Why the lunatic fringe wants to ban Zulu | Daily Mail Online

 

There are, in the annals of cinema, few scenes more likely to have men of a certain age sobbing into their handkerchiefs than that wonderful moment in Zulu featuring Stanley Baker

… what will be left of Western culture? For if Zulu isn’t safe, if Laura Ingalls Wilder is not safe, if even the slightest hint of political incorrectness is enough to disqualify you, then nothing and nobody is safe.

Source: DOMINIC SANDBROOK: Why the lunatic fringe wants to ban Zulu | Daily Mail Online

“Even today, 54 years after its release, Zulu has lost none of its power. It is a film about men under fire, of course. But it is also a film about heroism, fear and sacrifice.

“Set during the Zulu War of 1879, it is a patriotic film, but not a jingoistic one. When the Zulus sing one last song to honour the courage of the British defenders, or when Lt Chard gazes wearily over the piles of African dead, there is rarely a dry eye in the house.

“But some people see things differently…”

Yes. This:

“I am not alone, I know, in feeling nothing but contempt for the disingenuousness, mean-spiritedness, sanctimony and intolerance of these people. I’m not alone, either, in feeling utterly infuriated by the cowardice of the authorities, who are incapable of realising that appeasement only encourages them to find a fresh target.

“What I find really depressing, though, is that this is becoming such a familiar story. The activists make a fuss. The rest of us scoff, sigh or shrug them off as maniacs.

“But the authorities, terrified of being branded racist, give ground. And so, almost without anybody noticing, we take one more step towards a culture defined by the suffocating narrow-mindedness of the lunatic fringe…

“Where will it end? Well, it will never end. And because these censors have no sense of humility, they cannot conceive that people in the future will doubtless find us guilty of prejudices invisible to us today.

“By then, though, what will be left of Western culture? For if Zulu isn’t safe, if Laura Ingalls Wilder is not safe, if even the slightest hint of political incorrectness is enough to disqualify you, then nothing and nobody is safe.

“The truth is that these people are the enemies, not just of tradition or even of tolerance, but of the imagination itself.

“They talk endlessly about celebrating difference. But what they want to do is to suppress difference, control the imagination and rewrite history. And that, of course, is why they must be fought.”

Or as C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”

Of course, today the “omnipotent moral busybodies” care nothing for the good of their victims; they are motivated largely by hatred, thinly veiled behind a veneer of put-on offense and pseudo-compassion. They are “omnipotent” only to the extent that they are not opposed. And they are “moral” not at all.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder: the conversation continues

An old and cherished college friend sent me the linked article, below, with this notation: “Interesting article and perspective from ALA’s office of intellectual freedom of the (former) LIW award.”

ALA Laura Ingalls Wilder Award ALSC


Will some librarians consider it right to purge her works from library collections? We hope not.

Source: Laura Ingalls Wilder Award – when is it censorship? – Intellectual Freedom Blog


Following is my reply:

It is indeed an interesting article and perspective, and I’m glad the conversation is continuing. There is a lot in that article with which I agree. And of course, the ALSC has a perfect right to rename their award if they want to, regardless of my or anyone else’s opinion of the action!

But just as James LaRue points out – accurately – that books must be taken in their entirety, and in context, so too, I believe, must actions. And I cannot help but take this action in the context of a time in our social history in which nearly every icon of our past is under attack, one way or another.

This most recent spasm of historical iconoclasm began in the summer of 2015, when that despicable nutcase killed those poor people in Charleston, SC; and it began with attacks on Confederate flags, rapidly spreading to other iconography: street, park, and school names, and then monuments. But it didn’t end there. The Confederacy was just low-hanging fruit. I haven’t kept as precise and voluminous records as I should have, in retrospect, but some examples that come immediately to mind:

The statue of Teddy Roosevelt – our most progressive President at least until his cousin FDR, and possibly until JFK – was attacked, where it stands in front of the Museum of Natural History in NYC. The very gravesite of Andrew Jackson, certainly a controversial figure but also an American President and the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, has also been attacked, and his picture on the $20 bill is to be replaced. Thomas Jefferson’s statue has been defaced on the very campus of the university (University of Virginia) he founded; here in Maryland, the statue of Francis Scott Key has been defaced, and the National Anthem he gave us attacked (completely erroneously) as racist.

In 2016, students at Yale University’s English Department (!!!) launched a petition calling on the English department to abolish a core course requirement in “Major English Poets” to study canonical writers including Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton, saying that the reading list had too many white male authors. Ummmmm… to what demographic do they think that major English poets belong??? That was the most high-profile, but not the only, report of such doings I recall reading. I find myself wondering what Nancy and Del, or Bob and LeRoy, even Ira [former professors we shared – liberals all, but in the old-school sense], would think about all this…

There are similar attacks on culture, history, and heritage going on throughout the West. I could, with a little brain-searching and research, probably come up with dozens of additional examples; these are just those that came to me with a few minutes’ thought. But it is within the context of these sorts of shenanigans that I interpret the decision to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from that award.

Yes, the essay you linked makes some good points, and, as I say, I agree with a number of them. But it is possible to come up with good, noble-sounding, perhaps even nobly-intended, justifications or rationalizations for each and every one of the incidents I described above, and many more than I did not mention. But taken as a whole, looking at the big picture, what I see is the history, heritage, and culture of the West – indeed, Western civilization itself – under attack. Sustained, persistent, intentional.

I would be fundamentally and vigorously opposed to the destruction of any culture! I am certainly opposed to the attempted destruction of my own. In the larger scheme of things, removing Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from an award is not going to make or break Western civilization. But making that decision, even for the best-intended reasons, is another stone removed from the wall. Keep taking enough out, and how long before the whole structure tumbles?

Her response was very gracious:

“I do see what you’re saying. And wish I knew the answers… if there are any. And I will always love and respect you my dear friend!”

I replied,

“It is very mutual, my dear friend! And we are living in a time concerning which people many centuries in the future may scratch their heads… or shake them, with sadness. I very much fear that if we continue as we seem to be going, we are on the cusp of a new Dark Age.”

Her response was sober, and sobering:

“I think we both hope you are wrong about that! But I have to wonder…”

Indeed we do. We do indeed…

Episcopal Church considers making God gender neutral | Fox News

Episcopal Church leaders called for revisions to masculine language in the Book of Common Prayer.

The Episcopal Church formed a committee Wednesday to “provide a pathway” toward revising the Book of Common Prayer to include gender-neutral language.

Source: Episcopal Church considers making God gender neutral | Fox News

“Church leaders called for immediate revisions to correct the ‘overwhelming use of masculine language’ throughout the book, arguing that the language is now a hindrance to spiritual inclusion, according to the Episcopal Church website.

“’As long as ‘men’ and ‘God’ are in the same category, our work toward equity will not just be incomplete. I honestly think it won’t matter in some ways,’ Wil Gafney, a professor of the Hebrew Bible and strong advocate for the edit, told the Washington Post.”

This is old news for me, in some ways; they were talking in the same terms at Vanderbilt Divinity School back in the mid-90s. I stopped attending chapel there when a lesbian trio sung a “Doxology” to “the Mother, and the Daughter, and the Holy Spirit.”

The problem is, as C.S. Lewis pointed out in “Priestesses in the Church,” when you remove that “masculine language” and replace it with either feminized language or, as is the fad these days, “gender-neutral” language, you change not only the language but the content of the faith.

“Christians think that God Himself has taught us how to speak of Him. To say that it does not matter is to say either that all the masculine imagery is not inspired, is merely human in origin, or else that, though inspired, it is quite arbitrary and unessential.

Change the language with which we speak of God, and we end up with something quite different from Christianity – or at least, quite different from orthodox Christianity. Of course, for many of these neo-reformers, that’s the point…

In His ultimate essence, of course, God far-and-away transcends human gender. The problem is, by trying to make God “gender-neutral,” we also end up making Him neuter, and therefore impersonal (we are also, as Lewis points out above, challenging the inspired and therefore authoritative character of the Holy Scriptures – placing our contemporary social views and mores above the given-ness of revelation: in effect, creating God in our own image).

We can have a personal relationship – whether for good or ill – with a Father. We can’t have a personal relationship with an amorphous blob! I’m reminded of another Lewis quote, in which he commented,

“A girl I knew was brought up by ‘higher thinking’ parents to regard God as a perfect ‘substance’; in later life she realised that this had actually led her to think of Him as something like a vast tapioca pudding. (To make matters worse, she disliked tapioca).”

While that may elicit a wry smile, it also makes a very good point! It is a short step from non-gendered to “nothing in particular.”

There are other Biblical metaphors for God that can be used, of course, that don’t have specifically gender-oriented connotations – “Vine” and “Rock” are two that come immediately to mind – but there is a reason that the more traditional, masculine images of God are vastly more common: they tell us things about God, and about our relationship with Him, that the less-commonly-used ones do not.

Besides that, and perhaps even more importantly, our Lord Jesus Christ called God “Father,” and instructed us to do so as well (“When you pray, say ‘Our Father…'”). We can call God other things in addition to Father, of course, as I commented above; but we cannot fail to call Him “Father” and make any kind of claim that we are obeying our Lord’s teachings. And while God transcends human biology, of course, fathers are biologically male. It does violence to biology, language, and theology alike to pretend otherwise!

The Fatherhood of God – unavoidably masculine though it be – is an essential component of Christianity. Remove it, and you have a different faith.

Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder Is A Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance | The Federalist

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Pretending things that make us uncomfortable never happened isn’t going to make America better, or make American children more informed.

Source: Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder Is A Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance

I do not fully agree with this article, because I do not fully agree that we need to continually apologize for, or even “contextualize,” everything that occurred in our past that makes some present-day observers squeamish. But I certainly do agree with the title (“Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder Is A Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance”)!

And I also agree with the comment of a dear Facebook friend (who is also a follower of this blog; she may choose to identify herself if she wishes), who wrote, in response to a Wall Street Journal article which, unfortunately, is behind a firewall,

“Those who refuse to acknowledge history are doomed to repeat it. This is ridiculous. I should have expected this, I suppose, when they began badmouthing Twain’s work. The Little House books teach a great deal about the time they were written, in an entertaining way so that people will actually remember. Modern mores are already taught now, and people should be trusted to be able to filter through, seeing the changes in time periods as far as attitudes go. Ignoring history doesn’t make it go away.”

To which I can only add, “give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile”… “don’t let the camel’s nose in the tent”… whatever image you use for it, the truth remains: if you start to permit people to alter, suppress, or remove history, there’s no telling where you’ll end up. Nowhere good, that’s for certain!

It started with Confederate flags, then moved to renaming schools, streets, and parks, then to removing monuments. It started with the Confederacy, but has expanded to include Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Francis Scott Key – even Washington and Jefferson. And in literary terms, English poets, Mark Twain and, now, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

These are people who do not understand, or even try to understand, removing, altering, or destroying that which is not understood; people placing the worst possible construction on works and people which and who are complex and multi-faceted. Simplistic responses from – pardon me for saying so, but it’s true – simple minds.

It is depressing and disillusioning. What has happened to this country? We used to be so much better than this!

Liberals Are Pushing The Country To The Edge | Derek Hunter

https://media.townhall.com/townhall/reu/ha/2018/174/50d8f2f4-de76-44a8-be20-4cf6bd48f21f.jpg

Democrats have nothing to sell the American people but being the alternative to what they declare evil.

Source: Liberals Are Pushing The Country To The Edge – Derek Hunter

That is, indeed, the question.

As Hunter points out in this sobering but insightful piece,

“The ability to agree to disagree is dead, murdered by leftists who demand absolute adherence to their political will or they declare you an enemy of the people and seek to destroy you. As long suspected, those “coexist” stickers on their Priuses were for show, they should read “obey” because obedience, in absolute terms, is the only acceptable way to “coexist” with the liberal mob…

“When you hear that the President of the United States is well on his way to becoming the next Hitler, you almost have an obligation to act. When you’re whipped into a frenzy fed by dishonest reporters spinning half-truths into concentration camps, it’s only a matter of time before another person snaps at members of the party enabling the next despotic monster. It’s not only inevitable, it’s the objective. That’s the only logical conclusion you can draw…

“Democrats have nothing to sell the American people but being the alternative to what they declare evil. For that declaration to carry any emotional weight the hateful flames of their fringe have to be stoked to engulf enough people to motivate them to vote in November. The question is, will November come before the spark they’re building toward that ignites something awful?”

That is indeed the question. And on the answer, may ride the fate of our Republic. I have rarely been so fearful for our future as a nation, and a people.

And of course, in November, it all begins again… Is it any wonder that, much though I love and am loyal to the Founders’ vision for this country, I also have a political Tory’s longing for Church, King, and Country – and all of them ordered in a Traditional direction? To say that we are badly off-course is to risk severe understatement!

Jesse Kelly: “It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous”

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This idea of breaking up the United States may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town.

Source: It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous

Let me preface my comments by being clear: I do not wish to see this. Despite my Monarchist and Confederate leanings, I deeply love and respect the American Republic that our Founders bequeathed to us (as Benjamin Franklin perhaps presciently put it, “if you can keep it”), and which my ancestors (including my father and paternal grandfather) fought to defend.

The United States has been far from perfect, but I truly believe that (if you set aside the late unpleasantness of the mid-1860s, and a few other incidents) it has done more good in the world than otherwise. But everything has its life-cycle, and that includes nations – and the ideologies behind them. And like human relationships, though “breaking up is hard to do,” there may come a time when it is the lesser of two evils.

What Jesse Kelly calls “the peaceful solution”: “We can and will draw the map and argue over it a million different ways for a million different reasons, but draw it we must. I’ve got my own map, and I suspect the final draft would look similar.”

It is said that no one (at least, no decent person) breaks up a committed relationship unless or until the pain of remaining becomes greater than the pain of departing. I am not sure we are quite there, yet, but we seem to be heading in that direction. As this essay puts it,

“The history of the world is nations breaking up and redrawing their borders. If we want to avoid this political divide turning into a deadly one, we should do likewise.

“Stop clinging to the past and acknowledge where we are as a country, not where you want us to be, not where things were when your grandpa was storming the beaches of Normandy. Where we truly are…

“Borders move. Countries split and change hands. They do this for a myriad of reasons. Ours would be a major cultural shift toward the left and half the country refusing to go along with tyranny…”

“The GOP has many problems, but the Democratic Party has turned into something completely un-American. The United States was founded on two things: Judeo-Christian values and a limited federal government. The entire platform of modern Democrats stands completely opposite both of those.”

Sobering – even depressing! – to think about, this nonetheless carries the ring of truth, in my opinion. I am also depressed to see my home state of Maryland well above the line (and even the “Old Dominion” of Virginia!) but I also, sadly, fear that Mr. Kelly is correct. There has been such an influx of Left-leaning urbanites, over the last several decades, that neither – and certainly not Maryland – is what it used to be. That I may ultimately find myself forced to migrate South or West is a sad likelihood that I have been pondering for a long time before reading this essay.

Mr. Kelly concludes,

“This idea of breaking up the country may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town. Our political disagreements have become a powder keg, one that already would have blown if conservatives had liberals’ emotional instability.

“Nobody is expected to cheer for this split. Cheering is not a normal reaction when couples get a divorce. We cheer for old married people on their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

“But life is imperfect. Life is hard. We both now agree that living under the other side’s value system is wholly unacceptable. The most peaceful solution we Americans can hope for now is to go our separate ways. So let us come together one last time and agree on one thing: Irreconcilable differences.”

To my great sadness, I fear that he is right. I just wish I had confidence that we could do so, peacefully, before we get to the point beyond which a peaceful settlement may prove not merely difficult, but impossible to achieve.

Hope Not Hate: anti-fascist authoritarianism | Free speech | spiked

Hope Not Hate: anti-fascist authoritarianism

“There has always been something paradoxical, even ironic, about so-called anti-fascist and anti-racist groups… These anti-fascist bodies are a reminder that people with unshakeable good intentions on their side are always the most dangerous.”

Source: Hope Not Hate: anti-fascist authoritarianism | Free speech | spiked

Online columnist Patrick West notes that

“There has always been something paradoxical, even ironic, about so-called anti-fascist and anti-racist groups. While ostensibly promoting peace, understanding and tolerance in the face of nasty and intolerant far-right groups, they have always seemed to contain an essence of authoritarianism and intolerance themselves – and even an undercurrent of menace…

“These anti-fascist bodies are a reminder that people with unshakeable good intentions on their side are always the most dangerous. People who believe they are fighting evil impose no boundaries upon themselves, because in their battle in the name of good, anything is permitted.”

Now, it seems, “the latest anti-fascist group, Hope Not Hate, which sounds caring and innocent enough… latest campaign has been to urge major booksellers Waterstones, WHSmith and Foyles to stop profiting from selling ‘dangerous books’ with ‘extreme hate content.'” Correctly noting that “the concept of ‘dangerous books’ is both babyish and ridiculous,” Mr. West points out, accurately, that

“It should strike us as ironic that anti-fascists are seeking to ban books in the name of promoting tolerance. What next? Burning books? But this shouldn’t surprise us. Paternal, power-crazy, anti-fascists have a long track record of self-righteous censoriousness. They’ve always feared the ill-educated, unwashed masses of people who might have had too much to think. They always mean well. And that’s what makes them so dangerous.”

Dangerous indeed! Referencing a number of recent cases of authorities in the UK tagging people for anti-PC “thought crimes,” Mr. West continues,

“Free speech means standing up for people you don’t care for, because if your enemies aren’t safe from the encroaching powers of the state, then you and you friends won’t be safe, either. You don’t have to be a libertarian fundamentalist to be worried about the state now prosecuting people for jokes.”

It has until recently been seen as self-evident, here in the U.S., that free speech is meaningless unless it also protects unpopular, even offensive speech. This consensus seems, sadly, to be fading even here, and it appears already to have gone by the wayside in the U.K. (which used to have a robust tradition of free speech, but sadly never one protected – as ours still is, however tenuously – by a written Constitution).

I am, in any case, reminded of C.S. Lewis’ famous dictum:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Unfortunately, at the moment it seems that the tyrannical “omnipotent moral busybodies” are very much in the ascendant in today’s public square, aided and abetted by inaction on the part of those whose greatest fear is to be seen as being “intolerant.” But as the late great G.K. Chesterton observed, “Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions.” Sadly, there seem to be many such men in the present age of the world.