Religious Extremism and You

Repost from my blog.

by baldilocks

I try not to scream in frustration in response to some usage of the word ‘extremism.’ People use it without even thinking about what it actually means. And it almost always has the word ‘Christian’ is front of it, and, less often, ‘Muslim.’

According to the ignorant, extremism is always something bad–usually involving pain or death–and, again, according to the ignorant, people like this ‘tard preach “Christian extremism.” And if you don’t know what Christ commanded, what the Dispensation of Grace is, or what the adjective ‘extreme‘ means, you’ll buy it.

Here, I’ll help a bit more: an actual extremist Christian wants you to believe that Jesus the Messiah died for your sins, rose again, and is your Lord and Savior. Also, that Christian wants you to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself  a whole heck of a lot. These items are the hash marks on the Christian yardstick and if, after knowing this, you decide you don’t want to follow Jesus, He tells His followers to move on to the next potential hearer of the Gospel and leave you be. “Shake the dust from your feet.” Extreme.

Conversely, an actual extremist Muslim wants everyone to submit to Allah, and wants to coerce any and all to convert to Islam or to pay the jizya tax. A truly extremist Muslim should, according to the Koran and the Hadith, use the threat of death toward this goal: your money or your life. And if you don’t want to convert or are unable to bribe them, it’s off with your head, if they can get close enough. This is yet another yardstick.

You can’t mix and match definitions and expect to make a coherent argument. But ignorance is so rampant that it almost doesn’t pay to point this out. But I did anyway.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

A former student of mine decided he needed to send a thank you letter to a man who fired him.

The purpose was to tell the supervisor that the dismissal was an important experience that made him reflect on what he was doing wrong and how he could improve himself.

I decided to eliminate the names of the individuals and the company for privacy reasons, but my former student gave me permission to use the letter.

“It has been more than 12 months since my final day at [the company]. In the time in-between I realized I needed to contact you. I needed to contact you to thank you. By firing me, you gave me the most effective coaching lesson I ever received during my five-year tenure with the company: In order to be a successful leader, I needed to improve my work-life balance so I could be a better son, brother, cousin, nephew, uncle, friend, neighbor, community leader, volunteer and employee.

“My recovery from losing my job took longer than I wanted. But eventually I discovered running, and I lost more than 30 pounds from mid-September to late November. Next, I began to exercise my mind. I researched and thought long and hard about delegation, prioritization, boundary-setting and multi-tiered goal setting. I revised my resume and practiced job interviewing skills.

“The memory of what happened to me over a year ago still haunts me today. When I recall that day, however, I will always think positively about your closing words, ‘It’s time to start caring about yourself more.’ That sentiment provided me with a glimmer of light as I began my year-long journey inside the dark tunnel that my life subsequently became.

“I respect your ability to lead. Within the short amount of time that I was able to interact with you, I learned a few valuable lessons. When you gave me your personal phone number, I should’ve kept it in a safe place. Instead, I lost it. And it is truly a shame because a year later, I realized that you were reaching out to me then.

“Today a new job awaits me, and I have entertained serious thoughts of returning to college to obtain my Journalism degree and also to pursue a degree in Education. My confidence has soared in the past few weeks, and I feel like anything is possible. The lows, however, still remain. The juxtaposition of the extreme high of obtaining a new job has contrasted with the extreme low of how my tenure at the company ended. This internal conflict has presented me with a tough mental challenge I’ve had to face daily.

“Am I confident that I can deal with these up-and-down feelings? Yes, I am.

“Again, I want to thank you for setting a plan in motion that helped me to discover who I truly am.”

The letter underscores the need to reflect on failure—not to dwell on it. But the evaluation of failures–as well as successes–is a worthwhile resolution for the New Year. It’s an analysis that helped my former student and may help all of us. Happy New Year!

Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist who teaches media law.

Trump isn’t all that wrong about the UN/Club business but that’s by design

Prime Minister Jim Hacker: We should use the debate [in the UN] to promote peace, harmony, good will.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: well it would be most unusual. The UN is the accepted forum for the expression of international hatred.

Yes Prime Minister, A Victory for Democracy 1986

Yesterday the Hill highlighted a pair of tweets from Donald Trump about the UN is giving a few on the left the vapors:

Now the odd thing about it is that when comes right down to it, Trump is right about the club but as time has gone by it’s become clear that the days this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Back in the days of the Pax US right after World War 2 an active UN that could be used for the cause of good was a fine thing.  It’s the only reason why half of the Korean Peninsula is not oppressed and starving.

But as the years has gone by and the body has become dominated by kleptocracy, dictatorships, islamic states and socialists looking for the next handout the real purpose of the UN has changed.

For the kleptocracy, it’s been about getting the developed world to give them money under whatever pretence they can find, from climate change to birth control and siphoning off what they can for themselves.

For the Dictatorships it’s about keeping the US and any other power in the free world tied up to keep them from doing anything to hindering their expansion or their base power via various limiting resolutions often supported by groups in the free world financed by them.

For the Islamic states it’s the primary forum to attack Israel and or back the PA/PLO.  For states not named Iran this is vitally important because:

  1.  By attacking Israel in the UN they are able to placate their people who would otherwise want them to attack Israel for real which would end in defeat in the field, destruction of their armies and the possible deposing of those who rule.
  2. By backing the Palestinians in the UN it allows them to pretend their actually care about these people without actually doing anything to help them like allowing them in their relative countries or granting them right, which they don’t want to do because they have even less love and respect for Palestinians than Israel does.

Ironically both of these things are pretty much virtue signaling to their fellow arabs.

And Finally for the Socialists it’s a chance to not only advance their wacky positions but to have them financed by suckers like the US.  This solves the problem of running out of other people’s money, at least for a time.

But the biggest purpose of the UN is to preserve international inertia by basically having votes to give the appearance of action in order to give states a reason to not have to actually act (for good or ill) on any actual problem,  while, at the same time financing the good life from a large group of international elites all over the world.

Now here comes Donald Trump and he poses a threat to two of the dynamics involved.

  1.  As a person who doesn’t take sights or insults well (such as the resolution hitting Israel) he poses a direct threat to the ability of the UN to fund itself, and that is a direct threat to the expense accounts of thousands of international elites.
  2. As a person of action he might actually be able to use the UN to project US power by an aggressive use of both the carrot and stick of funding, thus forcing said elites to take positions and take actions that force them to choose risking said funds or angering their populace and or taking risky positions.

That’s the real question of Donald Trump, when he says things will change does that mean he will actually use the UN to try and do things, or will he use the structure as is to simply advance US interests?

Until the UN knows the answer to that question, they will remain in a state of panic.

And that makes it more likely for Mr. Trump to get the kind of deal he wants out of them.

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