To Albert Mohler and his blogpost that was a reaction piece to Mika Edmonson's article comparing Blacks Lives Matter to the Civil Rights Movement of the past. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website
There are two points to be made here. The first point is that while Mohler points out the distinctions Edmondon made between the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and the Black Lives Matter movement, he neglected to point out the similarities between the two. According to Edmondson, the similarities were the tactics used, the near-term goals, and the rejection of social passivity.
The second point is a criticism of Edmonson's recognition of who belonged to the CIvil Rights Movement. For while Edmondson forcussed on King and the SLC, other groups were involved too such as SNCC, NAACP, the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, those who riioted and others. All of them worked for Civil Rights and are part of the Civil RIghts Movement.
All of this points to is the bar we set for individuals and groups who would be recognized as valid challengers to the status quo reflects our resistance to change. Quite often we set the bar unreasonably high so that unless those challenging the status quo appear as saints, we often reserve the right to discount what they have to say and what they are trying to do. All we have to do is look at the Palestinian struggle for life against Israel's Occupation as an example. Since the Palestinian struggle for freedom is marred by the use of violence, many of us have sided with the Occupation despite its brutality and the injustices that are carried out. The same applies here.
The Civil Rights Movement encompassed a variety of groups, some of which would be difficult for us to discredit while others were not. But if our tendency is to first discredit those who are seeking to change the status quo in order to relieve some suffering and injustice, then we are acting just like those who resisted even the best parts of Civil Rights Movement.
To Joe Carter and his blogpost on a court ruling that struck down a pro-life law passed in Indiana. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website
What today's abortion issue brings up are the faults of those on both sides of the issue. Of course, the one side has promoted the position that the determination of what is human life worthy of rigths can be a subjective judgment depending on the group that life infringes on. Roe V. Wade must be overturned and Federal law correctly defining what human life is should be written.
On the other hand, many pro-life supporters use the abortion issue to play the role of the pharisee from the two men praying. For while they point to their opponents' sin of not caring for human life in the womb, they fail to see how America's policieis, both foreign and domestic, share the same lack of concern for human life regardless of the location of that life. Policies that impoverish regions where people live or that involve violence cause hardships and death. To not at least question those policies and the violence is to show the same lack of concern for human life that they accuse pro-choice supporters of having.
To Kyle Hanby and his blogpost on Capitalism, Cronyism, and Socialism. This appeared in the Acton blog.
The first problem with this article is that both socialism and capitalism are spoken of as monoliths. Though undoubtedly, Hanby is thinking of Socialist examples like the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, and possibly Venezuala as not being heroic. And his view of not seeing them as heroic is probably based on comparing them with the West, and the United States of the 20th century in particular.
But what is often missed in those comparisons is context and I say this as not being a fan of the political outcomes of most of these nations. What Hanby misses is the context of those revolutions. Whether you are talking about the severe suffering that took place in totalitarian regimes that preceded the revolutions in Soviet Union, Cuba, and partly in China, one has to look at the revolutions as heroic. What is missed in all of that are the hardships some of the "socialist" nations have had endure from other nations, some of them Capitalist, that 20th century US did not have to endure. For example, after winning the Revolution, the Russian gov't had to fight against counterrevolutionaries and that also included having to fight against several western nations that joined the fight. In addition, America's significant losses during WW II are almost insignificant compared to Russia's losses. That America emerged from WW II as a superpower was due in part to the location of the theaters in which it fought in WW II. Russsia lost tens of thousands of villages and tens of millions of people because of Germany's invasion. In addition, it was forced into an arms race which it didn't want by the United States. That arms race contributed to growing the authoritarianism and economic problems experienced by Russia were contributed to by Western actions.
Now we should note what happened to Cuba. We essentially fought a terrorist war against Cuba attacking civilan targets and later on enforcing an embargo.
In Venezuela, there is evidence that we supported the attempted coup of 2002 and historical precedents that say that their current eonomic problems might have been created partially by other nations. After all, before the 1973 coup in Chile, we attempted to destabilize the nation as Britain did after Mossadegh started to nationalize oil resources in Iran. We also supported terrorist attacks, for which we were convicted, Nicaragua in order to influence their elections.
So the aftermath of many socialist revolutions have not worked out, but we should note that most of those revoutions were against dictators before the revolutions only to be met with hostile policies by the United States.
There are examples where Socialism did not result in tyranny and offered economic promise but it was prevented from meeting that promise because it savagely attacked afterwards by others in a number of nations, especially by Capitalists. Such examples include the Paris Commune, The Spanish Revolution, Chile in the early 70s, Iran in the early 50s, and Nicaragua in the 1980s. And what was found with some of those examples along with Venezuela is that there were those who were helped, in particular, some of the poor.
The claim of today's capitalists is that their system has contributed more to human flourishing than any other system in history. But what is overlooked in that claim is that the bar they had to meet to make that claim includes increasing the number of people who were living on more than around $1.35 per day--not a very high bar at all. Try living in a western nation on that. Another problem is that the two nations where the largest number of people who have been lifted out of abject poverty by global capitalism are the two nations that have the most slaves in the world: India and China. And the number of those enslaved there is either stagnant or increasing.
But the biggest problem Hanby has in making his case here is that while on one hand, Capitalism measures itself solely by its materiistic results. On the other hand, Hanby says that a combination of free-market Capitalism and moral values is what helps people. Here, we should note that the moral values Hanby says are needed are hostile to materialism and vice-versa. In addition, free-markets reject the imposition of moral values. As a result, we have a global economic system that is increasing wealth disparity in many nations. But not only that, it invites conflicts, it also is significantly contributing to the destruction of our environment
To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost that reposted the Declaration of Independence. This appeared in the Heidelblog.
I think that we sometimes become too easily enamored by the wrong set of actions. For example, we are in awe of how our founding fathers regarded and treated themselves by declaring that all men are created equal. But if we judged their words and actions by how they regarded and treated others, would we come to the same conclusion? Here, we should note Frederick Douglass's speech on what the 4th of July meant to slaves (see http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july/ ):
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
Yes, slavery is now illegal here though that has not been completely eradicated in our nation. Also, we should note that the above words seemed not include the plight of Native Americans. Finally, we should note that there are others who have received and still do receive injustice after injustice as a result of our domestic and foreign policies. So while we celebrate ourselves and our founding fathers for what was written and done in history, we might rephrase Douglass's question of what Independence Day meant to the slaves of his time to the following: What does our Independence Day mean to today's marginalized and vulnerable who are the victims of our domestic and foreign policies? For it is their numbers that give the best indication of how much we really believe in the statement, 'all men are created equal.'
To Caroline Roberts and her blogpost on how Socialism has and will bring economic destruction. This appeared in Acton's blog.
What best indicates the fear Conservatives have of Socialism is demonstrated by what regimes they label as being socialist. This article provides no exception to the rule since the Nazi economics was described as being socialist and is used to counter the renewed interest in Socialism in our society. Why the interest in Socialism? It is because the failure of our economy both with the collapse of 2008 as well as the disparity that existed in the recovery from that collapse and the wealth disparity that exists in general. In addition, supporters of our current economic system view the mere recognition of climate change as a threat to our economic well-being. In addition, our economic system is uncomfortably symbolized by the society from the Hunger Games movies. In that movie, there was the Capitol where life was good and the Districts where people lived in economic subsevience to the wants and whims of those living in the Capitol. What has made people more aware of the similarities here is that we are creating more and more domestic districts. This was one of the reasons why Occupy Wall Street took off in 2011.
The Nazis could, in no even remotely reasonable way, be labeled as Socialists from the Marxist tradition. And that shows the first error of how socialism is described in this article. For here, Caroline Roberts talks of Socialism as a monolith even though neither Socilaism nor Capitalism are monliths. Libertarian Socialism, for example, is a kind that is neither described nor mentioned. In fact, there is no Marxist related Socialism described or mentioned in the article above. Rather, what the Nazis tried to install is treated as if it was the epitome of Socialism
Another problem with the above article is that it is suggested that Socialism was the Nazis' problem. Here we should note that Hitler did lift the nation out of its economic woes. What reintroduced those economic woes was the losing of the war. And, btw, it was nationalism that caused Nazi hubris to result in the utter destruction of the nation. That Gregg, the person whom Roberts cites, would attribute to one variable the post war economic timeline of Germany shows an inadequate understanding of economics as well as an opportunistic attitude. Why didn't the German economic take off right after the war? Such should be a rhetorical question.
The next problem is that Roberts, following Gregg, made the Nazi economy the epitome of what happens when you have Socialism. If Roberts and Gregg are following the principle of universality here, then they should not mind if people used the overthrow of Allende and the installation of Pinochet's reign of terror as a predictor of what happens when you force free markets onto a nation. Chile is still trying to recover from that 1973 coup and its after effecs.
We might want to note that perhaps our economy has more similarities with Nazi Germany's economy than any socialist economy has. After all, Hitler's policies were supported by industry leaders, not workers. In a real socialist economy, workers would have control. And here we should note that present day Germany employs some Socialist mechanisms here because in all companies that have 2,000 or more workers, workers get a substantial amount of direct representation on the board of directors.
In short, what is labeled as socialism in the above article doesn't even remotely resemble it as it comes from the Marxist tradition. Thus, one has to ask what is Roberts really writing about.
To Joe Carter and his blogpost entitled Is The Declaration Of Independence A 'Christian Document'? which was really about how only social conservatives literally believe in the line that declares 'all men are created equal.' This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website
This seems to be one of those bait-and-switch articles. That is that it uses the title to draw in those whose focus would be on the Declaration of Independence while surprising them by spending too much time on building a pedestal for social conservatives on which to stand. So in essence, this article is more of a marketing tool to sell social conservatism.
The question is this: Do social conservatives deserve the pedestal provided for them by this article? This pedestal is the claim that only social conservatives literally believe that 'all men are created equal'? One only needs to examine both the present and the past to answer the question. To believe those words to be literally true would include not having an opinion on equality for women. But suppose we include women in the mix. Have or do social conservatives literally believe that all men are created equal? Let's test that by looking at what they have and currently support.
When we go back to the days of the Civil Rights Movement, we at least find an absence of support for it from social conservatives. The reaction from social conservatives to the movement ranged from apathy to opposition. And there was a belief among at least some social conservatives that Whites should maintain a privileged place of supremacy over Blacks in society. Some opposed the movement because they feared that civil liberties would be violated by laws that acquiesced to the demands of the Movement. Here we should note the difference between civil liberties and civil rights. The former stressed liberatiranism and freedom from gov't coercion while the latter stressed the need for gov't intervention to prevent racially-based oppression from the private sector.
In response the claim that social conservatives either opposed or were apathetic to the Civil Rights Movement, many conservatives would point to the suppport Republican lawmakers gave to Civil RIghts legislation. But consider the following. First, not all Republican lawmakers were social conservatives. Second, voting on Civl Rights legislation was determined more by location than party affiliation so that the highest correlation for lawmakers who supported Civil Rights legislation was for those lawmakers who represented northern states. Third, after the passage of Civil Rights legislation, we saw a great migration of Southern Democrats over to the Republican Party as a backlash to President's Johnson's support of the Civil Rights and Voting Rigths Acts.
We might also ask how social conservatives feel about LGBT rights today. Do social conservatives support or oppose those state laws that allow people to be fired because of their sexual orientation? Do social conservatives support the legalization of same-sex marriage? Are social conservatives supporting or opposing the current wave of anti-LGBT laws?
Finally, we might ask social conservatives how they feel about our foreign wars and interventsions. Why ask about that? Because their belief in the equality of all men could be, at least partially, measured in their concern for the welfare of non-white civilians and whether it rivals their concern for the safety of American citizens and American troops.
When we address these three tests that would measure the claims that social conservatives literally believe that all people are created equal, we find that the pedestal built for social conservatives in this article is unwarranted. Thus Carter's claim that only social conservatives literally believe the words 'all men are created equal' seems to have insufficient grounds.