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Today, in order to win the future, there are five challenges that America must meet:br> Gingrich of course does right by beginning his list with the threat of Islam. But he is not prepared, again as Ronald Reagan was, to call a spade a spade. What is the “irreconcilable wing of Islam”? Or, better yet, where is the reconcilable wing of Islam? In which Muslim country has it flourished? Where do we see Muslims standing strong and publicly for freedom and peace, save a few lone voices of western educated “infidels” who have rejected Islamic law, the literal understandings of the Koran, and hundreds of years of Islamic traditions?
1. Confronting a world in which America’s enemies, including the irreconcilable wing of Islam and rogue dictatorships, could acquire and use nuclear or biological weapons;
2. Defending God in the public square;
3. Protecting America’s unique civilization;
4. Competing in the global economy in an era of the economic rise of China and India, which will require transformations in litigation, education, taxation, regulation, and environmental, energy and health policies for America to continue to be the most successful economy in the world;
5. Promoting active, healthy aging so more people can live longer, which will require dramatic transformation in pensions, Social Security and health care.
Is the war between Islam and the West really just about an “irreconcilable wing of Islam”? Is there a contrary Islamic literature of peace and co-existence extant today? Are there Islamic social institutions dedicated to combating this “irreconcilable wing?” Is “irreconcilable” another word for “fundamentalist?” Are their substantial numbers of devout, believing and practicing Muslims that embrace America and the West? Do they reject the terror of Hamas? Do they turn their backs on the Imams preaching hatred and violence daily around the world? Do they scorn them publicly?
Why do observant Jews, who embrace the literal understanding of the Bible and a total commitment to Jewish religious law, have no problem living in America and the West? Why do Christians, and here we speak of the most devout, faithful and fundamentalist, abhor violence and travel the world to feed and educate the poor and downtrodden? Is there not something essentially different between the world of Islam and the Judeo-Christian one? Why would he not state the obvious? Our greatest enemy today is Islam. The only Islam appearing in any formal way around the world is one that seeks a world Caliphate through murder, terror and fear.
Gingrich is no fool and it cannot be that he really believes in an “irreconcilable wing of Islam.” He knows full well that the millions of passive, law-abiding Muslims in the West (assuming that they actually exist in those numbers — and I doubt it) are no different than the millions of passive, peace-loving communists in the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Korea and elsewhere who believed in Marx and Hegel but weren’t prepared to die or kill for those beliefs. And knowledge of those less than enthusiastic communists did not prevent him from recognizing the abject evil and threat posed by communism and communists. So what gives? Why the dance?
Is it possible that he is afraid to say what he knows to be true because he is grooming “the middle ground,” the ground of a country awash in liberal relativism and multiculturalism such that to label Islam an evil simply would be to court political disaster, at least according to the political strategists and mavens?
But this strategy will neither win over America’s heartland nor will it defeat the enemy. This country’s destiny and divine blessings are enshrined in this country’s manifest goodness and contribution to mankind, but these Divine Goods will not flow without a physical vessel to receive them. A country unwilling or incapable of resisting existential threats will simply cease to exist. Evil and evil empires must be recognized before they can be confronted.
Items two and three on the list are just as pallid. What does Gingrich mean by defending G-d in the public square? Is this any G-d? Might we include Allah and his ravings against the culture of the West? What is unique about this country’s civilization? Its economy? Its pornography? The social welfare system that has created an African-American subculture that embraces poor English, illiteracy, sexual conquest, violence and drugs? (Lest I be accused of generalization and racism, I am just more or less describing rap music and hip-hop, or put another way, paraphrasing the comedian-actor turned outspoken social critic, Bill Cosby.)
Gingrich’s failure to speak directly to this country’s Judeo-Christian values and beliefs as its greatest strength is again telling about the man and his new agenda. Who wrote the Constitution? Who fought a revolution for human dignity and freedom? White male Christians. That is a fact. With all of their foibles, these were our founding fathers. That there were “deists” and even “atheists” among that crowd is almost not even noticeable when compared to the deep and manifest acceptance of the Judeo-Christian worldview expressed in the churches, the statutes, the traditions, the political rhetoric and more.
If we all can agree that the enslavement of the Africans was a tragedy for this country, for the slave owners, and for the slaves, might we also all agree that it was white Christians who demanded an end to the slavery? Do we find that Islam as an ideology and Islamic law as its normative code forbid slavery and human exploitation? Why do we in America have such a hard time embracing that which makes us great and free? To say that liberty makes us great and free is a bit of a tautology is it not? The Bible has always been, until possibly the last decade or two, the most popular and widely read book in this country. Why in Gingrich’s entire article on preserving America’s national existence and future is there no word of this except in an amorphous articulation that might have been licensed by campaign strategists. Is Gingrich articulating a future for America or for the “middle wing” of the Republican Party and for control of Congress and the White House? Are these futures necessarily identical?
Finally, and practically out of breath, we can only note that the last two items on Gingrich’s list sound more like cheerleading for a proactive government than it does for a Reaganesque “get government out of the way of the American people.” On these two points, however, I am willing to concede that the problems of our day and Reagan’s are not the same. Maybe government is just so intrusive that to live in a country where we speak of a man’s abilities and responsibilities and not of his “rights” and “needs” is beyond us. I hope not, but we will need to hope and pray for the next Reagan to spring from our midst. As much as I admired Newt Gingrich in 1994, and I had a special relationship with him through his former wife Marianne, I fear he is not the leader we await.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online