TCS Daily


The End of the War on Terror

By Michael Cecire - September 12, 2008 12:00 AM

When I woke up on the morning of September 12, 2001, I remember crawling out of bed sleepily and beginning my customary morning routine. The first splashes of sunlight fell in through the window as I pulled on my clothes; then nausea hit me. And panic. And memory.

The attacks from the day before were so utterly horrible, so grotesquely magnificent that it took all my strength to keep from keeling over from the sharp aches of disbelief, realizing that thousands of my countrymen had been butchered by hate-drunk fanatics. The maxim that 9/11 'changed everything,' has been whispered, parroted, and even mocked, but I remember very clearly feeling the maelstrom of events move the ground beneath me. Everything had changed, indeed.

What did we learn from 9/11? Presumably, it was that the economic, political, and social progress of liberal democracy was experiencing its most grievous resistance since the Soviet Union's fall. Dreams of freedom's inevitable, confident march fell charred and battered among the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers, and it became clear that our universal paradise was in fact further away than we had ever imagined. So we responded; we fought back.

With ferocity and tactical brilliance, American and Allied forces crushed the ugly Taliban regime and began reconstruction. Then we invaded Iraq, as if to say: Let it be known that the United States of America will meet opposition to freedom's march head-on. Forget oil, forget terrorism, forget all that stuff - Iraq was always meant to demonstrate a commitment to our massive project of global freedom, of Pax Americana, to show that we would not be deterred even in the face of even the most shocking adversity.

And for all our defeats, misgivings, debates, and crises, America found its proconsul in the aptly-named David Petraeus. Iraq is on its way to pacification; Afghanistan is dangerous but holding. And the revolutions! Georgia's Rose Revolution, Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Lebanon's Cedar Revolution, Kyrgystan's Tulip Revolution - tyrants torn down by brave democrats asking only for the most basic freedoms that we Americans take for granted. Freedom had a chance once more.

And we thought maybe, just maybe, we could weather this little economic downturn and get back to the business of advancing universal liberal democracy. Sure we have problems - Russia, China, Iran, perennial terrorist things here and there - but we could feel confident again. The news networks were now more interested in kidnapped white girls and celebrity dress-sizes - strong reminders of more bullish days in the 1990s. Even "The X-Files" made a temporary return; oh, how we miss the 90s.

I remember waking up on August 8, 2008. I fell out of my hard futon, blinking sleepily as I staggered to the shower, my real bed unused in a corner, gathering clothes and books; then nausea hit me. And panic. And memory.

My wonderful friends, people with whom I'd lived as a Peace Corps Volunteer, were suffering incomprehensibly in Georgia. Terrorized by the brutal premeditation of revanchist Russia's full might, my freedom-loving Georgian friends faced the horrors of war and invasion by their persistently unfriendly neighbor to the north, which sought to make their country into an example. How dare we be denied our empire, sang the shrill cries of Russian bombs and wheezing tanks. Our Georgian ally, however brave and resolute, had no capacity to deny the overwhelming might of Russia's military and its resolve to humiliate and crush that tiny, fiercely proud county that had for so long defied Moscow.

Georgia was once known as the 'Soviet Riviera' for its breathtaking coastline, its majestic mountain ranges, and its Mediterranean clime. Playground of the Soviet elite, the country's stature was further bolstered by its centuries-old winemaking tradition, colorful cultural dances, and rich history - it's a country that is palpably ancient, from the ruins of castles nestled in the hills to the mystical tonality of Georgian liturgical music. Such a prize, that Georgia, and the Soviets heaped favor upon it. And yet, in 1991, the Georgians too wanted their independence. Those ungrateful Georgians, must have murmured the Russian brass, the cream of the USSR has turned their back on Us, their benevolent patrons. And then the real shock came in 2003, when a passionate, Columbia-educated lawyer took a stand; he wanted his country to chart its own way, and worse, he wanted that way to lean West. Georgia's Rose Revolution shook the world in a manner unparalleled in our time, when the Georgians - those hardy mountain folk - decided that enough was enough, it was time not just for independence, but to be independent. They chose democracy, human rights, civil freedoms, and Russia bristled at their impudence, their arrogance.

Somehow, we Americans believed that because leadership of the world had fallen to us that it was meant to be so. It's not uncharacteristic, as Robert Kagan tells us1, for America was founded and thrived upon a belief that the big picture - the rights enshrined in our constitution - was political scripture and that the world had a right to such freedoms. It was our duty to see it through. And though our friends in Georgia, in Ukraine, and even in Lebanon and Iraq heard the call and saw the shifting waters, America became deluded into believing that the old guard - the autocrats, the tyrants, their cronies - would take it sitting down. Worse, we thought that our narrative of freedom was somehow stronger than competing ideologies of theocracy and national greatness.

I imagine posterity will look back on this moment as the dusk of American unipolarity. Make no mistake, the United States remains uniquely formidable militarily, culturally, and politically, but the force of the once unbeatable ideology of liberal democracy's unassailable march lies twisted and crushed in the battlefields of the Caucasus. Nation states have joined the rebellion, and done so with a fearsome vengeance. As China coolly flexes its muscles in an extravagant, tightly regulated Olympic Games, so too does Russia as its armies pour into the borders of its enemies. And worse, the American response to Russian aggression has been beyond tepid, and the world is duly taking note.

It's not so much that the Global War on Terror has ended as much as it never really was. The War on Terror, for all its lofty goals and essential prosecution, will probably be remembered as but the prelude to the new age in which we've officially entered.

So perhaps American hyperpower has ended, but that does not mean America can be counted out. It just means we have to take ourselves seriously once again.


Michael Cecire is a writer, traveler, and economic development practitioner from Virginia. A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Georgia, he currently works in urban redevelopment and researches international public policy. He is a regular contributor to the Democracy Project weblog and has his own weblog at http://michaelcecire.wordpress.com.

1 Neocon Nation: c. 1776 http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/2008%20-%20Spring/full-neocon.html

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83 Comments

Uhhh....
...I think this article on America's future outlook was way better researched:

http://tinyurl.com/3oqehd

Individual liberty is stronger than theocracy and nationalism
"we thought that our narrative of freedom was somehow stronger than competing ideologies of theocracy and national greatness."


Look at the effect one man, Jesus, who preached individual liberty, had upon a world of theocracy and nationalism.

The challenge for the USA is to support individual liberty wherever and whenever it can.

Dragging Religious Figures into political discourse is NO WAY to advance Individual Liberty
"If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles"

-- Mt 5:39b-41

The above is a widely accepted saying attributed to Jesus.

How does it contribute to individual liberty?

Is it a coincidence?
Because someone is a religious figure, you can't acknowledge anything about them?

Jesus supported the rights of the individual over the state. The state saw that as a threat and killed Him.

Why should any state care about some small time religious leader who preached love your neighbor as your self? What was threatening about Jesus to the state?

God does not support government, and He doesn't actively oppose government. He tries to convince us that no government is required if we follow Him.

That is the threat. That is why socialists attack religion.

Is that why you attack it?

Can't learn or be inspired by literature?
Whether you believe in God or not, the story is out there and has been out there for centuries.

Quality literature makes a moral statement. Romeo and Juliet did not exist, yet it is studied and moral lessons can be extracted.
Since Hamlet was a fictional character, the study of Hamlet has no moral value? ( I assume you believe Jesus to be a fictional character.)

Don’t beat around the bush, Marjon; explain how the saying I quoted squares with Individual Rights
And, while you are at it, evade this question as well.

How does following Him – whoever He / She / It may be - contribute to individual liberty?

We hold these truths....
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Forgiveness is more liberating than retaliation.
"The Christian thinks not of his rights, but of his duties; not of his privileges, but of his responsibilities.""

http://www.pastortom.org/sm15.htm

"Forgiveness creates freedom. Forgiveness is liberating. Forgiveness is a positive, pro-active decision. It's a deliberate choice from a position of power and responsibility.

It's an act of character and integrity. It takes courage. I admit it's not easy to be kicked by someone and then forgive YOURSELF for being kicked. Because, "It's not me - I didn't do this! It's THEM!! They're the bad ones!""

http://articles.directorym.net/How_To_Release_The_Pain_Caused_By_Others-a861517.html

Huh?
How does this saying NOT contribute to individual liberaty? The saying is directed at individuals, not nations, and Jesus is merely saying that sometimes you get better results by not lashing out violently against INDIVIDUALS who might mistreat you. He is recognizing that the "eye for an eye" attitude might just leave everybody blind.

Please note that NONE of his examples say that you must be passive if your actual life is threatened. Will you say that Ghandi was not for individual liberty? His message was similar, and his techniques proved at least partially effective in making massive changes.

-Bob

Doesn’t address how turning the other cheek to a MURDEROUS THUG advance individual liberty
Since Jesus did not qualify his saying, consistent implementation of this advice means turning the other cheek even to a MURDEROUS THUG.

Following this (and other sayings of Jesus) consistently makes the society dependent on the good will of the WORST kind of its members, which is CERTAINLY NOT conducive to Individual Liberty.

Finally, just because the Founding Fathers used the word CREATOR, is not conclusive proof that one exists and created Man and that EVERYBODY must accept it. The same founding fathers wrote slavery into the (US) Constitution. Do you then approve of slavery?

See my post titled "Doesn’t address how turning the other cheek to a MURDEROUS THUG ...... "
..

See my post titles "Doesn’t address how turning the other cheek to a MURDEROUS THUG ...... "
..

NearRNoaD: " Do unto others first, before they do unto you."?
That will certainly lead to a more liberty.

""We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." - John Adams, Oct. 11, 1798, Address to the military"

""Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue." - John Adams, 2nd President of the United States"

""A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security." - Samuel Adams"

""Self-defense is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the laws of society." -Sir William Blackstone, 1765"


"I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.."

"But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier...But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature...."
http://www.mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/phil8.htm

"Sadly, many Christians today have muddled thinking and have forsaken the ideals of the Founders
and the premises of the New Testament. They wrongly support the predatory, proactive state. Instead,
Christians should work against their enemy the state and its proactive policies. While many Christians
think that self-defense against the state is always an unwelcome distraction from their primary mission,
there are times when the purposes of Christians in the world can be served through self-defense. Therefore,
I argue that Christians should defend themselves against the state, just as they would against any
other criminal or crime organization. At the same time, Christians can and should support a limited government,
established to protect them from predators and thus indirectly benefit the church and its primary
mission."

http://www.policyofliberty.net/e-books/Christians%20and%20Self-Defense%20against%20Criminals%20(Including%20the%20State).pdf

"Following this (and other sayings of Jesus) consistently makes the society dependent on the good will of the WORST kind of its members, which is CERTAINLY NOT conducive to Individual Liberty."

How can you say that? Jesus said and did many things. I don't recall where he said you must not defend yourself.

The commandment states not to murder. That is not the same as killing.

Loving you neighbor as yourself does not preclude defending yourself from him.

Dial 911
Only government authority can be trusted with the force necessary to stop murderous thugs.

You are just evading Marjon. How do Jesus' sayings promote Individual Liberty?
..

Still, doesn't answer how Jesus' syaings promote Individual Liberty
..

I guess it is too deep for you to understand.
"Name: marjon
Subject: Forgiveness is more liberating than retaliation.
Date/Time: 13 Sep 2008, 12:09 PM

"The Christian thinks not of his rights, but of his duties; not of his privileges, but of his responsibilities.""

http://www.pastortom.org/sm15.htm

"Forgiveness creates freedom. Forgiveness is liberating. Forgiveness is a positive, pro-active decision. It's a deliberate choice from a position of power and responsibility.



http://articles.directorym.net/How_To_Release_The_Pain_Caused_By_Others-a861517.html

Faith is liberating
"Instead, faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives
new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us
completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits,
our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with
it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this
faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn't
stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone
asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without
ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an
unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good
works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are.
Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many
words.

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of
God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it.
Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy,
joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. "

Martin Luther

http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/luther-faith.txt

Holucaust survivor, Frankl, forgives
"The tragic triad of human existence is made up of pain, guilt, and death."

" One prerogative of being human is the ability to change and a constituent of human existence is the capability of shaping and reshaping oneself. In other words, it is a privilege of man to become guilty and his responsibility to overcome guilt. Man does not have the freedom to undo what he has done, but he does have the freedom to choose the right attitude to guilt. A man who has failed by a deed cannot change what happened, but by repentance he can change himself."

"he existential vacuum is often experienced as a state of boredom. Frankl refers to this let down due to leisure time as the "Sunday Neurosis." This kind of depression affects people who become aware of the lack of content and meaning in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.
The existential vacuum leads to a neurosis that shows itself in for main symptoms. 1) First, there is the planless day-to-day attitude toward life. 2) The second symptom is the fatalist attitude toward life. The day-to-day man considers planned action unnecessary while the fatalist considers it impossible. 3) The third symptom is collective thinking. Man would like to submerge himself in the masses. The conformist or collectivist man denies his own personality. 4) The fourth symptom is fanaticism. While the collectivist ignores his own personality, the fanatic ignores that of others. For the fanatic, only his views are valid."

"Ultimately, all four symptoms can e traced back to man's fear of responsibility and his escape from freedom. These attitudes lead to nihilism that is that response to life that says that being has no meaning. A nihilist is one who considers that life is meaningless. Responsibility and freedom comprise the spiritual domain of man so today man must be reminded that he has a spirit and that he is a spiritual being. The spirituality of man it a "thing-in-itself." Man has freedom in spite of his instincts, inherited disposition, and environment. "

"Frankl warns that "man's freedom will degenerate into arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness." As long as man regards freedom as something merely negative, as a freedom from restrictions, as a license to do as he pleases, there is danger that it will lead not to fulfillment, but to boredom and frustration. Proper use of freedom, Frankl says, means the we regard ourselves free to assume our own responsibleness; only then is freedom a positive value. The positive value of freedom is contained in a freedom to a cause or a person, in response to a demand coming from the outside, but freely accepted. If freedom is not used in terms of responsibleness, it will not lead to meaning but, on the contrary, will add to the existential vacuum. (p 124) "

"Because he survived 34 months in the Nazi death camps; where his wife, unborn child, mother, father, and brother where murdered, Frankl is a testament to man's ability to master even the most tragic of fates"

http://www.durbinhypnosis.com/frankl.htm#CHAPTER_2:_VIKTOR_FRANKLS_LOGOTHERAPY_AND_FREEDOM_OF_WILL_

None of the above three posts answers "How does turning other cheek to a Murderer enhances Liberty"
You wrote

"Look at the effect one man, Jesus, who preached individual liberty, had upon a world of theocracy and nationalism"

I showed you one of the most widely accepted sayings of Jesus and explained how it requires one to show the other cheek to even the most heinous murderer.

None of the above three posts (or any other post of yours, for that matter) answers how such an act (of showing the other cheek to a murderer) enhances Individual Liberty.

It is obvious I can't explain it to you.
Especially since you refuse to be open to an explanation.

Classic response of those who can't explain; "If you won't understand, I can't explain"
Tell me, does the most famous saying of Jesus - one which many non-Christians alos know - preclude showing the other cheek to a murderer?

If not, and when you show it, what part of (human) nature tells you that the murderer won't slap that cheek as well?

Then what happens to your vaunted Individual Liberty to be left alone to pursue your own life and happiness?

It doesn't
But marjon can't explain it because he believes just that or hasn't read the scripture. Jesus does not much discuss war, facing a maniac killer, or other self-defense related issues. He was talking about the dictim of the Jewish law related to personal conduct and responsibility.

Unfortunately most Christians take "turn the other cheek" as some metaphor for never defending yourself. This is from the "Sermon on the Mount". Actually there is no such evidence that Christ was referring at all to a person defending themselves to save life and limb or to save another. He was referring to individuals dealing with their neighbors. He told the people there "Whosoever is angry with his brother WITHOUt JUST CAUSE shall be in danger of the judgement."

The turn the other cheek reference is in direct opposition to the "eye for an eye" of the old law. He is telling the people not to seek retribution and to be charitable even with those who are not.

Some things are obvious, especially at a given time in history. One of the reasons Jesus does not directly address these is because there was no need to. Homosexuality and other sexually deviant behavior, self-defense, defense of others, etc. These and many other direct questions just didn't come up or where not recorded in the book; likely because Jesus either agreed exactly with the old law or the answer was obvious at the time.

Of course, we can only guess as to why this is. I would guess that when one person does what is necessary to survive that that necessity is obvious and there is no crime or sin. On the contrary, it is a great sin to commit suicide. Is not ignoring a grave threat to life or limb suicidal? Is not fight or flight the only option to such a threat?

I guess it all just depends on your personal belief in what would Jesus do in a given situation. Also, remember, many of Jesus' deciples were armed. It was through this that a soldier had his ear lopped off when Jesus was arrested at the Mount of Olives and Jesus healed him.

No, I see no passage in the New Testament that refutes the right of self defense or even the defense of family, neighbors or country; including defense that uses lethal force.

I agree
"No, I see no passage in the New Testament that refutes the right of self defense or even the defense of family, neighbors or country; including defense that uses lethal force."

I agree and have made reference to this in previous posts.

How do you respond to someone who murdered your child? Do you forgive them or hate them forever?
Many who have been in this situation have forgiven the murderer and have even established a relationship with them in prison. Many of the murderer have been truly remorseful and, like the surviving victims, have been liberated by the forgiving and being forgiven.

Forgiveness is liberating.

We have all seen what happens when grudges are maintained, tragedy. The Capulets and Montagues held grudges resulting in the deaths of their children, Romeo and Juliet.

"Yet the feud still continues due to the fact that neither family is ready to forgive and forget the past. Even the townspeople are involved because the families do not keep the feud in the privacy of their own home but have been seen fighting in the public streets and displaying violence. They disrupt the peace of Verona and even Prince Escalus personally had to break up a fight, where the family members were heavily fined . "

http://www.bellmore-merrick.k12.ny.us/romjul.html

For all the critiques of Shariah law, there is a provision that allows victims' families to forgive as well has seek retribution or compensation.

Thanks for the reply. Why do people bring in Jesus into political debate? What’s their motivation?
When I say Jesus, I include any Religious figure.

At best, such an action distracts from the discussion and leads to contradictory conclusions, as is proven here.

At worst, it leads to bloodshed, as the history of the world proved and is still proving.

Apart from putting off non adherents, loudly proclaiming allegiance to arbitrary subjective edicts – which is irrelevant to the (political) discussion at hand - does strange things to the adherents themselves, when cornered.

Look at Marjon. When push came to shove, he who was adamant that one cannot and should not depend on GOVAGs (GOVernment AGents) for self protection now writes

“Dial 911; only government authority can be trusted with the force necessary to stop murderous thugs”

Such are the fruits of trying to defend Individual Liberty on Religious Grounds.

Jesus and liberty
"Jesus had no political agenda. He was not a left-winger or a right-winger. He never put a gun at anyone's head and said "Follow Me!" Nor did he ever instruct his followers to initiate force to implement a Christian political agenda."

"Christians have a book called the Bible, which they say is the inerrant word of God.
"In addition to being many other things, it is the greatest pro-freedom book in history. "

"...too many Christians have ignored the what Bible says about government, and cast their lot with the modern superstate. "

"Christianity cannot be forced. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Jesus enters our lives by invitation, not by kicking in doors like some DEA or INS agent."

"The Bible never promises utopia, much less that we can vote, tax, spend, censor, regulate, litigate, legislate, confiscate, or incarcerate our way into utopia."

"In a free society, i.e. the kind of society in which God wants us to live, we would have separation of school and state. Parents could choose to home school their children, or to send them to the Resurrection Baptist School, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School, the Joseph Smith Mormon School, or the Allah Akbar Muslim School."

"The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution promise us a free society, not a perfect one. The Bible does not promise a perfect society either. In Matthew 10:22, Jesus says "All men will hate you because of me."

http://www.geocities.com/fountoftruth/saturday.html

Jesus is a great historical leader and has much to teach.
"At best, such an action distracts from the discussion and leads to contradictory conclusions, as is proven here."

You would ignore thousands of years of history because it is a distraction? Did you ever consider why it is a distraction? Is it because of what is written or how it has been interpreted?

"At worst, it leads to bloodshed, as the history of the world proved and is still proving."

Socialism has led to millions of more deaths than any religious argument yet you speak out against socialism and engage in much distraction and controversy with some on this board.

"Apart from putting off non adherents, loudly proclaiming allegiance to arbitrary subjective edicts – which is irrelevant to the (political) discussion at hand - does strange things to the adherents themselves, when cornered."

You have certainly demonstrated your blind spot for religion. You become completely irrational at its mention and refuse to engage in any conversation.


"“Dial 911; only government authority can be trusted with the force necessary to stop murderous thugs”"

This is called sarcasm as you are paradoxically a strong defender of the state.


Why not pickup on the discussion of Viktor Frankl? He had great insight into how forgiveness leads to liberty and it had nothing to do with his religion.

"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be. ~Socrates"

Still now answer to a straight forward question; how is truning other cheek to a murderer help Liber
How do other sayings of Jesus help advance Individual Liberty?

Some more sayings attributed to Jesus. Explain how they contribute to Liberty
Whoever does not hate his father and mother cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters cannot be my disciple.

Th 55, 101 Mt 10:37 Lk 14:26 - 43 -

Do you imagine I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather conflict. After this five in one house will be divided, three against two and two against three. Father will be pitted against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Lk 12:51-53 Mt 10:34-36 Th 16 - 44 -

Cursed are the pharisees! They are like a dog lying in a manger. The dog doesn't eat and it won't let the cattle eat.

Th 102 Th 39 Lk 11:52 Mt 23:13 - 3 -

It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Mk 10:25 Mt 19:24 Lk 18:25 - 9 -

(The above is one of the more popular sayings which even non-christians are aware of)

I have cast fire upon the earth, and see, I am watching over it until it blazes up.

Th 10 Lk 12:49 - 23 -

To hang on to your life is to lose it. To let go of your life is to save it.

Lk 17:33, 9:24 Mt 10:39, 16:25 Mk 8:35 Jn 12:25 - 47 -

(a great way to live your life Marjon)

If you have money, don't lend it at interest. Give it to someone who won't be able to return it.

Th 95 Lk 6:34 - 53 -

(a great way to manage your money Marjon)

Love your enemies.

Lk 6:28 Mt 5:44 - 57 -

Remove the plank in your eye
Answer my questions.

Doesn't mean socialism is justified
God did warn us what government will do to us (1 Samuel 8: 11-20) I never hear this passage in any church lesson.

Jesus never used force.

If Christians are to emulate Christ, how can Christians support coercive government?

NeaRNoaD: Intellectually irresponsible
Choosing to disregard the positive impact Jesus and his followers have had on Western Civilization is irresponsible.
And if you do so out of fear, you are a coward.



Ignore history?
Who is proselytizing?

How can anyone ignore the contributions the words of Jesus and his followers have had on Western Civilization?

If you read a book call the Sovereign Individual, it discusses how the Holy Roman Church kept any semblance of civilization for 1000 years after Rome collapsed.

Monks scattered all about Europe made significant contributions to science, including wine research in France.

Martin Luther, by using the printing press and breaking away from the Church in Rome led a revolution in Europe that led directly to the founding of the USA.

Believe or do not believe the words of Jesus, but it cannot and must not be denied they have had a profound, positive impact upon world history.




YOU linked Jesus to Liberty Marjon. How does turning other cheek to MURDERERs advance Liberty Marjon
And while you are at it, explain how hating your parents, brothers and sisters advances your Liberty.

There is NO ESCAPE from these types of questions Marjon.

You can divert the topic, resort to ad hominem attacks and declare – AFTER questioned – that something you said was sarcastic, to make it appear that you have answered the questions satisfactorily.

But you know that you haven’t (answered). And (human) nature does not permit you to cheat yourself of that fact Marjon.

See my reply titled "YOU linked Jesus to Liberty Marjon ......" above
..

Hannah Arendt" "Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom."
"Forgiving enables us to come to terms with the past and liberates us to some extent from the burden of irreversibility; promising allows us to face the future and to set some bounds to its unpredictability. As Arendt puts it: “Without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to one single deed from which we could never recover; we would remain the victims of its consequences forever.” On the other hand, “without being bound to the fulfillment of promises, we would never be able to keep our identities; we would be condemned to wander helplessly and without direction in the darkness of each man's lonely heart” (HC, 237). Both faculties, in this sense, depend on plurality, on the presence and acting of others, for no one can forgive himself and no one can feel bound by a promise made only to one's self. At the same time, both faculties are an expression of human freedom, since without the faculty to undo what we have done in the past, and without the ability to control at least partially the processes we have started, we would be the victims “of an automatic necessity bearing all the marks of inexorable laws” "

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arendt/

You chose to use Jesus's words regarding forgiveness to challenge my claim that Jesus did not preach liberty. It has been demonstrated, repeatedly, that these words of Jesus regarding forgiveness do promote liberty, and not just by me, but many others who are not followers of Jesus.

No use arguing from authority Marjon; give reasons. How does turning other cheek to a MURDERER help
advance Individual Liberty?

All of what you say is true
But letting a murderer go without being confronted is also nat good. Forgivness is fine, but ignoring a truely bad seed is stupid. Kill my kid in an accident or incident where that was not the intent, I can forgive and even try to help you. Beat, rape and slit my kid's throat and you better hope the cops find you before I do; and if they do I will be working to have you put to death.

It is a matter of history and intent.

For true many believers, Jesus is the ultimate authority
It is the ultimate trump card for them. If they can prove you wrong through Jesus words and actions they have won, in their minds. But these people have often not read the bible fully nor tried to learn about the bible from scholars and compared biblical teachings to secular science and history.

In other words they have no frame of reference and often no real understanding.

You are right, more often than not religion does not fit into a purely political discussion. It does, however, fit in with a discussion of many political issues. Whether the issue is abortion, war, welfare, environmentalism issues or economic issues; religion usually has something to say about them.

Neither the Christian or Jewish religion (I have read some of the Qu'ran but not enough to say for sure on Islam) are at odds with individual liberty. In fact, they tend to say that the only real authority is God. I would say these religions are a bit anarchist and a bit socialist. A very strange mix in many ways.

Where modern liberals go wrong is that Christianity does teach charity, but does not teach wealth re-distribution. It also does not teach that all diversity is good and sould be accepted; it teaches that you love the sinner and hate the sin and try and help the sinner "go and sin no more". Most importantly, you do not accept those who refuse to resist their bad habits. Tolerance is not acceptance.

Where modern conservatives go wrong is that they tend to go to far and hate the sinner. They tend to absolve those who are greedy, rather than pushing them to give more and be generous.

The bible and the Torah preach moderation in all things.

But no religion is either Democrat or Republican. In a purely political debate religion has little if anything to add.

I told you.

Why don't you engage in debate?
Point out where I was wrong or make your own argument since you set up the straw man.

Are YOU? You just ASSERT. An answer involving reasons must have "because" in it.
Where is it? Answer the questions you are evading, by filling in the blanks below.

(1) Turning the other cheek to a murderous thug advances Individual Liberty, BECAUSE ------.

(2) Hating one's father and/or mother and/or brother and/or sister advances Individual Liberty, BECAUSE ------.

And remember. Whatever follows the word BECAUSE above, must refer to the MURDERER in (1) and Your Hate and the reaction of the people you hate in (2), and establish a causal link with Individual Liberty.

Don't go around quoting lengthy passages from various authorities.

Explain in the simple staright forward format given above, if you really care to.

I asserted and proved Jesus preached liberty.
You set up the straw man argument.

Knock down your own strawmen.

"Where modern conservatives go wrong is that they tend to go to far and hate the sinner."
Speak for yourself.

Religion has much to add AND HAS DONE SO FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

It is up to the 'student' to decide whether any human organized religion follows its core belief system.

The only way a government like the USA can succeed is with a moral people. The people who created it said so.

Religion can provide moral guidance.

"they tend to say that the only real authority is God."
They DO say the only real authority is God.

How does 1 Samuel 8:11-21 grab you?

The people wanted a king. God warned them what a king will extract from them in taxes, but they persisted. God granted their wish and look at where it has led.

A virtuous people do not need a coercive nation-state government. They can govern themselves and use the free market to provide what we call government today.

Turning the Other Cheek
Doesn't mean allowing people to murder. I am reminded here about the Bard's (since Romeo & Juliet came up) injunction about the devil quoting scripture.

Forgiveness isn't license.

Why?
Using this website as a vehicle for proselytizing is inappropriate and should be stopped. It serves no other purpose than to drive other people away.

If you disagree with the arguments, then state your case. Freedom of religion isn't freedom from religion.

If you like a religion free zone, well, here's few: China, Cuba, Nazi Germany and a few less barbaric places: France.

Not what I said
Rather than discuss each individual point I will try and cover them all in a couple of paragraphs.

On your first post - Yes, religion can, and in most cases does, provide moral direction and grounding. I would submit that a lack of this is a big reason for almost every mess we find ourselves in. But, in a purely political debate, religion isn't really useful. On issues it can be.

As for your second, did I say God? No! But Christians believe in the holy trinity which means God and Jesus are one and the same; so I see your arguement.

"A virtuous people do not need a coercive nation-state government. They can govern themselves and use the free market to provide what we call government today."

Find me a "Virtuous people" and you are right. There are wolves in every crowd, thus an earthly authority is needed. However, that authority should be narrow-reaching as possible.

Hmmmm… Interesting
As a general statement I would agree.

However, I don't see anyone doing that here. Marjon made a reference to Jesus and individual liberty, NeaRNoaD counter by questioning the "Turn the other cheek" quote by Jesus. The two spent 29 posts here discussing the point (and frankly getting nowhere).

Both would be better served by getting out a Bible and reading the entire book of Matthew or at least Matthew 5 through Matthew 7. If they did Marjon would be better able to answer NeaRNoaD's question and NeaRNoaD would realize the question is irrelevent as Jesus never said to turn the other cheek to a phsyco killer.

His question is way, way out of context for the quote.

" in a purely political debate, religion isn't really useful"
What is a 'purely political debate'?

In any debate that could end in the state taking my rights and property, anything goes, including religion.

"Find me a "Virtuous people" and you are right. There are wolves in every crowd, thus an earthly authority is needed."

Why? Before any such authority ever existed, when wolves threatened, they were killed. Soon the wolves learned to stay clear of man.

Today, coyotes are attacking children in suburbia because they don't fear man.

Too many human wolves have nothing to fear from the state when those who defend themselves are prosecuted. That is slowly changing, but the 'earthly authority' doesn't recognize or reward virtue. Is it any surprise it is so hard to find?

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