Belmont Club

That Old Time Religion

Howard Fineman, writing in the Huffington Post described the Democratic Party he was hoping would be born.  He characterized the struggles within the party over its future direction in the following way:


If Biden is to have a chance, he’ll have to somehow reach out to minority voters, who so far seem cool to or even estranged from Sanders and Clinton.

He’d also have to somehow reach out to a new version of the party that is out there waiting to be born. It is a yet-to-be-defined mashup of Black Lives Matter; pro-immigration activism; non-European cultural consciousness; tolerance of all religions, lifestyles and genders; genuine urgency about the fate of the planet; confidence in technology, social media and the sharing economy; and skepticism about America’s right, power and duty to lead the world.

Yet in the wake of worldwide trends it may be reasonable to ask whether Fineman hasn’t got his compass exactly upside down. Suppose his poles are reversed and his vision of the Democratic Party hoping to be born is actually the one waiting to die. How would that change the calculus?

The actual world of 2015 is the image negative of Fineman’s dream.  Rather than being a place where migration is rare and persecuted, it is a world with altogether too much immigration, much of it involuntary,  consists of people fleeing in fear from non-European consciousness. It is a time of people running from an intolerance of all religions save one which believes nearly all lifestyles and some genders should be persecuted, that has produced almost no technology  yet which cleverly uses that invented by others, like social media for their evil purposes.  This is the world which actually obtains.

In other words the empirical earth is full of people fleeing from all that Fineman’s vision holds dear towards everything it abjures.  Most of today’s world isn’t fleeing from Europe and America. It is fleeing toward Europe or America bringing often with them all the intolerances left over from the Old Country.  As the New York Times special on the global refugee crisis explains, there are more displaced persons on the road today than any time since World War 2.


They come from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Forth they stream from Bangladesh and the Muslim parts of Burma. They sail past Indonesia and Malaysia toward the hell-hole of Australia. A huge number are making their way overland through Macedonia and Serbia and are even now burrowing under the frontier wire of Hungary. On they come in boats from Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea and Nigeria, pausing only to catch their breath in Greece, Italy and France before going onward to the Promised Land. Not Israel in this case but Great Britain and Germany.

They come from everywhere, even in Europe masses of people have fled the fighting in Ukraine, half a million from Donetsk alone.  They are swarming everywhere.  The director of Human Rights Watch asks, ‘why does nobody care’ not just about the masses of refugees themselves the carnage they are fleeing from?  After all, the West cared enough once so what changed in the interim?

Last Sunday’s bombing by the Syrian government of a busy marketplace in the town of Douma, killing at least 112 of its own citizens, was one of deadliest attacks in an ever-more devastating conflict. The four strikes came during the busy midday period, as if to maximize destruction. Once again, we were confronted with haunting images of rooms filled with the bodies of the victims, many of them children, being prepared for burial.

Almost exactly 20 years ago, a similarly brutal bombing of a marketplace during the Bosnian war changed the course of that conflict. On August 28, 1995, during its siege of the city of Sarajevo, forces of the breakaway Republika Srpska fired five mortar shells into the Markale market, killing 43 and wounding 75.


What changed in the interval was Western confidence in the normativeness of its values and its ability to intervene in global events. The political delegitimization of Operation Iraqi Freedom added to the disappointment in the Arab Spring has pretty much soured the West on anything except watching the tragedy passively unfold. The “skepticism about America’s right, power and duty to lead the world”, the logical consequence of ‘no more Vietnams’, ‘no more Iraqs’  is no mas, period.

This has set the stage for a self-sustaining chain reaction in failing states.  For example, thousands of Pakistani Christians are stuck in Thailand, persecuted at home and unwelcome abroad; even in the West, perhaps especially in the West.  Refugees often carry with them the last, best hope of their failing countries. They are too frequently the repository of the its greatest human capital, the seed corn of lands plagued by the new locusts.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, who has issued an appeal and a petition calling for help for the refugees. “[Back in Pakistan] they are doctors, lawyers, professors, politicians.”

“Pakistan’s blasphemy law has been used in a way to target religious minorities,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch in a separate interview. “There has been violence perpetrated against people accused of blasphemy. When facing that kind of persecution, many have no choice but to leave.”

And the West should take these multitudes, thank you, even as it permits the horrors that created the refugees in the first place to spread. Amnesty International tweeted “Countries have a DUTY to protect people fleeing conflict & persecution” — the new “pro-immigration activism” Democratic Party would agree. But obviously not the duty to stop the conflict they were fleeing at the outset. After all if “skepticism about America’s right, power and duty to lead the world” means anything, it means “do nothing”.


What’s left is to sit there and take it. Recently Germany’s conscience was pricked by the discovery of four dozen corpses crammed into a truck. They must have been screaming for hours before they finally perished in the stifling hell.

Austrian police found the dead refugees Thursday morning in an abandoned truck with Hungarian license plates on a highway running between Vienna and Budapest, Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits said by telephone. Investigating officers opened the back of the vehicle after noticing a stench and found the bodies, he said, adding that the exact number of corpses hasn’t been determined yet.

Merkel, who said she was “shaken by the terrible news,” and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier renewed their call to share the burden of aiding refugees throughout the EU’s 28 member states following the rejection of binding quotas by some European nations. The two also pushed to set up registration centers for asylum seekers in countries such as Greece and Italy. Germany is expecting a flood of 800,000 refugees into the country in 2015.

Accept eight hundred thousand refugees in 2015 and a million will come the year after and a million and a half the year after that. A snowball, once it starts downhill, gathers up more material with it.  In the end even the wolves, having driven out their human capital, will finally follow the refugees to the West, where they will presumably be welcomed for their “non-European cultural consciousness”.

The obvious problem with Merkel’s plan — and Fineman’s — isn’t the evil GOP; their beef is with arithmetic. Herbert Stein’s dictum that “if something cannot go on forever, it will stop” threatens to derail their simple scheme. The “social engineering” envisioned by the enlightened might collide with the endurance limit of physical systems. Instead of a Democratic party “waiting to be born” we may instead get an “accident waiting to happen”.


Going far enough Left may result not in more tolerance but less. The danger of accepting a limitless flood of Middle Eastern refugees should be obvious to any literate Marxist: reaction. Did not the Communist Manifesto itself argue that every thesis creates its own anti-thesis? That “what the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.” Cannot one say: “a specter is haunting Europe, the specter of militant nationalism also known as Na***m?”

No. Because perfect systems, like Communism, being perfect, have no anti-thesis. Or if they do it is more of the same. Obamacare is succeeded by Single Payer is succeeded by Socialized Medicine. Open borders are succeeded by more and more and more open borders. The only reason any public policy fails is that it hasn’t been tried hard enough.  And the ideology which Sanders represents is one of those things which only require one final push to succeed.

Jonah Goldberg summarizes this double-down investment strategy as rooted in the belief in a “tide of history”. As Goldberg explains in the video below, the search for the new world is equivalent to a reaffirmation of faith in the old 19th century musings of Karl Marx.

It was good for little Lenin.
It was good enough for Mao.
It was good enough Castro.
And it’s good enough for me.

Gimme that old time Marxism.
Gimme that old Socialism.
Gimme that old Communism.
It’s good enough for me.

Good luck on that.

[jwplayer mediaid=”44615″]

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