Clearly Present Dangers

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

Sometimes life imitates the movies, or so it seems.

Tom Clancy’s 1989 political thriller novel, Clear and Present Danger, was made into one of those rare movies (1994) which is better than the book.

While the star of the movie, according to the marquee, is celebrity Harrison Ford, the real star (according to me) is Henry Czerny, who plays the role of the villainous, cowardly and backstabbing, but highly placed government official, Robert Ritter. Other officials are equally cunning and duplicitous, but Czerny’s cold blooded character is easier to hate, a tribute to his acting talent.

Henry Czerny as Robert Ritter in Clear and Present Danger

As I watched this movie (again) recently, I picked up snippets that I had either missed or forgotten in the original, clues as to how the convoluted twists and turns of the plot work together to illustrate American government at its darkest.

The movie ends with heroics, but in real life, it is not always so. Fictional depictions of American soldiers murdered in Colombia by the drug cartel, with American government complicity, remind me of the real life murders of American heroes in Benghazi,Libya. The fictional treacheries of White House officials in the movie are tragically paralleled by the calculated betrayals that cost the lives of loyal Americans in Libya.

As a twenty-year military veteran, I recall one detail from all the reporting about Benghazi that stays with me years later. That detail proves to me that, imitating the movie, the dead Americans were betrayed by their government, abandoned and left to die, rather than to cause political inconvenience to the president and secretary of state.

The real life detail is this: while American fighting men defended their station from terrorist attackers, one of them got on the radio and frantically asked, where is the Specter? Based on that single remark, most infantry veterans will instantly recognize that the American defenders fully expected air support—and they expected it only because they had been promised it.

The Specter is an Air Force plane capable of delivering precise, devastating gunfire in close-in support of ground operations. One of its most famous uses was in the defense of the governor’s compound on Granada when in 1983, Cuban soldiers tried to storm it. American forces defending the compound called for, and were aided by, the Air Force gunship, which destroyed the attacking Cuban force, which was within feet of the Americans, and did so without hitting any Americans.

It is inconceivable that the American fighters in Libya would have deliberately exposed themselves to enemy gun and mortar fire, lasering the intended enemy target, unless they had been instructed to do so with the expectation that the laser targeting would be used by the Specter to hit the enemy from the air.

When the expected air support did not materialize, the dying cry came forth, where is the Specter?

One must wonder how high into the upper reaches of government, knowledge of this treachery extends. The state department was well aware of the dangers in Benghazi, well aware of the requests for security which it had denied, and well aware that the US ambassador would be vulnerable to attack. Government and military officials were well aware that at least minimal air support should be made available, and well aware that a simple flyover might have frightened off the attackers. Despite all these many factors, no help was sent.

There is no doubt in my mind that some low level military men, who have knowledge of this, have since been warned to keep quiet, and that high ranking military officers obeyed orders to stand down, orders that they well knew would at the least endanger their comrades.

Congressional inquiries have been stonewalled for years, and not one person has been held accountable in the incident.

Claims by the government blaming the murders on an offensive movie which supposedly sparked a “demonstration” are clearly ludicrous, yet were adhered to for days after the attack. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed her culpability in these murders with her now infamous flippancy, what difference does it make?

Sometimes life imitates the movies, but sadly, without the heroic ending.

Playing the Race Card that You’re Dealt

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

There is a saying that applies to card games, which is that, you must play the cards that you’re dealt. You do not get to look through the deck and choose the cards you wish for. The cards are distributed randomly to each player. Each player then does with those cards the best he can, and oftentimes, the worst cards can win in the hands of a skillful player. Were it not so, people would flip coins instead of going through the bother of learning the rules and strategy of card games.

This principle does not, however, apply to the real life game of racial politics. Not everyone can get the race card. Even so, one can play it regardless.

I witnessed an eerie example of this recently. I was participating in a low cost card tournament. The fellow in front of me, waiting for a seat assignment, was a very dark-skinned American of African descent (there, did I say that with the requisite political correctness?).

Before he got his ticket, he had a complaint to make, which he addressed to a beige-colored clerk who had absolutely no discretionary power in the tournament. She simply issued the seating assignments at random from a machine.

The complaint was that in a prior tournament, although there had been only three black contestants, out of a total of fifty players, all three of them had been assigned to the same table.

The very same table! How could that possibly happen, except by a deliberate policy of racial segregation?

Oh. It seems that anyone who understands the mathematics of probability and statistics (two vital skills for any serious card player), those kinds of things do indeed happen with far more regularity than one might at first imagine.

Furthermore, the seating arrangement did virtually nothing to disadvantage the black players. One might argue that it reduced the chances of all three black players of making the top three scores, but at the same time, it increased the chances of one black player making the top score. In any case, the net effect was at or near zero.

Never mind. None of that matters in the meta-game called racial politics. What matters is not whether there is actual discrimination (which in this case there certainly was not— the ticket machine has no information about the race of players). What matters is whether one can find evidence, however tenuous, of discrimination. If not, then one can always imagine it. If there is no race card in the deck, one can manufacture his own. One does this simply by assuming that every unequal outcome is the unfair result of racism— even when the outcome itself is neutral.

To be sure, on the whole, black Americans do not get a fair deal of society’s cards in the game of economics and power. This is because a great many of them have the abject misfortune of living in urban areas governed by liberal politicians who deny black children the opportunity to get a decent education. Instead, the very liberal teacher unions are given political ownership of the public schools, and those schools under-educate and even mis-educate those children.

Those schools teach black children that they are not the ones to blame for the crimes they commit, for the children they produce out of wedlock, for the drugs they ingest, for their disinterest in books, and for their lack of skills concerning managing what little money they do have. According to liberal politicians, those failures are all the fault of white people.

At no point, according to the liberal establishment, does it become the responsibility of black people to remedy these problems, other than for showing up at demonstrations blaming white people, and voting for more Democrats to perpetuate the racist policies of liberals.

Black people are often treated badly, even sometimes unjustly killed, by white policemen. True, but this problem, as serious as it is, (and it is very serious), is dwarfed by the murders of thousands of black people by other black people. It seems that virtually no effort is made to solve that problem. Even to merely mention it is considered racist by some. Ironically, even black conservatives who call attention to the problem are accused of racism.

Sometimes the frustration tempts people like me, white conservative males, to simply give up. I am always reminded, however, that I have an obligation to speak truth, not only to the powerful, but also to the powerless— and to expect no thanks for doing it.

Are Conservatives Descended From Apes?

by Robert Arvay,
Contributing Writer

When liberal reporters decide to make conservatives look like monkeys in the eyes of the public, they often question them about their religious beliefs, and in particular, their beliefs about evolution. Conservative politicians get much of their support from evangelical Christians, and many of those Christians take literally the Bible’s account of creation, an account that contradicts Darwin’s theory of evolution.

According to a large segment of that population, the world began about six thousand years ago, and on the sixth day of creation, God made Adam, after which He made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, just as the Bible says.

This account seems so preposterous to many liberals that anyone who takes it literally is viewed as an anti-science buffoon, and therefore unfit to hold public office.

Even many Christians aver that the Biblical account is only symbolic, not a physical truth, but a spiritual one, and irrelevant to public policy.

My book, The God Paradigm, has little or nothing to do with politics, but I have sent copies of it to conservative figures such as Sarah Palin and Scott Walker, among others, because it offers all Christians a context in which to answer certain “gotcha” questions, including those involving evolution.

I believe firmly in the scientific method, but not in scientists who have adopted the unscientific view called by such names as natural materialism. Natural materialism is not science. It is a philosophy, but it governs much of current scientific thinking. That philosophy holds that nothing exists except material things, and that everything in nature can be explained by other things in nature. It dismisses any need for God.

There is plenty of evidence that natural materialism is not only wrong, it is illogical and unscientific. One of the many arguments against natural materialism is the phenomenon we call “inward consciousness.” Not only does nothing in science explain its existence, nothing in science can even define it. It is, however, our direct experience of the spiritual dimension of reality, a dimension of much higher proportions than the physical.

Many other evidences of the spiritual realm abound, and they abound in the scientific literature. Materialist scientists either ignore, or fail to recognize the significance of that large body of evidence.

For example, it is well known that the universe is so finely tuned to support life and technological civilization that were its parameters to differ by only an unimaginably tiny fraction, the universe would either suddenly collapse or evaporate into a subatomic mist.

In order to explain that fact, scientists had to imagine what the Bible already tells us, a context much larger than our universe. The difference is that natural materialism describes a larger physical realm, to explain why our one universe among vast numbers of them can be a fluke which supports life. This only kicks the can down the road, however, since it leaves open the question of why the multi-universe can support life.

If the Bible seems to be a strange explanation for life and reality, science has even stranger explanations. The science of quantum physics is rife with controversial explanations of experimental results that seem to make no sense in physical terms, but make very good sense in spiritual terms. Indeed, the Bible’s second verse concerns creation in terms that sound very much like quantum physics.

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)

Quantum physics, according to some scientists, describes reality in terms of a formless condition which has no specific reality until perceived by a conscious mind.

My purpose here, however, is not to support or refute the Biblical account, but rather, to reassure any and all conservatives that they need not respond in summary form to “gotcha” questions which carry so many convoluted implications. Instead, they might refer to the fact that there are many profound questions which science cannot answer, such as, why is there something instead of nothing?

For Christian politicians, the response I suggest goes something like this. “Here are my religious beliefs as they relate to my political philosophy. I believe that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Also, I believe that Congress should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Perhaps a liberal reporter might not recognize where those words come from.

Western Civilization will Rise Again

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

It was in the 1960s, as I recall, that college campuses resounded with the chant, “Hey hey, ho ho, western civ has got to go.”

The United Stateswas, and perhaps still is, the pinnacle of western civilization, but just what is that? To the campus hippies of the 60s, western civilization was considered to be a culture of oppression. They decried all the abuses of power which they identified with the United States, and with other western nations— and there were many.

What the student protesters did not notice was that the abuses of power in nonwestern nations are far worse than anything they could imagine. They idolized communism. The American communists of the 1930s fantasized that a worker’s paradise existed in Stalinist Russia, and completely dismissed all the evidence of Stalin’s brutal repression in which millions were systematically starved to death. Today’s American leftists are similarly deluded.

Despite whatever criticisms one might have of the United States— born as a nation of slave-owners, rife with Tammany Hall corruption, imperial greed that extended to India and China, and within the Americas—add to that the long litany of the failures of US domestic and foreign policies— despite all that, the United States is inherently a good country. It is good not only because Americans are good people, but more than that, because we stand on the shoulders of giants, as the saying goes. For all our faults, we are almost always moving in the right direction, toward more freedom, and toward greater charity to the entire world.

The remedy to our many flaws is not to embrace the evils of totalitarianism, nor to mimic primitive cultures, nor to tear down our own nation’s borders. It is to continue to build upon that which is good in our culture.

To do that, young people first need to understand what western civilization is, what are its beginnings and foundations, how it has enriched the world, saved countless lives, and lifted millions from poverty, not to mention defeating the worst tyrannies the world has ever seen.

Opposition to teaching that history is fierce. Ironically, those who most benefit from the achievements of western civilization are those who hate it most. Even more ironic is that they who would trash its achievements will feel its loss perhaps more keenly than anyone else. Those who abuse freedom are those who cherish it least, until at their own hands it is lost.

Western civilization is founded in two opposing traditions, the Hebrew and the Greek, the culture of faith and the culture of reason. The first recording of the clash and merger of these two traditions is in the Bible’s book, the Acts of the Apostles. This book chronicles the earliest days of the Christian faith, and from that point onward, it is impossible to separate Christianity from the rise of western civilization.

Until that period of time, there was no consequential mention in secular history of respect for individual rights, not only the rights of kings, but also the equal rights of peasants, and even the rights of our enemies.

The freedoms espoused by Christianity are not bestowed upon us by men, but by God, and God requires us to obey His law. It is that law which ignites the hatred of hedonists who disguise themselves as advocates of human rights.

Certainly human rights includes the right to do wrong, but those who do wrong detest being exposed as wrongdoers. Today, abortionists disguise their murders as “choice.” Those who are destroying our education systems always declare, “It’s for the children.” They are well aware of their criminality before God.

Those who would destroy western civilization must first destroy Christianity, and with it, its forebear, Judaism. It is no accident that the chosen people of God, and their nation, is more hated in the west than are all the terrorist armies combined. Iran is beloved by American liberals because although it poses an existential threat to the west, it first would destroy Israel.

Contrast this western hatred of Israel with the more pragmatic policies of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. These two predominantly Moslem nations, whatever their past animosity toward Israel, have waged war against Islamic terrorism, and are moving closer to an alliance with Israel against Iran. The Moslem Kurds also are fighting against Islamist terrorists, and doing so with only the most grudging and token assistance from the west.

Clearly, then, the liberal animosity toward Israel is not rooted in a love for Islam, but in hatred of God.

Christianity survived the lions in Roman arenas, not only survived but thrived. It will survive the attacks by American liberals. It will thrive.