by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEF
President Trump's speech on Afghanistan signalled a significant change in strategy. His emphasis on an alliance with India and a targeting of Pakistan's bad behavior is a long overdue correction of one the great contradictions in our South Asia policy. We have advocated the same. His talk began with the cultural heart of his movement. Our loyalties together as Americans are a form of patriotic love best evidenced by our soldiers. This is exactly the argument of the great book on America by the Mormon teacher, Matthew Holland, Bonds of Affection. His presidency really is about love and hate and President Trump is calling us beyond party loyalties to love one another as fellow Americans. This form of public civic love was a foundation stone of early Protestant America as it has become a forgotten affection in modern globalism. The President needs Christians to amplify this deep truth that his campaign and our country were built on. American Nationalism is religious, territorial, and economic. It is not racism.
Steve Bannon is out of the White House. That will strengthen both the President and Mr, Bannon. He learned plenty there and like a good artillery man, sometimes you are most effective far away from the front lines.
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
A BOOK REVIEW ESSAY ON CHRISTIANS AGAINST MODERNITY AND A WARNING ABOUT THE PAGAN RACISTS WHO ARE ALSO ANTI GLOBALISM: Benjamin Teitelbaum at LA Review of Books doesn't agree with Christians Cardinal Chaput or Rod Dreher in his review of their books but he gives coherent summaries of their arguments which they should thank him for. An Excerpt:
He (Chaput) indicates that his concern centers not on same-sex marriage per se, but rather on what it allegedly represents and perpetuates — namely, a society in which we are no longer able to orient ourselves because one of the most fundamental features of identity, gender, has been stripped of consequence. Any notion that certain features of who we are might be givens, that we could be born into one association or social role but not others, is now anathema. This drive to extinguish collectivizing instincts and practices, Chaput claims, is the logical conclusion of a democracy that lacks principles and ideals other than the absolute sovereignty of individuals. It requires citizens to disassociate from any institution or identity that could come between themselves and the state — be it a religious organization or a family — so that they can function as independent voices in democracy’s market of opinion. Furthermore, it pursues this hyper-individualism with fanatical intolerance of dissent.Teitelbaum understands there is another anti modernist movement afoot. It is not Christian at all but tribal and racist rejecting Christianity above all as the most global of all forces. (He has written a book on the subject Lions of the North: Sounds of the New Nordic Radical Nationalism.) For all of us Christian nationalists it is essential we understand this racialist force especially in European politics and more specifically in France's Marie le Penn and the Norwegian terrorist/mass murderer Anders Breivik. Professor Teitelbaum is an accomplished musician and ethnomusicologist. His review is an act of intelligence and perception. Another excerpt:
Christian anti-modernists may be the most tragic participants in the anti-modernist cause, however. Both Chaput and Dreher would do well to ponder more deeply the charges coming from other anti-modernists that their religion is the real driver of globalist liberalism. Some contemporary ethnic separatists — like, for example, Alain de Benoist — name Christianity itself as the enemy of community, identity, and spirituality. Modern liberalism’s claim to universal validity, its disinterest in roots and history, its yearning for a hyper-individualism, its contempt for religion — all of these features are, according to such thinkers, elaborations of a Christian model whereby God’s word is the singular, ultimate, and final revelation, where the past is sin and the future is salvation, where all are deemed equal before God and the divisions humanity has erected within itself are illusions to be transcended. The seeds of public secularism, they would argue — following Nietzsche — were sown by Christianity’s totalizing teleological vision, and by Christ’s edict to render unto Caesar. These anti-modernists may tolerate their Christian conservative allies for the time being, but fundamentally believe that a revival of Christian faith in American life will lead back to Pride parades, open borders, and godlessness. In the end, the tribes of anti-modernism may devour each other before the tiger of liberalism breathes its last.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
ISLAM AND ISLAMISM: Do all Muslims look alike? A bill to distinguish types of Islam in terms of likelihood to commit terrorist acts was DEFEATED in the US House. The vote was close. Candidate Donald Trump once advocated a moratorium on Muslim immigration until we "figure out what the hell is going on." This was an attempt to make the kind of distinctions among Muslims that we have failed to do in making allies with Saudi Arabia in the Mideast and Pakistan in South Asia. Pakistan's brand of Islam explains their hiding Osama bin Ladin and the Saudi brand of Islam explains their desire to overthrow Assad in Syria, Maliki in Iraq, the elected government in Iran and the Shia Houthis in Yemen. We are starting to discuss this question properly. Only 214 House members left to convince there are some distinctions here that need to be made. One of the most important distinctions is to appreciate these four schools of law in Sunni Islam.
A VETERAN'S HISTORY OF IRAQ - RESOLVE VS. RETREAT: Peter Hegseth tells a real truth. He leaves out how US allies(most notably Saudi Arabia) disrupted the Iraq govenmemt in formation.
KURDISTAN - THEY SEEK NATIONHOOD THE OLD FASHIONED WAY. THEY FOUGHT FOR IT: For now US disagrees and forever Turkey will object but their claim is strong. AOA's Map on Monday of Kurdistan.
REIDEL ON SAUDI-US ARMS DEAL AS FAKE NEWS: The article shows the Saudis and the Israelis have had a pretty good run since 911 at American arms dealers and the US Treasury. President Obama sold the kingdom $112 billion in weapons over eight years, most of which was a single, huge deal in 2012 negotiated by then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates. To get that deal through Congressional approval, Gates also negotiated a deal with Israel to compensate the Israelis and preserve their qualitative edge over their Arab neighbors. With the fall in oil prices, the Saudis have struggled to meet their payments since. What is coming soon is a billion-dollars deal for more munitions for the war in Yemen. The Royal Saudi Air Force needs more munitions to continue the air bombardment of the Arab world’s poorest country.
SAUDIS IN ANOTHER BATTLE IN THEIR EASTERN PROVINCE BUT THE ENEMY IS THE SAME - THE SHIA: In the Eastern Saudi city of Awamiya, entire neighborhoods are destroyed with no breathless reports about "killing ones own people" Of course to the Wahabbis, the Shia are not part of the Umma. They are not "our own people." Isn't that a central categorical fact which helps us think clearly about the Mideast.
TO UNDERSTAND AFGHANISTAN, HOLD UP FOUR MORE CARDS: China, India Pakistan and Iran. A good perspective on Afghanistan comes from understanding the contending players determining Pakistan's place in South Asia. Both nations need a new regional multinational solution. President Trump's Afghanistan speech was insightful and very different from previous strategies. Last week we featured in R& G the Brookings Institute discussion on where to go with Afghanistan. Much of the President' s policy could have been written by them. It is extremely important and quite new that targeting Pakistan and allying with India is on the table. The role of Pakistan as the base of the Taliban is the major reason there has been such deadlock. Trump has finally targeted that. A role of India is the beginning of bringing in the other regional partners needed. Afghanistan allied with India over Pakistan is a very different ally. This huge change in emphasis seems lost in reportage on President Trump's strategic speech. There is no intention to make Afghanistan a liberal democracy but we do mean to leave a stable state. That is exactly the right idea but two nations are missing from the coalition that will be able to effect this--Iran and Russia. Remember Iran shares a long border with the Afghans.
President Trump said this policy was not his first instinct. He has learned something by being behind the desk. Another lesson to learn will be that Trump's instincts on Russia and President Obama's policies on Iran must come together to make both of these countries new allies. AOA Map and Book reviews on Pakistan.
THE SOVIET UNION AND THE JEWS: If the revolution in 1917 had a dominate secular Jewish influence, the Purges in the 1950's took on an anti-Semitic bias of their own. This article is about "the night the poets died" in one of those killing purges. The relationship of Jews to Communism, to the Soviet Union and now to Russia is complicated and crucial. This article has a very interesting description of the anti fascist campaigns of WWII as well as the uneven reception of the founding of Israel by Jewish communists and other Soviets. This will be doubly true in the reaction of good communists after the Six Days War in 1967. It was a separating time for many Communist ethnic Russians and Soviet Jews akin to how the OJ Simpson trial exposed an emotional divide among the races in America.
THE DESTRUCTION OF STATES AND NATIONS - THE SOURCE OF REFUGEES: Sudan is a major source of the current refugees in the world today. Christians in the southern part of Sudan broke from Muslim Northerners and formed their own nation of south Sudan. Shortly after tribal rivalries erupted into a vicious civil war. A million refugees flee the tribal bloodbath and go south to Uganda. The old household of Idi Amin becomes a refuge for the homeless.
III. AMERICAN POLITICS
RUSSIAN COLLUSION WITH TRUMP, DNC HACKED, AND OTHER TALES - CHESTERTON RESPONDS: Chesterton said, “There are three ways in which a statement, especially a disputable statement can be placed before mankind. The first is to assert it by avowed authority; this is done by deities, the priests of deities, oracles, parents and guardians, and men who have “a message to their age.” The second way is to prove it by reason; this was done by the medieval schoolmen and by some of the early and comparatively forgotten men of science. It is now quite abandoned. The third method is this: when you have neither the courage to assert a thing, nor the capacity to prove it, you allude to it in a light and airy style, as if somebody else had asserted it and proved it already.” He followed that with, “this third method consists in referring to the very thing that is in dispute as if it were now beyond dispute.”
REPUBLICAN JEWS, SECULARISM, AND NEVER TRUMP: How American Jews fell in love with secularism. There is a deep truth which his search and study is approaching. However his conclusion that love of the Constitution would drive any reasonable man and especially an intelligent Jew to oppose Trump is part of the group think we have come to expect rom "social scientists". A six minute video lecture with Kenneth Wald. Rabbi Yoffie on the self-delusion of secular Jews.
IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
CHARLOTTESVILLE: Two hate groups to be denounced. This was done on the day of the attack by the President. The identification of white racism as the basis of nationalism is especially to be denounced by those of us who proudly say we are Christians and American nationalists. This was done by the President two days after attack. Is this really a time to blame it all on Trump. Listen to Trump's elegy on love and loyalty in an America under God. Listen to his specific condemnation of neo-Nazis, KKK and white supremacists. Maybe it is time to come together over what we love.
RALLY ORGANIZER TRIES A PRESS CONFERENCE: The mob rules and they weren't white supremacists. Excellent video of some events in Charlottesville Where were the police? A reasonable assessment of Trump's statements and the hysteria greeting him. Two sides of a very similar coin. Pat Buchanan shows his worse side. While we consider Buchanan to be one of the most astute columnists of his day, he has always been an ethnic nationalist. This is not the Christian or American brotherhood that we advocate. Spain did not conquer in the name of white supremacy but as Catholic Spain. Pat never got the memo sent loud and clear that the Irish are not really "white people" in the old Anglo Saxon working definition that ruled the east coast establishment for a few centuries. His pen is so clear and his heart is so pure that we miss him greatly in this battle. We need his Catholic mind that in this fundamental issue he has given to the WASPS. The American nation is a Christian multi racial brotherhood covenant. Why would Catholic Buchanan not assert that? A better look at the Southern culture our nation cannot lose - why Country songs are so sad.
ANTIFA - WHO ARE THEY? Antifa by Peter Biernat. Growing violence on the left - some players and history. President Trump says people who are against taking down Robert E Lee statue are not all white supremacists and neo-Nazis. He says there is a violent "alt left." Mainstream media and neocons are livid. Here is the transcript of his remarks in answering reporters on Aug 15.
REALITY AND THE SACRED: Popular essay in the Atlantic on how America is no longer "reality based." This is largely because of people who believe in a personal God and the reality of demons and the devil. How America Went Haywire. Our own reality checklist: 1)There is One God; 2) There are two sexes; 3) America is one nation under God with a place among other nations. 4) It is a life and death matter that we understand our place in each relationship.
SACRED THINGS: David Carlin reminds us of religion and the prohibitions that surround and protect the sacred. He quotes and then recommends that his readers read the great sociologist of religion Emile Durkheim. Here is AOA on Durkheim. Here is AOA on the greatest modern writer explaining how prohibitions order the categories of religion and life - Phillip Rieff on Charisma and the great "no".
NOT SO SACRED THINGS - AN END TO PROHIBITIONS MEET PENNSYLVANIA HEAD DOCTOR-DOCTOR RACHEL: A transgender role model for our kids.
HARVARD BANS SAME-SEX CLUBS(FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES): Same sex couples - OK.
MALLORY MILLET (SISTER OF KATE MILLET AN EARLY 60's FEMINIST ICON) TELLS RIVETING STORY OF THE MOVEMENT AND ITS VICTIMS: A narrative that takes you there and reminds us that what we have lost was not from good intentions gone astray but bad intentions successfully implemented. Certainly the breakdown of sexual order wrought by feminism in America is at the heart of our religious ignorance and moral debasement.
PAY MOTHERS TO: ...be homemakers - let's get serious.
ERICH FROMM - A BELIEVING RABBI READS HIS BOOK ON LOVE: The great insights of Erich Fromm in his book The Art of Loving were often derived from his deep understanding of Jewish religious tradition. The reviewer here rightly wonders what the consequences will be for the next generation if they take Fromm's advice and cut themselves off from worship of the Source of all love. From's work is marred deeply by his lifelong campaign to eliminate the living personal God. Like many Jewish intellectuals, he reaped the benefits of generations transmitting a culture of study and prayer. This type of atheistic Jewish intellectual kept studying but quit praying. He then disavows God and proclaims himself a great thinker. Fromm was a prominent voice of the Frankfort school of exiled leftist Jews who advocated a godless humanism which would culturally enact the atheistic Marxist vision that the proletariat failed to produce.
CHRISTOPHER LASCH (d 1994) - ONCE A LIBERAL BUT THEN BEGAN TO SEE THE REVOLT OF THE ELITES AGAINST THE PATRIOTS:
Christopher Lasch died at age 61 (in 1994). We will review his incredible book on the revolt of the elites soon. From WIKIFACTS:
In his last months, he worked closely with his daughter to complete The Revolt of the Elites: And the Betrayal of Democracy, published in 1994, in which he "excoriated the new meritocratic class, a group that had achieved success through the upward-mobility of education and career and that increasingly came to be defined by rootlessness, cosmopolitanism, a thin sense of obligation, and diminishing reservoirs of patriotism," and "argued that this new class 'retained many of the vices of aristocracy without its virtues.' Christopher Lasch analyzes the widening gap between the top and bottom of the social composition in the United States. For him, our epoch is determined by a social phenomenon: the revolt of the elites, in reference to The revolt of the masses (1929) of the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. According to Lasch, the new elites, i.e. those who are in the top 20 percent in terms of income, through globalization which allows total mobility of capital, no longer live in the same world as their fellow-citizens. Globalization, according to the sociologist, has turned elites into tourists in their own countries. The de-nationalisation of business enterprise tends to produce a class who see themselves as "world citizens, but without accepting ... any of the obligations that citizenship in a polity normally implies."Some excerpts from a 1980 interview:
What kinds of questions are people asking you these days?
Lasch - "Mostly about why I am so hard on liberals."
Why are you?
Lasch - "Because I think liberalism is an impoverished philosophy and it is causing all kinds of problems in our society."
Which liberalism is the villain? There are many varieties.
Lasch - "Think of the kind of liberalism that is currently identified with the Democratic party."
Of so recent a vintage?
Lasch - "As I interpret the history of liberalism it underwent a kind of sea change in the 1920s. Then liberals began increasingly to define their position in terms of a set of cultural values rather than any specific politics. H.L. Mencken was a leading figure in this change. He had nothing but contempt for the majority of Americans and developed the style of what I have called the civilized minority school of social criticism. It is a school that holds itself superior to the vast majority of Americans and is candidly elitist in outlook. Walter Lippmann called Mencken the most important thinker of his times. This elitist view came more and more to infect the liberalism of the Democratic party, which hasn't given a hoot for workers in decades, and especially to infect academic liberalism."
Presumably Lippmann himself was guilty of this elitism?
Lasch - "I think so."
What about the classical liberalism we associate with John Locke and John Stuart Mill?
Lasch - "I am worried about that too because it substitutes efficient organizations for virtuous citizens. People are left free to pursue their private interests so long as government is there to referee things with some modicum of fairness."
But you suspect that it is sometimes less than a modicum?
Lasch - "As it turns out, yes. It has become unmistakably clear that even a liberal social order requires a moral infrastructure - neighborhoods, families, churches and an array of institutions in which self-government actually works. No social order can get along without them."
I take it that you would not now call yourself a Marxist or even a socialist.
Lasch - "No. My faith in the explanatory power of the old ideologies began to waver in the mid-70s when my study of the family led me to question the left's program of sexual liberation, careers for women and professional child care. I saw a new form of socialization taking place as children were less subject to parental authority and more subject to the tutelage of the mass media and the so-called helping professions. I saw this inducing important changes in our understanding of personality and character, especially the decreased capacity for independent judgment, initiative and self-discipline upon which democracy had always been understood to depend. It was, broadly speaking, a crisis of authority but it included the degradation of work and the substitution of careerism for vocation, addiction for commitment and training for education. My experience as a parent exposed me to our society's indifference to everything that makes it possible for children to flourish and grow up to be responsible adults."