Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Do They Hate Us?

After the 2001 attacks on America, articles appeared in the popular press posing the question, “Why do they hate us?”  The idea was to try to understand the mindset that led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 individuals on American soil.

Much was written about American foreign policy transgressions and the arrogance of American ideals, but the reasoning is much simpler:

They hate us because they are taught to hate.

The behavior pattern points to Political-Religious Movements, in which people are brought together through common ideals and energized by a common hatred.  In the case of the Islamic Political-Religious Movement, the ideals are based on the Koran, and the hate is directed at Christians and Jews.

The religious component of the movement does not require hate.  That is brought to us by the political leaders who see this increasing the power and authority of the movement.

(It is sad to note that throughout history, when a political organization becomes a political-religious movement or a religious organization becomes a political-religious movement, great human suffering follows.)

The actions of a few activists at a White House gathering last week focus our attention on the transformation of the Democratic Party.  It has become a political-religious movement, with hatred for Republicans as its central tenet.

Our culture sees no problem with this, other than the use of the word “hate.” That terminology is construed as a bit too stern; perhaps uncivil.  When Republican women are disparaged, it is name-calling, not hate.  When Republicans are subjected to dehumanization, it is just a game, not hate.  Republican dhimmitude is simply a fact of life.

And now, indignities to Republican presidents are right and natural, and suitable for Facebook.  The behaviors are justifiable acts of defiance.

Still, Republicans should be concerned with that question, “Why do they hate us?”

We ignore it at our peril.

UPDATE 6/26/2012:
This is just sad. (h/t Glenn Reynolds)

UPDATE 7/10/2012:
Deroy Murdock, writing at National Review Online provides some data on the level of federal expenditure on AIDS research during the Reagan years.  Click on the hotlink under the photo of Matty Hart (above) for a different take.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Authoritarianism Rising

Authoritarianism is on the rise.

The current turmoil in Syria shows what’s at stake: If people don’t submit to authority, they die.

Nonetheless, people are drawn to authoritarianism.  It is an overwhelmingly preferred state of human organization.  Systems modeled on a representative republic (such as America with its Constitution) are few and far between.

The allure of authoritarianism is that authoritarians are never wrong.  My earlier post on Maureen Dowd illustrates the point.  Ms. Dowd does not believe Al Gore lost Florida in 2004.  It just depends on how the vote is counted.  Similarly, Bill Clinton believes he never lied.  It just depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

Coming back to the Syrian insurrection, a little over a year ago, Hillary Clinton characterized Bashar al-Assad as a reformer.  Since then, more than 10,000 Syrian citizens have been killed as President al-Assad attempts to hold onto power.

Most people see the Assad regime as authoritarian, with death being the main giveaway.  Extreme authoritarians, from Pol Pot in Cambodia to Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, relish the power that comes from being able to order the deaths of those who oppose them.

Think about that ultimate level of power: Never being wrong and being able to kill with impunity.  Those are the rewards of authoritarianism, and they are seductive.

An Islamic authoritarian can publish a fatwa calling for the death of a particular political or cultural figure.  People around the world accept it as an appropriate use of authoritarian power.  We are conditioned to keep our outrage in check.

The United States, as a representative republic, has constraints on authoritarian behaviors.  Our Constitution sets up checks and balances along with a separation of powers between governmental bodies to discourage concentration of power.  Even so, the authoritarian allure is there.

Our president has used the Democratic Party to weaken the Rule of Law and personally tends to a Kill List.  Those actions are remarkably authoritarian in scope and intent.

The 2012 election is shaping up to be a referendum on Authoritarianism versus the U. S. Constitution.  That should be a good reason to get out and vote!

UPDATE 6/16/2012:
John Yoo has a Ricochet post that looks at the POTUS decision this week to avoid enforcement of United States law as it applies to immigration.  It's an obvious weakening of one of our founding principles (the Rule of Law).

Authoritarians or the Constitution: Which will Americans choose?

UPDATE 6/17/2012:
Linked by Chris Smith at The Other McCain.  Smitty celebrates today with new legitimacy thanks to the World's Youngest Blogger.  Happy Father's Day, Smitty!

UPDATE 7/10/2012:
Tom Junod, writing for Esquire, has an article on "The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama."  More people are beginning to take notice of the authoritarianism of our president.

UPDATE 10/6/2012:
If authoritarians are never wrong, then Mitt Romney is to be commended for admitting "I said something that was just completely wrong."  Vive la différence!