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Physics, Religion, and Psychology Smell the Whiff of Panic?

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Today Seattle Is Conducting Unity Meetings

by Christopher Chantrill
July 30, 2006 at 6:22 pm

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HOW COULD IT happen? In Seattle, of all places, a city of moderation and diversity? On Friday, July 28, a man barged into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. It is alleged that, armed with two handguns, Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, killed one woman and wounded five others.

And so the War on Terror comes to liberal Seattle, at the very heart of the congressional district of “Baghdad” Jim McDermott. Although Seattle is the very enemy of “hate,” Haq will not be prosecuted for a hate crime, according to Seattle Times reporters. He will be prosecuted under state murder laws.

That’s as it should be. The hate crime laws were designed with right-wing militias and gay-bashers in mind. They were never intended to be used against Muslim hatemongers and Jew baiters.

Back when right-wingnuts were blowing up innocent civilians in federal office buildings, no less a person than the President of the United States hinted that right-wing talk radio was to blame.

So we are bound to ask: is there something in left-wing culture, something rotten in the State of Washington, that encourages Muslim 30-year-olds with a sense of grievance to make the killing of innocent Jewish American women thinkable?

Are people with a sense of grievance driven to outrages like the Seattle attack on innocent Jewish women working for a Jewish charity? Or do liberal cities like Seattle encourage and nurture angry people and teach them to develop their sense of victimhood?

Ever since about 1850 our western progressives have maintained, with a solid consistency, that there are many people who, because of the facts of their oppression, cannot be expected to contain their rage. The outrages of the workers were to be expected, wrote the Fabian generation in dozens of books and pamphlets, when you consider how the capitalist system exploited them and failed to provide them with a decent wage that would raise them above the line of poverty.

After the workers, it was the blacks. You couldn’t expect them to keep the peace in the inner city. The rage of three hundred years of slavery and its aftermath was too great to be contained. And as President Johnson said at Howard University in 1965:

You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.

After the blacks it was the women. They were the “victim of the species,” wrote Simone de Beauvoir in “The Data of Biology,” and must be liberated from millennia of patriarchal oppression and alterity. Then it was gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, and questioning.

Now it is the Muslims of the Middle East. The Ottoman Empire collapses and the century of violent conflicts between its subject peoples is all the fault of the West and the Jews. No wonder the Palestinians and the Iranians and the Shia of southern Lebanon are outraged. They stole “our treasure, our oil, and our resources,” bellows Sheikh Nasrullah.

You would expect that an angry American Muslim would choose Seattle to perform his outrage. Progressive Seattle legitimizes and condones the outrages of the self-described oppressed peoples. It permits them a reduced responsibility for their actions. It encourages them to experience themselves not as equal citizens but as violated victims.

When you encourage people to feel like victims you cannot be surprised that they act out as victims. Today, of course, progressive Seattle Jews and progressive Seattle Muslims are conducting unity gatherings. “To be sure, the shooting was apparently an isolated incident,” writes Janet I. Tu.

To be sure. But when you have built a political philosophy that sacralizes victimhood and isolates oppression as the only evil, and when you excuse the outrages of street thugs and political murderers, you cannot be surprised that the world is suddenly full of violent victims of oppression.

For a generation young black males were told that they are oppressed and that nobody would be surprised if they lashed out in violent anger. So they did, and crime rates soared. Then little over a decade ago the citizens of New York City conducted a little social experiment. They reversed the living law of Gotham. No longer would aggressive young men be considered “depraved on account of [they’re] deprived,” in the immortal words of Stephen Sondheim. In future, aggressive young men would be arrested and harassed for minor crimes of public drinking, aggressive behavior, and “breaking windows.” Amazingly, crime rates went down.

Overwhelmingly, people do what they are told; they respond to the cues that the culture sends out, young people more than anyone.

Today progressive Seattle is conducting unity meetings to bring everyone together. The trouble is that tomorrow Seattle will return to its grand old progressive tradition: encouraging victims and condoning social pathology.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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