The Last Best Hope


One of the many beliefs — i.e., non-empirically based doctrines — of the post-Christian West has been that moral progress is the human norm, especially so with the demise of religion. In a secular world, the self-described enlightened thinking goes, superstition is replaced by reason, and reason leads to the moral good.

Of course, it turned out that the post-Christian West produced considerably more evil than the Christian world had. No mass cruelty in the name of Christianity approximated the vastness of the cruelty unleashed by secular doctrines and regimes in the post-Christian world. The argument against religion that more people have been killed in the name of religion than by any other doctrine is false propaganda on behalf of secularism and Leftism.

The amount of evil done by Christians — against, for example, “heretics” and Jews — in both the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity — was extensive, as was the failure of most European Christians to see Nazism for the evil that it was. The good news is that Christian evils have been acknowledged and addressed by most Christian leaders and thinkers.

But there were never any Christian Auschwitzes — i.e., systematic genocides of every man, woman and child of a particular race or religion. Nor were there Christian Gulags — the shipping of millions of innocents to conditions so horrific that prolonged suffering leading to death was the almost -inevitable end.

The anti-religious Left offers two responses to these facts: The first is that modern technology made the Nazi and Communist murders of scores of millions possible; had the church been technologically able to do so, it would have made its own Auschwitz and Gulag. The second is that Nazism and Communism were religions and not secular doctrines.

The response to the first is that technology was not necessary for the Communist murders of over a hundred million innocent people in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and elsewhere. In Cambodia, millions were murdered with hammers, in Rwanda with machetes.

The response to the second is that Communism and Nazism were secular movements and to deny that is to tell a gargantuan lie. Even if one argues that Nazism and Communism were religions, they were nevertheless secular religions. That too many Christians morally failed when confronted with Nazism is true, but irrelevant to the fact that Nazism was in no way a Christian movement.

And now the post-Christian world is getting worse.

The moral news about the world in which we live is almost unremittingly negative.

Russia

Russia is devoid of a moral values system. Whatever moral role the Russian Orthodox Church played was largely extinguished during the seven decades of Communist suppression of religion. Today, pockets of religious morality notwithstanding, Russia is essentially a nihilistic state. Under the leadership of a former KGB director, Russia now plays a destructive role in world affairs. Russia today is characterized by major arms shipments to Syria, protecting Iran while it becomes a nuclear power, forcing its will on Ukraine and other neighboring states, and the violent suppression of domestic critics who shed any light on the organized crime syndicate that rules the geographically largest nation in the world.

Turkey

The Ataturk Revolution is being undone. Turkey, the country long regarded as the bridge between the West and Islam, is rapidly moving away from the West and to an increasingly anti-Western Islam.

Iran

Iran is ruled by the heirs of Nazism, if that word still means anything after being cheapened by the Left for decades, most recently by the Left’s comparison of Arizona to a Nazi state. The rulers of Iran boast of their desire to initiate a second Holocaust against the Jews, all the while denying that the first Holocaust took place. And the country’s treatment of Iranians who seek elementary human freedoms and of Iranian women is among the worst on earth.

Congo

According to all reports, nearly 6 million people have been killed in the Congo in the last decade. The great secular liberal hope in “humanity” and “world opinion” has once again been shown to be the false hope it is. World opinion and “humanity” have rarely done anything to help the truly persecuted.

But there is more to the Congolese genocide — the absence of reporting about it in the world’s media and its being a non-issue at the United Nations. If an Israeli soldier kills a rock-throwing Palestinian, or even worse, makes plans to build 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, the U.N., world opinion and the world media cover it as if it were the primary evil on earth. But the Congolese deaths are barely worth a mention.

Mexico

Mexico is fighting for its life against narcotics gangs that compete with Islamists in their sadism. Mexico could become the largest narco-state in the world. To be a good person in Mexico today, i.e., to oppose the drug lords in any way, is to put oneself in danger of being slowly tortured to death.

Europe

Europe long ago gave up fighting for or believing in anything other than living a life with as much economic security, as many days off and as young a retirement age as possible. World War I killed off European idealism. And whatever remained was destroyed by World War II. What I have written about the Germans is true for nearly all of Europe: Instead of learning to fight evil, Europe has learned that fighting is evil.

Other consequences of European secularism and the demise of non-materialistic ideals include a low birthrate (children cost money and limit the number of fine restaurants in which one can afford to dine), and appeasement of evil. Thus most European nations are slowly disappearing and nearly every European country has compromised Western liberties in order to appease radical Muslims.

Radical Islam

Polls taken in the Muslim world regularly report that about 10 percent of the world’s Muslims say they support radical Islam — meaning Islamic totalitarianism as practiced by the Taliban and terror as practiced by Al-Qaida. That means at least one hundred million people. Add to that the unspecified number of Muslims who support the Nazi-level and Nazi-like anti-Semitism promulgated in much of the Middle East and you have an enormous body of people committed to the death of the West.

China

As in Russia, traditional Chinese virtues were largely destroyed by Communism, and China, too, is essentially a nihilistic state whose government spends its vast sums of foreign currency in buying influence in some of the cruelest places on earth (Zimbabwe, for example) and protecting the genocide-advocating regime of Iran.

The United Nations

The net result of the United Nations is an increase in evil on earth. Whatever good is performed by some of its institutions, like the World Health Organization or UNICEF, that good is outweighed by the amount of evil the U.N. either abets or allows. It has supervised genocide in Rwanda, done nothing to stop genocide elsewhere (e.g., Congo and Sudan), gives a respectable forum to tyrannies, and is preoccupied with vilifying one of its relatively few humane states, Israel. Its contributing to human suffering is exemplified by Libya being elected to its Human Rights Commission and Iran’s election to its Commission on the Status of Women.

The United States

The United States was described by President Abraham Lincoln as The Last Best Hope of Earth. Most Americans agreed then. However, with the ascent of the Left in America — in our educational institutions, news and entertainment media, and arts world — fewer and fewer Americans believe this. On the contrary, the Leftist view of America, which pervades American life, is of a country deeply morally compromised by endemic racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, militarism, imperialism and a rapacious capitalism, leading to immoral levels of economic inequality.

As in Europe, these views are leading America to avoid offending its enemies. The American attorney general recently refused to answer a congressman’s repeated question about whether he believes that radical Islam might have been one factor motivating recent Muslim terrorists in America.

With America more interested in being like Europe and being liked rather than in fighting its enemies, more and more countries are identifying with America’s enemies than with America. Last week’s three-way hug among the leaders of Brazil, Turkey and Iran was a clear example of such.

Meanwhile, America is rapidly accumulating unpayable debts that will render it not very different from Greece. Indeed, California, once the grease of the American economy, has become the Greece of the American economy.

As the Left’s power increases, America’s power recedes — and the world further deteriorates. Under Democratic Party rule, the Last Best Hope of Earth has decided that the United Nations and Western Europe deserve that title, not the United States.

Those of us working to remove Democrats from power regard this November’s election as not only a referendum on the direction of America, but of the world itself.

Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, most recently “Happiness Is a Serious Problem” (HarperCollins). His website is www.dennisprager.com.

  • watchful

    It will be like turning a school bus around in an alleyway. There will be dented fenders and damaged walls but if we don't we head toward the dead end at the end f the alley and an ambush from all sides.

  • Mary

    Amen! America is under attack. Our own Adminstration is dismantling our nation through its insideous contempt for our laws, constitution, national security, economic stability and even its own citizens. I realize this Aministrations base sees its future as living in someone else's home with acess to someone else's bank account under the "redistribution of wealth" agenda, but, the truth is all assets will go into the hands of a few, (the government), the rest will be living in 9' X 13' cells called government housing…that includes the foot soilders who are screaming for "social justice".

    • Jim C.

      Can you point to specific policies Obama has undertaken which are illegal, unconstitutional, and most importantly, significantly different from, say, the Bush Administration?

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/lovesjeeves lovesjeeves

        Just for starters….

        The imposition of a forced health care plan on a unwilling society is not consitutional, made all the more egregious by the imposition of planned monetary of fines for those who do not comply.

        The bribing and coercian of politicians for political gain is unconstitutional….
        such as the deals offered Louisiana and Nebraska by the Obama Administration to ensure passage of their bills. And now there is the added concern being investigated that the Obama administration offered Joe Sestak a bribe not to constest Senator Alen Spector in last week's senatorial race. This claim was made by Sestak himself.

        The refusal to protect our nation's borders is also unconstitutional, and what gestures the administration is making now after so many deaths and violence have occurred in Arizona, Texas and California are too little too late.

        George Bush also failed the US by not enforcing immigration policiy.

        Obama, not George Bush, is our problem now.

        • Jim C.

          We've levied fines against those who don't get car insurance for years. The public was hardly "unwilling" to reform health care–in fact, it's one big reason Obama was elected. But I do hope Republicans run on their traditional "health care is just fine as is, thanks" platform.

          "Bribing"…uh, ok. Mind if I don't hold my breath until charges are brought?

          Borders–how is Obama "refusing" to protect them? A more appropriate question is Why have we refused to enforce the laws we already have all these years? Could it be that our business communities have too much to lose if we do?

          • watchful

            It's because both sides of the argument are afraid of offending the Mexicans and not getting their vote. They should be more afraid of offending we the people. If they don't understand that now maybe they will figure it out in November.

          • Jim C.

            Mexicans can't vote. Voting "Mexicans" are known by another name–"Americans"–they're as much "we the people" as anyone.

            I understand the frustration but I don't think anyone's serious about de-incentivizing illegal immigration. It will cost us a LOT of money.

          • coyote3

            Wrong! On so many levels. Car insurance, and the regulation of automobiles and their operators is a state issue, and the federal government has no power to regulate them. Driving is a privilege granted by the states. Car insurance, where required, is "liability" only insurance, i.e., the only insurance you are required to have is insurance to protect "other" people and property. You do not have to buy any insurance to protect you or your property. Health insurance, on the otherhand, only protects you, the owner of the policy and "additional insureds". Can't believe you would even compare the two.

          • coyote3

            Wrong! On so many levels. Car insurance, and the regulation of automobiles and their operators is a state issue, and the federal government has no power to regulate them. Driving is a privilege granted by the states. Car insurance, where required, is "liability" only insurance, i.e., the only insurance you are required to have is insurance to protect "other" people and property. You do not have to buy any insurance to protect you or your property. Health insurance, on the otherhand, only protects you, the owner of the policy and "additional insureds". Can't believe you would even compare the two. The person you responded to was incorrect in one sense. If the federal government exercises power not delegated by the constitution, then it is unconstitutional and illegal, regardless of whether the public was "willing" or "unwilling".

          • Jim C.

            I don't know if it's "wrong on so many levels" so much as just one–state vs. federal level. In that case, point taken.

          • coyote3

            There is comparison of health insurance with automobile liability insurance, state v. federal issues aside. They exist for two distinct purposes. A short time litigating insurance issues teaches you that real fast.

          • coyote3

            Sorry should have read "There is no comparison…"

          • trickyblain

            "Health insurance, on the otherhand, only protects you."

            No, it also protects the taxpayer. The idea is that if everyone has insurance, costs will go down for the taxpayer as this is not "socialized" healthcare but a requirement that everyone purchase through a private company. Granted there will be subsidies for low income folks.

            In terms of Constitutionality, I don't think it's as black and white as some make it out. Congress is authorized to provide for the general welfare (which could arguably include economic and bodily welfare) as much as it is authorized to provide for defense.

          • coyote3

            No they are not authorized to provide for the "general welfare" that clause has been ruled not to mean a blank check to provide economic and bodily welfare. Also, health insurance does protect just you. I notice you did not address the issue about comparing health insurance to automobile insurance, and state, because that is how he justified it. Automobile insurance requirements are based on a state granted privilege, not any right. Also, whil it "may" be true that in some cases health insurance "might" protect the taxpayers, that is speculative, and no justification to require people, in general to purchase it. Additionally, that is not the principle objective of health insurance. It is to cover a loss to a specific person, i.e., the insured.

          • trickyblain

            Ruled by the Supreme Court? I don't doubt you, just would like to read the case if you have a citation.

            Yes, I deliberately stayed away from the insurance comparison.

  • steven

    Dennis Prager needs to be President. The Republican party should just declare him to be its next candidate and tell everyone contemplating a run to back off. Then his campaign should just be a column, maybe two per week. No campaign via soundbites, no kissing babies or any of that staged, phoney crap. Just a campaign of ideas. And nobody can hold a candle to Dennis Prager when it comes to the wisdom of his positions. But of course that will never happen. Politics is all about huge sums of money, television ads, and superficiality. It makes me want to cry.

    • Jim C.

      Ever wonder why none of the "personalities" that comment on news run for office? It's because they and their ideas are not strong enough to hold up to debate.

      Prager is a twit–his ideas are shallow, insubstantial, and easily refuted–they can't stand the light of day. That is why he exists entirely in an echo chamber. That is why he, and others like him, don't engage the other side.

      • Dennis X

        Amen!!!!!

      • steven

        Dear Jim, I note that the first phrase out of your mouth is an ad hominem attack, calling Mr. Prager a "twit." You prove my point perfectly. You engage is a mean spirited way. You are so full of anger.

  • Mark Ward

    Good piece Dennis. When we go down or — at best — get totally neutered, we will enter a high-tech Dark Age characterized by high-tech fuedalism. Billions of "serfs" supervised by "beautiful people" who are protected mostly by mercenaries (New Age "knights") in an Aldous Huxley style Brave New World of "A"s, "B"s, and narcotized "C"s. Those who protest will indeed be "Savages" who need to be corralled on "Savage Reservations" or eliminated entirely.

  • pianoforte

    excellent article….just wish more people would read columns like this instead of worrying about who's going to hold the title in the NBA.

  • http://www.lifeshaven.net Utopian

    Many have taken the name of Christian throughout the centuries that have no right to speak the good name of Christ through corrupt lips. All tyranny was condemned by Him. On the night of the last supper Jesus told his apostles: "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so." It was these words our forefathers paraphrased in the first amendment. Ghandi once said, "If you Christians followed in the footsteps of your master, all India would bow to your Jesus."

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/lovesjeeves lovesjeeves

      Dear Utopian, you are correct that some self proclaimed "Christians" are phonies at best and monstrous at worse. Nonetheless, their failings should never diminish society's quest to live by the time proven principles of the Judeo-Christian tradition which has resulted in more hope, liberty and human rights than any other philosophy known to humanity.

      • Jim C.

        I've always found the term "Judeo-Christian" to be politically loaded. By prefixing "Judeo-" to Christian values I take it you are including liberalism as well as Leftist organizations?

        Christ's message was radical, and radical particularly in relation to the Jewish faith. In fact, it represented a serious break. Judaism and Islam have more in common with each other than Christianity, as we know it, has with either religion.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/lovesjeeves lovesjeeves

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will keep your words in mind and am interested in your viewpoint.

          • Jim C.

            Thanks–mind you, my viewpoint is full of respect for Jewish tradition and its contribution to mankind.

          • ChrisC

            The term Judeo-Christian refers to the fact that the Christian God is the same God as the God of Abraham, ie: the Jewish people. The entire Old Testament is the story of the Chosen People (the Jews). Christianity espouses the same 10 Commandments God gave to Moses, which Jesus summed up in 2 Commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul; and love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus was Jewish! His followers, His Apostles were Jewish. And yes Jesus was radical, but it's worth noting that He didn't intend to start a new religion, but to reveal Himself as the Messiah, the promise God made to His people. Some people believed Him, some people didn't. Many aspects of the Mass are modeled on Passover. My point is that Christianity has a lot in common with Judaism.

          • trickyblain

            Then why not Judeo-Islamo-Christian? Islam, likewise, has the same God of Abraham.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/lovesjeeves lovesjeeves

    Mr. Praeger’s writing is a concise, clear and pointed analysis of the dangerous state of our world. Please copy and forward this piece to as many people as you can in the U.S., particularly to those who are either confused or unclear as to our current Administration’s agenda.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Tar_n_Feathers Tar_n_Feathers

    Prager is correct. I would add that even if religion were wiped from the face of the Earth, cruelty and brutality would still exist. Tyrants will commit crimes against humanity based on anything that seems convenient at the time. The people who supposedly commit genocide in the name of religion would just as easily do the same in the name of French cuisine. That's because dictators do what they do because. . .it's what they do.

  • Jim C.

    Prager is an exceedingly silly man with a very shallow, half-baked set of ideas he tries to make coalesce into something meaningful. What, exactly, is his point here?

    Indeed, the message of Jesus Christ has literally been a godsend to humanity. But merely coming from the Christian tradition is no particular mark of honor (Nazi Germany shares the same heritage after all)–showing Christ through your actions is. For Prager to reduce everything to body counts (does he really want to go there?) shows what an immature twit he is.

    For a man who purportedly loves liberty, I find it quite interesting how little he mentions the Enlightenment–the single greatest influence on the genius of our Founding Fathers, making possible the most incredible political experiment on earth.

    • Chuck

      Half-baked is the perfect way to describe Prager. He doesn't seem to understand the difference between "seems true" and "is true".

      Regarding the Enlightenment, he recently did discuss it on his radio show. He's against it. Of course he issued some disclaimers saying he wasn't really against it, but he went on to quite forcefully denounce the Enlightenment.

  • Samurai Hit Woman

    If Prager is a twit then what the world needs is more twits. If you on the other hand have a point—make it. Prager made his point and the only reason you can't see it is because you don't want to.

    The spirit of Nazi Germany did not come from the Christian tradition. The Constitution and freedom did come from Christ's teaching along with the Enlightenment of our forefathers.

    It's the spirit that you can' t see, much like Prager's point, that determines what we do see.

    • Jim C.

      No, see, you don't get to pick and choose after the fact: if a Christian heritage is something to vaunt as integrally necessary, then Germany is just as much a part of that heritage as any country in "Christendom."

      I agree, our concept of freedom has its roots in Christ's teaching, but one must be very clear about what the Enlightenment really represented: religion (Christianity) began to cease to be a political entity (the way Islam still is, now) which governed and interfered with the pursuit of the empirical knowledge (which spurred the Enlightenment), and found its "proper" place as a guiding force in free individual's lives.

    • trickyblain

      Can you give us one example of one line in the Constitution that directly reflects Christ's teachings?

  • trickyblain

    So, Prager is upset that people in Africa are fighting, and also upset that people in Europe are not. He points to Turkey and Iran and China as examples of the "Post Christian West." Weird.

    He also dismisses the "technology" argument by telling us that Russians starved the people. But, of course, prior to technological advances (Rome excepted) rulers didn't govern over areas anywhere near the size of Russia – let alone have the ability to cut off food from slected areas of an Empire.

  • Samurai Hit Woman

    When countries become overrun by lies, propaganda, and an authoritarian or totalitarian ideology they do not represent Christ, or for that matter Christianity, so have nothing to do with a Christian anything.

    They do, however, represent the opposite of Christianity, and Judeo-Christian values, values that were first espoused by Jews and later observed by Christians as well.

  • Chuck

    Dennis Prager would have hated Lincoln.

    Lincoln "transformed America", which is a big no-no to Prager. To Prager, transforming America means you hate America. Prager loves America so he fights all social progress.

    Prager would have railed against Lincoln for ending slavery. "The founding fathers had slaves. Who is this Lincoln who thinks he knows better than the founding fathers?"

    Europe looked down on America for having slavery. Prager would have said Lincoln had "European values". He would have said the Confederacy represents "American values."