Category Archives: Communism

October 23, 1956–The Hungarian Revolution. What would you fight for? What would you die for?

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This day, October 23 marks the 61st anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

It’s hard for many of us in the free world to appreciate times such as those. What drove virtually all segments of Hungarian society, including the military and police, to rise up against their government? What drove so many to risk everything, including their life in an attempt to throw off the tyranny and brutality of a Soviet controlled dictatorship?  

The following articles summarize those days quite well:

Excerpts:

“ … In the days that followed, frequent attacks and skirmishes took place across Budapest and the countryside, as village-based freedom fighters strove to hinder Soviet brigades heading toward the capital. Workers nationwide launched strikes in solidarity with the resisters, and more public demonstrations continued demanding radical change in government. In one particularly gruesome incident, ÁVH troops opened fire on a nonviolent crowd of approximately 10,000 demonstrators gathered before the Parliament House on October 25th, a massacre that killed around 100 people and injured hundreds more; bullet holes from that tragedy are preserved to this day on buildings surrounding Kossuth Square. …” (the picture at the top)

freedom-fighter-statue-2ee0a0de4e9b9fe0e9e64f2ea024650c2celebration-1956-hungary-1422115

https://welovebudapest.com/en/2015/10/22/the-freedom-fight-a-chronicle-of-hungarys-1956-revolution/

And an eyewitness to the revolution:

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https://welovebudapest.com/en/2014/10/23/hope-and-tragedy-an-eyewitness-recalls-hungarys-1956-revolution/

A dear friend and Navy Shipmate Adam von Dioszeghy was also an eyewitness – indeed a twice wounded freedom fighter in that 1956 Revolution against tyranny. Read his account below:

http://www.blurb.com/b/8243686-budapest-at-war

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Don Johnson – October 2017

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Our Broken Obama Military Can’t Even Manage to Toss Out Traitors

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Please read this commentary —

https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/10/02/draft-n2389301

Edit —

And please read Senator Rubio’s remarks —

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/10/04/sen-rubio-wants-commie-west-point-officer-drummed-army/

End Edit —

An excerpt from the commentary —

“ …

I don’t enjoy saying that – it gives me no pleasure to have to wonder whether the Army I served in both in active and reserve status for close to 28 years is broken. And it’s not just the Army. The Marines and the Special Ops community, well, they seem to be holding on to the standards the rest have forgotten, but the Navy and the Air Force – they’re broken too. Our military – in terms of strategy, equipment, and leadership, is in crisis. American troops will die if we don’t fix it.

Hell, they already have. … “

______________

And now my comments:

A tough and very sad commentary by an Army veteran.

I had occasion a few years back to attend an author event at West Point – dinner and the author talk to cadets. To my left at the dinner table was a West Point professor, a major. In conversation I offered a comment that West Point must place much emphasis on history, in particular American history. The major told me, as I recall – and I hope I remember wrong, that there was minimal emphasis on history at the Academy. I was …shocked to hear this.

Over the roughly 70 years of the Communist run in the 20th century, over 100,000,000 people died at the hands of this government sponsored reign of terror in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba and elsewhere. How is it possible that future leaders of our military could not be taught this huge lesson of history?

Will the military academies revamp their programs and their testing to assure that each cadet learns the lessons needed to understand why they are sending young warriors to battle in places like Normandy, Vietnam and Korea. General Eisenhower insisted that soldiers and local German citizens tour the Nazi death camps and take as many pictures as possible. He did this so that history would remember what happened, and why so many liberating soldiers, sailors and airmen died in snuffing out this Satanic evil that had captured most of Europe. Will future cadets be required to view, read and study these atrocities in depth — including the Communist atrocities?

Unfortunately, there aren’t the vivid pictures and testimonies of the record of Communism.

This man, now a commissioned officer and leader of men must be drummed out of the corp. quickly. And he needs to be drummed out with much humiliation and publicity lest we see repeats of the Ft. Hood massacre.

 

Don Johnson – October 2017

Solzhenitsyn ::: Godlessness, The First Step to the Gulag

 

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It has been many years since I have heard the name ‘Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.’ A Russian man imprisoned in the Soviet Gulags who subsequently was able to speak out against the evils of Godless Communism in attempts to warn free peoples in the West of the dangers of “forgetting God.”

What Solzhenitsyn describes of Russia under Communism applies equally when trying to explain the evils of the Nazi Holocaust.  Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened – and a literal, very real, Satanic evil fills in the gap.

Nations, cultures and civilizations often forget God, and Solzhenitsyn here documents  the dire consequences of such forgetfulness.  As individuals we have very limited power against this forgetfulness, but as individuals we have the power to remember God – this is my plea. Discover God — Remember God in your own life. As much as it is in your power, live your own life such that your influence may engender a remembrance of God in your family, your culture and  your nation.   

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Solzhenitsyn ::: Godlessness, The First Step to the Gulag

  “Men Have Forgotten God”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn — 1983

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.
The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century. The first of these was World War I, and much of our present predicament can be traced back to it. It was a war (the memory of which seems to be fading) when Europe, bursting with health and abundance, fell into a rage of self-mutilation which could not but sap its strength for a century or more, and perhaps forever. The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them. Only a godless embitterment could have moved ostensibly Christian states to employ poison gas, a weapon so obviously beyond the limits of humanity.
The same kind of defect, the flaw of a consciousness lacking all divine dimension, was manifested after World War II when the West yielded to the satanic temptation of the “nuclear umbrella.” It was equivalent to saying: Let’s cast off worries, let’s free the younger generation from their duties and obligations, let’s make no effort to defend ourselves, to say nothing of defending others-let’s stop our ears to the groans emanating from the East, and let us live instead in the pursuit of happiness. If danger should threaten us, we shall be protected by the nuclear bomb; if not, then let the world burn in Hell for all we care. The pitifully helpless state to which the contemporary West has sunk is in large measure due to this fatal error: the belief that the defense of peace depends not on stout hearts and steadfast men, but solely on the nuclear bomb…
Today’ s world has reached a stage which, if it had been described to preceding centuries, would have called forth the cry: “This is the Apocalypse!”
Yet we have grown used to this kind of world; we even feel at home in it.
Dostoevsky warned that “great events could come upon us and catch us intellectually unprepared.” This is precisely what has happened. And he predicted that “the world will be saved only after it has been possessed by the demon of evil.” Whether it really will be saved we shall have to wait and see: this will depend on our conscience, on our spiritual lucidity, on our individual and combined efforts in the face of catastrophic circumstances. But it has already come to pass that the demon of evil, like a whirlwind, triumphantly circles all five continents of the earth…
In its past, Russia did know a time when the social ideal was not fame, or riches, or material success, but a pious way of life. Russia was then steeped in an Orthodox Christianity which remained true to the Church of the first centuries. The Orthodoxy of that time knew how tosafeguard its people under the yoke of a foreign occupation that lasted more than two centuries, while at the same time fending off iniquitous blows from the swords of Western crusaders. During those centuries the Orthodox faith in our country became part of the very pattern of thought and the personality of our people, the forms of daily life, the work calendar, the priorities in every undertaking, the organization of the week and of the year. Faith was the shaping and unifying force of the nation.
But in the 17th century Russian Orthodoxy was gravely weakened by an internal schism. In the 18th, the country was shaken by Peter’s forcibly imposed transformations, which favored the economy, the state, and the military at the expense of the religious spirit and national life. And along with this lopsided Petrine enlightenment, Russia felt the first whiff of secularism; its subtle poisons permeated the educated classes in the course of the 19th century and opened the path to Marxism. By the time of the Revolution, faith had virtually disappeared in Russian educated circles; and amongst the uneducated, its health was threatened.
It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.
The 1920’s in the USSR witnessed an uninterrupted procession of victims and martyrs amongst the Orthodox clergy. Two metropolitans were shot, one of whom, Veniamin of Petrograd, had been elected by the popular vote of his diocese. Patriarch Tikhon himself passed through the hands of the Cheka-GPU and then died under suspicious circumstances. Scores of archbishops and bishops perished. Tens of thousands of priests, monks, and nuns, pressured by the Chekists to renounce the Word of God, were tortured, shot in cellars, sent to camps, exiled to the desolate tundra of the far North, or turned out into the streets in their old age without food or shelter. All these Christian martyrs went unswervingly to their deaths for the faith; instances of apostasy were few and far between. For tens of millions of laymen access to the Church was blocked, and they were forbidden to bring up their children in the Faith: religious parents were wrenched from their children and thrown into prison, while the children were turned from the faith by threats and lies…
For a short period of time, when he needed to gather strength for the struggle against Hitler, Stalin cynically adopted a friendly posture toward the Church. This deceptive game, continued in later years by Brezhnev with the help of showcase publications and other window dressing, has unfortunately tended to be taken at its face value in the West. Yet the tenacity with which hatred of religion is rooted in Communism may be judged by the example of their most liberal leader, Krushchev: for though he undertook a number of significant steps to extend freedom, Krushchev simultaneously rekindled the frenzied Leninist obsession with destroying religion.
But there is something they did not expect: that in a land where churches have been leveled, where a triumphant atheism has rampaged uncontrolled for two-thirds of a century, where the clergy is utterly humiliated and deprived of all independence, where what remains of the Church as an institution is tolerated only for the sake of propaganda directed at the West, where even today people are sent to the labor camps for their faith, and where, within the camps themselves, those who gather to pray at Easter are clapped in punishment cells–they could not suppose that beneath this Communist steamroller the Christian tradition would survive in Russia. It is true that millions of our countrymen have been corrupted and spiritually devastated by an officially imposed atheism, yet there remain many millions of believers: it is only external pressures that keep them from speaking out, but, as is always the ca se in times of persecution and suffering, the awareness of God in my country has attained great acuteness and profundity.
It is here that we see the dawn of hope: for no matter how formidably Communism bristles with tanks and rockets, no matter what successes it attains in seizing the planet, it is doomed never to vanquish Christianity.
The West has yet to experience a Communist invasion; religion here remains free. But the West’s own historical evolution has been such that today it too is experiencing a drying up of religious consciousness. It too has witnessed racking schisms, bloody religious wars, and rancor, to say nothing of the tide of secularism that, from the late Middle Ages onward, has progressively inundated the West. This gradual sapping of strength from within is a threat to faith that is perhaps even more dangerous than any attempt to assault religion violently from without.
Imperceptibly, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West has ceased to be seen as anything more lofty than the “pursuit of happiness, “a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use, they have been replaced by political or class considerations of short lived value. It has become embarrassing to state that evil makes its home in the individual human heart before it enters a political system. Yet it is not considered shameful to make dally concessions to an integral evil. Judging by the continuing landslide of concessions made before the eyes of our very own generation, the West is ineluctably slipping toward the abyss. Western societies are losing more and more of their religious essence as they thoughtlessly yield up their younger generation to atheism. If a blasphemous film about Jesus is shown throughout the United States, reputedly one of the most religious countries in the world, or a major newspaper publishes a shameless caricature of the Virgin Mary, what further evidence of godlessness does one need? When external rights are completely unrestricted, why should one make an inner effort to restrain oneself from ignoble acts?
Or why should one refrain from burning hatred, whatever its basis–race, class, or ideology? Such hatred is in fact corroding many hearts today. Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hatred of their own society. Amid all the vituperation we forget that the defects of capitalism represent the basic flaws of human nature, allowed unlimited freedom together with the various human rights; we forget that under Communism (and Communism is breathing down the neck of all moderate forms of socialism, which are unstable) the identical flaws run riot in any person with the least degree of authority; while everyone else under that system does indeed attain “equality”–the equality of destitute slaves. This eager fanning of the flames of hatred is becoming the mark of today’s free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even of abundance–the more vehement, paradoxically, does this blind hatred become. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money.
This deliberately nurtured hatred then spreads to all that is alive, to life itself, to the world with its colors, sounds, and shapes, to the human body. The embittered art of the twentieth century is perishing as a result of this ugly hate, for art is fruitless without love. In the East art has collapsed because it has been knocked down and trampled upon, but in the West the fall has been voluntary, a decline into a contrived and pretentious quest where the artist, instead of attempting to reveal the divine plan, tries to put himsef in the place of God.
Here again we witness the single outcome of a worldwide process, with East and West yielding the same results, and once again for the same reason: Men have forgotten God.
With such global events looming over us like mountains, nay, like entire mountain ranges, it may seem incongruous and inappropriate to recall that the primary key to our being or non-being resides in each individual human heart, in the heart’s preference for specific good or evil. Yet this remains true even today, and it is, in fact, the most reliable key we have. The social theories that promised so much have demonstrated their bankruptcy, leaving us at a dead end. The free people of the West could reasonably have been expected to realize that they are beset · by numerous freely nurtured falsehoods, and not to allow lies to be foisted upon them so easily. All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today’s world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain. The resources we have set aside for ourselves are too impoverished for the task. We must first recognize the horror perpetrated not by some outside force, not by class or national enemies, but within each of us individually, and within every society. This is especially true of a free and highly developed society, for here in particular we have surely brought everything upon ourselves, of our own free will. We ourselves, in our daily unthinking selfishness, are pulling tight that noose…
Our life consists not in the pursuit of material success but in the quest for worthy spiritual growth. Our entire earthly existence is but a transitional stage in the movement toward something higher, and we must not stumble and fall, nor must we linger fruitlessly on one rung of the ladder. Material laws alone do not explain our life or give it direction. The laws of physics and physiology will never reveal the indisputable manner in which the Creator constantly, day in and day out, participates in the life of each of us, unfailingly granting us the energy of existence; when this assistance leaves us, we die. And in the life of our entire planet, the Divine Spirit surely moves with no less force: this we must grasp in our dark and terrible hour.
To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our bands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing.
Our five continents are caught in a whirlwind. But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone.
(World copyright ©1983 by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn; translator: A. Klimoff; reprinted by kind permission of the author.)

Biologist describes growing up under Darwinism in a communist state

 

NOTE: Every now and then I see a good debate, and this post captures a good one.

I regularly read the Intelligent Design web sites https://uncommondescent.com/ and https://evolutionnews.org/ and that’s where this debate occurs. I have edited it for clarity, but it retains the substance of the debate.

The primary protagonists are Dionisio on the ID side and Rvb8 on the atheist side.  Pay special attention to the comments of Dionisio  beginning with the phrase:

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Let the debate begin!!!

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Biologist describes growing up under Darwinism in a communist state

From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:

You never know who’s going to turn up at Q&A with Jonathan Wells and John West. The Discovery Institute biologist and political scientist, respectively, answered questions from the audience following a performance of the play Disinherit the Wind in Hollywood, California – which was a pretty interesting event in itself.

But then there stands up a biologist from a local university, unidentified, who proceeds to blow everyone away with an account of his experience as a younger man in a formerly Communist country. He explains that under the totalitarian culture of his youth, “Communism was literally welded to Darwinism.”

We recorded his remarks and they form a new episode of ID the Future. Listen to it here. More.

<em>Teapot</em> Cobalt Blue Only nine minutes. Do it on your break. The guy has guts to even talk about this in the age of the SJW (cf Bret Weinstein.)

Also:

One morning in 1938, shortly before leaving the Communist Party, while feeding his young daughter, Chambers concluded that the shape of her ear could not be explained by Marxist materialism. Something this beautiful and unique, Chambers observed, implied design, which implied the existence of God. Understanding the divine gift of his daughter Ellen, also strangely related to the horrific irruption within Chambers of the “screams” from Communism’s suffering victims. He writes “[O]ne day the Communist really hears those screams. [The screams] … do not merely reach his mind. They pierce beyond. They pierce to his soul.” A soul in agony, in this case, a person under persecution by Communist authorities, has attempted to communicate with another soul through memory and across time. The crucial significance of both episodes rests in Chambers embracing the presence of his soul, thus denying the false materialism of Communism and the darkness it had covered him in. As Chambers observed, “A Communist breaks because he must choose at last between irreconcilable opposites—God or Man, Soul or Mind, Freedom or Communism.”

 

36 Responses to Biologist describes growing up under Darwinism in a communist state
 
1 rvb8

‘You never know whos going to turn up at Q&A with Jonathan Wells and John West.’

Yes you do! Unification Church supporters, Christian apologists, ID people, and all those who believe in things unfelt, unknown, ‘special’, intangible, unmeasurable, and just plain, super-natural.

2 Seversky

We can find stories of oppression under all sorts of political and religious regimes. For example, there are the Native American children in the US and Canada who were forcibly sent to Christian-run boarding schools where they were forced to wear the white man’s clothing and forbidden to speak their own languages or practice their own religious and cultural traditions. All done with the best of intentions, no doubt, but still oppression and practiced against those least able to resist it.

3 Dionisio

Here is part of the lyrics of the common anthem shared by the atheist communist parties that were trying to build a communist socioeconomic system, though never succeeded:

Stand up, damned of the Earth
Stand up, prisoners of starvation
Reason thunders in its volcano
This is the eruption of the end.
Of the past let us make a clean slate
Enslaved masses, stand up, stand up.
The world is about to change its foundation
We are nothing, let us be all.

This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race.

There are no supreme saviours
Neither God
, […]

Yes, obviously Darwinian evolution theory validated that anthem and its underlying atheist ideology that promoted, encouraged and called for violent class struggle in order to form an idyllic classless society, which in reality didn’t exist, as it was ironically demonstrated in August 1980 in Gdansk, Poland, when the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic working class rebelled against the ruling atheist communist party and threw them into the trash bin of history.

4 Dionisio

@3 correction:

Yes, obviously Darwinian evolution theory validated that anthem and its underlying atheist ideology that promoted, encouraged and called for violent class struggle in order to form an idyllic classless society, which in reality didn’t exist, as it was ironically demonstrated in August 1980 in Gdansk, Poland, when the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic working class peacefully rebelled against the ruling atheist communist party and threw them into the trash bin of history.

5 Dionisio

@3 correction:

Yes, certainly Darwinian evolution theory validated that anthem and its underlying atheist ideology that promoted, encouraged and called for violent class struggle in order to form an idyllic classless society, which in reality never existed and the communist parties failed to build for obvious reasons*, as it was ironically demonstrated in August 1980 in Gdansk, Poland, when the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Polish working class supported by the rest of the society peacefully rebelled against the ruling atheist communist party and threw them deep into the trash bin of history.

(*) prophet Jeremiah spoke about this long ago.

6 EricMH

Which oppressive Christian society created the gulags, death camps, gas chambers, etc.?

7 rvb8

EricMH,

Christian? Why do you single out that faith? Is it because, not so secretly, ID is a front for Christian ideas?

In answer to your question, “Which oppressive Christian society created the gulags…? ;

When Christianity had power, (from about 340AD to around 1700AD, and the rise of reason), Christianity had inordinate power.

Christianity used that almost limitless power to burn, torture, threaten, rape, imprison, mark, ridicule, execute, and basically terrorise entire populations; or don’t you know any history?

The gulags were an expression of the, ‘cult of the personality’, Hitler, Mao, and Stalin all used this; a State of religious fervour if you will.

I’m sorry EricMH, when it comes to manipulation and pure evil, religion, and your Christianity, are past masters.

You could blame all this on Darwin of course, but then I woud say, ‘What caused this disgusting inhuman behaviour before Darwin?’

The answer of course is, blind faith, in an All Loving God.

8 ET

“The differences between Biblical creationism and the IDM should become clear. As an unashamedly Christian/creationist organization, ICR is concerned with the reputation of our God and desires to point all men back to Him. We are not in this work merely to do good science, although this is of great importance to us. We care that students and society are brainwashed away from a relationship with their Creator/Savior. While all creationists necessarily believe in intelligent design, not all ID proponents believe in God. ID is strictly a non-Christian movement, and while ICR values and supports their work, we cannot join them.”- John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research

9 Dionisio

ET @8:

Timely clarification for the anonymous readers who unfortunately might have squandered precious time reading the nonsense posted @7.

Thanks.

10 Dionisio

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-16 (ESV)

“The message of false prophets may be attractive and even seem orthodox. The only way to know for sure is to allow time to see “their fruits” (vv. 16–20). Some of the false prophets’ fruits are mentioned in the New Testament: controversies (1 Tim. 1:3), divisions (1 Tim. 6:3, 4), destruction of faith (2 Tim. 2:18), and self-destruction by heresy (2 Pet. 2:1).” Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries

11 Dionisio

The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12-14 (ESV)

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries:

Often called the “Golden Rule,” this principle was stated by a number of ancient thinkers as, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to you.” Jesus made it a positive obligation. Here it appears after the discussion of God’s goodness and His willingness to give.

Presenting a rosy picture of the Christian life and minimizing that it is filled with trouble does not follow the lead of our Lord (Acts 14:22). It may be that the “false prophets” of v. 15 are especially those who deny that the way is narrow and hard.

12 Dionisio

Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries:

The doubling of a name was an address of intimacy (Gen. 22:11; 1 Sam. 3:10; 2 Sam. 18:33; Luke 22:31). It is not claims or feelings of intimacy with Jesus that matter, nor is it simply good works, even miraculous ones; only doing the will of the Father matters. Genuine intimacy with the Father means knowing God and being known by God (1 Cor. 8:2, 3).

13 Dionisio

Another clarification for the anonymous readers who unfortunately might have squandered precious time reading the nonsense posted @7:

Read the comments @10-12.

14 EricMH

@rvb8, I’d like to see your evidence of how anything in the history of Christian atrocities matched the mass murder at the hand of atheists.

15 rvb8

EricMH,

let’s say your right, (I’m not, but to throw you a bone, let’s just imagine the atheist regimes were far worse than the religious ones.)

Don’t you see where that tortured argument leaves religon? Let’s use Christiaity.

It leaves you in a kind of schoolyard taunt, along these lines, “yeah, alright Christians killed and tortured millions, but the atheists were way more worse.”

Do you really want to say that? We know Christianity had a bloody past, but atheism’s worse?

Essentially, ‘we’re not good, but better than you’??

16 rvb8

ET @8,

you use a quote from John Morris claiming no link between Christianity and ID; Heh:)

Dionisio arrives @10 congratulating you for clearing up the old cannard that Christianity and ID are bedfellows.

Unfortuantely @10, 11, and 12, Dio quotes extensively from his/her English Standard Version, Christian Bible, to back you up.

Then @13, Dio proudly instructs readers to ignore my own post @7, and instead directs readers to his Biblical quotes.

In politics, and the law, this is known as a, ‘smoking gun’.

17 drc466

@rvb8,

Christianity used that almost limitless power to burn, torture, threaten, rape, imprison, mark, ridicule, execute, and basically terrorise entire populations; or don’t you know any history?

To put it bluntly – bull. Is it fair and historically accurate to claim that Christianity was used by fringe groups and secular governments to justify hatred, abuse, and even war? Sure. Is it also fair to say that Christian organizations have not always practiced Biblical Christianity faithfully? Also sure – no one is going to argue that inquisitions and witch-burnings didn’t occur. But your sense of scale is ludicrously off-base.

The truth of the matter is that Judeo-Christian beliefs, followed faithfully, have been of greater benefit to the world than any other ideology, political or religious. Abolition, for example, was largely motivated by Christian beliefs in the equality of all men, a belief that is almost universally not shared by non-Christian cultures. Universities were almost entirely Christian-founded institutions, and the “divine-rights” of man were labelled as such based on a Christian understanding of Divine. I could go on and on.

Since you claim to “know history”, would you like to provide everyone with a comparison between the actions of atheist Russia, the Shintoist Japan, and Darwinist Germany, and the Christian France, Britain, America and even Italy, in WW2? Would you like to compare/contrast German treatment of Slavs, Russian treatment of Slavs/Germans, Japanese treatment of Chinese, Filipino, etc., to the treatment of enemy civilians by Allied troops? Would you like to explain for us why Germans were so desperate to surrender to American troops rather than be captured by Russians? Maybe a few words on the Bataan death march, or the rape of Nanking? Perhaps your historical knowledge might even extend to the relative survival rates between POWs of the respective combatants?

The problem is that you were born into a world where Christian philosophy has essentially “won”, and so most 1st-world countries accept Christian ideals and pretend/believe that their non-Christian morals would be the same even if Christianity wasn’t around. You want to know what the world would look like without Christianity? Pull out your history book and study the world of B.C. Or spend some time in pre-missionary Asia, Africa, and Americas.

You live in a world built on Christianity without a clue as to how hard and evil it would be without Christianity, and scorn the belief system that has given you basically everything. That’s fine, you don’t have to agree with me – but don’t expect me to be blind because you choose to be.

18 drc466

Follow-on to my comment above: it is probably unfair to label Germany as “Darwinist”. In reality, the prevailing “religion” in Germany was, unfortunately, Hitler worship. Children said pledges to him in classrooms, teens spent weeks in camps being indoctrinated in Nazi/Hitler ideology, and even the army was required to pledge a vow of allegiance directly to Hitler. So “Hitlerist” Germany is probably a better descriptor. In either case, Christianity was not a significant underlying ideology in the behavior of German armed forces – allegiance to human authority in general and Hitler in particular was.

19 EricMH

@rvb8, no I’m saying atheists who claim eliminating religion is the answer to all our problems are foolish beyond measure.

20 EricMH

rvb8, here’s another fun challenge for you. Name one atheist state that has not mass murdered its population.

21 Dionisio

drc466 @17-18,

Good comments. Thanks.

But don’t expect your interlocutor to understand what you wrote. Understanding requires the will to do it. Your interlocutor doesn’t seem willing to understand anything or engage in serious discussions.

Note the lack of attention to details @16, where your interlocutor referred to the comment @9 as if it were @10.
To make things worse, this interlocutor wrongly associates the comment @9 with the comments @10-12. They are unrelated, because they address different issues.
To top that, the interlocutor misunderstood the comment @13. The interlocutor wrote that the post @13 “instructs readers to ignore” the post @7, and “instead directs readers to” the posts @10-12. That’s obviously wrong. The post @13 clearly states that it is a clarification for those who unfortunately already wasted time reading the hogwash @7.

This lack of attention to details has been seen before in other comments posted by the same interlocutor.
Maybe it’s a reading comprehension issue?
This interlocutor makes the materialists look embarrassingly uneducated.

I was materialist too, educated/indoctrinated in the Soviet Union.
Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found.
Was blind, but now I see.
This means that there’s hope. Let’s pray for the spiritually lost and blind readers so that they too are touched by the Divine grace that saves.
One day at the end of this age of grace, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord of all. But then it will be too late for those who didn’t follow Christ before He’s back.

22 Origenes

“In the early days of the German advance into Eastern Europe, before the possibility of Soviet retribution even entered their untroubled imagination, Nazi extermination squads would sweep into villages, and after forcing villagers to dig their own graves, murder their victims with machine guns. On one such occasion somewhere in Eastern Europe, an SS officer watched languidly, his machine gun cradled, as an elderly and bearded Hasidic Jew laboriously dug what he knew to be his grave.

Standing up straight, he addressed his executioner. “God is watching what you are doing,” he said.

And then he was shot dead.

What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe and what the NKVD did not believe and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe was that God was watching what they were doing.”

[Berlinski]

23 Dionisio

drc466 @17,

The posts @10-12 relate to your first paragraph @17.

Your interlocutor may not see that well.

24 groovamos

rvb8: not so secretly, ID is a front for Christian ideas

Jewish ID advocate: DI fellow David Klinghoffer

agnostic Jew ID advocate: DI fellow David Berlinsky

Muslim ID advocate: Adnan Oktar

non-committed dualist ID advocate: Groovamos

When Christianity had power, (from about 340AD to around 1700AD, and the rise of reason), Christianity had inordinate power.

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543): “To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power, to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful working of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more gratifying than knowledge.” (Copernicus, as cited in Neff 1952, 191-192; and in Hubbard 1905, v).

René Descartes (1596-1650): “Is there not a God…who causes these thoughts to arise in my mind? But why suppose such a being, for it may be I myself am capable of producing them? … And in truth, as I have no ground for believing that Deity is deceitful, and as, indeed, I have not even considered the reasons by which the existence of a Deity of any kind is established, the ground of doubt that rests only on this supposition is very slight, and, so to speak, metaphysical”

Why not get your stories straight dude before posting on here.

burn, torture, threaten, rape, imprison, mark, ridicule, execute, and basically terrorise entire populations

I cant imagine what school you went to where this was taught but I was never taught “entire populations” were “burn(ed), torture(d), threaten(ed), rape(d), imprison(ed), mark(ed), ridicule(d), execute(d), and basically terrorise(d)

25 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

[…]

And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.

The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century.

[…]

The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them.

26 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.

That’s the environment I grew up and was educated in.
I could have taught atheism to the strongest atheists today.
Now I can sweep and mop the floor with all their baseless beliefs.
God is amazingly gracious. Who would have thought back then that I could be writing this here today.
Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.
All glory, all honor, all praise to the Lord.

27 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

The 1920’s in the USSR witnessed an uninterrupted procession of victims and martyrs amongst the Orthodox clergy. Two metropolitans were shot, one of whom, Veniamin of Petrograd, had been elected by the popular vote of his diocese. Patriarch Tikhon himself passed through the hands of the Cheka-GPU and then died under suspicious circumstances. Scores of archbishops and bishops perished. Tens of thousands of priests, monks, and nuns, pressured by the Chekists to renounce the Word of God, were tortured, shot in cellars, sent to camps, exiled to the desolate tundra of the far North, or turned out into the streets in their old age without food or shelter. All these Christian martyrs went unswervingly to their deaths for the faith; instances of apostasy were few and far between. For tens of millions of laymen access to the Church was blocked, and they were forbidden to bring up their children in the Faith: religious parents were wrenched from their children and thrown into prison, while the children were turned from the faith by threats and lies…

28 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

For a short period of time, when he needed to gather strength for the struggle against Hitler, Stalin cynically adopted a friendly posture toward the Church. This deceptive game, continued in later years by Brezhnev with the help of showcase publications and other window dressing, has unfortunately tended to be taken at its face value in the West. Yet the tenacity with which hatred of religion is rooted in Communism may be judged by the example of their most liberal leader, Krushchev: for though he undertook a number of significant steps to extend freedom, Krushchev simultaneously rekindled the frenzied Leninist obsession with destroying religion.

29 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

But there is something they did not expect: that in a land where churches have been leveled, where a triumphant atheism has rampaged uncontrolled for two-thirds of a century, where the clergy is utterly humiliated and deprived of all independence, where what remains of the Church as an institution is tolerated only for the sake of propaganda directed at the West, where even today people are sent to the labor camps for their faith, and where, within the camps themselves, those who gather to pray at Easter are clapped in punishment cells–they could not suppose that beneath this Communist steamroller the Christian tradition would survive in Russia. It is true that millions of our countrymen have been corrupted and spiritually devastated by an officially imposed atheism, yet there remain many millions of believers: it is only external pressures that keep them from speaking out, but, as is always the case in times of persecution and suffering, the awareness of God in my country has attained great acuteness and profundity.

It is here that we see the dawn of hope: for no matter how formidably Communism bristles with tanks and rockets, no matter what successes it attains in seizing the planet, it is doomed never to vanquish Christianity.

30 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

The West has yet to experience a Communist invasion; religion here remains free. But the West’s own historical evolution has been such that today it too is experiencing a drying up of religious consciousness. It too has witnessed racking schisms, bloody religious wars, and rancor, to say nothing of the tide of secularism that, from the late Middle Ages onward, has progressively inundated the West. This gradual sapping of strength from within is a threat to faith that is perhaps even more dangerous than any attempt to assault religion violently from without.

31 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

Imperceptibly, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West has ceased to be seen as anything more lofty than the “pursuit of happiness”, a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use, they have been replaced by political or class considerations of short lived value. It has become embarrassing to state that evil makes its home in the individual human heart before it enters a political system. Yet it is not considered shameful to make dally concessions to an integral evil. Judging by the continuing landslide of concessions made before the eyes of our very own generation, the West is ineluctably slipping toward the abyss. Western societies are losing more and more of their religious essence as they thoughtlessly yield up their younger generation to atheism. If a blasphemous film about Jesus is shown throughout the United States, reputedly one of the most religious countries in the world, or a major newspaper publishes a shameless caricature of the Virgin Mary, what further evidence of godlessness does one need? When external rights are completely unrestricted, why should one make an inner effort to restrain oneself from ignoble acts?

32 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

Our life consists not in the pursuit of material success but in the quest for worthy spiritual growth. Our entire earthly existence is but a transitional stage in the movement toward something higher, and we must not stumble and fall, nor must we linger fruitlessly on one rung of the ladder. Material laws alone do not explain our life or give it direction. The laws of physics and physiology will never reveal the indisputable manner in which the Creator constantly, day in and day out, participates in the life of each of us, unfailingly granting us the energy of existence; when this assistance leaves us, we die. And in the life of our entire planet, the Divine Spirit surely moves with no less force: this we must grasp in our dark and terrible hour.

33 Dionisio

“Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983

To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our hands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing.

34 Truth Will Set You Free

Dionisio @ 25-33: Brilliant.

groovamos @ 24: Excellent comment.

Also, rvb8’s hatred for ID is minimal compared to his extreme hatred for Christianity. Must be tough carrying around so much hate, especially knowing that ID and Christianity will still be around (and thriving) when he takes his last breath. It was all for naught, rvb8. All for naught. The penny never dropped!

35 Dionisio

TWSYF,

That’s right, all for nothing. He’s never got it.
Really sad.

BTW, regarding Solzhenitsyn’s speech at the Templeton foundation, in the 1970s the famous Russian writer was quite known in the academic/political circles in western Europe and the US but not to many people inside his own country, where his books were not publicly available.

The fear of the free flow of information was enormous in that society.

Do you know why Solzhenitsyn was sent to the Siberian gulag that he made known to the world through his famous books later?

Apparently as a young officer in the soviet troops that ‘liberated’ the former Prussian territories by the Baltic Sea, he wrote a letter to a friend describing the atrocities committed by his fellow army comrades. Obviously his personal letter was censored and he was arrested.

So much for freedom of opinion.

36 groovamos

Truth Will SYF : Excellent comment.

Also, rvb8’s hatred for ID is minimal compared to his extreme hatred for Christianity. Must be tough carrying around so much hate

thx same goes for yours. See RVB doesn’t understand that every religion, including his, must have its sinners for its maintenance. He is in the daily echo chamber telling him what to believe, which is there is a mainstream Christian under every rock, behind every societal problem. It gives them something to believe in, a teleological basis for getting up every morning, even though life, including theirs, is meaningless. They need a political cause to fill the spiritual void.

The Myth of American Innocence–a review of drivel


image

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/08/unlearning-the-myth-of-american-innocence  (Read for yourself.)

I’ve had this Guardian article in my sights for some time now, but have been holding off until after our month long stay in Paris with a trip to Normandy and Omaha Beach.

The author punches all the buttons of self-hate/America-hate that many such as her have developed in their cloistered world.

She talks of her winning a writing fellowship that took her to Turkey where she apparently was able to validate her theme of “the myth of American innocence.”  Reading her article multiple times leads me to think she remains in her academic-journalism bubble, and this article has the flavor of yet another entry in a writing contest.

She writes of a view of America and Americans she claims is held by foreigners (non-Americans). But she offers no ticket stubs of travel to nations other than Turkey, where she apparently has taken up permanent residence —  although I see from her book that she has also traveled to other predominantly Muslim countries such as Egypt and Iran.  Others of us who have traveled to many other nations and have friends and family in places such as; Norway, Hungary, France, Czech Republic, Croatia, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand and elsewhere perhaps have a different experience of how America and Americans are viewed.

Muslim nations have long held anti-Western animosities, often resulting in wars of  invasion to forcefully conquer and displace Christianity and Judaism – indeed Western civilization — with Islam.  So it’s not surprising that Ms. Hansen would find herself  indoctrinated with the world view of the Islamic nations she has chosen to reside in. What she has apparently deprived herself of is the rich heritage of Western Civilization that Islam would seek to displace. 

So in keeping with Ms. Hansen’s anti-American screed, let’s take a tour of how some other peoples view American and Americans — beginning with Vietnam.

The Vietnam War was a long and hard fought war waged in support of an ally and an effort to stem the spread of communism in that part of the world. Ms. Hansen talks of communism, but has no grasp of what it really was (is) – she writes:   “I knew that communism had gone away, but never learned what communism had actually been (“bad” was enough).”   Not that she will ever read this review, but let me inform her and others – communism in the 20th century is credited with taking the lives of some 100 million people over a period of 70 some years. And it was aggressively on the move during the era of the Cold War and the very hot Vietnam campaign of that war.  I have a friend that grew up under communism in Hungary, and in fact was wounded in the 1956 rebellion against that tyranny.

It reflects a failure and a bias of American education that the author grew up with such an extremely shallow knowledge of a history that occurred so  close to her lifetime. But, being a journalist, shouldn’t she have felt an obligation to self educate herself on the facts of communism? The information is there in abundance, especially in this day of the internet.  Perhaps her journalistic career at the New York Times Magazine (left wing), Vogue (women’s issues), Bookforum (book reviews)  and the Baffler (left wing) haven’t afforded her the opportunity or motivation to research topics she pontificates in this article.

Continuing with Vietnam, the war was won militarily and politically in 1973 by the American and South Vietnamese forces, and a peace treaty was signed in Paris which divided the nations along the DMZ. The peace treaty also included provisions for American material support of the self defense of South Vietnam against future aggression for the North.   

However, in 1975 the Democrat controlled US congress reneged on US treaty obligations and cut off all funding for the South Vietnam. This was a huge green light, and within months the North Vietnamese rolled into the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon.  

The alleged anti-American view the author attributes to other nations is expressed in part in her words:

American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.”

This excerpt shows a lack of understanding and misdirection of what is meant by “American Exceptionalism.” American Exceptionalism can, and should, be summarized by a few simple words – liberty and opportunity. It is through these simple words, put into practical application throughout American history, that the United States of American has become the greatest civilization the world has ever seen. Dr. Walter Williams summarizes it thusly:

image

I don’t think this view of Ms. Hansen reflects the view of the many thousands of Vietnamese refugees that fled tyranny and almost certain death at the hands of the communist North Vietnamese conquers. You can get a feel for them in watching the documentary The Lucky Few at https://youtu.be/S9svL4j9xCc. I’ve talked with the Skipper and the Chief Engineer of that small American ship – USS Kirk — that rescued  some 30,000+ refugees, and have seen the lifelong bond and love exchanged between the crew of that ship and the refugees they rescued.

SkipperAndNewFamily
The picture above is the Captain of the small US Navy destroyer USS Kirk and two of the 33,000 Vietnamese refugees that ship is credited with saving. The one on the right was so grateful to America that she added  Kirk as the middle name of her daughter.
GodBlessAmerica

viet2jpg_t540

The same is true of the many (40,000+) Hungarian refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution who have contributed so much to American life.   I have written much on this —  read my article “Immigration & Assimilation – A Hungarian Model” at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/immigration-assimilation-a-hungarian-model-2/ to get the flavor of these people – and in particular the story of my friend Adam von Dioszeghy. I have written a book “Budapest at War“ at http://www.blurb.com/b/8107619-budapest-at-war where I document a portion this man’s life and experiences through three wars; as a child in World War II, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and as a US Naval officer with three combat tours to Vietnam.  This man, when called up in the draft in the early build up to Vietnam, served willingly and with gratitude to the nation that had provided him liberty and opportunity. This book is a culmination of a personal tour  Adam gave us through the streets of Budapest where these events took place in his life.

The picture below is of Adam von Dioszeghy standing beside the stature of President Ronald Reagan in the Freedom Plaza near the Hungarian Parliament. Hungarians give much credit  to President Reagan and the United States for the freedoms they gained when Communism was finally defeated.  Similar statues are in Warsaw and Gdansk Poland in recognition of Reagan’s and America’s bringing liberty to Poland.
20170529_190802

So tell me again how much America is disliked by foreign nations.

Spending a month in Paris recently, with a visit to Normandy, the American Cemetery  and the small village of Sainte Mere Eglise gave me a taste of the gratitude the French feel for America.
P1070869  
The picture below is one of two stained glass windows in the church at Sainte Mere Eglise where you can see Paratroopers of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Division depicted.

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Then there is this sculpture seen as you enter the town square. Looking closely you see two hands reaching skywards toward the paratrooper. And you see the chains broken away from those outstretched hands.
P1070935
And on the church, some 73 years later, you see the parachute draped around the church steeple where it got tangled – and in effigy is the American soldier dangling precariously above the German soldiers below (he survived).  
P1070909
In the visitors center at the American Cemetery I heard testimonies from French citizens such as one which I paraphrase  “these soldiers came from thousands of kilometers away and died by the thousands for us, and they didn’t even know us.”   

So tell me again Ms. Hansen, how much America is disliked by foreign nations.

Ms. Hansen writes much of white American Christianity, and its detriment to humanity, blacks in particular.  She culls out author James Baldwin in particular as someone who has had a good deal of influence in her thinking and her world view. It’s good to have role models, and I also have read James Baldwin in years past. But here again it seems Hansen falls very short as a journalist.

In singling out one man’s experience as a black in America, she rightfully shows how he eloquently presents what the typical experience has been for most blacks in American history.  However, she very well could have developed a more balanced view on the opportunity that American liberty provides – even under the most unlikely circumstances of life.

I speak here of  Condoleezza Rice, a black woman raised in the harsh poverty of segregationist Alabama. Included in Rice’s resume: – accomplished concert pianist, National Security Adviser to President George W Bush,  Secretary of State under President Bush, author, Provost and professor at Stanford University.

I speak of Dr. Benjamin  Carson, raised in the slums of Detroit and Boston by a illiterate single mother. Carson became a world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins and is now the  Secretary of Housing and Urban Renewal.

I speak of Dr. Thomas Sewell, raised in the slums of New York City and on his own at 17 with no job, no money, no education and very little prospects for the future. Sewell became a prominent economist and a syndicated commentator  on economic, social, cultural and political issues. 

I speak of Charles Payne, a financial commentator at Fox Business News.   Payne grew up poor in Harlem in a single parent home. He founded  ‘Wall Street Strategies’ and is its chief executive officer and principal financial analyst.

And there’s many more …

Ms. Hansen should expand her knowledge of successful blacks beyond her selected few (actually she singles out only one). 

Hansen writes of American patriotism, actually mocking it  …

“ … Mostly what I remember of that war in Iraq was singing God Bless the USA on the school bus – I was 13 – wearing little yellow ribbons and becoming teary-eyed as I remembered the video of the song I had seen on MTV.

‘And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free’

That “at least” is funny. We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn’t even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.

At the risk of repeating myself (but repetition can be a good teacher) , perhaps our world savvy journalist should travel to the small French town of Sainte Mere Eglise, the first town liberated following the allied landings at Normandy during World War II. I just came from there, and can say with pride I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
  This little town bristles with memorabilia expressing gratitude and thanks to those American soldiers that brought back liberty to their Nazi (real Nazis) occupiers. The small church where a paratrooper had his Parachute hung up on the church steeple now has two stained glass windows depicting those soldiers.

On entry to the village square you see this sculpture pictured here:

P1070935

Looking closely we see profound symbolism — the parachute descending from above … two hands reaching up to that parachute … broken chains falling away from the hands … the church … and a defunct and obsolete symbol of war – the machine gun.

Travel beyond New Jersey and Turkey might lend a bit of realism to Ms. Hansen’s idea of how much of the world views American and Americans.

She writes of racism in America and the western nations, and quotes Baldwin:

“ … But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

                             .  .  .  .

All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.

                                             …

White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today. … “

Again, Ms. Hansen shows an abysmal lake of knowledge of history, both world and American history.

Slavery was common throughout world history throughout the world, including in the wide spread British empire, and the British colonies in the American South. 

However, in the early 1800s, largely through the heroic lifelong struggle of William Wilberforce, a white Christian Englishman and member of Parliament, the slave trade,  slavery and the very philosophical and scientific rational for slavery was abolished in the British Empire – did you get that Suzy Hansen? A white Christian man.

Slavery was abolished in the United States much later, at the price of some 600,000+ lives lost, mostly young white Americans. And the motivation for the American anti-slavery abolitionist movement was – ready Ms. Hansen? White American Christian men and women who viewed slavery as a grave sin.

Predictably Ms. Hansen throws in the obligatory attack on capitalism with this … “No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism … “  Yes, we know that capitalism has its flaws and excesses. Though not explicitly stated in this article, one could get the impression  that Ms. Hansen would prefer a state controlled economy. But all that would do would be to consolidate all of capitalism’s flaws  and failings under a single unaccountable and tyrannical government. That’s called socialism, of whatever strip. And it has been a failure, most often catastrophic,  wherever and whenever tried in history – Venezuela being the most recent and visible failure.

Ms. Hansen, as a journalist and historian,  also fails to recognize that the American style of free market capitalism has brought more liberty, prosperity and wealth to more people around the world than any other form of economic system. China, where there was widespread poverty and famine in recent decades has become an economic juggernaut in recent years by introducing a form of capitalism into its still autocratic communist political system.

I will conclude this review of drivel with another excerpt from Hansen’s article and a few concluding comments on American Exceptionalism.

“ … American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country’s nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised[sic] this belief. Wasn’t that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have. … “

Wow … quite an indictment, not only of American Exceptionalism, but American journalism as well, calling it ‘nationalistic propaganda’.  Journalism by its very nature is often biased and non-objective – witness the very biased anti-Trump reporting and commentary of the New York Times. But for the most part it has done a credible job in presenting news and opinion. But I would not use the very broad brush that Ms. Hansen uses here to slam American Journalism as a whole.

To supplement the daily dish of news and commentary we get from journalists, print or media, it is good to read good substantive and well researched history books. I wonder if Ms. Hansen delves much into this rich world.

One such book I would recommend is “The Miracle of Freedom – 7 Tipping Points the Saved the World” by Chris and Ted Stewart. I’ve read this book several times and have written a review of it at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/the-miracle-of-freedom-the-american-baseline/

A major point this book makes is the rarity of freedom. The authors point out that in all of human history, in all places and at all times, a very small fraction of people have ever lived in what many of us know as freedom. And, of that small percentage (<4%) most have lived in the relatively recent lifespan of the United States of America with its constitution,  and nations who have adopted similar forms of representative governments. That coupled with the Condoleezza Rice book – Democracy – which I mentioned above give much credence to the claims of those who view the history of the United States as one of American Exceptionalism. 

Ms. Hansen’s view of America, American history and American Exceptionalism, I must say is very wrong — ignorant of history — much off target —  and very damaging.

Don Johnson – September 2017



“I First Visited Hungary”

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The following is an excerpt from a book – Postcards from Pannonia – co-authored by our Hungarian-American friend Aliz von Dioszeghy.

“When I first visited Hungary in 1989, right before the change in political systems, the people I saw on the street looked down-trodden. Clerks in shops were surly and unhelpful, service in restaurants was non-existent, and there were no flowers in window boxes, such as I saw in Austria and Germany, I really didn’t like it very much.  By 2000, however, things were hopping. People were smiling and hopeful, buildings were being cleaned and repaired, clerks were nicer, and waiters were a little more willing to work for their tip. There were even window boxes! Once the promise of spring arrived, the windows started to be filled with red geraniums. Back then, only red geraniums were available. Happily, now you can get every type and color of geranium, but in 2000 red was still the only color. I don’t know why, although I suspect that people simply didn’t think about other possibilities. After years of shortages under the communist regime, they were accustomed to making do with what was available, and the shops didn’t offer a choice. Now that there is a little more money around, the shops have started to display not only different colors, but many different varietals of the common germanium. I would even say that here in Hungary there seems to be more of a choice in flowers than I would find in California! Hungarians have traditionally loved flowers and plants, and now that the possibilities seem to be endless, they are filling window boxes with colorful blooms.”

This short synopsis captures very vividly the destructive effects of “statism” on the average person living under the thumb of totalitarian rule.  We have seen such contrasts ourselves as Diana and I have traveled through Europe and into the former captive states of the Soviet Union just a few years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a single day of driving on the autobahn from Berlin in the old East Germany, through the countryside of old East Germany and through West Germany to Hamburg, we saw what Aliz describes about Hungary. We saw countless examples, in the city and the country-side, of the grey colorless landscape of communism.  We also saw, in that same day of driving, the beautiful homes, gardens, farms and flowers of the free West Germany.

The message? “It’s not mine – I don’t care!”

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“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free“
                                                    Ronald Reagan

 

Note: Aliz von Dioszeghy was born and raised in Californian and lived much of her adult life in the San Francisco Bay area until she and her husband Adam retired and moved to Adam’s native land of Hungary. Adam fled Hungary in 1956 as a result of the revolution against communist rule.

Don Johnson – July 2017

A Navy reunion–and more: a personal walk through history.

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My wife Diana and I have just returned from Budapest Hungary where we visited an old Navy shipmate and his wife Aliz.

Adam and I served together on the USS Porterfield DD-682, a destroyer, in 1965-66. Adam was an officer and I was enlisted, so it couldn’t be said that we were friends or old Navy buddies. But we stood shoulder to shoulder at General Quarters – our Battle Stations – in a small space called IC-Plot from where our five 5” guns were controlled. Adam was a memorable character in those days, with an uplifting attitude and demeanor that helped ease any boredom or tension during long, often very hot, watches during combat operations off the coast of Vietnam.  He had an accent and an  unpronounceable last name beginning with ‘van’ or ‘von’ which was changed by all aboard to Mr. von D. For years I thought he was Dutch.

We went our separate ways following our Naval service, and I didn’t give him – or for that matter my Navy experience — much thought thereafter. Then at a Porterfield reunion a few years ago I was able to get my hands on the cruise book from that time in the Western Pacific. I was drawn to the ships roster and that strange name von Dioszeghy. I did an internet search for that name and discovered the Facebook page of Aliz von Dioszeghy and sent off a message asking if this lady knew of that crazy Dutchman from the Porterfield. She did, and was married to him. I soon found out that Adam had written a wonderful 440 page story of his life beginning as a 7 year old in the midst of the WW-II Red Army siege of Budapest.  By the time I finished his book I felt I knew this man and his incredible life story.

Then in May 2017 the opportunity to visit Adam and Aliz presented itself at the end of a Baltic cruise.

What follows is a personalized historical account of a tour conducted by Adam through the significant places and events of his life in Budapest. 

January 1945 This first set of pictures show some of the places where Adam and his mother endured the WW-II battles all around and above them. The allied bombers were bombing the city from above, the Germans controlled a square just down the boulevard to the left of their apartment, and the Red Army  controlled the square down to the right. Bombs, bullets and artillery shells flowed in abundance.

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Adam and his mother lived on the third floor of this building.

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And behind this basement window was the bomb shelter where the building residents endured the bombings. 

This is also the window where Adam’s young German soldier friend Hans positioned himself with two machine guns in a futile attempt to hold off the advancing Red Army.

Hans, 19 years old, befriended 7 year old Adam and gave him his last chocolate just before his unit pulled out and left him to delay the Red Army onslaught.  A hand grenade thrown in the basement window ended the life of young Hans.

Adam and his wife Aliz live close by this window, and on their way to church Adam respectfully salutes that window – “Hans didn’t start that war” says Adam. And Aliz invariably tears up. 

The bombing cut off the water supply to the apartment building, so the residents had to traverse the main boulevard to a nearby apartment building that still had water. This was a very dangerous operation requiring Adam’s mother to cross a very active combat zone. 

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The Red Army to the left.

The German Army to the right and the street in front of Adam’s home.

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This is the apartment building from where Adam’s mother carried water in buckets. One day just as she entered the door to get water, a bomb hit above her and collapsed the front of the building causing rubble to bury her up to her neck. Miraculously she was not injured and neighbors removed the debris allowing her escape. 

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This is the doorway to the building where Adam’s mother was buried by the building debris. Adam remembers seeing her in the doorway on her return to the bomb shelter as a ghostly image covered in white plaster dust.

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Walking the streets of Budapest in 2017, 73 years after the fact, makes it difficult to place all of this in the context of the time. The pictures below show a small part of the carnage of the siege of Budapest.

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The bridges of Budapest are beautiful, but not so much during the war.

Post War Budapest to October 1956 – I don’t have any pictures of life for Adam and his mother under the Communist rule following the war, but life after the war under Communism is brutal for Adam and his mother, and especially tough because of his mother’s previous station in life as an aristocrat. Here is how he describes the treatment of his mother in those Communist years:

“ … she … was stripped of all human dignity common to even the lowest of beings. The authorities treated her worse than if she was a leper or a person afflicted with the foulest of communicable diseases, or possibly a criminal. There were only certain places – and not very desirable ones – where she was allowed to live. … Day in and day out, in every conceivable circumstance, it was made known to her that her very existence was bothersome to the “state,” and the sooner she could depart this vale of tears for better climes the better. … “

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October 1956 – Now we move forward to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In the following picture sequence we follow Adam as he walks us through to those places of personal remembrances, and the tragedies experienced by those freedom fighters.

The revolution started as a student solidarity movement in support of student protests in Poland. It began as a peaceful and unarmed demonstration against a tyrannical Communist government. The group drew up a list of 16 requests – not demands as Adam points out – that were brought to the radio station along this very narrow street where 5000 students had marched.

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The government response to the 16 requests was “not only no – but hell no.” Officials in the radio station were armed, and soon a shot rang out from above and a young student was killed in the street below.

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This plaque on the sidewalk opposite the radio station commemorates this first casualty of the revolution, marking the name and date of this young man’s death.

And these plaques on the wall of the radio station commemorate the event – and that is Adam’s hand reaching up to that commemoration.  

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The protests moved to the Parliament building, a magnificent building, and one in which Adam’s grandfather, a Baron,  had in years past sat as a member of the Hungarian Parliament.

Adam recounts that at some point in what was now a revolution, a truck drove up to where the students had gathered and started handing out weapons. Adam recalls when about twenty students gathered in a room, each having a Russian machine gun. They are sitting in a circle facing one another as someone is instructing them on how to use these weapons. Suddenly a shot rings out, and a young student just to the right of Adam falls dead, a casualty of an accidental shot from one of those machine guns. 

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Back to the Parliament, the scene is one where there is a huge crowd gathered in the square between the front of the Parliament building and the building shown above.

There were armed government soldiers stationed on the roof of that building and they started shooting indiscriminately into the crowd.  There were also tanks stationed in front of the parliament, and at one point a tank commander is fed up with the killing from the rooftop, and he shoots a couple of tank rounds to the shooters above. 

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Years later, after the collapse of the Communist regime, the deaths of those brave freedom fighters is commemorated by the placement of these bronze balls on the walls of the building from which those murders took place – one for each death.

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Somewhere along the way Adam is wounded and he is headed back to the Technical University, pictured above, where he was a student.

A friend and fellow student intercepts Adam on the bridge pictured above and warns him to turn back. A wounded and bandaged student is certain to be arrested and most likely to be executed. So Adam turns back and thus begins the next chapter in the life of Adam von Dioszeghy and his mother – a flight to freedom in Austria and ultimately to the United States.

It is important to note that as this revolution unfolded, nearly every segment of Hungarian society joined with the students in the attempt to throw off the tyranny.  This included even the Hungarian military, which had to be removed from the city and replaced by Soviet troops from the interior of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the Soviets brutally crushed the revolution resulting in many arrests, deaths and tens of thousands of refugees, some 40,000 who came to the United States. 

Again, walking the streets of Budapest in 2017, 60 years after the fact, makes it difficult to place all of this in the context of the time. The pictures below show a small part of the carnage of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The images are brutal.

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Sitting at the breakfast table in our hotel overlooking the streets of Budapest in 2017, it is hard to picture anything different than the people below going to and fro – peaceful and minding their own business going shopping, going to work or school. That is what Budapest and the world should look like.

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The life of a refugee in America.

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Coming to the United States as a refugee; to a foreign land and a foreign culture, not knowing the language was the next huge hurdle facing this young man.

But Adam’s life in America shows the grit and fortitude of this young man who had lost everything in his Hungarian homeland. His family heritage in Hungary was one of aristocracy, land and wealth. Yet here he was, having to begin a new life from scratch.

In 1957, Adam and his mother arrived to an exceptional nation. A nation that afforded him two key elements that make that nation exceptional – liberty and opportunity. Adam took great advantage of that fabric of liberty and opportunity and earned a degree at Stanford University, one of the great universities of America. Then when his new nation called him to military service in time of need at the beginning of the Vietnam War, he gratefully stepped up and became a US Naval officer serving three tours to the war zone of Vietnam.

Following his Navy service, Adam returned to Stanford earning a law degree and practicing law in the San Francisco area for many years before retiring and returning to his homeland of Hungary.   

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A fitting conclusion to this story is this picture of Adam standing beside the statue of President Ronal Reagan in Budapest’s Freedom Square. Communism had failed and fallen, and the people of Hungary rightly commemorate their liberty with this tribute to this great American leader. 

Leaders like American President Ronald Reagan, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II took note of the evils of Communism, and were finally in a position to defeat it and bring liberty to those many like Adam von Dioszeghy who yearned so strongly for and fought for it.

Adam is engaged in another battle for survival, this time against a cancer that has invaded his body. These kinds of personal battles eventually visit all of us, but I must say, this friend of mine shows a love of life – a joy of living – not often seen. A joy in spite of the tragedies he has lived through. But no … I believe his joy comes not in spite of, but rather because of his experiences. I am honored to be his friend and shipmate.        

Poland likewise recognizes Reagan with similar tributes.

“ … Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. … “

Ronald Reagan

References and further reading:

BRIDGING TWO WORLDS: Memories and Reflections – at https://www.amazon.com/BRIDGING-TWO-WORLDS-Memories-Reflections/dp/1622878663/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

My review of Adam’s book at — https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/bridging-two-worlds-a-book-review/

The Bridge at Andau: The Compelling True Story of a Brave, Embattled People — at https://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Andau-Compelling-Embattled-People/dp/0812986741/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496567578&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bridge+at+andau

Immigration & Assimilation – A Hungarian Model – at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/immigration-assimilation-a-hungarian-model-2/

Statue in Budapest’s Liberty Square credits Reagan for freedom  — at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/29/statue-in-budapests-liberty-square-credits-reagan-/

Ronald Reagan statue unveiled in Warsaw  — at  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/8904456/Ronald-Reagan-statue-unveiled-in-Warsaw.html

Reagan, John Paul II honored with statue in Gdansk Poland – at: http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Reagan-John-Paul-II-honored-with-statue-3707733.php