Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Right and Wrong

There's a short update below.

So Pat Robertson, an individual who looks as if he had been given life by the pen of a Disney animator (and speaks as though delivering in earnest lines written as satire by Sinclair Lewis), insists that only Adolf – whoops, I mean Rudolph – Giuliani can defend “our population against the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists.”

Giuliani may be a thrice-married, habitually cross-dressing, gun-grabbing, abortion-loving, pederast-coddling wretch, but according to the self-anointed seer of Virginia Beach, Rudy is “a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead.”

This is hardly the first time Robertson has discerned the stuff of greatness in an authoritarian politician. In fact, sucking up to corrupt dictators, like ending every homily with a pitch for donations, is for Robertson as irrepressible a reflex.

Ten years ago, two pilots employed by Robertson's “Operation Blessing” revealed that aircraft involved in that ministry had been involved in transporting equipment and other materials for the African Development Company (ADC), a joint venture between Robertson and Mobutu Sese Seko, the late CIA-installed dictator of what used to be called Zaire (now called the Congo).

In fact, Robertson was President and sole stockholder of the ADC, which was chartered in Bermuda in 1992. Shortly thereafter he began to inveigle donations for an Operation Blessing “outreach” to Africa, wheedling widows out of their mites in order to fund a lucrative mining and timber project in Zaire.

Robertson, notes one expose, “continually tried to portray Mobutu as a loyal US ally in the war against international communism. He also emerged as Mobutu's close friend, and probably his most valuable asset in a deceptive campaign to maintain his stature with some ruling circles in the United States. Robertson was wined and dined by Mobutu on the dictator's presidential yacht, and entertained at one of his lavish estates.”

Even in Africa, a continent that has suffered for centuries beneath both colonial rule and post-colonial kleptocracy, Mobutu distinguished himself as a practitioner of graft and plunder. Given that he was raised to power and tutored by the CIA, it shouldn't surprise us that Mobutu created a regime in which torture, indefinite detention, censorship, and official persecution were commonplace.

Mobutu's full self-appointed title, incidentally, meant “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his enduring and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake.” Perhaps Robertson can weave a similarly prepossessing title for Rudy the Bold.

Indeed, a speech given by Rudy in 1994 – back when Robertson was lobbying diligently on behalf of Mobutu – seems to partake of a sensibility the African despot would share. “What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be,” insisted Rudy. “Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”

For Robertson, “Freedom” -- like “Salvation” -- is little more than a marketing buzzword. This is illustrated by another of Pat's African ventures, the so-called Freedom Gold Limited enterprise in Liberia.

Like the ADC, Freedom Gold was born in a Caribbean haven for off-shore investment scams, in this case the Cayman Islands. Once again, Robertson was listed as the president of the enterprise, as well as sole director thereof. But in this case, there was at least one other shareholder – Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia.

Taylor was a more difficult sell than Mobutu as an ally against international terrorism. Indicted for embezzlement, Taylor was arrested while visiting the US in 1980 and held in jail to await extradition. He and his cohorts broke jail and fled to Libya, where they received instruction in Libyan ruler Moammar Ghadhafi's Soviet-sponsored terrorist training camps. After ascending to the Liberian presidency, Taylor would refer to Libya as his “second country.” Ghadhafi helped underwrite Taylor's war against neighboring Sierra Leone in the late 1990s.

In recent years, thanks in no small measure to productions such as Blood Diamond, the public has become somewhat familiar with one trademark tactic of forces backed by Taylor: The mutilation of innocent people, including women and children, by hacking off their limbs with machetes.

A child in Sierra Leone shows the handiwork of forces backed by Charles Taylor, one of Pat Robertson's business partners.

After the Bush administration condemned Taylor's rule in 2003, Robertson condemned Washington for undermining “a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels....”

How dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,'” fulminated Robertson, the same figure who a few years later would call for the summary assassination of Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chavez.

Like many other corporate leaders seeking access to China, Robertson has defended Beijing's one-child policy, which results in coerced abortion and female infanticide.

[T]hey've got 1.2 billion people, and they don't know what to do,” Robertson insisted in a 2001 CNN interview. “If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable.... I think that right now they're doing what they have to do. I don't agree with the forced abortion [policy], but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard.”

The question, of course, is not whether the US government should interfere in China's affairs, but whether or not Robertson, as a purported man of God and proponent of the sanctity of life, would condemn the Chinese regime for a policy so abhorrent that it is opposed even by some who support abortion on demand. Rather than doing so, Robertson – seeking to be a “Friend of China” (which in practice means “friend of the worst elements of the Chinese government,” rather than friend of the Chinese people) regurgitated Beijing's party line, in which the problem is too many people – rather than too much coercion.

Despotism portrayed in soft pastels: A Chinese government agitprop poster for its one-child policy, which includes forced abortion and female infanticide. Pat Robertson insisted that Beijing's abhorrent policy was necessary in order to achieve a "sustainable" population.

Given these bona fides, nobody should be surprised in the least that Robertson would eagerly endorse the most freedom-aversive of the Republican presidential aspirants. After all, Pat has long been in the habit of anointing the posteriors of thugs and dictators with his lips if that's the price of doing business.

Rudolph Giuliani really is the distilled essence of contemporary conservatism. He is almost miraculously devoid of charm or charisma, completely unfettered by principle, and utterly devoted to the aggrandizement of building and retaining State power at whatever cost. Robertson's action in cleaving to Giuliani bears eloquent testimony regarding the true focus of his devotion, whatever pieties may tumble from his lips for public consumption.


There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:1-5 (KJV)

That's the chief lesson Jesus would have us extract from conspicuous examples of suffering and tragedy: Life is brief, and it can end very badly practically anytime; all of us (except for Him) are sinners who need to be reconciled to God as quickly as possible. We don't have the right, or the luxury, of auditing the sins of others (which doesn't mean, of course, that we're required to pretend that sin doesn't exist).

It might be useful to bear that passage from Luke in mind while contemplating the infamous post-9-11 colloquy between Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell in which these two titans of the "Christian" Right sought to divvy up the blame for the incident.

Giuliani, with whom Robertson allied himself today, attempted to banish Ron Paul from the realm of respectability when Dr. Paul correctly said that the 9-11 attacks (per the accepted narrative of those incidents) were "blowback" generated by Washington's interventionist foreign policy. Yet the same Rudy Giuliani has now drawn to his bosom a figure who lays most of the blame for that incident at the feet of -- well, social policy leftists such as himself.

Obviously, the Rudester was happy to welcome Robertson's endorsement out of vulgar opportunism. But if Robertson were sincere in agreeing with Falwell's views in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, he wouldn't have come within a parsec of endorsing Giuliani.

Video Extra

So we see that key "Christian" Right leaders have separated into factions supporting two Eastern Seaboard totalitarians -- Bob Jones III and Paul Weyrich backing Romney, and Pat Robertson backing Giuliani -- while ignoring the sole authentic Christian statesman in the race, the estimable Rep. Ron Paul. Meanwhile, Dr. Paul continues to build an unprecedented movement that is almost entirely self-propelled by freedom-focused people from across the political spectrum.

What the Ron Paul movement ("campaign" may be an inapt term) represents is an emerging trans-partisan uprising against the Empire. On that note I offer the following clip of the talented but not telegenic Joe Jackson performing the tune I nominate to be the anthem of the Trans-partisan Freedom Movement: "Right and Wrong."

Dum spiro, pugno!


A Radical Whig in Chattanooga said...

It has been refreshing to go back and study the works of John Calvin and John Knox. Two of their associates, Christopher Goodman and Theodre Bezra, wrote excellent monographs on when unjust and ungodly rulers may be disobeyed and even resisted by force.

The "Religious Right" has, by and large, drifted away from the principles of the Reformation and have become ignorant of history and the principles of proper Constitutional Government.

Pat Robertson needs to repent!

straightarrow said...

I am not a member of any religious organization. I believe in God, therefore I cannot believe in the church. Anybody's.

If I wanted to join a social club with economic benefits it would be the Kiwanas or Rotary or some such.

However, I am a conservative. A true American conservative. Not a social conservative. A social conservative is a political liberal of the same stripe as the leftists and socialist and fascists. These people only have one argument amongst them. And that is the split. That's right, how to distribute the loot is the only argument they have with each other.

The argument they have with most of us American political conservatives is that we don't want to willingly give up our loot.

An American political conservative believes the consitution means what it says. That the rules are the rules, not some flexible guideline that can be ignored in the moment if it is not profitable to live by the rules.

The reason I am an American political conservative is the same reason I do not belong to any organized religion, distrust of the hierarchy of both.

MOT said...

I bailed on Robertson long ago when I started to wake up from the fuzzy thinking I'd swallowed for so many years. Here is a man that will never miss a beat in hammering you for money (Lord! And I have to tell his telemarketers time and again to leave me alone... and why!), and like so many other frauds of the "faith" has a list of creepy cronies a mile long. Good men simply don't do these things and thats reason enough to expose them for the corrupt charlatans they are.

MOT said...

Radical Whig... On the Calvin note I might add that he was incredibly legalistic and didn't seem to mind putting someone to death, through lies and trickery, to suit him. Not someone I'd hold up as any standard to follow.

James Niemela said...

Unfortunately, I believe we will see many more "Christian leaders" who will endorse God-less candidates, all with the common refrain that "he's better than Hilary"!

A Radical Whig in Chattanooga said...


It would be futile to argue over who's version of history we believe regarding some aspects of historical figures of 400 to 500 years ago, & would not contribute to Will's excellent blog. I will say that I agree 100% with C.H. Spurgeon & what he wrote in "The Inquisition": no religious authority should be combined with civil authority, because any and all would sooner or later use the civil authority to persecute those with whom they disagree.

Our Nation's Founding Fathers realized that. That is why the Constitution never gave Congress the power to establish a Religion, and why that principle was strengthened through the 1st Amendment.

Will has noted over on his other site that John Hagee is coming out with a book in which he says that Christ never claimed to be the Messiah - so as to "justify" his rabid desire to nuke any Middle Eastern country which might have less than friendly relations with Israel.

dixiedog said...

"Right and Wrong"

In this scenario, it's more like "two Wrongs don't make a Right." I've long been dubious of Robertson's Christianity for a variety of reasons. As a side note, his HQ and campus happens to be in my "backyard" unfortunately.

Robertson also has long had lucrative ties with diamond interests in South Africa before these in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Congo that Will spotlighted here. It's certainly easy to glean that millionaires rarely if ever make good Christian disciples.

Again, that's not to say that none are, but even assuming that a very wealthy man is a true believer, merely by possessing that great wealth, the courage to oppose the State openly and vehemently is sorely tested. After all, the more one gains, the more there is to lose, and the more tempting it becomes to do whatever is required to maintain the vast treasure at all costs.

I actually thank God often that I'm not a wealthy man. The temptations to do evil or, even more so, to ignore its blatant manifestations around you are mighty and formidable indeed.

I watched the 700 Club a few times in the early 80s, back when Ben Kinchlow was co-host. But it was Robertson that always seemed to me to come across as much more interested in worldly issues than he is with spreading the Gospel or helping to people's needs, both physical and spiritual. That should sound alarm bells to the discerning. To see a Christian evangelist so consumed with the stock market and other such related matters (as if he was host of a Bulls & Bears broadcast) was disconcerting.

In any event, Robertson now having publicly stated his support for Giuliani should settle whatever doubts one had about his true convictions and who his true Master is.

dixiedog said...

Will, I just happened to be perusing the post again for some odd reason and I noticed something. Did you change the second photo from the top? I would've sworn that the previous second photo was different.

Just curious...

Dave said...

I'm proud to find such an eloquent and reasoning writer here in Idaho! Thank you, sir. I'm an atheist myself and while I don't subscribe to any religious views I greatly respect freedom of (and from) religion, and I appreciate the value of discussing issues of morality and ethics like you raise in your writings. All the best to you and yours from Twin Falls!

Ron Paul for President - 2008

liberranter said...

“What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be... Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”

This quote by Benito Jailiani needs to be repeated, often, far, and wide, lest there still be a few souls with functioning brainstems remaining who consider this thug "harmless" or "the lesser of all evils." Should anyone bring up the age or venue of the original quote, they should be reminded that nothing he has said over the course of the last six years, as NYC Mayor, presidential candidate, or "private citizen" has done anything to undermine or reverse it.

As for Robertson, his surrendering of his ordination as a minister of the gospel nearly two decades ago in order to satisfy his powerlust by running for the presidency is all the evidence one ever needed to determine his true colors. If anything, he was merely the vanguard of the current crop of wealthy Christofascists (e.g., John Hagee) seeking to establish well-funded Reichskirche across the land as a means of entrenching the Statist/neocon agenda.

Anonymous said...

Apart from his faults, which are many, I find Rudy Giuliani strangely attractive and would love to share my room with him. We could cuddle.

Big John Kloske #809521
J Bldg
Segregation Section R
IMU Status, Cell #221
Washington State Penitentiary
Walla Walla, Washington

MOT said...

Now that's just too funny!