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At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Myron Pauli: The Pledge of Allegiance versus The US Constitution

posted by Jack Kerwick

Just in time for Independence Day, guest-blogger Myron Pauli addresses the conflict between the Pledge of Allegiance, on the one hand, and, on the other, The United States Constitution. All patriotic Americans who have the opportunity to do so should read what Myron has to say.

My father and his parents were lucky to get to America from Nazi-run Austria, and my daughter was a refugee from China. So I certainly appreciate this country: Few are even as remotely free.

However, as another 4th of July approaches, I often feel compelled to criticize the lack of appreciation of liberty in this nation just as Moses felt compelled to rebuke the people he so loved.

The Pledge of Allegiance was introduced by a Christian socialist named Francis Bellamy in 1892. It even came with a “Bellamy salute,” which became commonplace in Central Europe 45 years later. Although the Constitution does not authorize an “official” Pledge and the 10th Amendment reserves those powers not granted to the Federal Government to the states and people, it was adopted by the Congress in 1942. Small children are indoctrinated to pledge even if they have no idea what the words mean. But aside from the salute, what does the pledge say?

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From the time Americans are small children, they are expected to pledge their allegiance to both “the flag of the United States of America” as well as to the Republic for which it stands [.]”   Hold on! The pledge has 50 stars – which stand for each state. And what does Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution say? “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”. Thus, the flag actually stands for a Republic of Republics—not “the Republic.”

The point, though, is that the Pledge is in contradiction to the Constitution itself.

If the “United States” is just singular, how does one explain Article 3, Section 3 which defines treason against the United States as consisting “only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies?” In pledging allegiance to the flag, do we pledge to violate the Constitution? Do the stars refer to some Greek Constellation?

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Then, of course, we have the Constitution’s Article 6 Section 3. This expressly states that “no religious test shall ever be required” for those aspiring to hold office. But what does the phrase “under G0d” in the pledge denote if not a religious oath?  To reconcile these tensions, must we resort to some Clintonism to the effect that we must ask ourselves the meanings of “oath” and “pledge”?

As for pledging to secure “justice for all,” familiarity with some contemporary events in the arena of racial politics makes a mockery of this. After all, since “black lives matter”, neither George Zimmerman nor Darren Wilson is entitled for a self-defense excuse because that would not be “justice.” The latter requires a conviction regardless of a grand jury or petit jury. In Baltimore, indictments were filed by Marilyn Mosby so “you can stop rioting”. Did keeping Jose Padilla imprisoned for 43 months without an indictment constitute justice for all? Did trying defendants in Federal Court for crimes they were exonerated of in State Court constitute “justice” in light of the fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy?

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Neither do we seem concerned about securing “liberty … for all.” Yet, in Minersville School District vs. Gobitis, the Supreme Court by 8-1 endorsed government punishment of children who refused to pledge (and this was when the Bellamy salute – ‘Seig Heil!” – was still standardized). How about adults? Yes sir, I pledge, under compulsion from the government, to support “liberty”! OK, the Supreme Court reversed itself a few years later when the US was now at war against a nation which mandated the same Bellamy Salute. Of course, we know how flighty the Supreme Court is. As for liberty in the nation with as many people in jail as in China and Russia combined, one might question whether we have “liberty for all”.

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I have decided instead to proclaim: “I support the Constitution of the United States and the concept of limited government whose purpose is to secure our rights” as my personal Pauli substitute. Besides, one might even ask: To whom are you pledging?  Is it Obama, Boehner, TSA, CIA, NSA, DEA, BATF, Federal Reserve, Freddie Mae, HUD, SWAT teams, HHS, Departments of Labor or Energy or Education or Agriculture, Homeland Security, AMTRAK, NASA, INS, FDA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, NATO, Trans-Pacific Partnership, ????????

The United States that I love guarantees individual liberties. In fact, I believe that the 4th of July did not come about from worship of Empire but from devotion to individual freedom. However, for those who prefer mindless displays of national patriotism, other nations truly put us to shame.

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Dylan Roof, the Confederate Flag, and the Logic of the Left

posted by Jack Kerwick

The Dylan Roof/Charleston massacre supplies much food for thought.

(1)Predictably, the agents of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC) wasted no time in exploiting this horror for their own political and ideological purposes. From Fox News to “conservative” talk radio to the “conservative” media generally, every organization and institution that they could in any way associate with the Republican Party RIC agents have labored tirelessly to condemn for the murderous actions of Dylan Roof.

That the usual suspects have made this move should shock no one. As Rahm Emmanuel infamously remarked, political apparatchiks on a quest to fundamentally transform American society must “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Honesty and good faith must give way to whatever will advance the cause.

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Fortunately, we needn’t for the left to trade in honesty, good faith, or any other virtues to see their reasoning for what it is. We need only to push their own logic as far as it can go for their argument to collapse under its own weight.

In his “Manifesto,” Roof identified the “root cause” of his rage. He realized that while the media—the “mainstream,” leftist media—incessantly besieged the public with a narrative of White Racism and Black Suffering, it just as incessantly concealed the brute, ugly, but near pandemic phenomenon of black criminality and violence.

The demonization of whites as “racists,” astronomical rates of interracial violence committed by blacks against non-blacks, and the suppression of this fact by RIC agents in the media are the three sources of motivation to which Roof alludes. Why, then, are those who are so interested in having that “honest” conversation on race, and who are searching intently now to “understand” Roof’s motivations, not taking the man at his own word? Roof has told us what’s been bothering him.

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Shouldn’t those in the media, if they really want to do whatever is possible to prevent this sort of bloodbath from occurring in the future, turn their attention to these claims of Roof’s?

(2)Roof doesn’t appear to have any religious affiliation at all. The contrast between the conduct of Roof, on the one hand, and that of the devout Christians whose congregation he victimized can’t be more glaring. Yet for quite a long time, and ever more frequently, those in the media who are now searching out (politically-convenient) explanations for Roof’s crime have lionized atheism and secularism while bashing, ridiculing, and vilifying Christians. In fact, this campaign against traditional Christianity has picked up pace more recently as the issues of homosexual marriage and trans-genderism have assumed the center stage of our national political life.

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Should this be a conversation to embark upon?

(3)The Confederate Flag is now the locus of this controversy. Critics indict the Stars and Bars for the Charleston massacre and, as they’ve been doing for a generation, decry it as a symbol of “racism” and oppression.

The logic on display here is especially rich: There is absolutely no non-arbitrary limit to prevent it from running itself right off of the cliff. Let’s work through this—even if the agents of RIC are incapable of or unwilling to do so.

If the Confederate Flag, which “flew over slavery” for a mere four years, is a symbol of racial oppression, then how much more potent a symbol of racial oppression must the American Flag be for having flown over slavery for 88 years.

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If the Confederate Flag needs to go, then so too must we dispense with the American Flag.

But we can’t stop there.

The very name of America must go the way of the Confederate Flag. America is, after all, named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian—a white, European—explorer. How can the name “America” not serve as a painful reminder to the indigenous peoples of this continent of the land of which they were divested by the European invaders, and of the massacres that they suffered at the hands of the latter? How can the name “America” not constantly cause blacks, Hispanics, and other non-whites to think of themselves as aliens living in a country founded by whites, for whites?

If the Confederate Flag is a symbol of slavery and “hate,” then is not the dollar bill the same? George Washington, after all, was not only a slave owner; he was a huge slave owner. Nine out of ten men who fought for the Confederacy did not own slaves. Even such Confederate heroes as Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson didn’t own remotely as many slaves as did Washington.

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And yet Washington remains an American hero.

If the Confederate Flag must go the way of the dinosaur, then the dollar bill, Mount Rushmore (or at least Washington’s depiction there), the name of Washington D.C., Washington state, the Washington Monument, etc. must follow.

Ditto, obviously, with Thomas Jefferson. By the standards of even his fellow slave-holders, Jefferson owned lots of slaves. Everything associated with Jefferson, then—including the Declaration of Independence—should be erased from the national consciousness given that, for many people of color, Jefferson stands as an agonizing reminder of racist oppression.

James Madison was the Father of the U.S. Constitution. But he was also a slave-holder. Ergo, monuments, cities, sites that commemorate Madison, as well as his achievements—like the Constitution—must be done away with, for they are all indelibly poisoned by Madison’s sinful past.

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By the logic of the Confederate Flag burners, the very presence of white people—any and all white people—should signify to blacks the history of racial oppression that they’ve been made to endure in America. And, by this logic, then, white people should, one way or the other, remove themselves from the presence of blacks.

Of course (though I don’t expect for RIC agents to acknowledge this), since there never would have been a Trans-Atlantic slave trade had black Africans not furiously peddled their wares—other black Africans—to the Europeans with whom they traded, the sight of themselves in the mirror everyday should be an awful reminder to American blacks of why they’re in the New World, and of why they’ve endured what they have. Maybe all mirrors must go the way of the Confederate Flag.

Leftist logic on this issue, like leftist logic on every issue, is self-devouring.

 

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The CHARGE of “Racism” is Eurocentric Bigotry?! An Academic Leftist Weighs In

posted by Jack Kerwick

An email from “Leon Marlensky,” the only consistent leftist remaining, as far as he is concerned. Here, he sounds off a bit over the Charleston, SC coverage. I have reprinted this here with Leon’s permission.

Dear Jack:

In the wake of the tragedy in Charleston, SC, the “R” word, predictably, has been thrown around with abandon.

If this doesn’t convince you of the soundness of my verdict—I won’t say truth, for I refuse to appropriate a Eurocentric epistemological/metaphysical fiction that continues to be used to vanquish the indigenous conceptual resources of the minds of those that it colonizes—that the right has decisively defeated the progressive agenda, I don’t know what else will.

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There are a couple of considerations—as I’ve explained to you before, I prefer not speak of reasons, for the latter is a variation on reason or logos, which is of a piece of the same devious coercive ontology as truth—that bear my claim out. Before proceeding with my argument, however, I ask your forgiveness in advance for availing myself of the very same decadent logics that I’ve been the first to decry for their annihilation of marginalized discursive possibilities.

The bivalent logic of Aristotle and the standard bourgeois discourse will have to do for the time being.

First, “racism” is intelligible if and only if race is a meaningful concept. But race is a classificatory schema devised by European males during a specific time—the so-called “Enlightenment”—of European his story. Race is a conceptual tool invented by “whites” for the purpose of subsuming the identities of staggering diversities of flesh and blood particulars under a few monolithic, bloodless, lifeless abstractive generalities.

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In continuing to speak of “racism,” a dastardly ethno-chauvinistic imperializing rhetorical construct is vindicated by both whites and people of color alike: Whites betray their bigoted delusions, however oblivious they consciously remain to them, while blacks and others—but especially blacks—reveal just how effective Europeans and their descendants have been in enslaving their minds.

Moreover, “racism” is immoral if and only if individualism is “true” or normative. Allegedly, so-called racism is evil because it is immoral to judge or pre-judge “the individual” on the basis of the morally irrelevant collectivity to which she or her belongs (i.e. has been assigned to by society). Yet “the individual” is but another artifact of European culture. No other peoples conceive of their identities in terms of the ideal of an emaciated, atomized individual unencumbered by a tribe, however the latter is imagined.

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In affirming that “racism” is a great evil, we endorse that most pernicious brand of Occidental normativity, individualism, the same doctrine that has served as the moral core of an economic ideology, capitalism, that has been responsible for expropriating the resources of “the wretched of the Earth,” to borrow Fanon’s expression.

Rest assured my friend, the right has won. Remember this every time you hear some faux leftist drone on and on about the evils of “racism.”

Your Colleague in Thought,

Leon  

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What “Caitlyn” Jenner and Rachel Dolezal Teach Us About the “Progressive” Worldview

posted by Jack Kerwick

The events of Rachel Dolezal and “Caitlyn” Jenner are classic textbook case studies in the intellectual and moral incoherence of the contemporary leftist/progressive worldview.

Dolezal is a biologically white person who has spent years passing herself off as black. She continues to self-identify as black.

Jenner is biologically male but self-identifies as female.

In both instances, one hallmark idea of the left figures centrally. This is the notion of human malleability, the idea that there is no hard, stable nature or “external world,” as philosophers call it. The only “reality” with which we’re familiar is a “social construction” that, as such, can be “deconstructed.”

The sky’s the limit.

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Given the similarity of the two tales in this regard, one must wonder why Dolezal has been (almost) universally condemned for living a lie while Jenner, in glaring contrast, has been (almost) universally celebrated.

Some questions and comments for the left:

(1)Both Dolezal and Jenner maintain that the physical reality of their respective circumstances is no obstacle to fulfilling their goals and expressing their true selves, the knowledge of which is widely held to be radically subjective (Who are you to tell me who I really am?). If, then, it is immoral for us to deny Jenner’s claim that, biology be damned, “she” is really a woman “trapped” in a man’s body, then why isn’t it immoral for us to deny Dolezal’s claim that, biology be damned, she is really a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body?

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(2)For all of my lifetime, leftists, especially black leftists, have charged such black conservatives as Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell (to name but two) with being “oreos,” i.e. white men trapped in black men’s bodies. Bill Clinton was heralded by some notable blacks as America’s first black president. Biracial celebrities like Barack Obama and Halle Berry, in spite of having been abandoned by their black fathers and raised by their white family members, and in spite of having lived a fairly privileged existence, insist upon self-identifying as “black.”

In other words, the words and actions of leftists all point to one conclusion: Particularly in regard to “blacks,” race is not only—maybe not even—fundamentally biological. Ideology or culture has at least as much, and probably more, to do with being black than mere physical reality.

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Besides this, don’t leftists insist that “race” is just a social construct, that there are no races save the human race?

So, why should anyone who accepts any of this have problems with Dolezal identifying herself as black?

(3)Gender, like race, is also a social construct, according to leftists. This, I suppose, is why the rest of us have been lectured on the need to accept at face value Bruce Jenner’s claim to being a woman, irrespective of all of the physical evidence to the contrary.

At the same time, though, doesn’t this line about the socially constructed nature of gender identity actually contradict the idea that Jenner is, by nature, a woman inhabiting a man’s body?! If there is nothing natural about gender—if the body is just an external trapping—then there is no reality underneath the surface, right?

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And if gender roles are in principle the products of time and place, then isn’t it so that in self-identifying as a woman because, for example—and this is the only example that he’s given for his claim to really being a woman—Jenner enjoys dressing in women’s clothing, that he proves just how confused he is on this question? Doesn’t he prove that, far from being an icon that promises to advance the cause of the trans-gendered community, Jenner is a retrograde that threatens to plunge us back into the bad old days when it was held that there really are women’s and “men’s” clothing?

(4)A colleague of mine expressed the standard leftist objection to Dolezal’s self-identifying as black when he argued that, not having been born with a black body, Dolezal can’t relate to and, hence, shouldn’t be able to capitalize upon the suffering that those with black bodies have historically had to endure in America.

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However, for a very long time, the left has been making similar assertions regarding women. Women, we are constantly assured, are as well victims of centuries and millennia of male patriarchal, sexist oppression.

Well, this being so, isn’t it unjust for Bruce Jenner to capitalize on the suffering that being a woman invites? After all, given that he/she has lived as a man for some 65 years, Jenner has never had to endure the indignities and hardships, the exploitation, to which women are regularly subjected. Thus he can’t relate, can he (or she)?

If the rest of us are having a tough time keeping up with progressivism, we should take comfort in the fact that we are not the problem.

The problem is the progressive’s worldview itself.

 

 

 

Previous Posts

Myron Pauli: The Pledge of Allegiance versus The US Constitution
Just in time for Independence Day, guest-blogger Myron Pauli addresses the conflict between the Pledge of Allegiance, on the one hand, and, on the other, The United States Constitution. All patriotic Americans who have the opportunity to do so ...

posted 10:26:12pm Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Dylan Roof, the Confederate Flag, and the Logic of the Left
The Dylan Roof/Charleston massacre supplies much food for thought. (1)Predictably, the agents of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC) wasted no time in exploiting this horror for their own political and ideological purposes. From Fox News to ...

posted 10:11:17am Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

The CHARGE of "Racism" is Eurocentric Bigotry?! An Academic Leftist Weighs In
An email from "Leon Marlensky," the only consistent leftist remaining, as far as he is concerned. Here, he sounds off a bit over the Charleston, SC coverage. I have reprinted this here with Leon's permission. Dear Jack: In the wake of the ...

posted 11:06:40pm Jun. 19, 2015 | read full post »

What "Caitlyn" Jenner and Rachel Dolezal Teach Us About the "Progressive" Worldview
The events of Rachel Dolezal and “Caitlyn” Jenner are classic textbook case studies in the intellectual and moral incoherence of the contemporary leftist/progressive worldview. Dolezal is a biologically white person who has spent years ...

posted 10:29:58pm Jun. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Last of the True Progressives Weighs in More on Caitlyn Jenner
Leon Marlensky (an alias for a fellow academic who wishes to remain anonymous) elaborates more on his disgust over, as he sees it, the betrayal of progressivism as revealed via the coverage of the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner issue. To Those of You ...

posted 10:25:20pm Jun. 15, 2015 | read full post »

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