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Howard W. Hunter on the Christian concept of peace

Atonement“Consider…this instruction from Christ to his disciples. He said,

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ (Matt. 5:44.)

Bombs-over-Libya“Think of what this admonition alone would do in your neighborhood and mine, in the communities in which you and your children live, in the nations which make up our great global family. I realize this doctrine poses significant challenge, but surely it is a more agreeable challenge than the terrible tasks posed for us by the war and poverty and pain the world continues to face.” (emphasis added)

Something to remember the next time a politician bloviates Satanically on the desperate “need” to bomb yet another country??

Another Voice from the Dust

My son’s history lesson today involved ancient Rome and its involvement in the affairs/disputes/feuds of other nations. The particular episode he shared with me occurred in the 300s BC, when Rome injected itself into a war between the Gauls and the Clusines (the latter centered in modern-day Tuscany).

Instead of steadfastly minding their own business, the Romans decided to officially involve themselves in the Gaul-Clusium blood feud.

And as so often happens, things spiraled out of control. A Roman ended up killing a Gaul, the Romans refused to hand the guy over (indeed, his relatives were later promoted to the top Roman post of consul)–and by the time the episode had played itself out, the Gauls had invaded and sacked Rome.

Blowback.

(Of course, for the Gauls these events would also have disastrous unintended consequences; more blowback).

A lesson for our day?

Memes: History Dumbed Down

I was recently asked by a student for a response to the following two memes:

meme 1

meme 2

My immediate reaction to these images is that they are powerful–especially since these men are staring the viewer directly in the face. And in light of the history of U.S.-“native” relations, there’s plenty for these men to be angry about (though this history, too, is more complicated than usually presented).

My second reaction is that these memes are gross oversimplifications of a complex issue (as all memes tend to be), presenting a sort of comic-book-style, good-guys-vs-bad-guys, third-grade-level analysis.

“I hate to bring this up…” –> This meme claims that all of “your people” (whatever that means) were refugees at some point. This simply isn’t true. “Immigrant” and “refugee” are different things. In fact, Americans who are non-“native” came here for a wide variety of reasons and in a wide variety of circumstances–some in chains, others in luxury, some as indentured servants but with hopes of a better life, others as adventurers, others as farmers looking to own their own land, some hoping to strike it rich, and yes, some as bonafide refugees.

And whose land did they come to? That’s a tough question, actually, though the memes suggest that they came to these mens’ land. Are we calling the territory the European migrants inhabited stolen? From whom? Were they squatting on the land of a specific American Indian nation? Whose? Or did they live on land bought and paid for? Does that make a difference? If not, why not?

When Europeans arrived, should the government of, say, the Narragansett nation have forced its people to financially support these newcomers?

How do we categorize land that was controlled by one American Indian nation when the first Europeans showed up but had, just a few years prior, been controlled by another nation (since destroyed or pushed out by the first one)? This happened often–very often–though these memes suggest a pre-European age when the American Indians (evidently one big blob of people) peacefully occupied “America.” In truth, the continent was covered in many (often starkly different) nations, usually hostile to one another, and constantly intruding upon one another’s territory, supplanting each other, killing, driving each other off, making alliances against enemies (including, later, Europeans!), building coalitions and empires–in short, everything human polities tend to do to each other all over the world. Human nature is pretty consistent that way.

When Europeans arrived, did they expect to be financially supported by the American Indian nation in the vicinity?

Should the natives have allowed the Europeans, had they actually been “refugees,” to enter their territory and set up communities?

Perhaps most importantly, if we’re still going to classify everyone of European descent as a “refugee,” even if their ancestors have been here for four centuries (as mine have), then where does it end? Do we call the Sioux “refugees” now because they encroached (violently) upon the land of other American Indian nations? Do we call all American Indians “refugees” because when their ancestors arrived they displaced or killed off previous peoples (which they did)?

As for the “So you’re against immigration…” meme –> This one makes a potent argument, no doubt–but again, at what point in history do “immigrants” get to shed their immigrant status? Is it two centuries? Five? Ten? Very few people in the world could say they aren’t immigrants according to this rubric.

I’d also add: I don’t know anyone who is “against immigration.” This, too, seems to me to be a gross oversimplification, if not the edification of a straw man. Usually people who have concerns about immigration are speaking to certain specific concerns (safety, viability of the welfare state, cultural preservation, etc., many of which are completely acceptable coming from some sectors, but classified as racist or bigoted when spoken by others…) rather than some blanket negativity toward all “immigrants.”

Personally, I’m all for welcoming refugees, especially from the Syrian quagmire to which the United States government contributed so significantly. But I’m not for foisting them upon communities and states; that’s coercive and hence immoral. Instead, it should be done voluntarily, with respect for private property (even though in any real sense private property doesn’t exist in the United States).

Were the government to ask for volunteer families to take in Syrian families, I’d offer my home.

But I don’t understand how calling people like me a “refugee” helps solve the problem–indeed, it only dumbs down history to make an emotional point at the cost of truth.

The Cycle Continues…

The shocking story is here. More than 140 children were just massacred by the so-called “Pakistani Taliban” (the TTP).

[NOTE: These are not the same Taliban that are currently operating in Afghanistan and who once controlled two-thirds of that country, a fact which most American news outlets fail to adequately point out. When I was in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the Pasthuns I mixed and mingled with had mostly favorable views toward the original Taliban but mostly hostile ones toward the “Pakistani Taliban”; “No one knows who those people are,” they told me. “Many of them are foreigners.” The difference between the two virtually unconnected “Taliban” groups is important.]

This is probably the grisliest tragedy to occur in this decades-long narrative yet, given the victims and their number. These are the unintended consequences of interventionism and centralization. Religious fanaticism will be fingered as the culprit, especially by “Westerners,” but the core issue is rooted not in the teachings of Islam but in the political founding of the Pakistani state, when Muslim League partisans rammed the region into a future, ambiguous “Pakistan” while all of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s INCers stayed home in protest–and Pashtunistan wasn’t given a chance at all. Throw in (a) years of struggle between the centralized state and the various provinces (especially in the west), (b) anti-Western revolution across the “Muslim world” in response to decades of Western meddling and intervention, and (c) the militarization of the border areas (thanks to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the America-Saudi-Pakistani response, and the American invasion of Afghanistan), and it’s no wonder that the region is in shambles.

The answer (if indeed there is one, at this point) is certainly not more of the same, which will serve only to perpetuate the morbid cycle.

Germany’s Hitler-Era Homeschool Laws Still In (Brute) Force

Another German home raided by the new Gestapo. Another family broken up by the authoritarianism of the State. Four more German children separated from their parents for no other reason than that they were being homeschooled. In this latest incident, twenty officers and social workers showed up armed, psyched, and carrying a battering ram. The parents were informed by these thugs that they wouldn’t be seeing their children “anytime soon.”

This is not a free society.

The Wunderlichs simply felt that they could teach their children better. They opposed the idea of being forced to send them to the government-monopoly schools whose power is based on a law imposed during the WWII era. The Wunderlichs are Christian, and preferred that their children receive an education incorporating Christian themes, and devoid of some elements force-fed to German kids in the public schools.

That doesn’t sit well with the German regime, however, which is, by its own admittance, in the business of preventing “dissent,” including the emergence of “separate philosophical convictions.”

In other words, the ban on homeschooling is about control. Homeschoolers tend to think more independently and may espouse philosophies deemed harmful to the state–philosophies centered around faith, for example, or liberty, or a whole host of other “subversive” ideas. The State, then, must curb such freedom of thought. The public schools thus become an assembly-line-style factory of sorts, churning out Good Citizens who won’t shake things up the way homeschoolers evidently might; public school youth are “taught,” after all, not only how to think (or not think), but also what to think. Their curricula are centrally planned by a government committee, carefully vetted by government bureaucrats, disseminated by government workers, upheld by government judges, and enforced by government thugs. Let us forget, for a moment, that this same Germany, not too long ago, also provided a prime example of the potential mass harm a centrally planned monopolistic government-run education system can have on society. Forget the past: the future is now, all has been corrected, and now it is homeschoolers (who have no history of waging total war and unleashing genocidal tyranny upon millions) who obviously pose the greatest threat to society.

For their desire to educate their own children, in a land that was once a bastion of self-education (long before the Hitlers and the Judge Koenigs), the Wunderlichs have been branded criminals and are being held against their will by violence and the threat of violence, and their children are being held against their will by violence or the threat of violence in some undisclosed location/locations.

I homeschool my children. Am I a criminal? Am I a negligent parent? Do I deserve a cage? Should my family be ripped apart and placed in the care of “social” workers? My children are highly social, they are learning at a much faster pace than they would be in a government school (and typically score in the top 5% on standardized tests), and they get to spend most of each day just being a kid. I can see how they’d want to lock me up.

Germany’s mandatory public school laws were instituted by Hitler in the 1930s because, as the Fuhrer himself explained,

The Youth of today are ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.

Despise Hitler if you wish (as I do), but the undergirding philosophy of his statement is the very same one undergirding Germany’s homeschool laws today. The issue is control, “inoculation.” Incidentally, this is the same man who, speaking of his mandatory youth organizations, explained in 1938,

These boys and girls enter our organizations [at] ten years of age, and often for the first time get a little fresh air; after four years of the Young Folk they go on to the Hitler Youth, where we have them for another four years . . . And even if they are still not complete National Socialists, they go to Labor Service and are smoothed out there for another six, seven months . . . And whatever class consciousness or social status might still be left . . . the Wehrmacht [German armed forces] will take care of that.

But all that has changed, now…right? The Wunderlichs have nothing to worry about. It’s not like twenty government agents are going to show up at their home, armed and ready to break down the door, tasked with taking away the children. This isn’t the Nazi era, after all.

Oh. Wait.

If you’d like to make your voice heard, contact the German embassy and express yourself!