The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPaul Craig Roberts Archive
The Greatest Gift for All
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

My traditional Christmas column goes back to sometime in the 1990s when I was a newspaper columnist. It has been widely reprinted at home and abroad. Every year two or three readers write to educate me that religion is the source of wars and persecutions. These readers confuse religion with mankind’s abuse of institutions, religious or otherwise. The United States has democratic institutions and legal institutions to protect civil liberties. Nevertheless, we now have a police state. Shall I argue that democracy and civil liberty are the causes of police states?

Some readers also are confused about hypocrisy. There is a vast difference between proclaiming moral principles that one might fail to live up to and proclaiming immoral principles that are all too easy to keep.

Liberty is a human achievement. We have it, or had it, because those who believed in it fought to achieve it. As I explain in my Christmas column, people were able to fight for liberty because Christianity empowered the individual.

The other cornerstone of our culture is the Constitution. Indeed, the United States is the Constitution. Without the Constitution, the United States is a different country, and Americans a different people. This is why assaults on the Constitution by the Bush and Obama regimes are assaults on America that are far worse than any assaults by terrorists. There is not much that we can do about these assaults, but we should not through ignorance enable the assaults or believe the government’s claim that safety requires the curtailment of civil liberty.

In a spirit of goodwill, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a successful New Year.

Paul Craig Roberts

The Greatest Gift For All

Christmas is a time of traditions. If you have found time in the rush before Christmas to decorate a tree, you are sharing in a relatively new tradition. Although the Christmas tree has ancient roots, at the beginning of the 20th century only 1 in 5 American families put up a tree. It was 1920 before the Christmas tree became the hallmark of the season. Calvin Coolidge was the first President to light a national Christmas tree on the White House lawn.

Gifts are another shared custom. This tradition comes from the wise men or three kings who brought gifts to baby Jesus. When I was a kid, gifts were more modest than they are now, but even then people were complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. We have grown accustomed to the commercialization. Christmas sales are the backbone of many businesses. Gift giving causes us to remember others and to take time from our harried lives to give them thought.

The decorations and gifts of Christmas are one of our connections to a Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years.

In our culture the individual counts. This permits an individual person to put his or her foot down, to take a stand on principle, to become a reformer and to take on injustice.

This empowerment of the individual is unique to Western civilization. It has made the individual a citizen equal in rights to all other citizens, protected from tyrannical government by the rule of law and free speech. These achievements are the products of centuries of struggle, but they all flow from the teaching that God so values the individual’s soul that he sent his son to die so we might live. By so elevating the individual, Christianity gave him a voice.

Formerly only those with power had a voice. But in Western civilization people with integrity have a voice. So do people with a sense of justice, of honor, of duty, of fair play. Reformers can reform, investors can invest, and entrepreneurs can create commercial enterprises, new products and new occupations.

The result was a land of opportunity. The United States attracted immigrants who shared our values and reflected them in their own lives. Our culture was absorbed by a diverse people who became one.

In recent decades we have lost sight of the historic achievement that empowered the individual. The religious, legal and political roots of this great achievement are no longer reverently taught in high schools, colleges and universities or respected by our government. The voices that reach us through the millennia and connect us to our culture are being silenced by “political correctness” and “the war on terror.” Prayer has been driven from schools and Christian religious symbols from public life.
Constitutional protections have been diminished by hegemonic political ambitions. Indefinite detention, torture, and murder are now acknowledged practices of the United States government. The historic achievement of due process has been rolled back. Tyranny has re-emerged.

Diversity at home and hegemony abroad are consuming values and are dismantling the culture and the rule of law. There is plenty of room for cultural diversity in the world, but not within a single country. A Tower of Babel has no culture. A person cannot be a Christian one day, a pagan the next and a Muslim the day after. A hodgepodge of cultural and religious values provides no basis for law – except the raw power of the pre-Christian past.

All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity. Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak.
Power is the horse ridden by evil. In the 20th century the horse was ridden hard, and the 21st century shows an increase in pace. Millions of people were exterminated in the 20th century by National Socialists in Germany and by Soviet and Chinese communists simply because they were members of a race or class that had been demonized by intellectuals and political authority. In the beginning years of the 21st century, hundreds of thousands of Muslims in seven countries have already been murdered and millions displaced in order to extend Washington’s hegemony.

ORDER IT NOW

Power that is secularized and cut free of civilizing traditions is not limited by moral and religious scruples. V.I. Lenin made this clear when he defined the meaning of his dictatorship as “unlimited power, resting directly on force, not limited by anything.” Washington’s drive for hegemony over US citizens and the rest of the world is based entirely on the exercise of force and is resurrecting unaccountable power.

Christianity’s emphasis on the worth of the individual makes such power as Lenin claimed, and Washington now claims, unthinkable. Be we religious or be we not, our celebration of Christ’s birthday celebrates a religion that made us masters of our souls and of our political life on Earth. Such a religion as this is worth holding on to even by atheists.

As we enter into 2017, Western civilization, the product of thousands of years of striving, hangs in the balance. Degeneracy is everywhere before our eyes. As the West sinks into tyranny, will Western peoples defend their liberty and their souls, or will they sink into the tyranny, which again has raised its ugly and all devouring head?

(Republished from PaulCraigRoberts.org by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Christmas 
Hide 25 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Power that is secularized and cut free of civilizing traditions is not limited

    This is why Washington politicians and MSM promote multiculturalism and LGBT.

    This Christmas season, shallow Trump wants us to believe that nukes are the greatest gift for all.

  2. “Liberty is a human achievement. We have it, or had it, because those who believed in it fought to achieve it. As I explain in my Christmas column, people were able to fight for liberty because Christianity empowered the individual.”

    With all due respect, Señor Roberts, you clearly know little or nothing about western history, and especially the ancient Greeks.

    No one is too old to learn. May one suggest a deceptively readable and short work by a marvellous classical scholar–H. D. F. Kitto’s The Greeks? Just for starters but you will certainly, when you grasp the profundity of concise elegant statement, read it more than once.

    Many of the founders of the United States Republic thought they were modeling the Constitution on the Roman Republic. This was an indulgent illusion on their part.
    For one thing, the Roman Republic had no written constitution.

    The myth has persisted with all sorts of nonsense emanating from it.

    At some point in your ancient studies, then, after, say, grasping Kurt von Fritz’ The Theory of the Mixed Constitution in Antiquity. A critical analysis of Polybius’ political ideas, one suggests you make a short detour and read everything you can find on Carthage and its government and constitution.

    Many Americans flatter themselves theirs is an analogue of the long-lived Roman Empire of the Modern Age.

    It is a fantasy. The ancient analogue of the United States is Carthage and Carthage will likely be its fate.

  3. Merry Christmas Mr. Roberts and thank you for all that you do.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Truly inspirational, Mr. Roberts. Thanks.

    Pay no attention to E.A.Costa. He’s a dipshit. I mean that in the mildest sense possible.

    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
  5. @Anonymous

    “Dipshit”–is that a word of Latin origin, like Libertas?

    My word, look at that:

    DIP (v.)

    Old English dyppan “immerse, baptize by immersion,” from Proto-Germanic *duppjan (source also of Old Norse deypa “to dip,” Danish døbe “to baptize,” Old Frisian depa, Dutch dopen, German taufen, Gothic daupjan “to baptize”), related to Old English diepan “immerse, dip,” and perhaps ultimately to deep. As a noun, from 1590s. Sense of “downward slope” is 1708. Meaning “sweet sauce for pudding, etc.” first recorded 1825.

    DIP (n.)
    “stupid person, eccentric person,” 1920s slang, perhaps a back-formation from dippy. “Dipshit is an emphatic form of dip (2); dipstick may be a euphemism or may reflect putative dipstick ‘penis’

    Online Etymology Dictionary

    Now get back to your baptizing or daubing with lipstick or diptsick or whatever, y’hear?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @landlubber
  6. eD says:

    I think I yield to none on my admiration of PCR, but EA Costa is correct. The constitution of the Roman Republic was never particularly democratic, even by the questionable standards of the classical world, was unwriiten, and started falling apart as soon as Rome started acquiring an empire. Though the framers of the original American (actually mostly unwritten too) Constitution claimed to be following the wbitewashed version of the Roman Constitution framed by Polybious, they actually created a fairly faithful copy of the 18th century British constitution as it was supposed to, but didn’t actually function. There was something of a fashion for adopting classical terminology at the time, but the only real influence on the US Constitution was the adoption of the term “Senate” for the less democratic legislative chamber, which was also the practice in other places.

    This is historical nitpicking that I feel compelled to put in and shouldn’t detract from the substance of the argument. But American constitutional arrangements are less hallowed than people think!

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @E. A. Costa

    Now get back to your baptizing or daubing with lipstick or diptsick or whatever, y’hear?

    LOL. Sensitive, aincha?

    Do you see anywhere in Roberts’ presentation a mention of a Roman constitution? Or Greeks, how about Greeks? Anywhere? In fact, is there ANY claim made in Robert’s essay with respect to ANY of the wholly irrelevant historical “facts” you bring up?

    Not a goddamn one. You’re a dipshit. A “Professor Twist”. A narcissistic dilbert.

    I am not a believer; but, I sure as hell can appreciate some well-chosen, well-expressed sentiments.

  8. @E. A. Costa

    “Pedant” is, by all indications, of Latin origin.

    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
    , @E. A. Costa
  9. Another deluded idiot pushing the baby “jesus” bullshit. Jesus NEVER exited. Europeans had their own religion of polytheism centuries before desert crawlers attempted to ram their fake religion horseshit down their throats at the point of a sword. Why do you think the Vikings attacked the churches and monasteries? Besides loot they could get revenge on those that were trying to end their belief system. Why would any thinking man believe in a concept without a shred of proof? Only rational thought and logic will ever fix the white European mans problems. Might is Right.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. Thanks much for this. It was inspired.

  11. Christmas is the pagan tradition of the winter solstice. God’s Sun dies for three days and is risen again, the same as with many, many ‘gods’. The “christmas” tree symbolises the fruits to come in the new year. I doubt JC would approve of all of the christmas nonsense but, best wishes to all and to PCR.

  12. Bayan says:

    I share PCR’s sentiments, intentions, and good will.

    I get Christianity as a source of moral order that gives society coherence and sympathy. But, I don’t get Christianity as a source of democracy. How come Russia is ruled by Czars, Lenin, Stalin, and Putin. Can Easter European countries sustain their democracy if they were not hugged by the EU?

    I am not sure what produces democracy.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Ironfist666

    Why would any thinking man believe in a concept without a shred of proof? Only rational thought and logic will ever fix the white European mans problems. Might is Right.

    The essentials of your intellectual failure are demonstrated in those three sentences.

    Be mad. Nobody cares.

    • Replies: @Ironfist666
  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Bayan

    I get Christianity as a source of moral order that gives society coherence and sympathy. But, I don’t get Christianity as a source of democracy.

    Yes, Christianity as “moral order” can work in a homogenous society, but “order” begins to diverge as culture diversifies. We’ve seen that process quite clearly over the past 30 years.

    I am not sure what produces democracy.

    An egalitarian, mostly agrarian, mostly tribal society may produce democracy. That’s what the Greeks started with, but gradually lost.

  15. Melian Dialogue anyone?

    Er, guess not.

    So much the worse for the whole motley crew.

    The United States has no need of a Pasquino–the whole country, bottom to top, is a witless lampoon.

  16. @landlubber

    Pedant is from French, probably from Late Latin paedagogantem, form of paedagogare, which of course is from Greek ultimately.

    Greek and Latin are, as even schoolboys used to know, different languages. What’s your excuse?

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  17. Rurik says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Dr. Roberts!

    your heroic and tenacious voice for truth is an inspiration to us all

    God bless

  18. @Anonymous

    Stupid response. Another complete moron that just had to type something but couldn’t come up with a logical conclusion so instead gave a rather vague attempt at a put down. If you have no ammunition, you can’t fire a gun. Check your ego at the door. Retard.

  19. @E. A. Costa

    Bullshit, you fake Portuguese.
    Even the politically correct Wikipedia says: ” The origin of the Italian pedante is uncertain…..”
    Shadduppayouface!!!

    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
  20. Thank you, Craig Roberts. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  21. @Verymuchalive

    “Pedant is from French, PROBABLY from Late Latin paedagogantem, form of paedagogare, which of course is from Greek ultimately.”

    See that PROBABLY?

    Thanks much for mentioning pedante:

    pedante s. m. e f. e agg. [prob. der. del lat. pes pedis «piede» (dall’accompagnare a piedi), raccostato a pedagogo]. – 1. s. m., ant. a. Maestro di scuola, istitutore, pedagogo. b. Personaggio della letteratura e spec. della commedia cinquecentesca che incarna il tipo del maestro presuntuoso, di cultura limitata ma pomposo nella parlata latineggiante spesso scorretta, sordido nei vestiti e nei costumi (apparso per la prima volta nella commedia Il pedante, di F. Belo, del 1529 circa, finisce con l’irrigidirsi nella maschera del Dottor Balanzon della commedia dell’arte)

    http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/pedante/

    The rest of what you writ is incoherent, as usual. By the way, do you happen to know how to spell vy-ka-ga in Portuguese?

  22. @E. A. Costa

    Oh, and on pedagogue:

    PEDAGOGUE (n.)

    late 14c., “schoolmaster, teacher,” from Old French pedagoge “teacher of children” (14c.), from Latin paedagogus, from Greek paidagogos “slave who escorts boys to school and generally supervises them,” later “a teacher,” from pais (genitive paidos) “child” (see pedo-) + agogos “leader,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)). Hostile implications in the word are at least from the time of Pepys (1650s). Related: Pedagogal.

    Online etymological dictionary.

  23. @landlubber

    “Pedant” is, by all indications, of Latin origin.”

    If from paidagogus in Latin from Greek–παιδαγωγός.

    The Italian quoted above tries to get it from Latin for “foot” but if from paedagogus the “pe” is ultimately from Greek for child, pais. There may be an element of folk etymology in the Italian but unless they had pedagogues (kid guides) that hoofed kids to school in the Italy he is talking about, if through the Latin form, it is clearly from Greek.

    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
  24. @E. A. Costa

    Incidentally, even if the Italian is a folk etymolgoy or a learned gioco di parole for a schoolmaster, it still ultimately implicates Greek.

  25. @E. A. Costa

    On reflection, you’re really Hispanic and your real name is C.O. Jones ! Ha Ha Ha.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Paul Craig Roberts Comments via RSS