To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost on our current age of anxiety due to the threat of Islamic terrorism. This appeared in Heidelblog
Some things that are said here are true. One cannot bargain with totalitarians. One cannot bargain with those who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And perhaps that is why some Muslims are attracted those with extremist views and who think that all that is needed is for their group to seize control.
Of course, it wasn't those Muslim extremists who overthrew a democratically elected Prime Minister and installed a dictator in order to stop Iran from nationalizing its oil reserves. And the foreign power that both put the B'aath Party into power in Iraq and supported Saddam Hussein up until the time when he invaded Kuwait did not come from an Islamic nation. And the foreign power that has backed many a dictator in the Middle East, such as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or its current ruler Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is not an Islamic nation. And the foreign power that enables Israel to continue its brutal occupation in the Middle East is not an Islamic nation.
The comparison to Pharaoh here doesn't seem to make the point that the above article wants to make. For part of Pharaoh's angst was that he and his predecessors' actions were driving the desire of the Hebrews to leave. If we were to compare ourselves to Pharaoh, then we would be asking what actions has our nation and the West taken to drive some Muslims to want to become extremists and those extremists to want to commit terrorism against us. The answer given by the article above is that they are not like us. They are totalitarian, we are not. Well, in this nation, we might not be. But how can we say that our nation isn't totalitarian when it has supported so many totalitarian regimes in the Middle East and the rest of the world for the sake of business interests? So it seems that liberals and progressives are not the only ones who are in denial of their sins, especially those sins of idolatry.
To Lea Singh and her blogpost warning religiously conservative Christians about the their coming persecution because of their faith and stands against changes in society. This Appeared in the imaginative conservative blog.
What Lea Singh fails to consider, when drawing analogies with past persecutions of others, is whether all actions currently being taken against Christians today have merit. Instead, all of the listed "persecutions" for Christians today are cast as if the Christian faith is the only reason why we are receiving some scorn. Consider some of those "persecutions":
1. Losing standing in society
2. Losing tax breaks for Christian businesses
3. Fines for businesses and individuals
Are losing standing in society and tax breaks signs of coming or examples of current persecution or do they merely point to a loss of privilege over others? Does losing privilege over others mean persecution is coming?
Or consider fines for businesses and individuals and whether they are signs of coming or examples of current persecution. Note that no context is provided for those fines. That those fines were for practicing discrimination against others. Does our faith demand that we discriminate? During the Jim Crow era, didn't some Christians believed that? Currently, some Christians believe that we must discriminate in various ways against the LGBT community. If that is true, then doesn't the absence of penalties for such discrimination signal the persecution of that community?
The above is nothing more than another example of a the-sky-is-falling article because this town, which is society, is not big enough for there to be equality for both the LGBT community and religiously conservative Christians. And if we oppose equality for others, then doesn't scorn we receive qualify as protection for others more than persecution of us? On the other hand, describing the changing status of religiously conservative Christianity in society as signs of coming or examples of current persecution stirs a natural tribal instinct that prevents from becoming self-aware because we are too busy circling the wagons.
Finally, we might consider Singh's citing of Rod Dreher's description of the Benedict Option. For he describes it in the following way:
The ‘Benedict Option’ refers to Christians in the contemporary West who cease to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of American empire,
The operative word there is 'cease' for we need to consider why we would ever identify Western Christianity with supporting the American Empire. Certainly people of color and people of conscience have continually been disturbed at such an association.
Not included in the comment below was the URL of the Forbes article cited. That article can be found by clicking here.
To Sarah Stanley and her blogpost asking if there is something inherently evil about capitalism. In that blogpost, she cites a audio discussion program hosted by Chris Brooks. That particular program was referenced in the comment below. This appeared in the Acton blog.
The episode used to back this article is full of errors that it seems deliberately manipulative. From the wrong definition of socialism to incomplete information on the epipen example used to the failure to mention Shkreli's hiking of prices.
First things first, government control of the economy is not socialism from the Marxist tradition. Why? If one reads Marx, one notes how Marx proposed a system that opposed bourgeoisie control of the workplace and the government and promoted a proletariat dictatorship. Thus, if the government does control the economy but workers are not in control of the government, then you have no socialism. This is a point made by all sides of socialism from the Marxist tradition.
We should also note that there is a form of socialism that totally contradicts the conservative working definition of socialism. That form of socialism is called Libertarian Socialism. Libertarian Socialism opposes the existence of the state.
Second, the epipen price hike controversy was not adequately explained in Chris Brooks' program. In particular, the epipen price hike followed the collapse of the only major competitor of epipen's manufacturer. Thus, according to an article in Forbes, the price hike of the epipen was because Mylan, the manufacturer of epipien, could hike the prices since it had no real competition. We should note that there are some similarities between Mylan's price hike and the price hike of an AIDS medication by 5,000% by Shkreli.
Shkreli's example is the third point and an example of a free market price rise. As with epipen, there were no government regulations that played a role in the tremendous spike in the price of the AIDS medication. In the epipen case, the lack of competition from a natural market death of a company caused the spike in price while opportunism was the cause of the price rise in the AIDS medication bought by Shkreli. Should note that Shkreli is a hedgefund manager.
Finally, the discussion on Capitalism in the program and in most conservative circles tends to be myopic. For these conservative tend to define the stakeholders of Capitalism by whom they can see. Unfortunately, because of the traditional definition of the term 'stakeholder,' those who are stakeholders include far more people than the ones we can immediately see. It includes migrant farm workers who are often trafficked and forced to work for less money. It includes those here who are forced to work for poverty wages and live on government assistance so that businesses can increase profits. Our economic system's stakeholders includes sweatshop laborers from other nations as well as the those who lost their jobs to those workers. Another stakeholder here includes the environment. And if one looks at the structure of Capitalism, one sees that exploitation is built in to the free market system as a necessity in order to compete at the market place. That doesn't mean that all business owners exploit people and/or the environment. But it does mean that the structure of Capitalism lends itself to exploitation. And a strong indicator of that is that there has never been a time in either Britain's or America's economy that did not exploit people either through slavery, the stealing of land, colonialism, sweatshop labor, or destroying the environment.