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At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

The Myth of Munich

posted by Jack Kerwick

AFC guest blogger, Myron Pauli, shows how history has been distorted and transformed into political fodder for such fanatical war mongers as John McCain and Lindsay Graham.

 

To some, “Munich” is identified with Oktoberfest; however, to many it refers to what I call the “Myth of Munich” that Neville Chamberlain could have merely snapped his fingers and singlehandedly destroyed the Nazis but chose to “appease” them and thus is responsible for the 55 million dead of World War Two. That myth has been invoked to oppose the Nuclear Test Ban and all arms control treaties; rapprochement with China, Cuba, and Iran; as well as to start and continue wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, etc.

Britain was exhausted by an idiotic murderous war over an obscure dead Austrian Archduke which netted her Tanganyika from Germany plus 1 million casualties and war debt. One so-called “principle” from World War One was that of “ethnic self-determination” but Britain and France chose to break up the new Republic of German Austria by giving the Sudeten Austrians to a new mélange of Austrians, Czechs, Slovaks, and a few Poles and Hungarians called Czechoslovakia. To its credit, Czechoslovakia was a democracy and its largest political party in the 1935 elections was the Sudetendeutsche Partei representing 3 million pro-Nazis who clamored to join Hitler’s new Hell. Having swallowed up Austria, Hitler was now demanding to “liberate” Sudetenland. The British and French agreed to a plebiscite in principle but Hitler wanted to just grab it – hence they had a meeting at Munich and a pinky “promise” by Hitler not to ask for any more territory.

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Not only was British public opinion overwhelmingly against going to war to prevent Sudeten Nazis from unifying with German Nazis but the British military was skeptical. The pessimistic view is that Germany would crush Czechoslovakia overnight. The “optimistic” view is that perhaps the Czechoslovaks could hold out a few months and then the French Army would then attack the Germans from the Maginot Line! General Hastings Ismay, in charge of British Homeland Defense (London was bombed from the air during World War One) wrote that he thought war was inevitable but it should be postponed until air defenses (recently invented radar and new fighter airplanes) were in place to protect Britain. However, modern warmongers expect that Neville Chamberlain should have rejected public opinion and his own military because Hitler’s “promise” to stop with Sudetenland was nonsense.

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Six months later, Hitler broke his “promise” and used Poles, Hungarians, and Slovaks to carve up Czechoslovakia. British public opinion moved overnight from pacifism to militarism and now issued a guarantee to Poland. Hitler responded with an agreement with Stalin. Thus, 11 months after Munich, Poland was invaded and Britain was at War with Germany. Neville never got a Nobel Peace Prize like his older brother Austen.

The “inevitable” war did not commence well – Poland was crushed from two sides, France collapsed quickly, the puny British Army barely escaped from Dunkirk, and Chamberlain fell – but he recommended Churchill over the accommodationist Halifax as his replacement. Those silly radars and fighter airplanes that Chamberlain funded won the Battle of Britain. Britain did not fold in the year she stood alone. Having “given peace a chance” at Munich, the British kept a stiff upper lip during the bombings. One might speculate that had Britain gone to war with shoddy air defense over the principle of keeping Sudeten Nazis apart from German Nazis and that earlier war had its own Dunkirk (so much for the British Army!), there might have been the equivalent of a Vichy Britain. However, for warmongers, peace (even with rearmament) is never worth a gamble and war (regardless of realistic limitations) should always be option number one.

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Thus, the “Myth of Munich” lives on with Khe Sanh, Phnom Penh, Fallujah, Kandahar, and Benghazi. Anything short of war, even sanctions, is “appeasement” and every two-bit thug is the “next Hitler”. America has seen the massive regional chaos and the elevation of Shiite power engendered because the Myth of Munich was evoked against Saddam “Hitler” Hussein. The McCains and Grahams will continue to evoke “The Myth of Munich” against anything resembling action short of war – and the warmongering media will pick it up without question. Bad wars, like bad history, leave a terrible aftertaste.

 

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Questions on Baltimore for Democrats AND Republicans

posted by Jack Kerwick

In light of the latest Baltimore conflagration—that’s right, as Colin Flaherty, among others, have noted, mass violence and the destruction of property is par for the course in predominantly black cities like Baltimore—I offer some thoughts.

First, all too predictably, the usual suspects on the left are busy accounting for the barbarism of Baltimore’s rioters in terms of their “root causes” of choice: “police brutality,” “racism,” “the system,” etc. Contrary to what your senses tell you, so goes this line, it is not the young blacks wreaking havoc in the streets who deserve blame for their actions. In fact, these young blacks, like their older counterparts, are actually victims, the products of said “root causes.”

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(a)Why, though, do these same apologists for black pathology concern themselves with “root causes” only when it comes to explaining the awful conduct of certain groups of people? For instance, while “root causes” are forever being introduced to account for the horrible behavior of blacks, no one—well, at least not any “roots causes” fundamentalists—ever thinks to go in search of the “root causes” of, say, “white racism,” or white-on-black slavery, or male-on-female domestic abuse, rape, or “gay bashing.”

For that matter, if the “root causes” of black nihilism is an oppressive society, let’s say, then why don’t the proponents of “root causes” back up one step and attempt to excavate the “root causes” of an oppressive society?

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(b)How come “root causes” are sought only when it comes to bad behavior? After all, I don’t recall anyone plumbing the “root causes” of Barack Obama’s confidence that he could be elected President of the United States. No one thinks about the “root causes” of Bill Gates’ success.

Second, whenever orgies of black violence make national news, we are repeatedly assured that the civilization-slayers constitute but a small minority. This is what Obama sought to underscore in his press conference that he held on Tuesday when he cautioned Americans against judging the majority of the protesters on the basis of the actions of a “handful” of “criminals and thugs.”

But why don’t the Obamas of the world apply the same rule to, say, discussions of slavery? The overwhelming majority of white Americans during the era of slavery never owned slaves, and no white person today has ever owned a slave. If a handful of black thugs shouldn’t reflect poorly on the majority of the black protestors with whom they’re associated, then a handful of white slave owners shouldn’t reflect poorly on any other whites.

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Neither should the proponents of Jim Crow segregation of yesteryear be permitted to reflect poorly on the vast majority of whites who never had anything at all to do with it.

Neither should a few bad police officers be allowed to reflect poorly on the vast majority of law abiding officers.

And yet, scarcely a day passes that whites and police aren’t blasted for the actions of the few: Whenever we hear—as we always hear—about a “legacy” of slavery and Jim Crow; and whenever we hear—as we always hear—about “systemic” problems with our criminal justice system, white society is indicted.

Thirdly, but it isn’t only leftists who search for “root causes” to explain black immorality. Republican politicians and media commentators do so as well—even if their “root causes” differ from those of their Democratic counterparts.

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GOP-friendly pundits routinely castigate the left for applying double standards to blacks and whites. Yet the accusers are no less guilty than the accused on this score. Hence, in the wake of black riots (and black dysfunction generally), such commentators can be counted upon to talk about “fatherless homes,” “liberalism,” “the Welfare State,” and “the Democratic Party” as the “root causes” behind it all.

Here they are the mirror image of their political opponents.

A few questions:

(1)If it is Democrat liberal policies that have transformed black communities around the country into Third World type cesspools, then why haven’t those same Democrat liberal policies had the same effect on such bastions of progressivism as all of New England, say, or San Francisco, or the upper Eastside of Manhattan?

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(2)The obscene levels of illegitimacy among blacks are certainly harmful to those legions of poor black children that grow up without an intact family unit. But the question that Republicans never ask is: Why do so many black men act as impulsively and recklessly—as immorally—as they do in loving and leaving both the mothers of their children and their children?

Moreover, why do so many black women act as impulsively and recklessly—as immorally—as they do in having children with unreliable, irresponsible men?

(3)Imagine if it wasn’t black Americans in the streets of the Baltimores and Fergusons of the country, but Arabic immigrants chanting to Allah, etc. Or imagine if it was the images of Middle Eastern Muslims in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, or Israel that flashed across our television screens, Muslims in their own lands acting as our black rioters are acting right here at home.

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Would our conservative pundits then be inquiring into such matters as the state of the families from which these Muslims hail? Would they then be blaming policies for the actions of the thugs?

We know the answers to these questions.

A Facebook friend of mine, upon posting a photograph of a horde of black criminals destroying a police car on a garbage-strewn street in Baltimore, commented that had these been foreigners, we would, without hesitation, view them as “terrorists.” And those on the radio and television airwaves who endlessly talk about “confronting evil” vis-à-vis militant Muslims, scarcely mention evil when analyzing the scandal of black criminality.

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why.

However, until they overcome this paralyzing fear of being charged with “racism,” the Baltimores of America will continue to burn.

 

 

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Al Sharpton and Republicans: Like Draws to Like?

posted by Jack Kerwick

“Like draws to like.” “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

These are pearls of wisdom, the distilled moral wisdom of “generations and of ages,” as Burke has said.

Yet they have been largely trampled underfoot by our generation.

If there’s anyone in the world of our national political life that is more loathsome, more contemptible, a figure than Al Sharpton, I haven’t a clue as to who that person can be.

Sharpton is an extortionist, a chronic liar, and the worst of rabble-rousers who, through his utterly reckless and racially incendiary rhetoric, has set in motion multiple murders throughout his career.

Innocent human beings have died because of Al Sharpton. More have had their reputations and livelihoods destroyed.

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And yet not only is Sharpton a regular guest at the White House, as writer-pundit Debbie Schlussel informs us in, “Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul & Ben Carson Have Something Very Disturbing in Common,” some well-known Republicans have ingratiated themselves to Al Sharpton as well.

Ben Carson, Schlussel remarks, had been “given several chances to denounce Al Sharpton” while on Meet the Press. Upon alluding to Obama’s meetings with Sharpton, Chuck Todd asked Carson whether he believed that the President should be convening with the likes of Sharpton. Schlussel correctly notes that this was “a softball question that anyone with decency and honor would have—and should have—hit out of the park with a, ‘Hell no!’ and a litany of Al Sharpton’s violent and criminal history of race merchantry.”

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This, though, is not at all how Carson replied. “‘President Obama,’ Carson proceeded, “should be meeting with lots of people.”

In addition to this timid comment, Schlussel reminds us that Carson spoke at Sharpton’s National Action Network.

Rand Paul has been even chummier with Sharpton. While meeting with Sharpton to discuss “criminal justice reform” in the wake of the Ferguson hustle that began last summer, Paul made sure to use the occasion as a photo op: more than one picture of Paul and Sharpton shaking hands can be found easily enough on line.

During the taping of the 40th anniversary episode of Saturday Night Live, Sarah Palin too posed to have her photograph taken with Sharpton.

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The GOP faithful will doubtless seek to justify their idols’ reckless decision-making on the grounds that these Republicans are only using Sharpton in order to advance a “conservative” agenda of one sort or another. But there are several problems with this nakedly partisan rationalization.

First, if it is permissible for Republicans to muck it up with low lives like Sharpton for their own partisan purposes—if, in other words, the ends justify the means—then, presumably, it is permissible for Obama and his ilk to share a bed with Sharpton for their purposes.

In other words, if we can’t draw inferences about the characters of the Carsons, Pauls, and Palins of the world from their association with Sharpton, then it is illegitimate for us to draw inferences about Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s characters from their association with this vile creature.

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Secondly, if it was, say, David Duke, not Al Sharpton, that was the miscreant under topic, there isn’t a shot in hell that we’d even be having this discussion. The same ideological groupies—both Democrat and Republican—that spare not a moment to excuse their heroes of choice for cozying up with such a disreputable character as Sharpton would either be as silent as mice or as loud as thunder in waxing indignant.

Truth be told, it is inconceivable that any of the aforementioned politicians, or any others, would come within miles of Duke—even though he isn’t nearly as reprehensible a person as is Sharpton (after all, Duke, unlike Sharpton, doesn’t have blood on his hands).

Thirdly, it isn’t just GOP politicians who have been close with Sharpton. Some prominent GOP apologists in the so-called “conservative” media haven’t thought twice about associating with Sharpton as well.

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Schlussel correctly mentions that Sean Hannity, for instance, has been a featured speaker at Sharpton’s National Action Network conferences. Some readers may also remember that not all that long ago Sharpton would regularly appear on both Hannity and Colmes and Hannity’s radio program.

Bill O’ Reilly too hung around with Sharpton: O’ Reilly not infrequently featured Sharpton on The O’Reilly Factor, and he all but bragged about dining with Sharpton in Harlem.

Like draws to like. Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.

Schlussel provides an invaluable service in reminding us of these nuggets of the moral wisdom of generations while cautioning us against being taken in by wolves in sheep’s clothing. But at the same time, she ought to take care to apply this to herself:

Debbie, you see, used to be a frequent guest on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect.

And while Maher is not quite as disgusting as Sharpton—who is?—he isn’t all that far behind either.

Like draws to like. Show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are.

 

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The Moral Imperative of Being Mannerly

posted by Jack Kerwick

What we call “manners” consists of a family of habits or customs that are, with ever greater—indeed, alarming—frequency, regarded as, at best, niceties or pleasantries. At worst, they are viewed as the antiquated fictions of a bourgeois social order that, threatening alike as they do both the individual’s search for “authenticity” as well as the realization of an egalitarian dream—should be relegated to the dustbin of history.

The truth, though, is that we neglect manners at our own peril. Far from being superfluous to morality, manners are indispensable to it. But it isn’t just that manners supplement morality; they are a species of it: A connoisseurship in manners indicates good character.

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Conversely, the unmannerly reveal weak character.

That’s right: Manners constitute a virtue.

Specifically, as writer Ilana Mercer, quoting George Will, recently reminds us, manners compose the virtue of civility.

And what a vital virtue this is.

There can be no civilization where there is no civility. Conversely, where there is a lapse in civility, barbarism supervenes.

It is often said that it is the police—“the thin blue line”—that separates civilization from barbarism or savagery. For as important as police are, the truth of the matter is that it is, first and foremost, parents upon whose shoulders civilization rests. After all, the child—as feral at birth as is any other animal—is made over into a person, a civilized being, courtesy of the moral education that it begins to receive while in the cradle. In no small measure and as a foundation for all that comes later, this education into the virtues consists of manners.

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As it embarks upon its long trek from the savagery of infancy to the light of civilization, among the first words that a child should learn are those of “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” (and, of course, their non-English counterparts). To reiterate: these are among the first words that children should genuinely learn—and not just hear. Parents must labor tirelessly to habituate their children, not into “using their manners,” as the old saying goes, but into becoming mannerly human beings, for mannerly human beings are civilized persons.

Just a cursory glance at the passing scene today (all too) readily reveals that there is nothing less than a crisis of manners that seems to have overcome adults and children alike. The fundamentals that my whole family—parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles—besieged me with from as early on as I can recall, appear to have been lost upon ever-burgeoning legions of people from every conceivable walk of life.

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Whether at a restaurant or the gym, church or work, it is simply impossible to avoid encountering people who are either incapable of or unwilling to do something as simple as say “hello” while looking you in the eye. Evidently, these are the same folks who find it a challenge to walk and chew gum at the same time.

On the other hand, unsurprisingly, it has become just as difficult for people to refrain from engaging in, say, public cursing as it has been difficult for them to exercise manners. After all, the essence of manners—and, hence, the essence of civility—is self-restraint. It stands to reason, then, that as manners recede, they will be replaced by self-expression.

But self-expression, taken to the extreme, is barbarism.

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Manners, being the stuff of the virtue of civility, are worth cultivating for the same reason that any virtue is worth cultivating: virtues are character excellences, goods that enable the virtuous person to live a better life than he or she otherwise would have. Yet manners, like any other virtue, and even more so than most, also serve the interest of supporting civilization, for where there is a mannerly people, there is a self-restrained people, persons mindful that the universe is one that they share with other persons.

This last consideration bears elaborating.

Mannerly people, though far from perfect in virtue, have a moral leg up on the unmannerly in that they at least acknowledge the existence of other human beings. Recently, while at the school at which I teach, a colleague—and a person from whom I have a right to expect more—passed me by without so much as issuing a simple “hello.” This was not the first time that this has happened, and from what I understand, this is not at all atypical conduct for this individual. At any rate, this latest event got me frustrated enough to get me to thinking some more about manners.

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So why am I as exasperated as I am with this sort of thing?

Simply put, while it is breathtaking in its rudeness, it isn’t just rude.

It is cruel.

Unmannerly actions of this kind have the effect of either objectifying those to whom they’re directed by treating them as if they were no different from any other inanimate thing or, worse, reducing them to the status of non-entities.

Unmannerly people endanger their own moral well-being as well those with whom they share the Earth.

Previous Posts

The Myth of Munich
AFC guest blogger, Myron Pauli, shows how history has been distorted and transformed into political fodder for such fanatical war mongers as John McCain and Lindsay Graham.   To some, “Munich” is identified with Oktoberfest; ...

posted 9:15:36pm Apr. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Questions on Baltimore for Democrats AND Republicans
In light of the latest Baltimore conflagration—that’s right, as Colin Flaherty, among others, have noted, mass violence and the destruction of property is par for the course in predominantly black cities like Baltimore—I offer some ...

posted 8:34:18pm Apr. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Al Sharpton and Republicans: Like Draws to Like?
“Like draws to like.” “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.” These are pearls of wisdom, the distilled moral wisdom of “generations and of ages,” as Burke has said. Yet they have been largely trampled ...

posted 9:01:43pm Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Moral Imperative of Being Mannerly
What we call “manners” consists of a family of habits or customs that are, with ever greater—indeed, alarming—frequency, regarded as, at best, niceties or pleasantries. At worst, they are viewed as the antiquated fictions of a bourgeois ...

posted 10:34:06pm Apr. 07, 2015 | read full post »

The Real Jesus vs. the Neutered Idol of the Politically Respectable
Easter is upon us. But who is Jesus? Upon reading the Scriptures, it becomes clear that the real Jesus, as opposed to the tamed, lame, and maimed Politically Correct Jesus who Christian clerics as much as anyone have been promoting for years, ...

posted 10:55:24am Apr. 03, 2015 | read full post »

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