Tag Archives: democracy

Not a Single Christian Church Left in Afghanistan, Says State Department

There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.

This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.

In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan’s new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country.

The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.” Read the rest of Edwin Mora’s article.

Israel’s Unprogressive Tea Party

By Paul Eidleberg

Going back to the original, the Boston Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, especially because they believed that it violated their right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives. The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the development of the American Revolution began near Boston in 1775.

Recall its famous slogan, “No taxation without representation.” This slogan is quite applicable to the people of Israel. The highly taxed citizens of this so-called democracy have had no real representation ever since the founding of the State 62 years ago. As I have often explained, Israel’s government makes the entire county a single electoral district. This compels citizens to vote for fixed party lists—really party oligarchs—and not for individual candidates. As a consequence, members of the Knesset are not individually accountable to the voters in regional elections. I am referring to geographical districts the size of which would make the voters more familiar with the character and abilities of the elected, while making the elected more familiar with the needs, opinions, and interests of their electors.

That the Tea Party is opposed to territorial retreat and the creation of an Arab Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is of course commendable. But it hasn’t the foggiest notion of how to accomplish this objective, which a complete overhaul of the SYSTEM of government that has brought Israel to its present existential crisis. From the Tea Party we will get more of the old propaganda, more of the old like newspaper ads, more of the old demonstrations, to which add one or two futile conferences at some hotel in Jerusalem. Typically absent is a program of structural reform to preclude the path of treason on which the present government is treading.

If the Tea Party was serious, it would arouse the people by telling them the truth that Israel is not a genuine democracy. Israel is living a lie that only serves the interests of its ruling elites. While the Knesset may not be as far away as London, its members might as well be on the moon. It’s a demonstrable fact that Israel’s political parties—religious as well as non-religious—repeatedly betray the trust their voters. A few examples must suffice.

Against its pledge to the nation during the 1992 election campaign, the Labor Party engaged in negotiations with PLO in contravention of Israeli law. In that same election, the religious Shas Party, which had pledged it would not join a Labor-Meretz government, did so for government perks and positions. These betrayals of the voters precipitated the Oslo Agreement of 1993 and the subsequent murder and maiming of thousands of Jews.

In 1999, no less than 29 MKs betrayed their voters in the democratic state of Israel by hopping over to rival parties. But the prize for political betrayal in the only democracy in the Middle East belongs to the Likud Party, known by some fools as “the trunk of the nation.” In 2003, the Likud adopted the Labor Party’s policy of “unilateral disengagement” from Gaza, a policy the Likud had campaigned against, indeed, a policy rejected by at least 70 percent of the voters.

Returning to the Tea Party, one of its two organizers, whose name I deign to ignore, not only opposed direct personal election of Knesset members in regional elections—the practice of almost every democracy—but he also opposed raising the electoral threshold from 1.5 to 2 percents, a threshold that makes it impossible to form a majority government. Instead we have Israel’s divisive, irresolute, and corrupt system of multiparty cabinet government—a form of government that has enabled the United States to interfere more readily in the making of Israel’s foreign policies.

Yet the leaders of the Tea Party are called “nationalists”! They seem more concerned about making it easier for party hacks to enter the Knesset and stay there.

If Israel’s Tea Party was a genuine nationalist movement, it would want to make the PEOPLE sovereign, and for starters, this can only be done by making MKs individually accountable to the voters in multidistrict elections.

Other serious reforms are required to empower the people of Israel, which I have discussed innumerable times in articles, books, and in radio interviews. So I can’t get excited about the Tea Party. It needs a leadership that has not been compromised by being part of the SYSTEM. It lacks a well-thought out program of political reform. We need something stronger than tea to save Israel from what is nothing less than a terminal disease.

Secular Education

by Prof. Paul Eidelberg

According to one study, 97 percent of all teachers in Nazi Germany were members of the Nazi party. Many of these teachers taught the humanities, for example philosophy, literature, the fine arts. Many others taught various social sciences, such as sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, history.

Clearly, the study and teaching of the humanities and the social sciences do not make people virtuous. We should not be surprised. For the prevailing doctrine in the humanities and the social sciences in our time is moral relativism, which holds that there are no objective standards of good and bad, right and wrong.

As for the exact sciences, such as physics and chemistry, they are more obviously “value-free” or ethically neutral. Still, how did German scientists respond to Nazism?

In Walter Moore’s Schrodinger: Life and Thought, we read: “There is no known instance in which a professor of physics or chemistry without any Jewish family ever made any open protest against Nazi activities. Even among the German intellectual elite, the scientists were conspicuously unanimous in this respect, since a few protests can be found among scholars in other fields.”

“It is true that after 1934 open opposition would have been dangerous … In the early years if Nazi power, however, opposition was not yet suicidal, and it was during 1933 and 1934 that the scientific establishment, led by Max Planck and Walter Nernst, washed its hands of the growing terror and concentrated on defending its own special privileges.”

Planck, the father of quantum physics, even sent a telegram to Hitler thanking him for his “benevolent protection of German science.” German science nonetheless suffered greatly from the expulsion of Jewish scientists from German universities and research institutes. This expulsion was welcomed by many German scientists, for it paved the way to their own personal advancement.

Science and technology can serve dictators as well as democrats. (Suffice to mention Iran’s nuclear weapons program.) Clearly, science does not make scientists or their societies decent, no more than teaching the humanities makes people humane.

Because secular education is morally free or ethically neutral, it cannot but corrupt youth. Whatever decency we experience today we owe to the influence of the Torah.

Unfortunately, the influence of the Torah in the non-Torah world is waning. The reversion to paganism is evident on American university campuses, where homosexuals feel quite at home. They and their academic defenders would have us believe that homosexuality is “progressive.” The truth is that tolerance of homosexuality is reactionary, a throwback to the paganism condemned by the Torah.

To sexual perversion add the nudity, pornography, and bloody violence purveyed by the entertainment media, which some semi-educated secular psychologists justify as providing an “escape valve” for repressed instincts.

Has it ever occurred to these educators of our youth that the nudity now commonplace in the cinema or on television is indicative of superficiality? Has it ever occurred to them that pornography, which reduces love to lust, generates vulgarity? Has it ever occurred to them that media violence undermines kindness and compassion?

Thanks very much to secular education and of course to those who profit from the commercial exploitation of sex and violence, people are more concerned about the quality of things that goes into their stomachs than the quality of things that goes into their minds — or into the minds of their children. But this is the inevitable consequence of contemporary democracy, whose supreme principle is unfettered freedom of expression.

Do not expect the high priests of democracy to reverse the logic of democracy, the religion of our times. Yesterday, Weimar Germany, a liberal democracy steeped in moral relativism spawned an unmitigated tyranny. Today, another liberal democracy steeped in moral relativism may make Barack Obama the President of the United States.

Source: Email commentary by Prof. Paul Eidelberg, president of the Foundation for Constituitional Democracy. His other writings are found at the Foundation website.

Prof. Eidelberg became professor of political science at Bar Ilan University in 1976 after writing a trilogy on America’s founding fathers: The Philosophy of the American Constitution, On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence, and a Discourse on Statesmanship. He also designed the electronic equipment for the first brain scanner at the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital.