Sunday, April 30, 2017

George Soros and German Media - By Mark Musser

While Russian political tampering concerns dominate news headlines, one area of concern that has been overlooked for many decades is Germany’s mounting influential power over media, academia, and/or book publishing, something which Dr. Robert E. Kaplan of Jerusalem calls “soft power” in his illuminating book titled The Soros Connection, where he demonstrates the very real possibility that George Soros is a political and economic wrecking ball working as a foreign agent for the German state. Dr. Kaplan received his Ph.D. in history from Cornell University. He was heavily influenced by historian Edward Whiting Fox.  
Around 2000, Kaplan began noticing that Germany and German based trusts, foundations, and publishers, etc. seemed to have developed a habit of sending grants to Holocaust research projects. While some of this was most certainly done to help ease the problem of Holocaust guilt, there was too much altruism to be credible. The more Kaplan investigated, the more skeptical he became of Germany’s philanthropy -- all with a seemingly limitless supply of money. Kaplan then noticed that similar German funding and/or gifting had been a longstanding practice for well over 100 years, including strong ties to yellow journalism together with the meteoric rise of both the Hearst and Newhouse media empires in New York. Further, Kaplan submits evidence of strong German financial connections to the Rockefellers, Carnegies, J.P. Morgan, and the Ford Foundation. All this strongly suggested to Kaplan a coordinated effort of German government policy. Worse, German media has a very poor historical record relative to the freedom of the press precisely because of its close ties to the state going all the way back to the beginning of the Second Reich in 1871, when Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) exerted authoritarian control over what was printed. While the interwar years was concerned with whitewashing German war guilt from World War I, the aftermath of World War II was preoccupied with saving face following the terrors of the Holocaust.
In an article titled, “The German Problem,” the late syndicated columnistWilliam Safire wrote, “I bridle at German book publishing hegemony. Few Americans realize that two German Gesellschaften are gaining stranglehold on US books.” Thus, the German media influences Kaplan writes about is also tied up with book publishing as well. Holtzbrinck Publishers and Bertelsmann control most of the big name publishing houses and a sizable market share of all the books produced in the United States. Bertelsmann is a media colossus that has been described as a “state within a state.” Bertelsmann played no small role in the dramatic rise of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  
Kaplan writes that in the past 20-25 years, both Bertelsmann and Holztzbrinck have done an admirable job of publishing any number of different books that share Holocaustic blame and guilt with other players and participants in different countries in order to help launder Germany’s history. Both Bertelsmann and Holtzbrinck also have substantial Nazi pedigrees in their past. Bertelsmann is controlled by the Mohn family, who had a strong pro-Nazi history in the 1930s and 40s. Today the Mohns are active environmentalists who belong to the ultra-green Club of Rome. Scientific American and Nature magazines are owned by Holtzbrinck.
Kaplan then goes on to show how George Soros parrots virtually the same agenda that Germany and its media allies have been peddling for years. In particular, Soros mimicked Germany’s desire to break up Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Initially, only Germany wanted to break up the Balkans. President Clinton followed suit. The U.S. and Europe thus sided with the Albanian Muslims in both Bosnia and Kosovo. While Milosevich was no saint, the Bosnian/Albanian Muslims were/are not much better. During World War II, they fought on the same side as the SS and were Nazi collaborators. Kaplan is also convinced that the Balkanization of Yugoslavia was the first salvo of what is today called the Arab Spring, in order to help resurrect some form of the old Ottoman Empire. Germany and Turkey were allies in World War I. After Serbia was bombed in the Bosnian War, the USA then lost Russia, which is at the very heart of the crisis now fomenting in Ukraine. Is it not possible that much of the vitriol over Russia right now in the media is being largely promoted by German concerns?
Soros was infamously known for being the man who broke the bank of England in the early 1990s. According to Kaplan, Soros had inside information from the German government as he used the mark to make a killing involvong deliberate currency manipulation that hit England particularly hard. Soros has since used that incredible haul to make even more money, usually at the hefty expense of other nations. He then uses his profits to heavily influence and manipulate politics worldwide, particularly in America.
The first time we hear of Soros was in 1944 Budapest, Hungary. Thanks to the protective efforts of his father, Tivadar, Soros worked with a Nazi godfather to help locate and shake down fellow Jews of their belongings before they were shipped off to Auschwitz. Soros alleges his father put him in that position to shield him from the Nazis, but it becomes very difficult not to presume that Tivadar had strong connections with the Judenrat in Budapest. The Judenratwere Jewish councils that the Nazis set up all over Europe to force them to do their dirty work for them. The Judenrat were placed in charge of the ghettos that housed the Jews in horrific conditions. While many of the Judenrat tried to serve the best they could with what was forced upon them, some actually enjoyed the virtual godlike powers that were granted. How Soros’s father related to all this is unknown. What is known is that Soros himself, though a Jew and a free man, constantly works against Zionism and pro-Jewish policies today.
According to Pamela Geller, there is a dossier on Soros that alleges previous strong connections between Soros and Francois Genoud (1915-1996), the Swiss Nazi banker who helped bankroll the Third Reich and was later flush with Holocaust cash after the war. Genoud used Nazi money to lay the foundation stones for Islamic terrorism during the early 1970s. Many also believe Genoud was the very founder of the international Al Taqwa Bank in Switzerland that was directed by a neo-Nazi Islamicist by the name of Ahmad Huber, originally Albert Huber, who was a Swiss convert to Islam. This bank supposedly helped sponsor Osama bin Laden and was shut down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks for aiding and abetting both Al Qaeda and Hamas. Italian security dubbed it, “The Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Many today complain of the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into various branches of the U.S. government.
While more than a few will look at Dr. Robert Kaplan’s assessment of Soros with incredulity, it is highly unlikely that even a rich, powerful man like Soros could have such a dominating influence over world affairs without state sponsorship of his activities. Even Bill O’Reilly once called Soros, “Blofeld.” In the original Ian Fleming James Bond series, Blofeld was in charge of an underground, but very rich and powerful semi-fascist terrorist organization of sorts called Spectre.
Mark Musser is a part-time pastor, author, missionary, and a farmer who lives in Olympia, Washington. He is a contributing writer for the Cornwall Alliance. His book Nazi Oaks provides a sobering history lesson on the philosophical foundations of the early German green movement, which was absorbed by National Socialism in the 1930s that proved to be a powerful undercurrent during the holocaust. Mark is also the author of Wrath or Rest which is a commentary on the warning passages found in the epistle to the Hebrews.

Machiavelli's Advice for Mr. Trump – and Us - By James G. Wiles

Perhaps the best explanation for the frustration of President Trump's first Hundred Days can be found in a not-much-read book by Niccolo Machiavelli.
The great Florentine political thinker is best-known today for The Prince. But his most extended work -- which also showed the shape of Machiavelli's heart -- are the Discourses on Livy. It's an extended meditation on democratic politics in a republic, as exemplified by the history of Rome. Machiavelli, as always, doesn't mince words -- and he has some extremely pertinent (and uncomfortable) things to say to us.
Here's the question: have the American people been so corrupted by the welfare state that they can no longer reclaim their liberty? Is restoration of the American republic along the lines originally conceived by the Founders, impossible?
Machiavelli offers us ways to think about how to answer these questions. He does it by reviewing Roman history with an eye to contemporary political problems of his own time.
Machiavelli wrote in the 1510s, when Italy was divided into warring city-states, His native Florence had tried to maintain itself as a republic, but foreign invaders and the Medici family overturned that. As a republican, Machiavelli himself lost office and suffered torture and exile when the Medici returned to power.
In Chapter 16 of the Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli remarks that “a people that is corrupted through and through cannot live in liberty for even a short period...” When a state become free, “all those who fed off” the state become “hostile factions.” However, when the Romans overthrew the Tarquin kings in 510 B.C., they were able to establish and maintain a republic which lasted until the time of Julius Caesar.
This was possible, says Machiavelli, because, while the Tarquin kings were corrupt, the Roman people were not. “Had the Roman populace been corrupted, there would have been no effective way for them to keep their liberty.”
In Chapter 17, Machiavelli contrasts this state of affairs with what prevailed in Rome in 44 B.C. when Julius Caesar was assassinated as dictator-for-life by senators anxious to restore the Republic. Also with what occurred when, in 68 A.D., the line of Julio-Claudian emperors expired with the death of Nero. On both occasions, it proved impossible to revive the Republic.
Machiavelli writes:
“[W]ith the deaths of Caesar, Gaius Caligula, and Nero, and the whole of Caesar's line extinguished, Rome could not maintain its liberty, let alone lay a foundation for it. Such diverse results came about... because in the era of the Tarquin kings the Roman populace were not yet corrupted, while by the later imperial times they had become quite corrupt. In later years, Brutus' authority and severity with all his eastern legions, were not enough to make the Romans want to maintain the liberty that he, like the first Brutus [who overthrew the Tarquin kings], had restored to them.”
He explains further:
“[T]he institutions and laws created in a state at its birth, when men were good, are no longer relevant once men have become evil. Even if laws in a state vary according to circumstances, its institutions rarely, if ever do. This means that new laws are not enough, because the institutions that remain unchanged will corrupt them.”
It should not have been surprising, therefore, that the Democrats, the MSM, academia, and many corporate and other leaders united with the leftist street to launch the “resistance.” Or that, so far, not one Democrat in Congress has broken party ranks to support Trumpian reforms. This weekend, they will be touting their success in stalling and, sometimes, defeating specific measures taken by the president.
At the moment, the president has just been offered a choice of a government shutdown on Saturday or surrendering his pledge to build a border wall.
As I wrote here  back on January 10, the left means to break this president. One hundred days in, quite clearly, that's where we are. The left will defend Mr. Obama's New Normal to the last ditch. If they can regain power, they will expand it. Along the way, they are perfectly willing to undermine the legitimacy of our 2016 election, to impeach this president or to undermine any American institution of government which stands in their way to preserving that New Normal.
Boiled down, the issue is: the New Normal versus Republican rollback. We are going to find out, as Lincoln used to say, which is the stronger.
What corrupted the Roman people two thousand years ago, and ended their republic was the destruction of the yeomen farmers who made up the electorate and the army. The Punic Wars destroyed large swatches of agricultural Italy, replacing it with a slave economy based on large plantations. The two rounds of civil wars which followed only made the problem worse, deepening the conflict between the plebs and the patricians.
It also did something more.
The growth of the empire and the civil wars created immense private fortunes on a scale never seen before, both among military men and the politicians (sometimes, like Caesar and Pompey, the same thing) – and they made Roman generals (and their troops) more powerful than the Senate. Meanwhile the rural poor crowded into Rome. There, they were provided a free daily food ration, public entertainment and cash for their votes -- the infamous “bread and circuses.” The steady flow of talents and sesterces into Rome enabled the populace (and the politicians) to be bought off.
The empire endured for over 400 more years. The proud name of “the Senate and People of Rome” endured too. But the Republic, except for its empty forms, was no more.
And thus, we confront Machiavelli's dilemma.
Has the American voting public been so corrupted by ObamaCare, Medicaid Part B, expansions in food stamps, Social Security, disability coverage, and other benefits that they will sustain the Democrats in their massive resistance? The president will be able to carry out and pursue much of his foreign policy. Without a reliable 60-plus-one votes in the Senate, however, we may be in for a sustained deadlock on Mr. Trump's domestic agenda.
If that's so, much rides on next year's Congressional elections. Will the Trumpsters come out again? Moreover, Mr. Trump will have to buck the historical trend that presidents tend to lose Congressional seats in off-year elections. Gaining a reliable, conservative Republic majority in both Houses so the president can enact reforms may prove as daunting a task as Mr. Trump's quest for the White House itself.
Machiavelli, of course, advised more radical political surgery. (That's in chapter 18 of the Discourses, which I have not discussed here.). But, so far, there's no reason to take Old Nick's prescription on that, only his diagnosis.

The Rise of the Generals - By Patrick J. Buchanan

  Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?
So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.
He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.
President Trump’s seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.
Trump no longer calls NATO “obsolete,” but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia’s Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.
If Tillerson is not bluffing, that would rule out any rapprochement in the Trump presidency. For neither Putin, nor any successor, could surrender Crimea and survive.
What happened to the Trump of 2016?
When did Kiev’s claim to Crimea become more crucial to us than a cooperative relationship with a nuclear-armed Russia? In 1991, Bush I and Secretary of State James Baker thought the very idea of Ukraine’s independence was the product of a “suicidal nationalism.”
Where do we think this demonization of Putin and ostracism of Russia is going to lead?
To get Xi Jinping to help with our Pyongyang problem, Trump has dropped all talk of befriending Taiwan, backed off Tillerson’s warning to Beijing to vacate its fortified reefs in the South China Sea, and held out promises of major concessions to Beijing in future trade deals.
“I like (Xi Jinping) and I believe he likes me a lot,” Trump said this week. One recalls FDR admonishing Churchill, “I think I can personally handle Stalin better than … your Foreign Office … Stalin hates the guts of all your people. He thinks he likes me better.”
FDR did not live to see what a fool Stalin had made of him.
Among the achievements celebrated in Trump’s first 100 days are the 59 cruise missiles launched at the Syrian airfield from which the gas attack on civilians allegedly came, and the dropping of the 22,000-pound MOAB bomb in Afghanistan.
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But what did these bombings accomplish?
The War Party seems again ascendant. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are happy campers. In Afghanistan, the U.S. commander is calling for thousands more U.S. troops to assist the 8,500 still there, to stabilize an Afghan regime and army that is steadily losing ground to the Taliban.
Iran is back on the front burner. While Tillerson concedes that Tehran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump says it is violating “the spirit of the agreement.”
How so? Says Tillerson, Iran is “destabilizing” the region, and threatening U.S. interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.
But Iran is an ally of Syria and was invited in to help the U.N.-recognized government put down an insurrection that contains elements of al-Qaida and ISIS. It is we, the Turks, Saudis and Gulf Arabs who have been backing the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime.
In Yemen, Houthi rebels overthrew and expelled a Saudi satrap. The bombing, blockading and intervention with troops is being done by Saudi and Sunni Arabs, assisted by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.
It is we and the Saudis who are talking of closing the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which could bring on widespread starvation.
It was not Iran, but the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew the Baghdad regime and occupied the country. It was not Iran that overthrew Col. Gadhafi and created the current disaster in Libya.
Monday, the USS Mahan fired a flare to warn off an Iranian patrol boat, 1,000 meters away. Supposedly, this was a provocation. But Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif had a point when he tweeted:
“Breaking: Our Navy operates in — yes, correct — the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. Question is what US Navy doing 7,500 miles from home.”
Who is behind the seeming conversion of Trump to hawk?
The generals, Bibi Netanyahu and the neocons, Congressional hawks with Cold War mindsets, the Saudi royal family and the Gulf Arabs — they are winning the battle for the president’s mind.
And their agenda for America?
We are to recognize that our true enemy in the Mideast is not al-Qaida or ISIS, but Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, Assad’s Syria and his patron, Putin. And until Hezbollah is eviscerated, Assad is gone, and Iran is smashed the way we did Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, the flowering of Middle East democracy that we all seek cannot truly begin.
But before President Trump proceeds along the path laid out for him by his generals, brave and patriotic men that they are, he should discover if any of them opposed any of the idiotic wars of the last 15 years, beginning with that greatest of strategic blunders — George Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Place of Christianity in History: A View from Without - By Fred Reed

In today’s irreligious and indeed anti-religious climate the fashion is to dismiss Christianity as crude superstition and to babble wisely about the separation of church and state. This is unfortunate, and stupid since Christianity was the heart and soul of as yet the greatest civilization the world has seen. Those who know nothing of it cannot understand the last two thousand years and how our world came to be.
Renegade Jews founded Christianity (most Jews soon wished they had not), as a sort of heresy that got out of control, lost all resemblance to Judaism,  and eventually stretched across Europe, Russia, North and South America, Australia, and the Byzantine Empire. In all of these, it shaped the culture, art, philosophy, literature, the very framework of mind. Much of this was superb and remains unsurpassed.
And what a magnificent thing it was! The traveler of today may have seen the gorgeous churches of Cuzco in the Peruvian Andes, Norman churches in Sicily, and Notre Dame, Salisbury, the wonderful cathedral of Barcelona, the Hagia Sophia, the ceremony of the Russian Orthodox. The artistry, the engineering needed to build many of them in times without structural steel are astonishing. Today in Mexico, in town after town one finds the churches on the central plaza, all different, many splendid, places of quiet and meditation. In any of these them, before Protestantism cast its drab cloak of half of the faith, a traveler could enter and understand everything he saw.
Barcelona Cathedral, built mostly in the 1300s. Things of this caliber are no longer built. 
The architecture was just the first syllable of a long paragraph. From Christendom came classical music, much of it explicitly Christian: The Saint Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah, and the whole panoply of secular music in Christian forms. Jews came to the table late in recent centuries and for a while–it seems to be ending–were wildly disproportionate in their production in the arts and sciences but within the framework established by Christendom long before. Now the Koreans and Chinese begin to do the same. Muslims characteristically have done almost nothing.
The aesthetic element was pronounced, not just in music and architecture but in painting and literature and illuminated manuscripts, One may argue whether Defoe or Cervantes invented the novel, or France or America the airplane, but both came from Christendom. The genius of the faith appeared not only in sacred art but also in tolerance for, indeed encouragement of, works in other themes. For example, Cellini’s Perseus is hardly Christian but was greatly appreciated in the Italy of the 15oo’s. It would not have been in Damascus.
Perseus. If any other faith has produced the range and quality of Christendom’s art, I am unaware of it. The Italians no longer believed in the gods and myths of classical antiquity, but neither were they any longer threatened by them. 
The list could go on for volumes. After the Greeks and the dry spell that was Rome, mathematics was a Christian enterprise as were physics, chemistry, pretty much everything. Others would work within these fields. They didn’t originate them.The Closing of the Mus...Robert R. ReillyBest Price: $13.02Buy New $11.25
The other major religion of the Mideast, Islam, appeared in the Seventh Century and conquered vast territories, but quickly fell into intellectual sloth and has since produced almost nothing other than splendid carpets and some lovely mosques. This darkness was not of genetic origin. Many of the peoples conquered by Islam were advanced and impressive, as for example the Persians. Rather it is resulted from a deliberate revulsion against thought and inquiry. (The Closing of the Moslem Mind is good on this.) The alleged centuries of convivencia of the three religions in Spain, koom bah yah, and scintillating Islamic intellect are largely academic agitprop. (The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise deals well with this.)
Catholicism, in particular, has combined spiritual concerns with a strong intellectual bent. The Christian interest in questions of origin and destiny and man’s purpose produced profound thought from the Church Fathers to C. S. Lewis. Today consideration of such matters as death and meaning are held to be in bad taste. Insensible of the wonder and strangeness of existence, we watch Seinfeld reruns and congratulate ourselves on not paying attention to that, you know, like, religious stuff. We live under a sort or Disneyland Marxism and descend ever deeper into complacent ignorance.
Russian Orthodoxy. Whatever else it is, drab it isn’t.
And so I see attempts to dismiss Christianity as a mere add-on or style having nothing to do with the achievements of Christendom. This is historical illiteracy. Read any of the thinkers and authors from late Roman times on until recently and you find that they took their faith seriously, that it created their mental worlds. Augustine, Newton, Samuel Johnson, Sydney Smith more recently, and in the United States the Puritans, Quakers, and so on. Many of these were men of high intellect. Their casual dismissal by professors of sociology is in the nature of monkeys throwing books from a window.
The Renaissance in its entirely was an expression of Christendom. Whether you are a Christian–I am not–isn’t the point. And no, Christians were no more moral than anyone else. Popes catted around like any man does who has the chance. Yet the civilization produced wonders.The Myth of the Andalu...Dario Fernandez-MoreraBest Price: $21.98Buy New $20.43
The evidence is strong that Protestantism, far less ornate than Catholicism, led to capitalism, which led to the modern West (whatever one thinks of this). See, for example,  The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
In our material and not very thoughtful age the fashion is to point to the crimes committed by the church, to its venality, hypocrisy, and immorality. They existed. Christians behaved, and behave, as horribly as everybody else. But this is usual in human endeavor.  As a moral preceptor, Christianity was fraudulent. As a culture and civilization, it was of immense importance. One might note that the atheist dictators–Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot–hold the record for murderousness.
Then came in the Nineteenth Century the third great religion of Middle Eastern origin, or religion manque, Communism. Like Christianity directly, and Islam indirectly, it was a Jewish product. Never has so small a people had so great an influence on history.
Many wonder how a religion, Judaism, could bring about an avowedly atheist…what word do I want? Philosophy? The answer I think is that Judaism isn’t a religion but a matter of identity and ritual. At least, I don’t think I have ever met a Jew who believed in the six days of Genesis or that Lot’s wife became salt or that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and reappeared, undigested. Christians and Muslims actually believe things, though many of the former resort to mental athletics to reconcile faith and science.
Anyway, communism killed its tens of millions and died, leaving a foul stench and little else.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, by the Catalan Anatoni Gauk√≠, died 1926.  Whether you regard it as lovely or merely eccentric, it is among the last architectural gasps of a once-flourishing faith.
The Protestant Ethic a...Max Weber, Peter Baehr...Best Price: $2.99Buy New $5.92The future? Christianity seems to be dying out. A resurgence is hard to imagine. It simply isn’t suited to the modern world. The Old Testament, in particular, is ugly and immoral and its magical events I suspect are too much for the modern mind.
Islam, being fanatical and primitive, will presumably survive for a while in its own lands. The mental night that is Islam can be seen in virtually everything, from schooling to commerce and is attributable to a religious hostility to modernity. From The Closing, mentioned above: “In comparison the number of patents registered in the twenty-year period from 1980 to 2000, the report shows Korea with 16328 and nine countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, with 370, with even many of these patents registered by foreigners.”
Judaism? Materialist in the philosophical sense and not requiring its adherents to believe things apparently impossible, it would seem better adapted to modernity. It imposes no restrictions on its adherents in science, culture, or commerce.
But Christendom was a hell of a show while it lasted.
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a WellA Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to BeCurmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung BeetleAu Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About VietNam, and A Grand Adventure: Wisdom's Price-Along with Bits and Pieces about Mexico. Visit his blog.
Copyright © 2017 Fred Reed 
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Friday, April 28, 2017

Why It’s Impossible For Any Group To Be ‘Inclusive’ - By Matthew Petrusek

While ‘total inclusion in the community’ may sound good as a fundamental moral principle, running it through the logic machine yields some problematic results.
APRIL 28, 2017
One of the greatest moral buzzwords of our age is “inclusivity.” It has become a favorite on the lips of politiciansexecutivescelebritiesacademics, and pastors alike. Like “fairness,” “peace,” “dignity,” or “diversity,” it has quickly achieved the coveted status of moral obviousness: What kind of person could be against inclusion?
But like most obvious concepts, what inclusivity enjoys in widespread acceptance it lacks in conceptual clarity. What does it mean, specifically, to be inclusive, and how should it fit within any hierarchy of values?
What’s in a Word? Boring, but Important
Let’s start by noting some of the basic features of the concept. First, “inclusion” necessarily implies a “here” and a “there.” To include someone presumes a space exists that is already inhabited by a group that seeks to invite outsiders in. If this were not the case, inclusion would be moot.
This, of course, brings up the question of what defines “space,” the arena in which inclusion takes place. Since inclusion is usually used in reference to groups, “community” could be substituted in this context, which would mean that to include means to open one’s community to those who are outside of it.
Whatever else “community” might mean, it at least implies the existence of a collection of individuals who share some constitutive set of features that define the group as one thing rather than another: churches, political parties, fantasy football leagues, universities, etc., are all kinds of communities because they have characteristics that define them as one thing and not as another (more on this below).
The definition of inclusion could thus take this form: “I practice the value of inclusion by inviting you, who are outside of my community, into my distinctive communitywhich is different than any other community of which you are currently a part.”
Let’s take one more step. If inclusion is not only a value but my highest value, and, moreover, a value that I universalize, then I am furthermore committed to saying: “All people, in everything that they do, must seek to include everyone into their distinctive community with the ultimate goal of total inclusion.” This may sound innocuous enough, perhaps even morally praiseworthy. But does it pass logical muster?
Enter Aristotle
Although not the first philosopher to identify them, Aristotle neatly lays out the three foundational laws of logic in his “Metaphysics.” They include the following.
The Law of Identity: a thing is what it is. So, for example, when we point to any given thing in existence, we say that it has some constitutive feature or set of features that make it one thing and not another (like a “human being” or a “baseball bat” or an “Android phone,” etc.).
The Law of Non-Contradiction: a thing cannot both be itself and its opposite at the same time. So, for example, it would be illogical to claim that humans have some free will and no free will at the same time in the same way.
The Law of the Excluded Middle: something must either be or not be with regards to its essential characteristic or characteristics. So, to draw on the above example, there is no third option on the question of whether humans have free will or not. You cannot split the difference or take an average. It either is or it is not.
Now, Let’s Respect the Law
While “total inclusion in the community” may sound good as a fundamental moral principle, running it through the logic machine above yields some problematic results.
First, we have to recognize that defining a community requires specifying a characteristic or set of characteristics that constitute it as a particular community and not something else (the Law of Identity). For example, what makes a community of anti-war activists a community is its shared commitment to pacifism, notwithstanding any other differences among individual members. Absent this shared commitment, the community would cease to exist.
Second, we have to recognize that any given community cannot both be itself and its opposite at the same time (the Law of Non-Contradiction). For example, if the community of pacifists were to begin advocating for missile strikes in country X, they may still be able to call themselves a community, but not a pacifist community. To be a community, in other words, not only means being one thing rather than another, it also means not being able to be contradictory things at the same time, such as pacifist hawks.
Third, and similarly, we have to recognize that some features of the identity of any given community either are or are not (the Law of the Excluded Middle). Drawing on the previous example, a community cannot be “kinda pacifist” if we define pacifism as a commitment to total-nonviolence. Either it recognizes the licit use of force or it doesn’t.
In short, the three laws lead us to recognize that the whole concept of community (barring defining community as “everything in existence”) depends upon exclusion. Being a community at all requires having a unique identity that excludes other potential identities, particularly when those other identities would be contradictory or imply a degree when the reality is either/or (like a pacifist in relation to war).
This is precisely the problem with “inclusiveness” if it is defined as a community’s highest value. No matter what specific community you have in mind, a totally inclusive community—that is, a community that defines itself by the standard of inclusion—is incoherent and self-defeating.
An Example: The ‘Inclusive’ Church
To illustrate the point, let’s imagine (or think of) a Catholic church that seeks to define itself primarily according to the value of inclusivity. To achieve this goal, it not only hangs a bright “All Are Welcome Here!” banner over its entrance and invites everyone to Mass, it also invites everyone to write its liturgies, define its moral doctrines, and even to take turns being the priest, all with the goal of making everyone be and feel included in the community. Would we still be talking about a Catholic church, or even a “community” in any coherent sense?
To be an inclusive community one must be a community in the first place.
No, and one need not suffer the charge of being “non-inclusive” to say why. As the three laws illustrate, there are always some non-negotiables to the identity of any community at a definitional level, and insofar as these non-negotiables exist, the community cannot coherently welcome everyone if by “welcome” we mean “allow every individual to equally participate in” or, even, “feel comfortable in.”
In the church example, we can instructively ask whether a church that seeks to define itself as everything to everyone (a violation of the Law of Identity) is coherent; or whether a church that both recognizes all elective abortions as a sin while also recognizing the moral permissibility of elective abortions (a violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction) is coherent; or whether a church that recognizes the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist while concurrently recognizing the Eucharist as only symbolic (a violation of the Law of the Excluded Middle) is coherent.
The questions answer themselves, and the reason is because of, well, reason. To be an inclusive community one must be a community in the first place; and to be a community in the first place, one must have certain definitional criteria that follow the most basic laws of logic. Otherwise, the value of inclusion is, quite literally, nonsense, and, if followed to its (il)logical end, means demanding that communities include even those who would destroy their distinctive identities.
This is not only a bad idea from a strategic point of view, but also absurd: the “includers” would eventually become the “excluded,” and would therefore have grounds to demand that they be included in the community that now excludes them. And round and round the inclusion wheel would go.
Welcoming Exclusion for the Sake of Inclusion
It is crucial to emphasize that this is not an argument that inclusion is bad or to be avoided. The degree of balkanization we are currently witnessing in society—especially along political and cultural lines, where frictions among communities are increasing as “We are a community, therefore respect us!” claims proliferate—is also one of the great problems of our times. We have every reason to advocate for “big tent” political parties, welcoming universities, workplaces where people feel they can belong, and religious communities that extend hands to those who may feel left out.
But we have every reason to advocate for coherence, as well. Many characteristics of a community certainly are negotiable and can be flexible, even to the point of breaking, in the name of inclusion. But some things, or at least some thing, must be non-negotiable. So by all means, cast open those doors with warmth and enthusiasm. Just don’t forget that they need walls to hold them up.
Matthew Petrusek is an assistant professor of theological ethics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and the founder of Wisefaith Ministries.
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