424 Comments

Why are a few nattering nabobs of nitwittery on the far Left a indictment of liberalism in general? That's like saying Pat Robertson or (to update the analogy) maybe Andrew Tate or Marjorie Taylor Green is an indictment of conservatism across the board. Apparently they have broad tar brush sales in Hungary too. Meanwhile I have yet to see anyone remotely mainstream defend Hamas. The city of Baltimore-- not exactly a bastion of the GOP, just passed a (yes, feel-good) resolution saying "We stand with Israel". That sort of thing been vastly more common this week.

Expand full comment

But what do we DO, Rod! Does anyone have an action list of how to actually fight this? Short of "write your Congressman"? I'm not being flippant. I NEVER do protests, but I would over this issue. I just don't know how.

Expand full comment

I'm supremely uncomfortable taking sides in what is just the latest episode in the long-running conflict between Arabs and Jews. Whilst my first instinct as a European would be to take the Israeli side, having a lot in common with the people who founded Israel, I have also noticed that this terror attack by Hamas has been gleefully used by some on the right to call for the genocide of Palestinians in pretty unequivocal terms. It also seems to be Israeli policy to enact another Naqba and drive out the remaining Palestinians from Gaza in a steamroller move, probably forcing them into Egypt or into their deaths. I cannot condone any of that and I'm appalled that some so-called Christians in the US are apparently baying for blood and are calling for the eradication of an entire people. The rank hypocrisy of not calling out Israelis for doing far worse things to the Gazans than the Russians ever did to the Ukrainians is also galling.

Apparently, when Russia cuts off power and water to the Ukrainians and forces them from their homes, bombs schools and religious buildings, it is a war crime, but not when Israel does it in their own territory. I personally just cannot deal with the double standards in the West regarding this issue. Whilst I'm not taking sides and both are pretty awful, it's pretty clear that Israel is hardly in the right here and has to take some of the blame for the situation in Palestine deteriorating to the extent it has. They elected a far-right government and have made no effort to stop settlements on appropriated Palestinian land for instance.

Expand full comment
Oct 13, 2023·edited Oct 13, 2023

I listened to a long lecture by Ian McGilchrist yesterday, and this leftist habit of treating human beings as fungible parts of a group or category seems like the left brain's modus operandi. I'm not entirely sure that the leftists here in America hate the Jews *as* Jews so much as that they hate the Jewish claim of concrete specificity, which probably hurts their heads. It's a similar thing with the cruelty that you mention: they appear to have turned off the right-brain comprehension that would be required to see what exactly is wrong with their moral picture.

Expand full comment

Excellent post. I think the conclusion is precisely correct. I have spent most of the last week in a state of internal turmoil because of the events in Israel. I have no personal connection to the place, and it's far away, but I swiftly got a very strong sense of 'the Jews today, us tomorrow' - and that was before the barbarities of Hamas were so widely celebrated across the Western world. It is not simply the fact that there are so many people in our major cities celebrating this stuff, but the fact that a good number of sympathisers occupy significant institutional positions (which is itself an expression of the fact that the ideology is being widely spread through education at the elite level; the Curry example is simply the most extreme case of something that is widespread) - all this bodes very ill indeed for the future. Those Harvard students openly backing Hamas in direct response to the most shocking atrocities - more than THIRTY student organisations at that one institution alone! - will move into senior roles across our society in due course. No doubt many will moderate in the interim, but even so, we are in for a wild ride.

Maybe there is some cause for optimism in the fact that it is becoming harder to avoid noticing what is going on. We shall see.

Expand full comment

"The people who are celebrating the massacre of innocent Jews in the name of “liberation” are the same people who would celebrate the massacre of you, if they had the chance."

This is what I've really realized this week. If you can cheer the beheading of infants for the sake of "liberation" or "decolonization" or whatever it is - you can cheer it here as well as there; you may in fact TAKE PART in it because you've already excused it morally.

Expand full comment

Yesterday hands were wrung over whether or not embrace cancel culture against radical Palestinian apologists like the Harvard kids and if grace was a luxury that society could afford.

Today it seems that some level of cancel culture against those particular monsters should maybe kinda sorta be embraced, but their use of cancel culture against the people they see as monsters is wrong.

Left out of the discussion is that the use of cancel culture doesn't really fix the problem for either side. Another heretic always springs up. In pluralistic societies that keep trying to pretend diversity is a strength, you will always have this tension that eventually turns into violent confrontation.

What works is active steps to limit your plutality and diversity. That's what Hungary is doing by refusing to take Islamic immigrants. They decided, quite correctly, that certain types of people would not be beneficial to the type of society that they want to have.

If you don't let certain people into your society, you don't have to deal with their issues. You don't have to worry about canceling them later or them achieving enough power to cancel you.

Expand full comment
Oct 13, 2023·edited Oct 13, 2023

the left has for decades been percolating and metastasizing on American university campuses. Training undergraduates in radical political theory, identity politics, intimidation, gaslighting - and releasing those undergrads into the world where they attach themselves to corporations, government agencies, educational institutions and bureaucracies. the terrorism in Israel saw a groundswell of support among the left in America. Now it is clear what left wing notions like decolonization mean in real life. So far in America it has been statues representing what the left calls colonizers that have been torn down. It seems reasonable to assume that humans that resemble the so-called colonizers could be next - as they were in Israel this week.

Expand full comment

I just wrote this about the resurgence of barbarism earlier today - couldn't agree more with the sentiments in your piece.

Hang Gliders and Helicopter Rides

https://substack.com/inbox/post/137931844

Expand full comment

We need to keep making a hard distinction between Liberalism and the Left. Liberals dream of peace, equality under the law, equality of opportunity, fairness, economic and personal freedom, among other things. They dream of the day when little Jewish and Muslim children can play together in safety. The Left dreams of a violent revolution where the blood of oppressors with run in the streets.

As Rod says, there are left leaning Liberals and right leaning Liberals, but a left leaning Liberal is not a Leftist. The same is true of right leaning Liberals and the Far Right. Along with fascism, there is the toxic brew of racism, vitalism, and eugenics that we say in Nazism.

I'm not sure how to categorize Socialism and Conservatism, but they too need to be distinguished from the Left and the Far Right.

Expand full comment

Let me start by saying that Professor Curry's views are loathsome and antisemitism is always bad no matter who is doing the hating. That said, any hatred of the other taken to the point of dehumanization is always dangerous and leads to atrocities like those being committed right now by Israel against the inhabitants of Gaza. Israel has been indiscriminately bombing a city of over 2 million people, half of whom are under 19, for a week. How many innocent children have they wantonly killed in their rage against their attackers? How many bloodthirsty ghouls on the so-called right are cheering this on? That is a hideous moral sickness every bit as bad as Hamas' and Professor Curry's. This is not a liberal/conservative problem. The problem is the evil that abides in all of us and the lengths to which we will go in our pride when we feel our righteous rage is justified.

I know that Rod likes to cling to classical liberalism because he sees it as the only way possible for societies to organize themselves around values resembling Christian values. Maybe he gives it too much credit though because without those Christian values liberalism is an empty shell, easily crushed by other more primal and powerful ideologies. I think the days of left v. right are over because those categories don't really mean anything anymore beyond a kind of watered down tribalism. Examine your own heart and choose where you stand based on what you believe in and disregard labels. I want to stand with Christ, not Israel and not Palestine.

Expand full comment

A universal theme I have always noticed among racists is that they hate Jews. It can be white racists, black racists, Hispanic racists, the one thing they can all agree on is that they hate Jews. It has always struck me as odd, but maybe it shouldn’t. God created a covenant with the Israelites, and leaving nitpicking and hair splitting off the table, the first Christians were Jews. Christians may not be Jews by ethnicity, but the continuation of Judaism into Christianity is unbroken.

If God made covenant with the Jews, then they are of God, just as Christians are. Our baptisms are a covenant as well, perhaps less in outward stature, but the commitment of our service to God in return for guidance and eternal life. Satan hates all that is claimed by God, and especially those who turn from the corrupt ways of this fallen world. Racism itself is a thing of evil, because it completely contradicts Christ’s commandments to us. To hate a person is to not love another as Christ loves them, so racism is anti-Christ behavior in a very explicit form.

Racists hate Christ, whatever they might otherwise say, engage in anti-Christ behavior, and hate those who are in a covenant with God. The Jews were the first and most visible form of that covenant, and Christians are a close second. Christians have not born as much of the brunt of this as Jews have, and have at times partaken in that hatred, but persecution of Christians has been accelerating as well.

The persecution of Christians in modern form is not the same as what happened in Rome. It is not the actions of Christians now which invites persecution, but the simple essence of being Christian. In other words, just to be a Christian is to be a target of persecution. Furthermore, the Christians who are persecuted are not people who have much in the way of any political or social power these days, much as all Christians are becoming. It is like the Nazis, who claimed that Jews were behind every bad thing that happened, and controlled the world in secret, but could somehow not stop Hitler from gaining power or keep themselves out of the camps. In America, politics are not informed by Christianity, but the other way around. The Republican Party, with cynical lip service to God and prayer, uses Christianity as a tool to seduce voters from the holy and into the worldly, to take their eyes from beyond this world and to see nothing beyond it. The Democrats, leading the charge, merit no discussion.

We are again surrounded by a pagan, and therefore satanic, fastness. Worship of what has been made for and from a sinful and fallen world, is the worship of sun, whatever form it takes. Money, sex, the degrading of a human form we have authority to degrade, the absence of reason from daily life, it encroaches. When there is nothing left to sweep side into corruption, the focus then becomes on directly destroying what is left.

The times ahead will be stark and difficult. We are coming to the end of the age, perhaps the end of ages. We have squandered Creation and been poor stewards. We have sought comfort in earthly things. We have believed that we are eternal and that the world is born with us and dies with us. There has been so much sin.

There will no longer be the comforts. Our modern existence has always been balanced on the edge. The events of the past week or so are the beginning, the first breath of the Apocalypse. Things may more quickly or slowly, but we are no longer living in the wealth of the past, itself having been squandered in the name of insulation from the hardships of life. Food is already expensive, but will become more difficult to obtain at any price. Warmth in winter, cooling in summer, these will no longer be possible except for a tiny and shrinking minority, easy travel, safety, protection, these things will be gone. There is no schadenfreude in recognizing that, no eagerness for the coming suffering, only the recognition that it is coming.

Things became stark at that point, and people will redouble their hatred, because the world they have tied their souls to will be vanishing and they will be fearful and uncertain. We will be far more persecuted in that time, unless we can withdraw to communities that can be shelter. The Benedict Option, at the core, was never really going to apply to a modern world that was in flux but largely stable. It was always going to apply to a time when surviving the coming darkness did not simply mean making sure everyone prayed before Sunday dinner. In the hearts of the faithful, they will begin to gather and keep watch. I have already been seeing that, even if people are not sure what they are watching for.

All this was never about a simple conflict between Israel and Hamas. They are just the first actors taking the stage in the first scene as the veil is lifted.

Expand full comment

I'm struggling with the "Israel Is Just As Bad So I Won't Take Sides" comments. So Israel somehow slaughtered people for decades, so that makes it right to behead babies? Why don't you say what you really think, Israel got what it deserved so you won't "take a side" because the Palestinians "own" the land. Is the right answer to just wipe out Israel? Is that how we're going to do things now? I don't have an issue with someone having an opinion. At least we know where they stand. "I won't take sides" is the shield of cowards.

Expand full comment

There's one important aspect and one moral to this story that everyone seems to miss.

This is the fact that Hamas is a monster birthed by the Israeli state - literally. The foundation of Hamas was encouraged and financed by Israel in a cynical mover to undermine the secularist PLO - in the classical ploy to divide and rule the Palestinians. This is not a conspiracy theory but a well documented fact acknowledged even by the mainstream media both in the US and Israel itself. See below for just a few examples:

https://archive.ph/oZ5oO

https://archive.ph/mW6YW

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/hamas-israels-own-creation/

The moral is that you cannot give birth to a monster and hope to tame it and control it. A monster by its own very definition - can neither be tamed or controlled. It will turn on you at some point and you either have to slay it or it slays you.

Israel spent 20 years building Hamas and 20 years trying to destroy it. It may very well end destroying both.

But of course we never learn - just like the US pumped the muhajideen in Afghanistan to spite the Soviets only to see them transform into Al Qaeda and the Taliban.... we will keep on creating ''proxies''... and then blame it all on them

Expand full comment

"I prefer civilization. If we aren’t prepared to fight for it, and fight not only in word, but also in deed, then we will lose it."

Do we understand that "also in deed" means that, at some point, we MAY have to start killing people?

Do we have the will to do this? I don't mean just a few of us crazies (metaphorically speaking, of course) but the majority of western peoples. Do we have that will? I bet we don't. At least not as long as we have physical comfort.

As such, I believe our future is ruin.

Expand full comment