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First they came for the communists,
but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists
and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they
came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they
came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.
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|Liberalism Is a Religion - Monday, July 17, 2006
Liberalism Is a Religion
So Why Not Politics at a Funeral?
I don’t think I will go to any more funerals. It’s not because they are sad. That goes without saying. And it’s not because they remind me of death. As a medical oncologist, I don’t need reminding. No, it’s because I’m sick and tired of liberals turning everything in life, even the end of life, into something political.
A few years ago, Democrats turned a memorial service for Sen. Paul Wellstone into a political rally for bashing President Bush. At the time I thought this was appalling, but that it was an isolated incident. I was right on the first count, but wrong on the second.
The last two funerals I attended were for elderly men, and their adult children gave eulogies. I’m ambivalent about this practice. Yes, it is beautiful to hear relatives and friends speak lovingly about the deceased, praising their good qualities. But what if the deceased had no children, or if the children are dead, or if they were estranged from the deceased? I prefer the traditional funeral service, in which the clergyman briefly mentions the accomplishments of the deceased, but in which the emphasis is on our relation to God, the meaning of a truly good life, and the comfort of traditional prayers and hymns.
But that’s not the problem. The problem is that both of these funerals were marred by political outbursts. At one, a daughter spoke of how her father opposed the warmongering policies of Bush. Apparently she believed that the war didn’t begin when planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
No, she believed the war began when we reacted to the attacks. This bizarre belief reflects the liberal mind-set that aggressors aren’t to blame for attacking, but victims are guilty for defending themselves.
Quite the reverse is true. It is our lack of response to violence that brings on more violence. We did little or nothing after our embassy in Iran was seized, after our Marine barracks in Beirut was bombed, after the USS Stark was hit by missiles, after the first World Trade Center attack, after our barracks in Saudi Arabia was bombed, after our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, and after the USS Cole was almost sunk. And then came not peace, but 9/11.
The war began when our enemies attacked. It had been going on for years when we belatedly fought back. To condemn our fighting back is an indirect way of wishing that our country will be defeated, or even destroyed.
At the other funeral, a son spoke of how his father declared that Bush got us into the Iraq war to boost the economy, in order to undo the damage that his tax cuts had caused. This is a false assumption based on a lie. There were upwards of 20 reasons the president gave for regime change in Iraq, only one of which was weapons of mass destruction – and even that reason proved to be correct. Both biological and chemical weapons were present in Iraq, the latter in serious quantities.
Marx taught that economics explains all human activity. Today’s "liberals" do not admit to being Marxists, but they still believe much of his erroneous theory. Would anyone you know crash his airplane into a building, or strap on explosives and blow himself up in a bus – because of "economics"? Marx came from an upper-middle-class family, but couldn’t support his wife and children. He spent all his time thinking about money, so he assumed everyone else did, too. He had contempt for religion, so he belittled its importance. Narcissism is a poor qualification for someone who claims to explain the behavior of others.
Explaining Muslim extremism, and our response to it, on a purely economic basis is absurd. But on this shaky foundation, the son built an even shakier structure. He claimed that Bush "started" the war in Iraq to undo the "economic damage" that Bush’s tax cuts caused. Here we have a plain lie.
There is no "damage" to undo. The economy is booming. Employment is rising. The deficit, thought still large, is falling. But even if the economy were doing poorly, how could tax cuts be the cause? Tax cuts leave more money in the hands of people, who then have more money to spend. This could not possibly damage the economy.
Yes, lower tax receipts would mean less money for government programs. Of course, liberals see "the economy" as synonymous with government programs. But even here, the argument fails. President Bush sponsored, and Congress passed, cuts in tax rates, not cuts in taxes. Because of lower tax rates, economic activity increased, causing more tax dollars to flow into the treasury.
So the arguments of both the daughter and the son were erroneous. But the question is this: Why give political speeches at funerals in the first place? The reason is that for many liberals, politics is their religion. This has three results:
If you doubt this, ask a liberal to defend his belief that humans cause global warming. He will say, with Al Gore, that the debate is ended, and all reasonable people believe in it. Or ask a liberal to defend his belief that evolution can explain how simple molecules developed into Mozart. He will give a similar answer, and treat you with contempt for asking such a stupid question. Or ask a liberal to defend his belief that men and women are exactly the same except for the plumbing. You won’t get a discussion; you’ll get insulted as a sexist – or if you are president of Harvard, you’ll get fired. The punishment for heresy can be severe.
If I want a liberal tirade, I can tune in ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, or National Public Radio. I can read the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or most papers in between. I can listen to Democratic politicians. But when I go to a funeral, I expect to hear a brief eulogy of the deceased, prayers for the repose of his soul, some beautiful hymns, and the 23rd Psalm. Is that too much to ask?
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. He may be contacted at email@example.com.