Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

As Congress and the President debate over whether America should “intervene” in—i.e. launch war against—Syria, self-declared conservatives would be well served to revisit their political tradition’s stance on war generally.

Neoconservatism, the political orientation underwriting the anything-but- humble foreign policy of President George W. Bush, is most definitely not conservatism—a truth acknowledged unapologetically by none other than Irving Kristol, the “Godfather” of neoconservatism and the person responsible for having given it its name.  Classical or traditional conservatism, in stark contrast, is actually quite dovish, even if it is in no ways compatible with pacifism.

Conservatives didn’t need Sherman to inform them of war’s hellish nature, its death and destruction. That all war entails the killing of human beings, and not infrequently the killing of innocent human beings, as well as the destruction of other goods that invest human life with value, does not preclude the possibility of just wars.  It does, however, mean that decent people can wage war if and only if all other options have been thoroughly exhausted.

This is the first, and most obvious, reason that conservatives have been slow to enter war.

Secondly, human reason has none of the omniscience that we all too frequently attribute to it. The best laid plans of men often run aground on the unforeseen obstacles that life throws up.  Our intentions have unintended consequences.  Whatever our goals, however noble they may be, the pursuit of those goals can easily give rise to evils even greater than those that we’re trying to uproot.

In other words, that, say, Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad are bad people who the human race is better off without is an insufficient basis upon which to launch war.

The good combat evil, but they will prevail only if they do so wisely or prudently.  This, conservatives have always known.

Thirdly, the 20th century conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott noted that since its emergence close to five centuries ago, that peculiar association that we call “the state” has been interpreted in two fundamentally different ways.   Some have regarded it as a “civil association.”  Others have ascribed to it the character of an “enterprise association.”

The members of a civil association are joined together by, not a common purpose or shared vision of the good, but a shared “interest” in the preservation of the laws that compose their association.  Laws, as opposed to orders, commands, or policies, do not tell citizens what to do.  Rather, they tell citizens how they must avoid acting regardless of what they choose to do.

For example, the law doesn’t tell us that we must or mustn’t have sex.  What it tells us is that if we choose to have sex, then we are forbidden from doing so coercively.  The law forbids rape. Similarly, the law doesn’t instruct us to kill or refrain from killing.  It does, though, inform us that if we kill, we cannot do so murderously.

In a civil association, there is liberty, for citizens are engaged in the pursuit of their self-chosen ends—not some grand plan prescribed to them by their government.

Conservatives have traditionally favored the reading of the state as a civil association.

In an enterprise association, individuality is subordinated to the common purpose of the association, a purpose in the pursuit of which the government takes the lead.  As Oakeshott explains, each person is cast into the role of a servant to the goal or goals for the sake of which the association is held to exist.  “Redistributive justice,” “social justice,” “economic equality,” and the like are the standard goals or purposes that we hear most about today.

It is precisely because conservatives have staunchly rejected this understanding of a state that they’ve been extremely reluctant to embark upon war, for never is civil association more in peril than when a state is at war.  It is during war that everyone is expected to “sacrifice”—i.e. part with their liberty, their time, labor, wealth, and even their very lives—for the sake of “the common good” of “victory.”  That collectivists home and abroad are well aware of this explains why they are forever seeking to assimilate their pet domestic policies to the language and imagery of war: the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, etc.

Self-avowed conservatives must take all of this to head and heart as they contemplate interjecting their country into but another Middle Eastern country.

 

 

 

 

As the nation remembers Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, it should also note that while the self-appointed guardians of King’s legacy, the “anti-racists,” obsess over Paula Deen and liken Trayvon Martin to Emmet Till, they say nothing about interracial violence when it involves black perpetrators and white victims.

Below is a select list of interracial atrocities committed by blacks against whites.  These forgotten victims are men and women, young and old.

Brad Heyka, Jason Befort, Aaron Sander, Heather Muller, “H.G.”: In December of 2000, in Wichita, Kansas, over the course of hours, two brothers, Reginald and Jonathan Carr, robbed, beat, sexually tormented, and repeatedly raped three men and two women. They eventually shot all five victims, execution-style, in the backs of their heads before driving over their bodies with one of the victim’s pick-up truck.  “H.G.” survived. Wearing nothing but a shirt, shot and battered, she walked a mile until she found help.

Channon Christian, Christopher Newsom: In 2007, this young couple was carjacked in Knoxville, Tennessee by four men and one woman.  Both were raped—Newsom anally, Christian anally, vaginally, and orally.  The former was shot and his body set on fire. The latter was suffocated over a span of hours inside of garbage bags—after she was forced to ingest bleach so as to remove traces of her assailants’ DNA.

Sherry West, Antonio Santiago: On March 21 of this year, this woman and her 13 month-old baby son were both shot while going for a walk in their Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood. The mother survived the bullets to her ear and leg.  Little Antonio, however, died instantly when the bullet entered his face.

Joshua Heath Chellew: At the end of June, this 36 year-old man was attacked by four teenagers at a gas station outside of Atlanta, Georgia. In trying to escape the beating that he was suffering, Chellew was fatally struck by a passing car.

Jonathan Foster: On Christmas Eve, 2010, 12 year-old, Jonathan Foster was abducted from his home in Houston, Texas by a 44 year-old woman, Mona Nelson.  The latter bound Foster and then murdered him with a blowtorch.  She discarded his body in a ditch along the road where it was found four days later.  Foster’s remains were so badly charred that his corpse had to be identified by his dental records.

Delbert “Shorty” Benton:  Just last week, the 89 year-old veteran of World War II was beaten to death by two teenagers armed with flashlights. Benton was making his way through the parking lot of one of the places that he regularly frequented when he was attacked.

Chris Lane: The 23 year-old Australian was in the States visiting his girlfriend. While on a run, some reportedly “bored” teenagers shot him in the back.  Lane died shortly afterward.  The thugs had a history of expressing hostility toward whites, and at least one of them was said by police to have laughed and danced upon being arrested.

Fannie Gumbinger: This 99 year-old Poughkeepsie, New York woman died last week when a 20 year-old burglar murdered her in her home.  Police say she suffered “multiple injuries.”

There is no shortage of people who will defend the deafening silence of the “anti-racists” with respect to these interracial horrors on the grounds that, supposedly, they had nothing to do with color.  Black criminals seek out whites, it is often said, simply because whites are perceived as having more in the way of material goods.

Yet if this is true, then color or race most certainly does have something to do with these attacks: black criminals profile whites.  But if there is nothing illegitimate about black predators (or others) profiling whites as “privileged,” “advantaged,” “racist,” etc., then neither can it be said—as it is always said by “anti-racists”—that there is anything illegitimate about whites profiling blacks.

Only hypocrisy, illogic, or some combination of the two could make one suggest otherwise.

Another common criticism centers on the alleged irrelevance of the race of perpetrators and victims. After all, it is the murder that should be condemned; the color of murderer and murdered of no consequence.

Ah. So, if this is the case, then “racism” should never come under attack at all, for it isn’t, say, the color of the Klansmen and the black victims that they lynched that is blameworthy, but the lynching itself.

There isn’t a single “anti-racist” who would dream to reason thus.

One reason that black-on-white violence should be discussed is that it is both ubiquitous and evil.  The blacks responsible for it constitute but a tiny percentage of the national population, and yet they are several times more likely than their white counterparts to engage in interracial violence.

Another reason that black-on-white cruelty must be brought out into the open is that it is a reality that can only weaken the false narrative of unrelenting White Oppression and perpetual Black Suffering that has been used by demagogues and opportunists to prop up the destructive policies that they’ve promoted in the name of combating “racism.”

 

On this 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, even the self-avowed apostles of “individualism,” “liberty,” and “limited government”—i.e. “conservatives”—can’t resist lavishing endless praise upon its author, Martin Luther King, Jr.

As uncomfortable as it makes these declared enemies of Big Government to think it, to say nothing of openly admitting it, the stone-cold truth of the matter is that King was nothing if not a man of the hard left.

Michael Eric Dyson, a King admirer and hard leftist himself, makes this point unmistakably clear in his, I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Blasting away at the “the conservative misappropriation” of King, Dyson shows, not that King would have supported much of the left’s agenda, but that he in fact did do so.  For starters, King resoundingly endorsed what is today called “affirmative action.”  King insisted that “the nation must not only radically readjust its attitude toward the Negro in the compelling present, but must incorporate in its planning some compensatory compensation from the handicaps he inherited from the past.”

Moreover, King envisioned a redistributive scheme that he characterized as “massive.”  “I am proposing,” King remarked, “that, just as we granted a GI Bill of Rights to war veterans, America launch a broad-based and gigantic Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged, our veterans of the long siege of denial.”

Interestingly, King eventually came to think that his earlier belief that American institutions could be “reformed” was a mistake.  Rather, because America was “born in genocide,” “racial hatred,” and “racial supremacy,” nothing less than “a reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values” was demanded.  After all, “a nation that put as many Japanese in a concentration camp as” America did during World War II will think nothing of putting “black people in a concentration camp” as well.

This “revolution of values” that he desired King called “democratic socialism.”

Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “the plight of the Negro poor” had actually worsened.  What many view as his two signature achievements King viewed as “at best surface changes.”  Only a “redistribution of economic power” could rectify the injustices that King believed were rooted in “the system” of “capitalism” itself.

Today, many Americans still resent Jane Fonda for her activism during the Vietnam War.  But King was as vocal a critic of America’s presence in Southeast Asia as Fonda ever was. The war was “senseless,” “unjust,” and “racist,” he insisted.  Moreover, King, whose voice even at this time was no less influential than that of Fonda’s, described America as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today [.]”

There is one final detail concerning this icon that enriches the irony of “Reagan conservatives” doing their best to transform King into a one of their own: King despised Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Rarely did he publicly criticize his opponents—or anyone—by name, but, such was his contempt for Reagan that King made an exception in his case.  “When a Hollywood performer,” King stated, “lacking distinction even as an actor, can become a leading war hawk candidate for the presidency only the irrationalities induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events [.]”

King deserves to be credited for both combating state-ordered segregation as well as his impassioned defense of non-violence.  Yet if conservatives and libertarians are to maintain their credibility, they must resist the temptation to turn King into one of their own.  He was a man of the hard left who called for the fundamental transformation of the United States long before Barack Obama called for the same.

Below is a select list of interracial atrocities committed by black perpetrators and white victims. Many more could be added to it.  The reader should note that the very same “anti-racists” who demanded Paula Deen’s head on a platter have uttered not a peep about these outrages.

The Wichita Massacre: In December of 2000, two brothers, Reginald and Jonathan Carr, robbed, beat with golf clubs, tormented, and repeatedly raped three men and two women. They eventually shot all five victims, execution-style, in the backs of their heads before driving over their bodies with one of the victim’s pick-up truck.  Miraculously, one person survived.  Wearing nothing but a shirt, shot and battered, she walked a mile until she found help.

The “Knoxville Horror:” In 2007, Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, were carjacked in Knoxville, Tennessee by four men and one woman.  Newsom was raped and sodomized with an object. Stripped naked, blindfolded, gagged, and shot several times to death, his body was then discarded by railroad tracks and set on fire.

Christian was orally, vaginally, and anally gang raped to the point that she sustained severe injuries.  Bleach was poured down her throat and scrubbed over her body so as to remove her assailants’ DNA—all while she was still alive. Bound and stuffed inside of trash bags, she slowly suffocated to death.

Antonio Santiago: On March 21 of this year, Sherry West and her 13 month-old baby, Antonio Santiago, were both shot while going for a walk in their Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood. While the mother survived the bullets to her ear and leg, her baby died instantly when the bullet entered his face.

Joshua Heath Chellew: At the end of June, this 36 year-old man was attacked by four teenagers at a gas station outside of Atlanta, Georgia. In trying to escape the beating that he was suffering, Chellew was fatally struck by a passing car.

Jonathan Foster: On Christmas Eve, 2010, 12 year-old, Jonathan Foster was abducted from his home in Houston, Texas by a 44 year-old woman, Mona Nelson.  The latter bound Foster and then murdered him with a blowtorch.  She discarded his body in a ditch along the road where it was found four days later.  Foster’s remains were so badly charred that his corpse had to be identified by his dental records.

Delbert “Shorty” Benton:  Just last week, the 89 year-old veteran of World War II was beaten to death by two teenagers armed with flashlights. Benton was making his way through the parking lot of one of the places that he regularly frequented when the guttersnipes attacked him.

Chris Lane: The 23 year-old Australian was in the States visiting his girlfriend. While on a run, some reportedly “bored” teenagers shot him in the back.  Lane died shortly afterward.  The thugs had a history of expressing hostility toward whites, and at least one of them was said by police to have laughed and danced upon being arrested.

Fannie Gumbinger: This 99 year-old woman joined Benton and Lane last week when a 20 year-old burglar murdered her in her home.  Police say she died of “multiple injuries.”

Black-on-white violence is a real problem, as evil as it is ubiquitous.  Relatively few people, including conservative media personalities (to say nothing of Republican politicians), dare to confront it for what it is.  Instead, far too frequently, they are as disposed to search out “root causes” of black dysfunction as are their leftist counterparts.

One commentator who isn’t buying this is former South Africa resident, turned American, Ilana Mercer.

Along with her father, a rabbi, Mercer too opposed apartheid.  Yet as she notes in her book, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, and as she has labored tirelessly to establish for years in her World Net Daily column and elsewhere, the abolition of this injustice has lead to even greater evils.

And this is one key lesson for Mercer’s new homeland from her old: when race-obsessed visionaries, politicians and activists, issue utopian promises of a “post-racial” era (sound familiar), it is guaranteed to result in worse racial injustices.   Crime in all categories has skyrocketed in the new South Africa, and racially motivated attacks against whites have increased precipitously.

Mercer’s work on this score is must reading for Americans who are concerned with preventing their country from being consumed by the racial evils that have engulfed South Africa.  It is also priceless for the author’s decimation of the “root causes” offered by both left and right.

While conceding that culture “counts,” Mercer also reminds us that the argument from “culture” is “circular,” not “causal.” It amounts to nothing more enlightening than “people do the things they do because they are who they are and have a history of being that way.”

The theorists can debate “root causes” all day long.  The rest of us need to combat evil.

And the first step toward combating evil is to recognize it for what it is.