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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

George Orwell would be proud of the Council of Europe - "I predicted it!"

I gather that the move by the Council of Europe to portray intelligent design theory as a threat to human rights has been put off - for now.

A number of things could be said about the Council of Europe’s move. First that you can be sure that the Council will be back later. Second, no matter what they get, they will want more. They can't help that. Materialism is failing and there are ever more "enemies" to suppress.

Third, that the Council twists the definition of “human rights” into something straight out of British political journalist George Orwell’s urgent mid-twentieth century warnings: Human rights means being protected by the State from anyone who might challenge your thinking.

For those who would like to get up to speed on Orwell (1903-1950), whose pen name* gave the English language the term “Orwellian”, go here for his essay, “Politics and the English Language” (1946), here for a synopsis of his futurist novel Nineteen Eighty Four , and here for a synopsis of his sendup of creeping socialist totalitarianism, Animal Farm . Unlike modern Darwinists, Orwell could predict, not just postdict.

(*Note: Orwell’s name was Eric Blair.)

I think Orwell made only one important error in his key ideas: He assumed that the face of the totalitarianism that he sensed growing up around him would be hard and cold. Aldous Huxley knew better. In Brave New World (synopsis here ) he gets Europe dead right - soft totalitarianism rules. People are protected from any reason to doubt or question the authorities’ beliefs, for their own alleged good. They are, indeed, free to do absolutely anything they want, except think, speak, or act for themselves.

Recently, I was having coffee with a Christian academic who professed concern about the rapid growth of this type of intolerance. As he meets with other Christian academics to share concerns, I offered him some guidelines for dealing with it, which I have presented here in a slightly adapted form. Please note that the material that follows is aimed at Christians, not because they are the only ones concerned but because they are frequent current targets, and I know the Christian community better than others:

1. Quit feeling guilty. This is not happening because of something we did.

Lord knows,
you're no rose,
but that's not why they hate you.

The secularist establishment hates the Christians who are most successful and commendable the most. Hitchens wrote a book against Mother Theresa, not against Jim Bakker.

2. Quit making scapegoats. It is not happening because other Christians are stupider or wickeder than us. The secularists' hatred is not our fellow Christians' fault any more than it is ours. When one target fails them, they simply find another one.

3. It is not happening because the people who tried to help made a mess of things. The people who actually try to help face a very difficult battle, and mistakes and losses are inevitable - except for those who do little or nothing. THEY can always be right, of course, but never

4. Quit hiding the fact that we are Christians. It is actually safer to just admit it, because openness on our part makes covert persecution more difficult.*

5. Learn as much as we can about intelligent design; the materialists wouldn't hate it so much if it were not a threat to their system.

6. Focus on getting the people we are trying to organize to accept the hatred and the political situation it creates as simple realities. Quickly shut down discussions about who is to blame other than the persecutor and the bigot. Such discussions are evasions. (Yes, it is true that some people should behave differently, but if we can't persuade them, we must deal with the situation just as it is, kvetching is a waste of time, and things will only deteriorate if we do nothing.)

Now, the above list is not a series of action points for getting anything done. It is a baseline for real-world discussions, aimed at short circuiting the purveyors of comfy intellectual clutter. (Make no mistake: Some people are quite happy to justify inaction against substantial erosions of intellectual freedom by claiming that it is all some fellow Christian's fault.) Once real-world discussions about classical intellectual freedom begin, many people will come forward with ideas with discussing.

Speaking of clutter, many serious Christians are due for great disappointment with the responses of their comfy academics and their "therapeutic culture" clergy to the growing oppression by materialists. Of course, assuming they read the Bible as often as they read celeb trash talk - Christian or otherwise - that should be no surprise to them. Judgement begins, after all, with the house of God.

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