By Myrhaf · October 13th, 2013 12:33 am · 2 Comments
I watched a fascinating movie, Caesar’s Messiah, based on the book by Joseph Atwill. Atwill’s thesis is not just that Jesus did not exist, but that he was created as propaganda by writers close to the Roman Emperor Titus Flavius. The author explains his argument here.
I should confess here that not only have I not read Atwill’s book, but I have not read the Bible (though I did once search the Old Testament for the dirty parts). As a lifelong atheist, the Bible has always seemed like a tedious waste of time to read. Since there is no evidence for the existence of God, why read a bunch of lies about this supernatural being?
I laughed at one wag who, when asked if he had read the Bible, said “No, but I saw the movie.” I have used the line a few times myself, but I shouldn’t, because I have not even seen the movie. So the reader can dismiss me as biased and ignorant. Fine. You’re free to leave.
Now that I have admitted my ignorance, let me give you my uninformed opinion. Atwill’s movie convinced me maybe 40%. I have some big objections that I will raise below.
The most interesting part of Atwill’s argument is the parallels between Josephus’s account of The Wars of the Jews and the gospels. Jesus’s life follows Titus’s exploits in Palestine step by step, like a bizarre parody of the general’s war. The parallels are too numerous to be a coincidence.
My problems with Atwill’s argument are first that the Roman creation of Jesus has a dual purpose, satire and propaganda. This is an uneasy coupling. Only a state propagandist of genius could transcend the seriousness and mediocrity that usually come with his profession. A writer would be wise to pick either satire or propaganda, but to combine the two only weakens both.
Second, Atwill contends that the Romans also created Saul/Paul as a fictitious character. It would take further genius to come up with all those letters Paul wrote, and to get into his point of view so thoroughly. I can see how “Render unto Caesar” serves Roman interests, but not some of the other tenets of Christianity, such as Paul’s attacks on reason. Only a sincere, serious mystic could have written what is attributed to Paul. Moreover, Paul’s lack of details about Christ’s life make it seem as if he wrote before the gospels were written, and was ignorant of those fables.
Third, I believe there are mentions of Jesus and the Christians that predate the Flavians.
The Caesar’s Messiah thesis is a fun intellectual game, but I doubt it will persuade the faithful.
UPDATE: I don’t want to end on such a flippant note; the political and philosophic issues involved are profound. If Atwill is right, then Christianity began as a project by a totalitarian state to keep its subjects obedient. This is stunning. As the the 21st century progresses, I believe we will see that religion is still the greatest tool the ruling class has to keep people obedient.
By Myrhaf · September 11th, 2013 1:17 pm · 3 Comments
Obama’s Syrian fiasco has been an appalling spectacle of a President who does not seem to think that attacking a country demands serious thought and preparation. Stuart Rothenberg of Roll Call runs down the highlights:
First the president of the United States draws a red line, promising action if it is crossed. Then, when Syria crosses the line, he prepares for action, saying that absolutely, positively, a military response is necessary.
Then, at the last minute, he apparently changes his mind and figures that passing the buck to Congress to authorize military action is a good idea. But, of course, he won’t say what he’ll do if Congress fails to authorize action. Then, after his secretary of state seeks to mollify those worried about a full-scale war by promising that the U.S. military response would be “unbelievably small,” the president responds that “the U.S. does not do pinpricks.”
Is this an Abbott and Costello comedy routine? A Peter Sellers movie about an inept political leader?
One could go on listing the contradictions and confusions of Obama’s Syria “policy.” The interesting question is: why? Why is Obama doing this in the first place and why is he so laughably inept? Here are a few thoughts.
By Myrhaf · January 1st, 2013 4:19 am · 3 Comments
Well, my kitchen is clean, which means I’m avoiding novel writing. (I have only one resolution this year: at least 1,000 words a day, which is 4 pp.) Let me put it off a little longer by writing my first blog post of 2013.
I just read Obama’s election night speech because a recent PJTV show reminds us of a remarkable passage:
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared — (cheers, applause) — that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)
This is one of Obama’s many explicit statements of collectivism. He doesn’t hide his collectivism; it’s out there for anyone to think about and judge.
By Myrhaf · November 10th, 2012 11:40 am · 8 Comments
I thought Romney would win in a landslide. I was not alone. There was a lot of confidence on the right. Even Romney’s campaign, with all its super-secret polling that is supposed to be so much better than anything we laymen see, was surprised by the defeat on November 6, 2012.
How could we get it so wrong? Was our thinking the triumph of hope over experience?
Here was my thinking: Obama was campaigning to shore up his base. Romney already had his base — where else would they go? — and was campaigning to win moderates and independents. Therefore, Romney would get more votes. Moreover, the polls are all wrong due to liberal bias and the Bradley Effect, in which a small percentage of those polled lie that they will vote for a black man because they do not want to be thought of as racist.
This entire line of thinking turned out to be wrong. The polls were right. The Democrat base was energized and turned out on election day. Most astonishing, Romney did not have his base. Romney got 3,000,000 fewer votes than McCain in 2008 and 7,000,000 fewer than Bush in 2004. If he had just won what McCain got, he would have defeated Obama.
So what happened?
By Myrhaf · September 7th, 2012 11:03 am · 3 Comments
Naturalist writers who don’t have the imagination to come up with new ideas run out of stories to tell. They make a big splash with a novel about their youth or their particular racial niche, and then they are pretty much done. They “write themselves out.”
Barack Obama’s speech at the 2012 Democrat National Convention was the work of a man who is written out. He has nothing new to say; he lacks even the energy to make it look like he’s trying. But that didn’t stop him from going on for 37 empty minutes. Stalin and Castro were famous for droning on for hours before a (literally) captive audience. I believe Obama and Clinton would do the same if they could. Standing before a large, adoring audience must be the peak experience for a collectivist.
By Myrhaf · August 31st, 2012 5:41 pm · 3 Comments
Had H.L. Mencken been revived from his grave to watch the last night of the Republican National Convention, he would have recognized the scene. He would have heard the anecdotal, folksy speeches, the paeans to family and God, and he would have understood that the booboisie is alive and well in America. He would have said something wittier than even Mark Steyn or James Wolcott could come up with and then asked to be killed and returned to his grave.
I understand that the Obama campaign and their Democrat PAC’s have spent, according to one number I read, $120 million attacking Mitt Romney. (Obama has outspent Romney three to one so far, but that does not stop him from whining because Romney now has more money.) I understand that the American people, in our dumbed-down age, are susceptible to such an idiotic argument as Romney is mean because he ran a company that, in the course of restructuring businesses, fired people. (And that attack is the Democrats at their most intellectual. When you descend below that, you get nonsense about Romney being mean to his dog. Seriously. This is what the left has become.)
By Myrhaf · August 12th, 2012 7:34 pm · 5 Comments
Mitt Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconson to be his Vice-President running mate. This is the boldest and most impressive move of Romney’s political career so far. He chose his intellectual superior to run with him, the opposite of what Obama did when he chose Joltin’ Joe Biden, man of a thousand gaffes.
Let’s be clear up front: Ryan is not the perfect candidate. He has HUGE problems. He is a religious conservative, an enemy of abortion, and has voted for such statist power grabs as the prescription medicine bill and TARP. In other words, he is a Republican. He is most certainly NOT an Objectivist, although the left seems to think it will help them to pin that label on him.
By Myrhaf · June 29th, 2012 10:29 am · 7 Comments
The federal government long ago expanded its powers far beyond anything James Madison and his fellow framers imagined. The Constitution is in reality meaningless, but the Supreme Court, whose purpose is to make sure our laws conform to the Constitution, twists its reasoning to justify interventionist laws as the mixed economy marches toward fascism.
Yesterday the court upheld Obamacare as a tax increase, and sure enough, Congress has the power to levy taxes. It’s right there in the Constitution; you can see for yourself.
By Myrhaf · March 1st, 2012 6:17 pm · 49 Comments
I never knew Andrew Breitbart, but I admired his courage. The left despised him; in fact, they still do, and they are now heaping scorn on his corpse, as one would expect from the tolerant and kindly left. They hate him because he was effective. He took down Acorn, their instrument for undermining elections in America, and so became a leading target of leftist bile.
Following his Twitter feed was a daily lesson in the frothing madness of the left. Breitbart always retweeted the insulting, hate-filled tweets he got; he was happy to let his enemies reveal themselves with their own vituperation. They are a seething, juvenile, mean-spirited lot, and not terribly clever, either.
(I gave up following Twitter because every week or so my password would not work and I would have to change it — most exasperating. Maybe my computer has a virus or something.)
Courage is important in our age. The increasingly totalitarian left depends on conformity of thought. This does not mean persuading those who disagree with them, but shutting them up. And the best way to shut someone up is make him afraid to speak his mind. Smears, intimidation and character assassination are the methods of the left. (How many people in Hollywood , publishing, government or academia remain silent because they know that speaking out is career suicide? How many women, minorities and gays toe the PC line because stepping over it means shocking decent people more than profanity did in the Victorian age?)
The main purpose of government schooling now is to mold young Americans into docile conformists. Political correctness is leftist thought control: these things you are permitted to say — those other things, no decent person must say. Independence is the virtue above all others that the left cannot abide.
When the left accepted the premise that the end justifies the means, they crossed a line. They are now the totalitarian left. This ain’t your father’s Democrat Party. These people are radicalized, and they mean war. Words are no longer tools of rational communication; they are weapons to be used in the political struggle.
With the left so far down the road to serfdom, good men need courage above all. Andrew Breitbart had it. We lost a brave fighter for freedom.
By Myrhaf · February 29th, 2012 6:55 pm · 12 Comments
Sara Robinson of AlterNet is unhappy. Red states take more government money than blue states, which Ms. Robinson thinks is ironic, since the red states are full of right-wingers who admire Ayn Rand. She thinks the productive blue states should “Go Galt” against the parasitical red states.
Now, a state is a large political entity with all types of people in it. There are people who work hard and pay their taxes in every state. There are parasites in every state. So Ms. Robinson is pitting two collectives against one another in ways that have little meaning. A state might have two Republican Senators merely because they got 51% of the vote. Moreover, being Republican hardly means you stand for limited government, much less the laissez-faire capitalism advocated by Ayn Rand.
By Myrhaf · January 10th, 2012 1:57 pm · 3 Comments
By Myrhaf · November 4th, 2011 10:08 pm · Comments Off
1. Peter Hitchens looks at the science fiction world called Japan.
2. A great idea.
3. The Taranto Principle.
4. The Obama administration plumbs new depths in divisiveness using the First Lady as an attack dog.
5. The last time I posted about EMP, the idea was debunked in comments. But if it is really impossible, a lot of people have not heard the news.
6. Alexander Marriott shows how to detect fake internet quotes.
By Myrhaf · October 26th, 2011 11:42 am · 27 Comments
1. An analysis of Obama’s willingness to act above the law.
2. President Robespierre.
3. The solutions are out there.
4. Obama’s political skills are lacking.
5. Why does Peter Schiff even bother trying to reason with these people?
6. California’s economic suicide. I’m seriously think it’s time to move…
By Myrhaf · October 22nd, 2011 8:21 am · 11 Comments
If you put a link in a comment — which is great, keep it up — we have to approve the comment before it is posted. So if your comment does not appear immediately, that is the reason.
We get an awful lot of spam comments here. They make me laugh because they are written as if english were a spammer’s second language, or maybe third.
“I am learning good informations from your prolific writings. I love this blog!”
“This is being so deep! I must tell all the peoples about your blog!”
Gotta love it.
UPDATE: Got this one today, October 22, 2011:
I am really satisfied with this posting that you have given us. This is really a stupendous work done by you. Thank you and looking for more posts
By Myrhaf · October 11th, 2011 9:57 pm · 12 Comments
The Nazis scapegoated the Jews; the communists scapegoated the bourgeoisie; the New Left scapegoats the rich. The Occupy Wall Street noise is an attempt by the Democrats to keep the narrative on point: to keep the American people’s anger directed at the left’s favorite scapegoat, the rich, and to keep the blame away from the Democrats.
Unlike the Tea Party, which was a spontaneous reaction to the Democrats’ frightening power grabs, OWS (or the Flea Party) is a calculated movement orchestrated by the leadership on the left. An ad in Craig’s List offered people between $350-$650 a week to protest. Behind the ads is the Working Families Party, which is tied to ACORN. The money for the “Occupied Wall Street Journal” comes from George Soros, among others.
So there is something happening here. But what exactly? Here is my explanation, as informed by my understanding of Austrian economics.
By Myrhaf · October 8th, 2011 8:37 pm · 3 Comments
Very quietly, with Obama’s compliant media looking the other way, America is being fundamentally transformed. Congress and the Supreme Court are not involved. Few people are paying attention.
The EPA is regulating industry to death.
First, check out this video promoting a new book from Encounter.
Second, read about the EPA violating property rights in the name of protecting “wetlands.”
Third, read how the EPA will shut down 28 gigawatts of energy.
Of course, to the MSM anyone who sounds off about these power grabs is a nutty extremist and probably a racist. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.
I would say that if you’re not afraid, you’re either a leftist or you’re not paying attention.
By Myrhaf · September 26th, 2011 2:33 pm · 7 Comments
I heard the clip on the radio. I can’t force myself to watch the video. A smarmy rich liberal asks Obama, “Would you please raise my taxes?”
So why don’t these rich leftists start a campaign to get the wealthy to volunteer to give more money to the federal government? They don’t need to wait for the state to confiscate it.
They don’t do it, I believe, because there is something more fundamental than money at stake here. They want state control of the individual. This is not about more or less money in the US treasury, it’s about liberty vs. power.
Should the individual be in control of his own life for his own selfish ends? Or should the state force the individual to sacrifice for the collective?
The smarmy rich liberal feels uncomfortable without chains tying him down. It’s too bad his opposition to freedom will have us all in fetters.
By Myrhaf · September 22nd, 2011 11:29 am · 8 Comments
By Myrhaf · September 16th, 2011 1:31 pm · 19 Comments
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) was asked a tough question: “Out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think I deserve to keep?”
I have a smidgeon of sympathy for the Congresswoman. From a statist politician’s point of view, the question is impossible to answer. If they were honest, they would say 0% — the money should be appropriated by disinterested philosopher-kings who would then redistribute it to each according to his needs.
But statists can never be entirely honest. They know that in America you have to fool the selfish voters in order to attain and keep power. Oh, the contempt for the unwashed masses this must breed in the political elite! (more…)
By Myrhaf · September 15th, 2011 4:19 pm · 16 Comments
I often disagree with the religious pragmatist Michael Medved, but he is right when he says to the birthers, “Please shut up.”
World Net Daily leads the campaign to prove Obama is constitutionally ineligible to be president. Their latest post on the issue claims that the White House is in panic mode over Jerome Corsi’s book, Where’s the Birth Certificate?
The White House is not panicking at all. Quite the opposite: they want the birthers front and center in the 2012 presidential race. Not only do the conspiracy theorists distract from Obama’s record in the Oval Office, but they turn off moderates and independents. Without independents Obama has no chance of winning reelection.