Monday, July 24, 2006

Where I Stand

I am not a liberal.  Yet, I've voted for a republican candidate for President only once--Gerald Ford.  I was 18.  What did I know?  I've voted for republicans at the state and local level many times.  I like the republican ideals of small central government and fiscal responsibility.  Republican executives apparently, do not share those ideals, at least in practice and so I'm generally opposed to them.

But the left makes me bilious when they start lamenting the plight of the poor Palestinians.  While I'm not happy to see them suffer, they are in many ways responsible for it themselves.  Hamas and Hezbollah are the heirs apparent to the PLO and all of them are terrorist organizations.  Israel has fought several wars for survival against its neighbors and has earned the right to exist.  Yet these organizations continue to gnaw away at the peace and stability of a sovereign nation.

The Palestinians as a group have made bad choices.  Allying with the PLO, allying with Hamas, these are not actions calculated to avoid suffering.  Peace is preferable to war, but no matter how the left wing spins it--the result of 30 years of peace talks, appeasement and trying to work out a compromise lead inevitably to 9/11.  The iron fist is the only thing that matters to the fundamentalist. 

The west has something the middle east does not: Enlightenment.  Namely, the enlightenment of the 18th Century, when equality, brotherhood and human rights arose as concepts in the human condition.  This happened because society eviscerated the Roman Catholic Church's temporal power.  For that we look to Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others and their heirs, the great moral philosophers of the 18th Century who established that man could have a morality independent of the moral code of Moses.  That we didn't owe our morality to God, but to ourselves as the measure of all things.

In the middle east, Shiara law (similar to the law books of the old testament, Deuteronomy, Leviticus) operates unchecked by enlightened concepts of human rights and the duties of government.  There the mullahs have the kind of temporal power that the clerics of the west can only DREAM of.  I believe that religion works best when it is applied to personal conscience and a sense of community.  But when it works like a giant club to beat down everything someone is opposed to, then it becomes the tool of evil. 

The west has a superior civilization to the Mid-East.  I would not trade places for anything.  Radical Islam wants me dead.  I suspect so does mainstream Islam.  But that's fine.  I'm here, they're there, I'll live and let live.  Fundamentalist Christianity would prefer me dead, too, but the difference is, they're powerless.  And that's the way I prefer it.

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