and other parts of the African diaspora, any lower levels of cultural identity were destroyed through the slave system.

    “Also, because of slavery, African-Americans weren’t able to share their culture very much with European-Americans. They’ve obviously contributed to literature (which was written in English and which shared American values), poetry (also written in English), and music, but I would say that these contributions weren’t so much “African,” per se, as they were Western contributions coming from black people.”

    Well, let’s take music for example. Genres such as blues, R&B, jazz, gospel and rap borrow heavily from African musical traditions of rhythm and call-and-response. Of course, lots of people of all cultural backgrounds listen to all of the above genres. And music such as blues heavily influenced the development of rock music, which in turn led to most of the music that has been produced in America since the 1940s.

    “The Russians have always tried to mimic their neighbors to the West. They share many of the same problems that other Westerners face. It seems that many Russians have begun to consider themselves non-Western because of their treatment by many Western leaders…”

    I think it would be more accurate to say that the Russian Tsars in the 18th and 19th centuries tried to mimic the west. In fact, some of them couldn’t even speak Russian – they only spoke French in the court. However, the attempts by the Tsars to move Russia into the west met an immovable obstacle: The Russian people. Russians have never considered themselves western…it’s not something that has sprung up in the last 8 years.

    “I didn’t mean to suggest that the Japanese are Western, but they have certainly gained very much from the West—the British especially. As Paul Johnson, a British historian, notes, the British instructed the Japanese in the ways of “international respectability, constitutional propriety and rule of law.””

    Huntington quotes former Singaporean president Lee Kuan Yew as calling the process “modernization without westernization.” Many Asian countries have followed this route. They have adopted functional things created by the west as they see fit while retaining their own cultural institutions.

    However, I don’t see where the Japanese adopted “international respectability, constitutional propriety and the rule of law” any time in their history from 1868-1945. After 1945, yes, but they got that from their constitution written by Douglas MacArthur, not from Britain.

    “I also believe that EVERY AMERICAN, regardless of race or ethnicity, should recognize America’s Mother, and Europe is America’s mother.”

    And my point is that this is not the case…Europe is just one of many sources of American culture (which has been developing independently of Europe for the last few hundred years anyways).

    “It’s clear that we have a fundamental difference in our values.”

    I think that’s clear. But I think it goes deeper than what you mention. The difference is that you think the interests of the majority group override the interest of the individual. I place much more value on the interest of the individual.

  17. “Just like in the Caribbean and other parts of the African diaspora, any lower levels of cultural identity were destroyed through the slave system.”

    Okay, so if “lower levels of cultural identity were destroyed through the slave system,” then doesn’t it stand to reason that African culture was largely destroyed? Obviously, you’ll admit that the Africans were converted to Christianity (the religion of the EUROPEANS), and had to learn English (the language of the EUROPEANS who brought them to America), therefore forgetting their indigenous religions and languages. Well, religion and language are HUGE for culture. Also, slavery inhibited Africans from effectively passing their culture on to their descendants. Their lives were controlled by their masters. So I think it stands to reason that Europeans had much more of an effect on them than they had on the Europeans.

    Also, the Europeans who formed the high culture of the American Southeast segregated themselves very much from the Africans.

    “Well, let’s take music for example. Genres such as blues, R&B, jazz, gospel and rap borrow heavily from African musical traditions of rhythm and call-and-response. Of course, lots of people of all cultural backgrounds listen to all of the above genres. And music such as blues heavily influenced the development of rock music, which in turn led to most of the music that has been produced in America since the 1940s.”

    That’s right. What’s your point? That blacks (who had been thoroughly Americanized and Westernized) contributed to music? So what? At that point, they were Christian, they spoke English, and they had been HIGHLY influenced by Western values and culture. Also, while their music influenced the Western musical tradition, I’d be willing to bet that they wouldn’t have developed the blues, R&B, gospel, etc. if it were not for the preexisting Western musical tradition.

    Also, while many Westerners listen to such music, many Westerners also study, play, preserve, and listen to what is commonly known as “classical music,” which is indigenously European.

    “I think it would be more accurate to say that the Russian Tsars in the 18th and 19th centuries tried to mimic the west. In fact, some of them couldn’t even speak Russian – they only spoke French in the court. However, the attempts by the Tsars to move Russia into the west met an immovable obstacle: The Russian people. Russians have never considered themselves western…it’s not something that has sprung up in the last 8 years.”

    Okay, whether or not Russia is a part of the West is not really the point here. Nevertheless, I’ve talked to various Russians and Slavic people in general and they can often be offended by your view. In fact, many Russian PEOPLE (not nobility) today try to mimic their neighbors farther West. Also, keep in mind that not all scholars consider Russia so foreign to the West as you do.

    I get the impression from such Russian leaders as Vladimir Putin that they are embittered by the rest of the West for treating them like barbarians, despite their efforts to make Russia as great as any other Western nation.

    “Huntington quotes former Singaporean president Lee Kuan Yew as calling the process ‘modernization without westernization.’ Many Asian countries have followed this route. They have adopted functional things created by the west as they see fit while retaining their own cultural institutions.”

    (I’ve actually made this argument myself on one of the crdaily.com comment boards.)

    Again, this doesn’t really matter. So Japan’s not Western. Let me quote myself from my last post:

    “I guess I misspoke. I didn’t mean to suggest that the Japanese are Western…”

    This doesn’t really matter. You are still overstating the effect that Japanese culture has had on the continental U.S.

    “However, I don’t see where the Japanese adopted ‘international respectability, constitutional propriety and the rule of law’ any time in their history from 1868-1945. After 1945, yes, but they got that from their constitution written by Douglas MacArthur, not from Britain.”

    Paul Johnson was actually talking about the time before 1945, especially in the time before the English broke off the Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1921-1922.

    “And my point is that this is not the case…Europe is just one of many sources of American culture (which has been developing independently of Europe for the last few hundred years anyways).”

    I my point is that you are marginalizing the role that European culture played in developing and maintaining American culture. You are also marginalizing the extent to which our culture has traditionally reflected European culture. (Perhaps that’s changing today—but I’m fighting to preserve it.) Finally, you are marginalizing the similarities between Western Europe and America.

    “I think that’s clear. But I think it goes deeper than what you mention. The difference is that you think the interests of the majority group override the interest of the individual. I place much more value on the interest of the individual.”

    You’ve kinda sorta got it right. But while your view culminates in anarchy, mine culminates in an orderly society in which people get the identity they’re constantly seeking, in which people feel that their neighbors are not just strangers just trying to get ahead in the rat race, and in which the COMMON GOOD takes precedence over the “interest” of the individual. How can you say you believe in democracy, by the way? Because democracy is majority rule, is it not?

    And I definitely don’t think that your analysis is deeper than mine. I’m hitting upon the roots of society. I’m asking the deeper questions of what a nation is, and of what the end of freedom of speech/expression should be. I’m trying to save Western Civilization from what I believe to be its inevitable demise. You seem to be more interested in preserving the “interest” of the individual (whatever that is…) and in promoting democracy (even though democracies can be disastrous and despite the fact that your individualism seems to conflict with your stated democratic principles).

  18. Your view does not culminate in an orderly, peaceful society. Your view requires enforced thought control, which culminates in totalitarianism, which is one of the great evils of human existence.

    You are heading down the road of Francisco Franco, Antonio Salazar, Phillipe Petain and Saparmurat Niyazov…and all these leaders had one thing in common: They ran their nations into the ground.

  19. You’ve also advocated that governments should regulate culture, that they should regulate what people wear, that only Catholics and Jews should have freedom of religion, and that democracy and free markets are bad things. Forgive me, but this sounds an awful lot like an argument for dictatorship and a state-controlled economy.

  20. Well, the U.S. Government(s) already does/do regulate culture via the public schools, immigration policies, practice of affirmative action, and a variety of other means. I think that you are being naïve if you think that government doesn’t already influence and shape culture.

    I was talking about the French government specifically when I advocated that the FRENCH government should regulate the wearing of certain Muslim garb. Also, the U.S. Government already regulates dress to a certain extent. Women cannot walk around topless, and there are even more stringent dress codes in public schools. So, this opinion isn’t so extreme after all.

    I was arguing my points about Catholicism and Judaism from Roman Catholic Doctrine, so, unless you’re all of a sudden against freedom of religion, my arguments were legitimate. Also, I don’t believe that the U.S. Government should only give Roman Catholics and Jews freedom of religion at this very moment, because, as St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out, other religions can and should be tolerated on a case-by-case basis, so that greater evils can be avoided. If you had read the quotes I provided, you would have seen that, first, I was quoting the Catholic Faith, which, by your standards, should be given the legal right to exist in America, and, second, the Catholic Faith leaves Catholic legislators the option to tolerate other faiths if doing so would be better than not doing so. Go back and read the discussion.

    I’d also love to know where I said that democracy was a bad thing. I’ve said that democracies CAN be bad things, just like any form of government CAN be bad. I’ve pointed out that the majority isn’t always right, which means that democracies fail when the majority is wrong. Chris, please don’t just make stuff up.

    I’ve said that UNFETTERED free markets are bad.

    I just can’t help but notice the irony of your opinions, though. You speak of freedom of religion, but then, as it turns out, you would openly regulate Catholicism, because Catholicism directly conflicts with your modern American idea of diversity of religion.

  21. Did you not read the review? It says: “Once a vibrant farming community where union work and small businesses were plentiful, Oelwein is now struggling through a transition to agribusiness and low-wage employment or, alternatively, unemployment.” Giant agribusinesses are some of the uglier specimen created by unfettered capitalism. The review also mentions illegals driving down wages. Of course, wage depression is also good for the capitalist system, hence shipping jobs overseas or hiring third world workers (illegals) for wages that befit a slave.

    I just read in the paper today that the Pope has included “mass migration” in his list of problems that the unfettered capitalist system has produced.

  22. “I was arguing my points about Catholicism and Judaism from Roman Catholic Doctrine, so, unless you’re all of a sudden against freedom of religion, my arguments were legitimate.”

    “You speak of freedom of religion, but then, as it turns out, you would openly regulate Catholicism”

    I don’t understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that stopping you from banning other religions would affect your freedom of religion?

    “Also, I don’t believe that the U.S. Government should only give Roman Catholics and Jews freedom of religion at this very moment, because, as St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out, other religions can and should be tolerated on a case-by-case basis, so that greater evils can be avoided.”

    Hmm. So I am to be given freedom of religion only as a measure of temporary political expediency. That doesn’t really sit well with me for some reason.

    “I’d also love to know where I said that democracy was a bad thing.”

    “You seem to be more interested in preserving the “interest” of the individual (whatever that is…) and in promoting democracy (even though democracies can be disastrous…”

    “Different forms of government have proven successful with different peoples, cultures, and eras throughout the history of the West. Sometimes democracy has been a good idea, sometimes it has been a bad idea. In fact, some Westerners have opined that democracy is the last form of government that exists in a society before said society collapses.”

  23. “I don’t understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that stopping you from banning other religions would affect your freedom of religion?”

    To a certain extent, you are correct. Take this hypothetical situation. Let’s say that 75% of Americans suddenly converted to orthodox, traditional Roman Catholicism. Well, then, hypothetically, let’s say that they decided that they were going to practice their Faith to its fullest extent. Now, let’s make sure we understand what I mean by “practice their Faith to its fullest extent.” Here’s what St. Thomas Aquinas had to say in answering the question “Whether unbelievers may have authority or dominion over the faithful?”:

    “I answer that, this question may be considered in two ways. First, we may speak of dominion or authority of unbelievers over the faithful as of a thing to be established for the first time. This ought by no means to be allowed, since it would provoke scandal and endanger the faith, for subjects are easily influenced by their superiors to comply with their commands, unless the subjects are of great virtue: moreover unbelievers hold the faith in contempt, if they see the faithful fall away. Hence the Apostle forbade the faithful to go to law before an unbelieving judge. And so the Church altogether forbids unbelievers to acquire dominion over believers, or to have authority over them in any capacity whatever.

    “Secondly, we may speak of dominion or authority, as already in force: and here we must observe that dominion and authority are institutions of human law, while the distinction between faithful and unbelievers arises from the Divine law. Now the Divine law which is the law of grace, does not do away with human law which is the law of natural reason. Wherefore the distinction between faithful and unbelievers, considered in itself, does not do away with dominion and authority of unbelievers over the faithful.

    “Nevertheless this right of dominion or authority can be justly done away with by the sentence or ordination of the Church who has the authority of God: since unbelievers in virtue of their unbelief deserve to forfeit their power over the faithful who are converted into children of God.

    “This the Church does sometimes, and sometimes not. For among those unbelievers who are subject, even in temporal matters, to the Church and her members, the Church made the law that if the slave of a Jew became a Christian, he should forthwith receive his freedom, without paying any price, if he should be a “vernaculus,” i.e. born in slavery; and likewise if, when yet an unbeliever, he had been bought for his service: if, however, he had been bought for sale, then he should be offered for sale within three months. Nor does the Church harm them in this, because since those Jews themselves are subject to the Church, she can dispose of their possessions, even as secular princes have enacted many laws to be observed by their subjects, in favor of liberty. On the other hand, the Church has not applied the above law to those unbelievers who are not subject to her or her members, in temporal matters, although she has the right to do so: and this, in order to avoid scandal, for as Our Lord showed (Matthew 17:25-26) that He could be excused from paying the tribute, because “the children are free,” yet He ordered the tribute to be paid in order to avoid giving scandal. Thus Paul too, after saying that servants should honor their masters, adds, “lest the name of the Lord and His doctrine be blasphemed.” ”

    Also, (and I’ve posted this on crdaily.com before) the Syllabus of Errors has CONDEMNED the following statements:

    “77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. — Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855.

    “78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852.

    “79. Moreover, it is false that the civil liberty of every form of worship, and the full power, given to all, of overtly and publicly manifesting any opinions whatsoever and thoughts, conduce more easily to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indifferentism. — Allocution “Nunquam fore,” Dec. 15, 1856.”

    Okay, so now that you hopefully understand the Church’s position on other religions, let’s proceed. It would be a fully Catholic action (i.e., it would be a part of the practice of the Catholic Faith) for Catholic Congressmen to introduce a Constitutional Amendment that would repeal the 1st Amendment on the grounds that it says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Obviously, this conflicts with Catholicism, because “unbelievers in virtue of their unbelief deserve to forfeit their power over the faithful who are converted into children of God” and “it is [true] that the civil liberty of every form of worship, and the full power, given to all, of overtly and publicly manifesting any opinions whatsoever and thoughts, conduce more easily to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indifferentism” and, most overtly, “it is…expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship” and “this right of dominion or authority [of unbelievers (e.g., non-Catholic American governmental leaders)] can be justly done away with by the sentence or ordination of the Church who has the authority of God.”

    If you, Chris, tried to get in the Catholics’ way, you’d be obstructing the free practice of Roman Catholicism. Now, of course, since you’re not Catholic, I’m sure you have no problem with the idea of obstructing it. But your ideology of freedom of religion would be ipso facto disregarded if you were to try to obstruct the Catholics in this the PRACTICE of their RELIGION.

    I’m going to clarify these two quotes that you provided, not by changing the text, but by emphasizing the relevant words so that you can better understand what I meant:

    “You seem to be more interested in preserving the “interest” of the individual (whatever that is…) and in promoting democracy (even though democracies CAN be disastrous…”

    What I was saying, Chris, is that democracy CAN be disastrous (exactly what I said) and that I’m not hell-bent on judging every nation and people on the basis of how democratic they are. Sometimes democracy is appropriate, and sometimes it isn’t. So I was NOT saying that democracy, per se, was a bad thing.

    “Different forms of government have proven successful with different peoples, cultures, and eras throughout the history of the West. Sometimes democracy has been a GOOD idea, SOMETIMES it has been a bad idea. In fact, some Westerners have opined [I HAVE NOT EXPRESSED THIS OPINION] that democracy is the last form of government that exists in a society before said society collapses.”

    My previous response suffices the response to this quote for the most part. But it is true that “some WESTERNERS have opined that democracy is the last form of government that exists in a society before said society collapses,” so don’t try to make the claim that there is something inherently Western about democracy. This is simply not true. That’s what I meant by these words.

    Look, Chris, with all due respect, I’m beginning to feel that I’m talking to the wall. IF you HONESTLY are interpreting those two quotes of mine as condemnations of democracy, then you really need to exercise your ability to read. I hesitate to put it so bluntly, but I’m running low on patience.

  24. You are missing an important concept in the American constitution, and that is that your right to throw up your fist stops at my nose. Once your rights begin to encroach on the rights of another, that is where they stop being rights. So no, Catholics do not have the freedom to remove all non-Catholics from political office. Just like Muslims can choose to wear headscarves, but can’t make other people wear them. Jews can choose to not work on the Sabbath but can’t stop other people from doing work if they choose to do so, and so on.

    “I’m not hell-bent on judging every nation and people on the basis of how democratic they are. Sometimes democracy is appropriate, and sometimes it isn’t. So I was NOT saying that democracy, per se, was a bad thing.”

    Well I just find it curious that you don’t seem to be saying that it’s a good thing either. It definitely seems like you attach significantly less value to democracy than most Americans.

  25. “You are missing an important concept in the American constitution, and that is that your right to throw up your fist stops at my nose. Once your rights begin to encroach on the rights of another, that is where they stop being rights. So no, Catholics do not have the freedom to remove all non-Catholics from political office.”

    Aha! So you admit that “Catholics do not have the freedom to remove all non-Catholics from political office.” Well, then you are thereby admitting that Catholics do not really have the freedom to practice their WHOLE religion, because removing all non-Catholics from political office is, in the right circumstances, tantamount to practicing the Catholic Faith. Perhaps, Chris, you will eventually come to agree with John Locke, who, if I remember correctly, didn’t believe that Roman Catholicism should be tolerated. Now do you see that John Locke, who didn’t believe in the truth the Church teaches, may have had a good point?

    And although I’m no Constitutional lawyer, I was under the impression that, with the correct number of votes in the Senate and House, the Constitution can be amended. An amendment, therefore, could be drafted that would repeal the 1st Amendment. Remember, the Constitution is a document that only has authority if the people recognize it as a legitimate authority. The Church’s authority, on the other hand, doesn’t depend on your (or anyone else’s) recognizing it.

    “Well I just find it curious that you don’t seem to be saying that it’s a good thing either. It definitely seems like you attach significantly less value to democracy than most Americans.”

    What are you saying? Do you want me to recite some sort of a formulaic declaration of my worship of democracy? Why can’t you just read what I write and not come to conclusions that you have, quite frankly, no reason or right to come to? I’ve never said anything condemning democracy, per se. That should be good enough. You sound like the religion of democracy’s watchdog, always sniffing out people who aren’t singing the praises of democracy enthusiastically enough.

  26. “Aha! So you admit that “Catholics do not have the freedom to remove all non-Catholics from political office.” Well, then you are thereby admitting that Catholics do not really have the freedom to practice their WHOLE religion, because removing all non-Catholics from political office is, in the right circumstances, tantamount to practicing the Catholic Faith.”

    Yes that’s right…

    “Perhaps, Chris, you will eventually come to agree with John Locke, who, if I remember correctly, didn’t believe that Roman Catholicism should be tolerated. Now do you see that John Locke, who didn’t believe in the truth the Church teaches, may have had a good point?”

    I fail to see how this follows from my above statement.

  27. “Yes that’s right…”

    Good. Now we appear to understand one another. You seem to have acknowledged that there isn’t really such a thing as complete “freedom of religion.” That’s the point I was trying to make.

    “I fail to see how this follows from my above statement.”

    Well, let me put it this way: if traditionalist Roman Catholics (also known as orthodox Roman Catholics) ever will have become so many that 75% of the American population is traditionalist Roman Catholic, then America won’t be so tolerant a nation of other religions (such as Islam, for starters) as it is today. If you think that’s a problem, then you ought to make sure that traditionalist Roman Catholics don’t ever become such a large majority. (Trust me, you don’t have to worry. Catholics are some of the most woefully ignorant people in the world when it comes to religion. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that at least 50% of Catholics basically hold heretical views.)

  28. There is a difference between social tolerance and legal tolerance. If 75% of Americans become traditionalist Catholics, then social tolerance of other religions will be very low. However, legal tolerance does not necessarily follow from this.

    For example, there is very low social tolerance for burning the American flag. However, such behavior is still legally protected, even though I would think it’s safe to say that most Americans disapprove of the practice.

  29. “However, legal tolerance does not necessarily follow from this.”

    Well, I guess there isn’t as much mutual understanding as I thought there was. My whole point, Chris, is that there theoretically could arise LEGAL INTOLERANCE if Catholics represented such a large majority. So, if you don’t want there to be LEGAL INTOLERANCE such as the kind that I’ve documented and described, then you ought to make sure that orthodox Catholicism doesn’t become the religion of the large majority of Americans (which would mean that you would have to amend your policy of complete freedom of religion).

  30. Or I could argue against such an amendment to the US Constitution and let the competition of ideas take its course. It’s a better method than rounding up traditionalist Catholics and putting them in camps, or whatever idea you think would be necessary to “make sure” that this doesn’t happen.

  31. That’s very true, Chris. I do admire your commitment to your principles. Perhaps you could convince the Catholics not to amend the Constitution. I’d certainly listen. In fact, I might even vote against the proposed Amendment on the grounds that it would be imprudent and might cause excessive scandal. That’s a completely Catholic way by which I would be able to vote against the proposed Amendment.

  32. But you can’t be sure that you’d be able to convince enough of us. And if you weren’t able to do so, well, then you know what would end up happening. If you want to MAKE SURE that the state of religious freedom stands as it does in the 21st Century U.S.A., then you simply have to control changes in the religious demographic.

  33. So in other words, in order to protect freedom of religion I have to eliminate freedom of religion?

    That makes very little sense.

  34. Well, that’s not really what I was trying to say. What I was trying to say was that there is no such thing as complete freedom of religion.

    Complete freedom of religion is impossible. Every society has to restrict religion at some point. If you will acknowledge that fact, then I’ll shut up.

  35. Okay, so let’s not call me a totalitarian for claiming that certain types of religious beliefs shouldn’t be tolerated.

  36. Also, what’s necessary for maintaining order is subject to judgments vis-a-vis what exactly “order” is. It’s also subject to a system of values. If inhabitants of a certain city or town or neighborhood prefer to see people in their city or town or neighborhood dressed like conservative Baptists and not like Muslims from the Middle East, it’s my opinion that they have every right to preserve (“conserve”) that conservative Baptist aspect of their culture, and they have every right therefore to control immigration. And that’s largely where I differ from neoconservatives. I respect the rights of peoples in America, from coast to coast, to conserve their cultures. That’s why I believe so strongly in States’ rights. The people of NC shouldn’t be subject to the decisions of the people of CA or NY or MA. You see, I’m not a radical or a revolutionary. If I were in charge, the federal government simply would be subject to the power of the States—it would be better to be a Governor of a State than President of the U.S.A.

    And I know this comment may, at first glance, seem off-topic; but keep in mind that different people have different ideas about what is necessary for maintaining order. Different people have values that are different from yours, Chris. Some people have more confidence in the process of conservation than you have. Some people believe that what makes their culture great and, in their opinion, the best in the world already exists in it. And because they recognize that it already exists, they are constantly in a fight to conserve it and therefore keep it in existence. They are kept awake at night worrying that their societies are on their way to not having their current cultures.

    And, of course, liberals mock this. Liberals deride social conservatives for their (attempted) social conservation. Liberals are suspicious of it. They say that it’s useless and pointless. They say that since culture is always changing, there’s NEVER a point in trying to conserve ANY of it. Sound familiar?

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