28 November 2008

Uncommon Commentary #34: We Demand "Inclusivity," but Not Inclusivity of Everyone

Now that Thanksgiving has ended, we've arrived at a time which for some decades now has tended to mark the secular onset of Christmas season. (We Christians know better; what actually comes up next is Advent season, and what secular culture used to call simply "Christmas" is merely the first of the 12 Days of Christmas.) In recent years, though, as you've surely noticed, retailers seem to have done things differently; not only are they beginning the season earlier—I recall some commercials featuring Santa Claus that aired even before Halloween, for crying out loud—but also, a growing number of them, perhaps now the majority, are dropping the name "Christmas" and replacing it with "Holiday," as if it were the only holiday on the calendar. Could that be any more imbecilic?
What makes it especially so is that Christmas has no true major holidays with which to compete during its time of the year. Chanukah (which is not a holiday anyway, but lasts for nine days) was a minor festival until well into the Twentieth Century--indeed, some rabbis thought that it ought not to be celebrated at all, because of what they saw as its nationalist rather than universal character--when, in response to Jewish children's envy of the presents received by their gentile brethren, it was magnified into what we know now. In contrast, "Kwanzaa" isn't even an historic feast, but was simply dreamt up in the 1960's by a Black Nationalist, who (perhaps misinterpreting the lyrics of White Christmas) thought that there ought to be an alternative to what he perceived as a holiday only for persons of European descent. Late December's only other observance in an extant religious tradition is that of the winter solstice; the heathens who celebrate that one can, and deserve to, be ignored.
Anyway, although Hinduism, Islam, &c., are last-minute entrants into the USA's "diversity" derby, Judaism and atheism have long existed alongside Christianity in this country; yet there's no indication that Jews or even the nullifidians, until very recently, found it offensive to call Christmas by its name. (Indeed, I doubt that the majority of at least the former find it so now; I'd be interested in seeing the results of a poll on the subject.)
Pagans often try to counter by arguing that the Christians have usurped their traditions. It's true that the Christmas tree, for instance, is largely a borrowing from the forms of worship in pre-Christian Germany, but trees have importance in Christian symbolism, and tree-decorations such as gold angels and the surmounting star obviously owe nothing to the older religion; at any rate, the tree has come to be associated with Christmas rather than with neo-paganism or Buddhism or whatever, and so to rename it a "holiday tree" is disingenuous as well as paranoid and stupid.
Why, then, have retailers censored Christmas? I don't believe that most of them hate Christianity. (Nor, however, do I believe that they're trying to be "inclusive." How can you be "inclusive" by excluding the majority, namely, the three-fourths of the people of this land who identify themselves as Christians?) Rather I believe that they are pusillanimously seeking to avoid lawsuits and boycotts, and that because of a lack of religious fervor on the part of most ostensible Christians, they think that they can afford to antagonize believers for the sake of appeasing the fringe who deem it "offensive," "unconstitutional," &c., to do anything that acknowledges, however obliquely, the fact that the USA has a nominal Christian majority.
In conclusion, I should add that there's already a designation for Christmas that ought to satisfy everyone: "Xmas." The "X" stands for Christ, but it can also symbolize the unknown (as in "x-ray") or the forbidden (as in "x-rated"); both these alternate significations seem ironically appropriate for use by the Grinches and Scrooges of our time, who have both lost the meaning of the holiday and enjoined everyone else from finding it. It also seems noteworthy that the Third Reich replaced Christmas with the above-mentioned pagan celebration of the winter solstice; the noteworthiness lies in the fact that even the National Socialists ("Nazis") were honest enough to abolish Christmas, rather than just bastardize it into a generic, commercialized, secular "Holiday."

07 November 2008

Uncommon Commentary #33: Post-Racial Drip

The conceit in the US media right now, namely that the election of Obama is a victory for "postracialism" and thus for the USA as a whole, is 100% pure twaddle. First of all, Obama himself is extremely conscious of his ethnicity. This is made evident by 1) the fact that, although his ancestry is just as much north-west European as African, he seems to think of himself solely as Black; and 2) (among other episodes) the surreal overreaction of his camp to that advertisement by the McCain campaign that featured two well-known celebrity bimbos; he and his brownshirts damned the spot as "racist," even though it made no allusion whatsoever to race. The belief that our country can take pride in itself for having elected someone who's partly Black seems, however, to be held even by some persons who ought to know better, i.e., those who despise Obama but feel that his win proves that the USA is not racist. Many voters evidently cast their ballots for the candidate from Hell because they, similarly, expected such an outcome to exorcise the spectre of racism, and therefore, for instance, to put an end to racial quotas, by demonstrating that a member of a minority can attain our most important office—even though those who defend ethnic preferences in business, education, &c., had already said that these preferences will still be "necessary" should Obama be elected. It won't surprise me if the effect of his looming failure of a presidency is not to allay but to arouse race-hatred, for what better argument will there be for racists to use than the fact that our carefully-instilled feeling of guilt over slavery, Jim Crowism, &c. helped put a thing like Obama into the White House?
The very fact that some commentators hail the beginning of a new "postracial" era refutes their own argument that the Obama presidency will make the United States of America truly united; after all, if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision of a color-blind country had come true, the President-elect's bi-racial character would not be newsworthy. Similarly, his Caucasoid mother's side of the family doesn't seem to count, and hardly ever receives mention (even by Obama himself; see the above paragraph). Further refutation is provided by the electoral statistics. Obama won only 43% of the White vote, yet his support among Blacks was almost universal; would such polarization be the case were the USA not obsessed with race?
What seems lost on almost everyone is that the public's "diversity" fixation and "postracial" delusion apparently outweighed other considerations, such as I mentioned in the third paragraph of Viewing the Iceberg from the Deck of the Titanic. How does it speak well of our land that we've elected as president a political nightmare who happens to be half Black, when the mere fact that he is half Black was a major factor in the decision?

Uncommon Commentary #32

I make few predictions, for I've found that it's hard enough just to know what really happened in the past; it's easy to foretell, though, that Obama will be the worst president ever, and that no more than a year from now, we'll be seeing bumper stickers that read "Don't Blame Me; I Voted for McCain." (This second prediction, however, rests upon the assumption that anyone will still have enough money to own a car, or even a bumper sticker.)

03 November 2008

Uncommon Commentary #31: Viewing the Iceberg from the Deck of the Titanic

The upcoming presidential election here in the USA will become a landmark if Obama wins, not because he's partly Black, but because he's all pink. This country has never had a committed leftist as chief executive; that element of the Democratic Party (which no longer is just an element, but now is the Democratic Party), as I pointed out in The Other "L-Word", didn't even exist until four decades ago, and since then we've had only two Democrats as president, both of whom qualified as conservatives by party standards.
An Obama presidency will be a catastrophe for the USA, and, because of this country's importance, for the world as a whole, but not a catastrophe that could have been delayed forever. Our land has already, in consecutive presidential contestations, tottered on the edge of a precipice that drops away to electoral hell; it's easily predictable that, sooner or later, we'll fall in, although I have not expected it to happen on this occasion. It seems that the electorate has changed, with the result that obtuse voters outnumber astute ones.
A prospective Obama Administration also is not an undeserved catastrophe. Those of us who fear, i.e., respect, God know that He brings judgement upon polities that turn from Him (that is, he allows them to suffer the consequences of their own wrongdoing), as the USA surely has. Moreover, it's not as if we were the subjects of an absolute monarchy, having no choice as to who rules us. We have the vote, and the minimum age for voting in this country is 18 years; that should be old enough to know right from wrong and true from false. Thus, if we actually elect Obama to our highest office, despite the revelations about his lies, ideological extremism, association with dangerous radicals, near-total lack of qualification for the job, &c., we ought to know exactly whom to blame for what lies ahead; not God, not the McCain campaign, not even media bias (which is real, but not all-powerful) or the Democratic nominee himself (for bad politicians will exist as long as human beings run the world, and the electors have a moral responsibility to oppose them), but ourselves only.

Uncommon Commentary #30: An Engagement that Hopefully Won't End in Marriage

Westerners, and US citizens in particular, have come to believe in a simplistic formula: capitalism = "democracy" = unaggressiveness. It's not necessary for me to refute the idea that trade contacts will liberalize mainland China; the situation in that country (as well as that in, for instance, Germany on the eve of World War One) is itself refutation. Beginning three decades ago under Deng Xiaoping (who hinted at both the purpose and the effect of his reforms by saying "I don't care whether the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice"), the regime's economic policy has changed to such a degree that it is now communist in name only; where, therefore, are the political changes that the advocates of "engaging" Beijing have expected? (It was Deng, once viewed as a hero by Western useful idiots, who ordered the crackdown on dissidents in Tiananmen Square; yet, only a decade after the massacre, the USA's Clinton administration, and even sincere politicians, were invoking "engagement" as a means of liberalizing mainland China.) China didn't loosen the restrictions on its people even for the duration of the Olympiad, but instead intensified them.
This doesn't mean that I agree completely with the other side in the debate. Labor unions were right for the wrong reason: they opposed the expansion of commerce with China because of the mistaken belief that it would lead to a loss of jobs for US workers. Integrating mainland China more truly into the world economy has benefitted the USA; the problem is that it has benefitted the Chinese more, which point I shall elaborate upon below. (Organized labor at least was consistent in its opinions on this sort of issue, unlike Clinton and the leftists who sided with him; earlier in the 1990's, these hypocrites were self-righteously demanding that US capitalists end their investment in South Africa, supposedly for the same reason why they were now professing faith in a "policy" of" engagement.") "Human rights" advocates have more of the truth, but most of them seem to have thought that the regime in Beijing would wither under international censure.
In reality, neither infusing the mainland with Western goods and money nor treating it as a pariah will dramatically affect the way the government behaves toward its people. Had the capitalist-"democratic" states denied China the 2008 Olympic Games, entry into the World Trade Organization, and (specific to the USA) permanent "most-favored nation" trade status, however, they would at least have things to use as leverage in such regard, and the morale of those oppressed would benefit from their knowing that others sympathize with them. For the first six years or so of Clinton's administration, one of his favorite annual flim-flams was to pretend to get tough with the Chinese by threatening not to renew their above-mentioned trade status; after the President executed one of his characteristic flip-flops on that issue, the persecuted Christians and others of that land must have known how empty his, and by extension our, bluster about "human rights" was. My assessment is that "engagement" has nothing to do with improving the lot of the ordinary Chinese, but is rather a delusory rationale for infusing capital into, and thus unintentionally strengthening, a hostile power. I am reminded of a quote from Vladimir Lenin, who predicted that the anti-Communist countries "will sell us the rope for their own hanging."