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Presidential Elections – ARI  2004
– an application of the DIM hypothesis –

2004  ·  George W. Bush  vs.  John Kerry

The Ayn Rand Institute proper was mum on this election but some of its writers expressed their opinion in other venues.

Harry Binswanger,  in his article  “Vote for President Bush”  (Capitalism Magazine, October 21, 2004) echoes the theme first presented by Andrew Bernstein:

“On a symbolic or sense-of-life level, Bush evokes the cowboy. The cowboy ethos is something that anti-Americans hate and fear. As Andrew Bernstein stated ... ‘What we honor about the cowboy of the Old West is his willingness to stand up to evil and to do it alone, if necessary. The cowboy is a symbol of the crucial virtues of courage and independence.’ ”
Mr. Binswanger goes on to quote something Bush said during his first acceptance speech:
“ ‘Some people say I swagger, but in Texas we call it walking.’ [Mr. Binswanger continues:] This was a wry way of saying, ‘I’m not going to apologize for the firm, decisive attitude that people call my “arrogance” but which is something natural to me, and I’m proud of it.’ ”

Leonard Peikoff, however, holds a different opinion. Despite his endorsement, through ARI, of Bush in 2000, he declares that Objectivists should now vote for his opponent, Kerry.  Is it because the Neocons control the Bush administration?  Is it because the Bush administration promotes bill after bill setting up the apparatus of a police state?  Is it because of government institutionalized torture?  Is it because of billions in U.S. foreign aid to Israel?  No, none of these things seem to worry Mr. Peikoff.  He opposes Bush because, he says, Bush will set up a  Christian  theocracy.

He first raises this astonishing alarm during a philosophy course he gives over conference telephone, in the 15th and last lecture held June 3, 2004. The course is about how ideas shape society, specifically a hypothesis he calls “DIM,”  which stands for Disintegration-Integration-Misintegration. Early August 2004 he posts a twenty minute audio excerpt of that lecture on his website, saying it explains his view of the upcoming presidential election,  “why he intends to vote for Kerry, and why he condemns not only Bush, but also those who abstain from voting on the grounds that both candidates are no good.”

First a word about Mr. Peikoff’s terminology.  A thinker, he says, can approach any subject, including politics, in three ways:  by considering only concrete cases one by one, which remain dis-integrated (that is not integrated);  or he can approach the subject conceptually, trying to properly integrate facts into a valid system;  or, finally, by positing an integrated system divorced from reality, a mis-integrated system.

... I want some popcorn.

(pause)  Froggy, you don’t belong here, now be quiet.  Where was I?  Mr. Peikoff uses a letter shorthand for each of these methods: D, I and M – Disintegrated (pragmatic), Integrated (conceptual), Misintegrated (mystical).  The middle one, I, is the only correct method of thinking:  D is bad, I good, M abysmal.  Mr. Peikoff claims that in the long run it is the system builders, whether their system is valid or not, who are more attractive to the public than the concrete-bound. That is, either an I or an M will defeat a D.

Mr. Peikoff recognizes gradations of consistency in the bad cases D and M  (consistent means unalloyed with I, the conceptual mentality). The most consistent extremes he calls D2 and M2.  The less consistent – D or M alloyed with I – he calls D1 and M1.

(Considering that people are frequently D in this, I in that, M in the other thing – even within one subject – one might question the usefulness of Mr. Peikoff’s  D, I and M  or even that they are well defined, that is, that they are concepts themselves.  In any case this brief explanation of what he calls his DIM hypothesis is given here so you can understand the jargon he uses.)

Mr. Peikoff applies DIM to the coming election of 2004 in the excerpt he chose and showcased from his lecture. We consider this excerpt in detail so you can see how disconnected this man is from American life. [1]

He begins by recalling from a previous lecture that the current M2 (the really bad element of society) is religious, but not all religious people are M2 – only those he calls  “fundamentalists,”  a term he uses for  “everyone who takes a literal interpretation of Scripture as their religious foundation.”  Some are the usual fundamentalists, others come from among Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, etc.  (We leave off our external quote marks when indenting Mr. Peikoff’s words below.)

I have no breakdown between these various sects of fundamentalists, but as far as I can tell the figures I have are accurate for the sum of ardent biblical Christians, and if I err I’m giving you too low a figure.
He then considers how many fundamentalists exist and how vocal they are. Are they really becoming a mass base of evil? To answer this question he marshals the following facts. Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, has grossed 400 million dollars so far, the top earner in all film history, 60 million people have paid to see it. Mr. Peikoff insinuates that it is  “taking over the culture.”  The existence of popular novels such as the Left Behind books each one of which went to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, in all 42 million copies sold. [2]  Evangelical booklets sell in the millions.  More religious records are sold in the U.S. than jazz and classical combined. (He fails to note how small the latter is.)  There are Christian pop music stars and bands. He claims something called “Praise and Worship” music is now popular among college students, where the musicians play, and attendees sing, directly to God – my God.  Religious colleges have a record number of students (he neglects to say what percentage of college students that is).  Then there are religious magazines for teenagers called Biblezines, which he says are “very popular” – insinuating among all teenagers not just churchgoers.  Mr. Peikoff concludes:
I could go on and on. I’ll just give you one more ... . The fact that the  Christian Tattoo Association  not only exists but has over one hundred member shops across the country. Did you know that ?
... AUGH !  No I didn’t !  Oh my God, we’re all gonna die !  AUGH !!!  AH—

Please, Froggy, control yourself; calm down.  Things are not as bad as they appear. First, note that Mr. Peikoff neglects to say how many tattoo parlors of all kinds there are so we could compute the percentage belonging to the Association. After all America is a big country. [3]  Note also that Mr. Peikoff doesn’t tell us just what the Christian Tattoo Association stands for. Is the existence of the YMCA – Young Men’s Christian Association – a harbinger of doom?

And anyway, do you much care what the people think who get a boat tattooed across their chest?

Mr. Peikoff continues:

U.S. News and World Report  recently estimated that the total size of white evangelicals, covering all walks of life, was one quarter of the United States population – over sixty million people – and the criterion [is that] these are people who state that they are born again, that Scripture is literally true, and that they have a daily personal relationship with God. And this number is growing all the time, and does not include the huge number of sympathetic fellow travelers.
Maybe we move in the wrong circles but Mr. Peikoff’s percentage – obtained from a vulgar magazine [4]  – is incredible. The subject of religious fundamentalism was a journalistic cause of the day around this time, and the pollster may have asked questions that, intentionally or not, only revealed what the pollster was looking for.  (A sort of Christian-Pantheist hybrid like Victor Hugo might translate one of those questions as:  “Do you have a daily personal relationship with existence?”  Others might think: “Born again?” – became a Christian?  As for: “Scripture literally true?” – if a Christian were to answer No, what would he think he’d be communicating to the questioner?)

Furthermore, Mr. Peikoff conveniently leaves out the following text immediately preceding his quote:

“... a new poll by U.S. News and PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reveals that evangelicals—their distinctive faith aside—are acting more and more like the rest of us. They are both influencing and being influenced by the society around them. While they harbor deep concerns about the moral health of the nation, they are more tolerant than they’re often given credit for, pay far more attention to family matters than to politics, and worry about jobs and the economy just about as much as everyone else.”
Elsewhere the author of this article writes about interviewing an evangelical family:
“... evangelicals aren’t always the aggressive conservative force they’re made out to be. The Clausens vote but otherwise are not politically active. Neither is their church. Their pastor, Jim Nicodem, says he never talks about politics in the pulpit.”
And here’s more on that poll of evangelicals:
“... only about a third have ever given time or money to political candidates or causes—roughly the same percentage as nonevangelicals. ‘I suppose we should be more involved,’ says [one member of the family]. ‘But frankly, we don’t see politics and government as the solution. ...’ ”
She goes on to say that they are involved in the local community, making a difference. You have to wonder if the difference is always or even predominately so very M2 bad.

Peikoff then claims to quote the magazine article (his second and third sentences in fact aren’t there, but they paraphrase a part of the article distant from the first sentence):  “These people have broken out of the Christian ghetto. They are no longer content to be a cultural backwater. They are out to spread the word and change the world.”  Yet is this so very remarkable? Many Christians have always sought to spread the “good news.”  Now they are Nazis, wait and see.

The new Christians possess the asset of pride. Mr. Peikoff quotes from another article, which he doesn’t mention but is from the  New York Times, [5]  (we restore in brackets text he silently omitted):  “This generation has a desire to be more extreme in its faith. Going to church is not enough [to survive on earth]. They need to be in a living, breathing conversation with God.”  He comments:

In other words they have no concern with reason in regard to their views, and not the slightest interest ... that religion should help to sustain a rational way of life, as in the old M1 [mysticism mixed with reason].
We interrupt.  Benjamin Franklin wrote about America in a 1782 pamphlet for distribution in England called  “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America,”  as follows:
“Atheism is unknown there; infidelity [that is, infidel thinking] rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country, without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel.”
Presumably that was old-time, M1 religion.

... Oh gimme me that · M1 religion,  gimme me that · M1 religion,  gimme me that · M1 religion,  it’s good en—

Froggy,  I don’t think you fully appreciate the seriousness of our situation.  Mr. Peikoff continues:
As one girl put it, she wants “something more spiritually meaty” than the religion of old. And here is absolutely the best line ever ... and summarizes everything. ... This is what the girl said ... :  “People don’t want Christian Lite” ... that to me is the most eloquent statement I’ve ever heard, of exactly what’s going on in the culture today.
This is a bit misleading. A reading of the original New York Times  article reveals:
1.  The person Mr. Peikoff quotes was talking about Christian songs.
2.  She was not a girl.  Mr. Peikoff confuses a writer for Billboard  magazine, who is the true source of the quote, for a girl previously mentioned in the article.

Mr. Peikoff then considers how far these people actually go in adopting their proclaimed M2 (pure mystical) values. He begins by quoting a professor of religion who criticizes them and their Christian music:  “The dominant word in these songs is ‘I.’ ... the focus is not on God but how I experience God.”  Mr. Peikoff continues: [6]

And one man, in full agreement [with that criticism – A.W.], spoke to a Praise and Worship crowd, and prayed as follows ... :  “Death to me and my story and life to something so much bigger.”  There was huge applause.  Now, if you know any German:  “Du bist nichts, dein Volk-Gott ist alles.”  Gott instead of Volk, but it’s exactly, exactly the Nazi slogan, interchangeably.
... AUGH !  The Nazis are here !  We’re all gonna die !  AUGH !!!  AH—

Froggy!  I’m not going to say this again: keep quiet or you’ll have to leave.  OK.  The Nazi slogan was:  “Du bist nichts, dein Volk ist alles.”  Translation:  “You are nothing, your people is all.”  The prayer snippet above is not the Nazi slogan and they are not interchangeable. Mr. Peikoff amalgamated Volk (people) with Gott (God), besides changing the context. It’s true each quote expresses self-abnegation, and one could argue that that is the essence, but considering the many and vague uses of “God,”  presenting the two as interchangeable is a stretch.

Americans are famous for compartmentalizing when it comes to religion. What miniscule percent of Christians, even fundamentalists, would take the prayer’s nihilism seriously? As for these Christians taking over the U.S., would the rest of the American public today, Christian or non-Christians, put up with being forced to make such a prayer?

Again, Mr. Peikoff’s account of what happened at this particular Praise and Worship gathering (organized by a group called “Passion”) is misleading:
1.  Mr. Peikoff emphasized (his repetition was elided in our transcription for brevity) that there was loud applause after the prayer, yet the article does not say there was any applause.  (It does mention something else the speaker said to loud applause.)
2.  Though Mr. Peikoff notes the opposition between those who sing about “I” and their critics like the professor and the prayer fellow, he fails to mention that the article says there are many performers like the former while referencing only one of the latter, the “Passion” organizers.

... This is bori—I didn’t say anything.

(pause)  After finishing with the mass base of evil Mr. Peikoff continues, and for the first time the Republicans enter the discussion:

... politically the entire fundamentalist movement is overwhelmingly Republican and overwhelmingly supports Bush. ... the president of [the Christian Coalition] stated the simple truth:  “We have a president who basically speaks for us.”  And that’s absolutely true, because Bush is not a politician pretending piety. When he said before, during the [first] campaign ... that his favorite political philosopher was Jesus Christ, he was telling the truth. It’s his favorite philosopher let alone political philosopher. And he has the popular following he does in very significant part because of the vicious Christian measures that he champions, which are key parts of his religious viewpoint, and that is what he is trying to ram into our laws and national values or to entrench into the U.S. government.
Mr. Peikoff then presents a few examples of things Bush has done based on his Christianity:
A major war against a religious entity, Islamic Fundamentalism, was fought against a secular nation, meanwhile stressing our duty to sacrifice to the enemy.
Oh, maybe Bush mouthed something to that effect, but blowing Iraqis, their homes, water supply, bridges, hospitals and schools, to smithereens is more in the nature of sacrificing Iraqis – and the American public forced to pay for it, and possibly later to reap what they sow – to Mr. Bush and his Neocon associates.

And where does Mr. Peikoff get off pretending he didn’t support that war?  (See  Relentless Propaganda  on this website.)

In other venues Mr. Peikoff has made it clear that he wants the U.S. to invade Iran, yet in his lecture he fails to note that the Bush administration also wants to invade Iran and only political expediency prevents him from doing it.

Mr. Peikoff goes on to give examples of what Bush favors, such as government funding of religious groups (“faith-based initiatives”) and judges who bring religion into the courtroom (Mr. Peikoff isn’t specific);  and what Bush opposes, such as abortion choice.  But, we point out, the faith-based initiatives didn’t amount to much and were made for bribery rather than Christianity. Abortion choice is as legal as ever.

Mr. Peikoff next considers Bush’s treatment of business:

He is a Christian, and he has unleashed government persecution on Christian grounds, persecution of big business, that is much worse than under the Democrats. ... He is a real anti-business Christian as against the Democrats who just do it as political policy.
And evidently that is supposed to make a difference. As another example of what Bush supports, Mr. Peikoff notes that Bush selected a fundamentalist to head an FDA committee. Finally, he attributes the following words to Bush’s political advisor, Karl Rove:  “People who attended church regularly voted for Bush disproportionately and the campaign now has made that group a top priority.” [7]  – and remarks with alarm that the Republicans know where their support is coming from and whom they should recruit.

He sums up all this as follows:

Bush is to the religious state what FDR was to the welfare state.
At this point Mr. Peikoff recommends an article by John Lewis if you want to learn more about Bush  (we consider this article later).  Regarding Bush’s opponent, John Kerry – a D1, or inconsistent pragmatist – Mr. Peikoff says that two generations ago he would have believed someone like Kerry was dangerous and must be defeated, but not today:
... because there is no longer a mass base or any crusade for big government. There are no ethical or political ideals in the country except among the religious people. ... Kerry can’t even think of anything to say in this campaign, they simply have no ideas, period. Now of course Kerry is bad in everything, ... you name a standard liberal evil he’s bad at it. But none of these types is a threat.  ... not even Hillary Clinton as President would be a threat at this juncture, not a threat to the very foundations and even existence of the United States.
We comment briefly.  There never was a mass base for big government among the general public until Third World immigrants and those receiving government grants, contracts, and employment became a significant percentage of the citizenry. Before that only among intellectuals was there such a (comparative) mass base, and they used three wars, the Civil War and World War I and World War II, to get the public to accept the expansion, just as they use the War on Terrorism (or whatever the current name is) today.

As for Bush vs. Kerry, Mr. Peikoff notes that issue by issue they are pretty much the same.  But what matters is that

... Bush is working to achieve a massive entrenchment of fundamentalism into our government and political system. Kerry has no such agenda.

Now in any choice between a D1 [inconsistent pragmatist, here Kerry – A.W.] and an M2 [pure mystic, here Bush] with a mass base, it is obvious ... that the D1 must be supported.

Up to now for decades our elections have been between D1s. ... now for the very first time we have a serious M2 president and candidate, with all the essentials in place:  God, faith, sacrifice, statism – in other words the equivalent of a Puritan theocracy, the aggregate of it. ... if this goes on for even four more years, how long do you think intellectual freedom and freedom of speech can last?

... I don’t think there’s the least moral justification for sitting the election out on the grounds that, well, both of them are no good. ... That is a total ... immoral evasion.  ... people who say they’re not going to vote for anybody because both men are bad, happen to ignore one crucial element:  one is normally, disgustingly bad, and the other is apocalyptic bad.
On that ironically Old Testament note – spoken crescendo – Mr. Peikoff’s excerpt abruptly ends. One can more or less agree with his conclusion disconnected from his argument. Bush was  a very bad choice, though there were far more important reasons for it than those given by Mr. Peikoff, and Kerry had the potential to be not as bad.  But Mr. Peikoff’s reason for supporting Kerry – that George W. Bush, backed by Christians itching to take over the United States, could and would set up a theocratic state – is truly absurd.

Bush the man was a cipher, a zero, a dummy. He had not the makings of any kind of Pope or Führer. Mr. Peikoff’s concern should have been directed at his advisors, the men who work the dummy.  And they are not  Christian.

They use the Christian fundamentalists.  They use them politically while despising them, and will discard them when they no longer serve their purpose, details in a moment.

Two years later come the 2006 congressional elections (state senators and local representatives).  Now Mr. Peikoff’s concern is over more than just Bush. The Republicans, any Republican, he says, will help set up a  Christian theocracy – a dictatorship by men whom the public regards as guided by God, while they force Christianity on us all – and he urges his readers to vote a straight Democratic ticket.  From his website (October 19, 2006):

“... the Republicans stand for religion, particularly evangelical Christianity, and are taking ambitious strides to give it political power.
“anyone who votes Republican or abstains from voting in this election has no understanding of the practical role of philosophy in man’s actual life ... he does not understand the philosophy of Objectivism ... .

“If  [compared to the Left] ... you feel more comfortable with the Right, you are unwittingly helping to push the U.S. toward disaster, i.e., theocracy, not in 50 years, but, frighteningly, much sooner.”
Why Mr. Peikoff boosted Bush in 2000 thus again becomes a puzzle.  Anyway, with few exceptions Republican politicians are as sincere in their Christianity as was the fictional character Elmer Gantry.  And “Left versus Right” is eyewash. [8]

By this time ARI writers had heard the new dispensation from Mr. Peikoff, and those who had disagreed earlier either clammed up or nominally changed their support to the Democrats, while continuing to write like Neocons.

As for the outcome of the congressional elections, the American public, fed up with the Bush administration, changed the majority in Congress from Republican to Democrat – naively thinking the latter would reign in Bush.

Jumping ahead to the presidential election of 2016, among Evangelical voters 81% chose Donald Trump, not exactly theocratic state material.

·   ·   ·
Those who today say religious fundamentalists will set up a theocratic state are like those who back in 1969 said the hippies would set up a fascist state. Both groups, fundamentalists and hippies, are and were impotent. We are sliding towards a totalitarian state because of other forces than these, and the strongest such forces today come from those advocating a statist foreign policy, which necessarily entails a statist domestic policy, and from those advocating open immigration, which entails more welfare, crime, corruption and people who vote socialist.  Apparently Mr. Peikoff & associates will never understand these two connections. [9]

Mr. Peikoff takes the spate of news articles engendered by the success of Mel Gibson’s movie  The Passion of the Christ  and chooses quotes that support his fear that religion is taking over America. But the overall impression these articles give is not so much that religion is taking over America as that America is taking over religion, that is, that religion is adapting itself in vulgar forms. Most Protestant Christians in fact want the government out of our lives.

In so far as there is  a genuine religious fundamentalist revival today, why would it be more self-sustaining than the periodic ones of yesteryear? The question is not rhetorical. These people are organized to a degree and they are a political influence, even if Mr. Peikoff exaggerates it. Some of them are nuts, though they number far less than what Mr. Peikoff claims and only in his hysterical imaginings would they attempt a civil war.

To help answer the question how today’s fundamentalists differ from those of, say, the Second Great Awakening of the 1800s, note the glaring omission in Mr. Peikoff’s lecture. Many, indeed most, of his Fundamentalists – also known as Fundamentalist Evangelicals or simply Evangelicals – are  Christian Zionists.  And they not only unstintingly support, for bizarre rapturous reasons, Israel, they owe their ideas to Zionist influence and to some extent their organization to surreptitious Zionist funding. [10]

Here is one example of Christian Zionist propaganda that Mr. Peikoff never mentions, from the website of  Christians United for Israel: [11]

“... as Christians we have a Biblical obligation to defend Israel and the Jewish people in their time of need.”  “Israel’s time of need is now. There is a new Hitler in the Middle East – President Ahmadinejad of Iran ...”  etc.

Remove the Revelation nonsense from what these Christian Zionists promote and the remaining nonsense could have been written by ARI.

Mr. Peikoff’s failure to mention the Zionist connection is no innocent mistake. Anyone who had sincerely looked into the subject of contemporary religious fundamentalism would know about it. The reason for his silence? Undoubtedly because he too unquestioningly supports Israel, if not for the Rapture – no, not for the Rapture – then for reasons just as irrational and in the broad sense just as religious-like.  (To begin to see how much ARI writers worship Israel see  This Is Our Ally?  on this website.)

Thus we have the spectacle of Mr. Peikoff railing against Evangelicals, most of them Christian Zionists, without identifying a crucial element that motivates them, and which distinguishes them from the harmless revivalists of earlier years.

In his book The DIM Hypothesis, now published, Mr. Peikoff doesn’t address the fact that Evangelicals support Israel. He simply does not allow himself to see it. When finishing the book he answered the following loaded question on his podcast of May 9, 2011:  “Why is every person who is anti-Israel also anti-American?”  not by pointing out that it’s a loaded question, that in fact some critics of Israel are pro-American, but by saying  “Because both stand for the same thing. It [Israel] is hated by all fundamentalist religionists; and hated by all egalitarian nihilists.”  You have to wonder how ignorant he thinks we are, or if he himself could be that ignorant.

In his book Mr. Peikoff again predicts that the U.S. will become a theocratic state, now within two generations. It is next to a sure thing:

“... the takeover of America by the M2 s [Christian fanatics] ... is so highly probable as to border on certainty.”
Speaking of  “an M2 future” (emphasis his):
“Given America’s present condition and the historical factors,  it is almost impossible to overestimate the likelihood of its occurrence.”

For a deeper analysis showing where Mr. Peikoff went wrong see  “An American Theocracy? A Discussion of Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s Prediction in The DIM Hypothesis [12]
·   ·   ·
Now let’s back up and review the article Mr. Peikoff recommended so highly, by John Lewis. Indeed it is most revealing, not about Bush but about the way these ARI types think.  Mr. Peikoff gave the website address, now defunct, and not the title but it was  “Criticism of President George W. Bush, Jr.” (April 2004). When Mr. Lewis published it elsewhere he changed the title to:

The Threat of a Faith-Based Defense of America  by John Lewis,  Capitalism Magazine, June 6, 2004.

Mr. Lewis begins by saying that militant Islamic fundamentalists have declared a war between reason and religion.  Mr. Lewis means religion in general, for he continues:  “President Bush is firmly on the side of religion.”  Here is the sentence in full:

“In the war between reason and religion, declared by militant Islamic fundamentalists, President Bush is firmly on the side of religion.”

If  red-headed men declared a war between hairy-headed men and bald-headed men, wouldn’t, say, the blond guys be a bit puzzled?  No Muslim did, or could, declare a war between Christianity and reason.

Mr. Lewis observes that Bush promoted “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and a marriage amendment to the Constitution. Because of these and other acts:

“Mr. Bush is energizing the political foundations of an American theocracy, through a religious takeover of the Republican Party.”

There is, Mr. Lewis writes, “only one issue in the 2004 election: the war with militant Islam,”  and he complains that:

Bush,  “true to his principles ... has not acted against [that is bombed or invaded – A.W.] a single religious government.”

Not one.  Mr. Lewis complains further:

Bush is  “undercutting the very idea of self-defense. Mr. Bush spent over a year asking the UN for permission to invade Iraq, all the while claiming that no permissions will be sought. He is re-defining ‘overwhelming force’ into ‘a consensual war fought with compassionate regard for innocents.’ ”

Evidently Mr. Lewis wanted Bush to invade Iraq sooner than he did. As for regard for innocents, you have to wonder if Mr. Lewis ever reads the news.

Twice in his article Mr. Lewis promotes invading Iran. This is standard fare from ARI these days, see  Relentless Propaganda: Redux for Iran,  elsewhere on this website, for further promoting by Mr. Lewis and other ARI associates. Like Mr. Peikoff, Mr. Lewis doesn’t tell you that Bush wanted to invade Iran and only political expediency prevented him from doing it.

Mr. Lewis expresses his approval of one of Bush’s more ominous pronouncements, if only Bush had really meant it:

“He often shoots out a strong statement from his subconscious (‘you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists’), and then watches it dissolve in the face of arguments he cannot answer. The statement becomes an empty utterance, compromised in words and actions, precisely because it was held on faith rather than as a rational, defensible conviction.”

Before we comment on this, consider the following by a man who lived in Czechoslovakia when the Soviets took over in 1948: [13]

“In the 1950s it was drummed into us again and again that we were engaged in a permanent and monumental struggle between the forces of peace and progress [the Communists] on the one hand and the reactionary and evil capitalists and imperialists [Western Europe, America] on the other. The hyperbolic, vacuous and bombastic cliché-ridden pronouncements we hear nowadays almost daily especially from American politicians sound just like variations on the same theme.”

Among which is  “You are either with us or against us. ... You are either with us or with the terrorists.”  Josef Fronek, author of the above, later quotes one of the slogans of the Communists:  “Kdo nejde s námi, jde proti nám.”  In English:  “You are either with us or against us.”  – said with exactly the same purpose, and in the same context, for our government has been invaded by a fifth column who use 9-11 as a pretext for increased power, just as FDR used Pearl Harbor.

Of  John Kerry  Mr. Lewis writes:

“He has no redeeming qualities; he will say anything to anyone to get in. He does not have Mr. Bush’s basic decency.”

I think I’m going to be sick.

“But he [wants to] subordinate American defense to a foreign consensus.”

Mr. Lewis refers to Europe. What he doesn’t say is that Bush has subordinated American defense to gangsters inside the U.S., gangsters motivated either by sympathy with Israel or by greed using Israel as an expedient.

Mr. Lewis ends:  “... in the war with militant fundamentalist Islam, Bush is pro-religion, all the way to the core of his soul.”  Fortunately Kerry’s religion is more superficial – confined to the rind of his soul you might say – and he  “will not sympathize with fundamentalism.”  Mr. Lewis leaves us to conclude which to support.

1  Merely quoting Mr. Peikoff’s conclusion would not be sufficient. Taken as a whole his speech is an extraordinary jumble of absurdities, and the essence of our criticism requires lengthy quotation.

2  He cites no reference but here’s one from Newsweek:
“The Pop Prophets”
by  David Gates,  24 May 2004

Reading about the Left Behind  fad reminds me of the title of a story I’ve never read:  The Marching Morons.

3  The lecture was given from California.  If  EveryTattoo.com  can be believed, at the time of this writing there are 72 tattoo parlors (they call them “studios”) in that state alone.

4  He doesn’t bother to cite it  but the  U.S. News and World Report  article is:
“Nearer My God To Thee”
Subtitled  “Their distinctive faith aside, evangelicals are acting more and more like the rest of us.”
by  Jeffery L. Sheler,  3 May 2004  (posted on 25 April 2004)

What Mr. Peikoff refers to as a quote is in fact a paraphrase.

A poll from a Newsweek magazine article that appeared around this time, “The Pop Prophets” (see footnote 2), shows that among all Americans (not just Christians), 55% believe  “the faithful will be taken up to heaven in the Rapture”  and  74%  “believe that Satan exists.”  One wonders how that poll was conducted.

Writing about evangelicals was popular among news editors around this time. In the months April through June U.S. News and World ReportNewsweek  and Time  magazine all featured multiple articles about them. One from Time  is:
“The Faith Factor”
by  Nancy Gibbs,  21 June 2004
The trigger for this spate of articles seems to have been the success of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ.

5  The unmentioned  New York Times  article is:
“Christian Music’s New Wave Caters to Audience of One”
by John Leland,  17 April 2004

6  We have silently corrected his quotation:  the New York Times  article has the man saying  “bigger,”  Mr. Peikoff  “better.”

7  Mr. Peikoff gives no reference but one would be:
“Bush Campaign Seeking Help from Congregations”
by David Kirkpatrick,  3 June 2004.

8  Mr. Peikoff elaborates, and claims that only Democrats are insincere about their religion, in his podcast of December 23, 2007:

The Republicans  “at one time ... were a pro-capitalist bastion, but their base now is ... Medieval Christian fundamentalism. To assist a party which has turned from Capitalism to Medievalism, to help give them control of any branch of government, is to cast your vote for the leaders of the equivalent of the Jesus Freaks as our next ruler.

“... many Democrats also profess to be religious, and that’s another sign of the desperate state that we’re in. But most of these men ... are insincere, they’re just me-tooing the religious movement. It’s the Republicans ... who really believe and push the church line.”

He goes on to say that unlike 50 years ago socialism is no longer the most urgent issue:

“Today the issue is reason versus religion with special emphasis on the danger of Christianity in all its forms.”

9  And they, the official Objectivists, are deaf and blind to plain old war-profiteering. See for example these articles by Evelyn Pringle (the liberals are covering this better than the conservatives):
“Jeb, Marvin & Neil – Three Profiteering Bush Brothers”
January 2005

10  Except for their biblical motivation, Christian Zionists sound a lot like the folks at ARI.

Some Christian Zionist websites (under the web address we’ve added the Google search for Iran):
Christians United for Israel

Unity Coalition for Israel

Christian Action for Israel (now defunct)

For more see the list of organizations at:

A book about the history of Zionist influence on American fundamentalism:
Militant Zionism in America
“The Rise and Impact of the Jabotinsky Movement in the United States, 1926-1948”
by Rafael Medoff.

A recent example of Zionist influence is the video Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, produced and distributed (some 28 million copies before the 2004 election, most given away free) by The Clarion Fund, in turn associated with Aish HaTorah, an Israeli organization.
(See  www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/article827910.ece )
The video features among its pundits two Christian Zionists:  Walid Shoebat, member of Christians United for Israel (an apocalyptic End Times organization, see their website listed above, and commentary below), and Nonie Darwish, a Messianic Evangelist, though neither relation is mentioned in the video. Also featured is Caroline Glick, an Israeli journalist for the Jerusalem Post (according to her website she “made aliyah” in 1991) who elsewhere has praised Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel.  Fine company for Daniel Pipes, also featured.

Articles about Christian Zionism:
“Why Christians Should Support Israel”
on John Hagee’s website

“Christian Zionism”
by Kevin MacDonald

“Israeli Extremists and Christian Fundamentalists: The Alliance”
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
By Grace Halsell

“Zealous for Zion”
The American Conservative

“Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism”
The Nation

“Christian Zionism”  in five parts
by Donald Wagner
Information Clearinghouse
      “A heavenly match: Bush and the Christian Zionists”
      “The interregnum: Christian Zionism in the Clinton years”
      “Bible and sword: US Christian Zionists discover Israel”
      “Christian Zionists, Israel and the ‘second coming’ ”
      “Christians and Zion: British stirrings”

“Mixing prophecy and politics”
The Christian Science Monitor

“Christian Zionists Gain Israel’s Inner Sanctum”

Zionists masquerading as Christians is an old story. In the first half of the 20th century U.S. Zionists set up and funded the evangelical and pro-Zionist “American Christian Committee for Palestine.” Later Israel funded it. According to Edwin M. Wright (see the Truman Library oral history project):  “It published a news sheet, organized tours to Israel and worked especially on clergy and churches.” The 1962 Fulbright investigation exposed it as an Israeli front, consequently it lost its utility and closed down.

11  See the previous footnote for the website of Christians United for Israel.  David Brog, a Jew, served as executive director for its first ten years.  When CUFI held a conference on July 16 and 17, 2012 one of the featured speakers was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

12  Objective Dissent

13  From:
“The Demon of Conformity”
by Josef Fronek
This is the written version of a talk he gave at the University of Glasgow on December 10, 2001 (personal communication). The whole article is well worth reading.

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