Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dancing with the Devil

This is rich. A Marxist terrorist anarchist wearing a Maoist red star on his shirt is pestered by a reporter and invokes property rights (!) to get the reporter to leave him alone. He then calls the police (!), the same public servants he conspired with other Weathermen to murder in the 1970s, to escort him to his car. When it comes to hypocrisy the secular lefties are far and away the champs:

Ayers was annoyed that a reporter would use such tactics to hound him. Maybe it would have been more appropriate if the reporter just set his house on fire like the Weathermen did to a judge and his family.

A lot of people don't know who the Weathermen were and what they did. Here's a video clip that might help with the history (Caution: brief obscenity):

These are the people with whom Barack and Michelle Obama associated until he ran for the U.S. Senate. Imagine if John McCain had associated with people who bombed abortion clinics and the homes of abortionists. Surely, the media would consider that a disqualifier for high public office, and it would be.


A Child's Horror

Steve Beard at NRO Online reviews Justin Dillon's documentary on child slavery and human trafficking titled Call+Response, and the statistics that emerge in the review and the film give us renewed insight into the depth of human degradation and depravity:

There are 27 million people held in slavery around the world.

Approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year. That does not include the millions trafficked within their own countries. "Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors," states the report. "Human traffickers prey on the vulnerable. Their targets are often children and young women, and their ploys are creative and ruthless, designed to trick, coerce, and win the confidence of potential victims. Very often these ruses involve promises of a better life through employment, educational opportunities, or marriage."

"We're not talking about good or bad business practices or working conditions," former ambassador John Miller testifies in the film. "We're talking about slavery. We're talking about the loss of freedom and the threats of force or the actual use of violence to deprive people of freedom."

As a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador against Trafficking and Slavery, British actress Julia Ormond visits places around the globe suspected of benefiting from slave labor and interviewing those who've been set free. "This is about people being held often at gunpoint, being chained, being electrocuted, being drugged, being thrown out of windows, having their families threatened that they'll kill them," she says in the film.

In researching his book Not For Sale, professor David Batstone - featured in Call + Response - traveled to Cambodia, Thailand, Peru, India, Uganda, South Africa, and Eastern Europe to investigate modern-day slavery. His findings are breathtaking. "Girls and boys, women and men of all ages are forced to toil in the rug looms of Nepal, sell their bodies in the brothels of Rome, break rocks in the quarries of Pakistan, and fight wars in the jungles of Africa," he writes. "Go behind the fa�ade in any major town or city in the world today and you are likely to find a thriving commerce in human beings."

Indeed, the most difficult imagery in the film is footage of children being exploited in brothels and brick kilns, and on battlefields. The blank stares and soulless facial responses betray an inability to smile - even on the part of some of the rescued children.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright proclaims America to be a fundamentally flawed nation because civil and human rights have, in his view, not advanced to where they should be. Michelle Obama declares that America is a "mean" nation. These people must have very little idea of what the rest of the world outside their neighborhoods is like or they'd never say such foolish things. The United States, like most of the first world, at least for now, is an island of high civilization, a relative utopia, surrounded by a sea of third world degeneracy and barbarism.

I don't know whether Call+Response is available in your area, but while you're waiting for it a couple of other films that'll give you a powerful sense of what it's like to be a child in some parts of the globe are Blood Diamond and Innocent Voices. If you choose to watch Blood Diamond note the parallels between Solomon Vandy and his son to Jesus' parable describing his determination to save the Lost Sheep. The parallels are probably unintentional, but they're there nonetheless.


Without God (VI)

The previous posts in the series titled Without God have looked at how well the atheistic and theistic worldviews fit with certain physical and psychological facts about the world and about human beings. Most of the remaining posts in the series will look at how well these two competing worldviews harmonize with some of what we might call "existential facts" of human life.

It is typical of the human beings, for example, to desire answers to life's most profound questions. As intelligent, thoughtful men and women we want answers to the deepest, most perplexing questions raised by our existence. In the world as the atheist sees it, however, there are no answers, there's no assurance about anything that matters, except that we'll eventually die. We shout the "why" questions of human existence at the vast void of the cosmos - Why am I here? Why do we suffer? Why do we want from life what we cannot have? - but in a Godless universe there's no reply, there's only silence. The cosmos is indifferent to our yearning for answers. We are all alone, forlorn, as Sartre put it, and our quest for answers is as absurd as the questions themselves.

The atheist must advise us to simply acquiesce to the awful disconnect between our deep need for answers and the impossibility of ever satisfying that need. In the words of biologist Jaques Monod, "Man knows that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity out of which he emerged only by chance."

If, on the other hand, God exists then we're not alone in the cosmos, and it's possible that each of those questions indeed has an answer. Moreover, if there are answers then the fact that we have those questions and desire their answers makes sense. We may not know what the answers are, but we can cling to a reasonable hope that our questions aren't futile or meaningless and that there's a reason why they gnaw at us. The questions are signs or indicators that there's something rational and meaningful about the universe. It's not just a terrifying and impersonal void, but is rather a beautiful, ornate cathedral engineered and constructed by God to house a world on which the creatures he loves can exist.

The theist, and only the theist, is in a position to counsel hope and to rejoice that the mysteries of existence are not forever inscrutable, but are there to serve as clues to point us toward the ultimate answer, God Himself.


Voting Partnership

Have you heard people say during this election cycle that they're not enthusiastic about either presidential candidate and are really not interested in just voting for the "lesser of two evils"? These folks often say that they'd much prefer to vote their conscience by pulling the lever for a third party nominee but are reluctant to do so because it would help the "greater of the two evils" get elected.

In other words, think of someone who will vote for John McCain only because he fears the thought of a far-leftist like Barack Obama in the White House, but who really would rather vote for, say, the Libertarian Bob Barr. Or think of someone who was wild about Hillary Clinton but who will reluctantly vote for Obama whom she believes to be completely unqualified because she doesn't want a pro-lifer like McCain picking Supreme Court Justices.

Well, my friend Byron passes along a link to a group that offers a simple solution (simple in theory, at least) to this problem. Check it out. Their idea would allow people to vote for a third party candidate (or a write in) without feeling like they're implictly aiding one major candidate or the other by withholding a vote from their rival.