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Increasing Violence over Video Reflects a Failure of U.S. Leadership
By Michael Terheyden
September 25th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
If I am correct, and President Obama is a postmodernist, then his response to the violent demonstrations around the world are easily explained, and it is reasonable for us to expect that his policies will destroy our nation.KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - Violence over an obscure, 14-minute video clip that criticizes Muhammad and Islam and was posted on You Tube about six weeks ago continues to escalate throughout the Muslim world and in some Western countries. On Friday, major demonstrations in Pakistan turned violent. And there is no end in sight. This administration's response has failed to contain it. As we watch the violence escalate, we might wonder why President Obama has responded the way he has?
This past week, demonstrations sprang up throughout the Muslim world and beyond. Protesters converged on Kabul, in Afghanistan and in Tehran, Iran's capital city, and in Kashmir, Tunisia and Morocco. In Iraq, about 3,000 protesters took to the streets in the southern city of Basra to condemn the video and the caricatures of Muhammad in a French magazine. Some chanted "Death to America." Thousands gathered in Lebanon's Bekaa valley. In Zaria, located in northern Nigeria, thousands of Muslim demonstrators burned Israeli and American flags. This type of thing was quite common.
In the Sri Lanka capital of Colombo, about 2,000 Muslims burned effigies of President Obama and American flags at a protest after Friday prayers. According to one report, about 10,000 people marched through the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. They burned a makeshift coffin draped in an American flag and an effigy of Obama. They also burned a French flag to protest the publication of the caricatures of Muhammad. There were even protests in Malaysia and Indonesia, where Obama spent part of his childhood. Demonstrations also occurred in Australia, Germany, and England.
Relations have soured dramatically between Pakistan and the United States under President Obama's leadership. As a result, the anger of the Pakistani people spilled out onto the streets in week-long protests. In an apparent attempt to constructively channel this anger, the Pakistani government declared Friday to be a national holiday, "Love the Prophet Day." It was meant to be a time when the people could peacefully demonstrate against the United States and against the West in general. However, it turned violent. About 17 people were killed, and at least 55 people have been injured in clashes with the police.
Tens of thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets across the country. Thousands showed up outside the American embassy in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. They also burned an effigy of President Obama. Demonstrators damaged government buildings and clashed with police in the city of Nowshera. Tens of thousands of protesters showed up in Peshawar. The chamber of commerce and a couple cinemas were set on fire and shops and vehicles were damaged. In the seaport of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, there were about 15,000 protestors. They burned six cinemas, two banks, a KFC and five police vehicles. About 10 of the dead were from Karachi.
The first indication of this administration's response was an official statement put out by the U.S. embassy in Cairo in anticipation of the demonstrations which led to the actual attacks on the embassies in Egypt and Libya. The statement is as follows: "The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims - as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. . . . Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."
Although President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's initial response after the attacks on our embassies condemned the attacks, they reserved their strongest language for the video. Daren Jonescu explains this in his September 15, 2012 article, "Romney Gets It Right: It Was Disgraceful," published by the American Thinker. "The strongest word the President and the Secretary of State used in their official response was "deplorable" -- and this word was used not to describe the unprovoked murder and public humiliation of Ambassador Stevens -- which is judged merely objectionable, unjustified, and senseless . . . but rather to describe the denigration of Islam in a movie."
It does not seem that their response has changed much. In an effort to soften the anger of the Pakistani people, the administration, through its U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, apparently flooded Pakistani television throughout the day on Thursday with an ad in anticipation of the "Love the Prophet Day" protests. The ad features President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing the video.
In the ad, President Obama says, "Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." Secretary of State Clinton says, "Let me state very clearly, the United States has absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its contents. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation."
While there is nothing wrong with these remarks in themselves, many Americans are upset that the attack on our embassies and the murder of U.S. citizens is being overridden by a video. To many Americans, the President's and Clinton's responses are pathetic and expose America to future terrorist attacks. To make matters worse, some of these remarks are not true.
President Obama and key members in his administration have repeatedly insisted on telling the American public that the attack on the embassy in Libya was spontaneous and caused by the video when others, including Libyan and U.S. officials, have said it was a preplanned terrorist attack, possibly involving al Qaeda, and that the video is probably just an excuse being used by Islamist fundamentalists to ferment unrest.
President Obama speaks about respect and tolerance for the religious beliefs of others, but open persecution against Christians has begun in the United States since he took office. Under his leadership, his party has attempted to remove mention of God from its official platform; efforts have been made to narrowly define the meaning of religious freedom as mere worship; and the secular state has been firmly pitted against the Catholic Church. Moreover, the President is overlooking the disgusting insults Christians have had to endure for years.
These flagrant contradictions bring us back to our original question, why has President Obama responded to the violence the way he has? There is no single answer, but I believe one possible answer is that President Obama is a postmodernist. To make this connection, I will defer to the philosopher Dr. Stephen Hicks and his excellent series of video-taped lectures on Postmodernism.
However, my summary on Postmodernism is only partial, and it reflects my understanding and interpretation of Dr. Hicks' lectures. Therefore, if I have misstated anything, do not fault the good doctor. That being said, it seems to me that one of the most important things to know about Postmodernism is that it is the dominant view of reality and human nature within the media, academic, cultural, legal, and political communities today.
It is also important to know that Postmodernism is a radical reaction against most of the traditions we have known. One of the most fundamental premises of Postmodernism is that our traditional view of the world--the belief in God, truth, reason, right and wrong, liberty, democracy, free markets, progress, and the pursuit of happiness--is wrong; and that Western civilization itself, especially as it is manifested in the United States, is a failure, a fraud and pathological.
For instance, according to Postmodernism, there is no one true account of reality. The essence of reality is not spiritual, which means there is no God. This partly accounts for the animosity some people feel toward religion and their obsessive desire to dechristianize or secularize Western society.
Postmodernists do not seem to believe that reality is ordered and objective. As a result, they do not believe that there is such a thing as absolute or universal truth, or if there is, that it can be known. So they do not place much value on reason. Although they come from opposite ends of the spectrum, Postmodernism and Islamic fundamentalism are similar in that they are both anti-reason.
In general, postmodernists do not believe that we can be objective and see beyond our culture or our environmental conditioning. They believe that truth is subjective or relative. This understanding also applies to moral truths. For the postmodernist, there is no such thing as objective right or wrong or natural law.
Postmodernists also believe that groups are naturally in conflict with each other. They believe it is the natural order for one group to dominate and oppress other groups. They see men and women, blacks and whites, rich and poor, Americans and Arabs as being in conflict with each other. And they believe that the stronger group has a duty to identify with and express compassion for the oppressed group.
For postmodernists, the only just society is an egalitarian society. This means that everyone must be reduced to the common denominator, that the stronger groups must be brought down. To achieve this goal, liberty, democracy, and free markets must be undermined. Consequently, one of the most cherished values of Postmodernism is the acquisition of political power, and the preferred instrument of this power is the authoritarian socialist state.
Dr. Hicks also points out that postmodernists believe the West is the cause of the problems in the Middle East. The West, they claim, has tried to hide its pathologies by exporting them to weaker countries and forcing them to bear the brunt of its problems. Thus, secular Middle-Eastern countries are thought to be the products of Western departments of state and big companies, which can be compared to Hitler's Germany and the fascist states of Mussolini's Italy and Franco's Spain. Even though the West has made many mistakes, these ideas are ridiculous.
If I am correct, and President Obama is a postmodernist, then his response to the violent demonstrations around the world are easily explained. Truth is irrelevant. It is merely a tool for authoritarian leaders to wield as they will. The bottom line is that the facts surrounding the video and the attacks on our embassies and the outrageous claims and abuses by Islamists are not important and do not matter much.
What does matter, according to a postmodern world view, is egalitarianism and correcting the abuses committed by the stronger, richer Western nations against the weaker, poorer Muslim nations. If President Obama is a postmodernist, then he believes it is his first duty to identify with the Muslims and express compassion for their feelings. For him, then, the attacks on our embassies are seen as secondary and helps bring the United States down a notch.
Postmodernism is against just about everything that Western civilization and the United States traditionally stand for. It recklessly denounces the greatness of this once thriving civilization and her crown jewel, the United States, which, in spite of its flaws, has brought true hope and goodness to the world, including the Middle East. If President Obama is a postmodernist, then it is reasonable for us to expect that his policies will destroy our nation. We cannot allow that.
Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.
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