Friday, July 31, 2015

Can we Learn Anything from History?

Some believe that history doesn’t teach us any lessons. At a round table discussion with a group of secularists, I asked:

  • Do you think we can learn from the past? Can we apply the lessons of yesterday to today and to the future? Can they instruct us to build a better world?
Almost all proclaimed that this was a new day – a New Age – and, therefore, the lessons of the past no longer applied.

Their answer was shocking. I had worked for the New York City Department of Probation for 15 years. There was an underlying assumption that the past would tell us a lot about the future. Therefore, when we wrote a report to the court, we always included a copy of the Rap Sheet, which recorded the perp’s criminal history, assuming that the past said a lot about one’s present legal entanglements and his future.

However, progressives seem to be unwilling to regard these lessons. Why? Jason Morgan calls it “the pathology of pride”:

  • Most of today’s intellectuals are still lost in this present progressive tense, deaf to the subtle tones that ought to modulate their voices from behind. They dismiss all who came before them, rejecting whatever wisdom our ancestors might have won through hard trial and costly error. They want the future now, and will not let any notes of caution dissuade them from their project. (Salvo Mag., #33, 12)
This is most apparent in the area of human sexuality. Morgan writes:

  • Gender Studies departments assure us that there are no differences in sex, only in gender indoctrination. Our bodies seem to indicate otherwise, but dual sexuality is so last century. (13)
Do these departments provide any historical justifications for their bizarre proclamations? No! In fact, they overlook all of the historic lessons, which point to the contrary. These same departments had claimed that traditional values and family had enslaved wives, depriving them of sexual fulfillment. However, studies have shown the exact opposite thing:

  • Women without religious affiliation were the least likely to report always having an orgasm with their primary partner – only one in five … Protestant women who reported always having an orgasm [had] the highest [percentage], at nearly one-third. In general, having a religious affiliation was associated with higher rates of orgasm for women. (The Social Organization of Sexuality, 115; quoted by Salvo, Spring 2013, 35)
This is consistent with previous studies. A Redbook Magazine survey of 1970 found that:

  • The more religious a woman is, the more likely she is “to be orgasmic almost every time she engages in sex.” Conversely, irreligious women tended to be the least satisfied with the quality and quantity of their intercourse. (35)
Writing for USA Today, William R. Mattox:

  • Suggested that “church ladies tend to be free from the guilt associated with violating one’s own sexual standards” – a factor that a University of Connecticut study found to hinder sexual satisfaction among unmarried college students. 
Are the gender studies people creating a better society? The evidence would not suggest so. According to Brian Fitzpatrick, the most “definitive work on the rise and fall of civilizations, was published in 1934 by Oxford anthropologist J.D. Unwin”:

  • In Sex and Culture, Unwin studied 86 human civilizations ranging from tiny South Sea island principalities to mighty Rome. He found that a society’s destiny is linked inseparably to the limits it imposes on sexual expression and that those sexual constraints correlate directly to its theological sophistication and religious commitment.
  • Unwin noted that the most primitive societies had only rudimentary spiritual beliefs and virtually no restrictions on sexual expression, whereas societies with more sophisticated theologies placed greater restrictions on sexual expression and achieved greater social development.
  • In particular, cultures that adopt what Unwin dubbed “absolute monogamy” proved to be the most vigorous, economically productive, artistically creative, scientifically innovative, and geographically expansive societies on earth. Absolute monogamy is a very strict moral code. Under absolute monogamy, sex can occur only within one-man/ one-woman marriage. Premarital and extramarital sex are not tolerated and divorce is prohibited.
Even from our limited, contemporary perspective on human thriving, we can see how Unwin had been spot-on:

  • According to the Family Research Council… more than half (54 percent of American teens 15-17 years old do not live in a home with their married mother and father. The benefits to children of being raised by their married parents are significant, including higher educational attainments levels, better emotional health, and better self-esteem. Conversely, the risks to teens of not living with a father in the home are notable. Teenage boys are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior, and girls are seven to eight times more likely to experience a teen pregnancy. (Salvo, 19)
Besides, if we regard the stats, the fallout from extramarital sex is horrendous. We can only close our eyes to history at great cost, even in terms of lives.

The French Revolution, which promised freedom, brought a Reign of Terror through their “enlightened” reason. However, the communists were unwilling to learn from this horrible experiment. Morgan writes:

  • Communism, which promised the ultimate in a rationally based society, found, much to their embarrassment, that in order to liberate humanity it was necessary to put tens of millions of its members into an early grave. A clearer view of history might have reminded man of his record of depravity and of the inadvisability of relying on his fallen nature to achieve perfection.
Morgan is not simply concerned about the disregard of history, but he claims that the “pathology of pride” is actively involved in tearing down or revising history to coincide with their narrative:

  • The problem, beyond bad scholarship, is that young people flock to these madhouses every year, told by cynical university bureaucrats that they need to learn contempt for their own tradition if they want to get a well-paying job. Professors are being paid to take battle-axes to the roots of Western civilization.
In such a repressive climate, even conservative professors are afraid to come to the defense of Western Civilization. Oddly, commendation for the Christian West is more likely to come from Muslims turned atheists. Pakistani former-Muslim, Ibn Warraq, has written:

  • The great ideas of the West—rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law and equality under the law, freedom of thought and expression, human rights, and liberal democracy—are superior to any others devised by humankind. It was the West that took steps to abolish slavery; the calls for abolition did not resonate even in Africa, where rival tribes sold black prisoners into slavery. The West has secured freedoms for women and racial and other minorities to an extent unimaginable 60 years ago. The West recognizes and defends the rights of the individual: we are free to think what we want, to read what we want, to practice our religion, to live lives of our choosing.
  • In short, the glory of the West, as philosopher Roger Scruton puts it, is that life here is an open book. Under Islam, the book is closed. In many non-Western countries, especially Islamic ones, citizens are not free to read what they wish. In Saudi Arabia, Muslims are not free to convert to Christianity, and Christians are not free to practice their faith—clear violations of Article 18 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • The edifice of modern science and scientific method is one of Western man’s greatest gifts to the world. The West has given us not only nearly every scientific discovery of the last 500 years—from electricity to computers—but also, thanks to its humanitarian impulses, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. The West provides the bulk of aid to beleaguered Darfur; Islamic countries are conspicuous by their lack of assistance.
  • Moreover, other parts of the world recognize Western superiority. When other societies such as South Korea and Japan have adopted Western political principles, their citizens have flourished. It is to the West, not to Saudi Arabia or Iran, that millions of refugees from theocratic or other totalitarian regimes flee, seeking tolerance and political freedom. Nor would any Western politician be able to get away with the anti-Semitic remarks that former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad made in 2003. Our excusing Mahathir’s diatribe indicates not only a double standard but also a tacit acknowledgment that we apply higher ethical standards to Western leaders.
  • Nor does the West need lectures on the superior virtue of societies in which women are kept in subjection under sharia, endure genital mutilation, are stoned to death for alleged adultery, and are married off against their will at the age of nine; societies that deny the rights of supposedly lower castes; societies that execute homosexuals and apostates. The West has no use for sanctimonious homilies from societies that cannot provide clean drinking water or sewage systems, that make no provisions for the handicapped, and that leave 40 to 50 percent of their citizens illiterate.
Another Muslim-turned-atheist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, also speaks highly of the Christian West, in a way the Western scholars would not dare to:

  • The Christianity of love and tolerance remains one of the West’s most powerful antidotes to the Islam of hate and intolerance. Ex-Muslims find Jesus Christ to be a more attractive and humane figure than Muhammad, the founder of Islam. 
These are willing to listen to history, as any rational person would. A good farmer once told me:

  • If you want to grow corn, find the farmer who always has a good stand of corn, and ask him how he does it. 
His advice was unimpeachable. However, I had asked my secular associates a similar question - if we could learn anything from the principles that had made the USA wildly successful. They were even appalled at my question.

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