You know that feeling when the doctor tells you what it is you have, and even though you're not a doctor, his words resonate and seem to take on background music and your very body seems to tell you, "Yes! That's it. This guy's got it right!"
Dr. Herbert London specializes in bulls-eye diagnoses of the serious illnesses afflicting today's America.
The symptoms are everywhere. A college girl throws her newborn baby into a dumpster. It dies. And she's defended even by members of the faculty who ask, "How do we know what that young woman was going through?" A suicidal Islamic hit-squad takes down the twin towers and even eminent professors tell us it serves America right. A popular movie that portrays American family life in a more sordid fashion than Stalin's propagandists ever dared gets rave reviews from an adoring American media.
An American possession thousands of miles from the homeland, Hawaii, is attacked in 1941 and millions of young Americans volunteer for the military the very next day, many lying about their age in order to make sure they get into the war. America is attacked in New York City in 2001 and there's nary a spike in enlistments.
Dr. London's new book ("America's Secular Challenge: The Rise of a New National Religion," Encounter Books) pinpoints what ails, not just America but most of the Western world. It's a malady he calls radical secularism. The phrase may not conjure images as frightening as aggressive,marauding Nazis, Communists or the beheading wing of Jihadi Islam, but Dr. London makes it clear that a force that erodes your will to stand up and defend your values is just as dangerous to your survival as any force that overwhelms you while you're standing and fighting.
Dr. London brick-by-brick convincingly makes his case that the contemptuous abnegation of religion has achieved the dimensions of a religion itself. And the identifying tenets of this new "religion" include, but are not limited to: The purging of all notions of a Creator from the public square. All truth is relative. Whatever science can't prove is forbidden to teach and absurd to believe. Freedom of speech should not extend to people as warped and stupid as Republicans.
Tolerance is the highest virtue and the more intolerable that which you tolerate happens to be, the more virtuous that makes you. All cultures are equal and demand equal respect. You don't need Moses; you are authorized to write your own "Ten Commandments." Or five. Or none. And anything that limits personal freedom is wrong. Oh, and this new radical secular "religion" devotes much more space in its hymnal to "God damn America." than "God Bless America!"
Do you remember the old left-wing professors during the Cold War who taught that "We have our way and the communists have their way and we prefer our way and they prefer their way?" And if you asked one when's the last time he counted noses between Budapest and Beijing you got an F.
Well, his radical secular children are busy teaching that ritual genital mutilation of young females may not be our way but it's their way and we have no right to be so piggishly judgmental.
Dr. Herbert London, founded the famous Gallatin Division at New York University in 1972. He hopes the university will quietly remove his portrait from the wall as his dignified protest against the far-left lunge that higher-learning establishment took after his departure. Dr. London is the author or editor of no less than two dozen books and his social commentaries have blistered across the editorial pages of virtually every major newspaper including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. London is president of the Hudson Institute, one of the oldest and most respected think-tanks in the world.
This book pushes back against radical secularism on several vital fronts; Seculatism as a new religion, truth as a relative concept, the limitations of science, government largess, patriotism and the new and civilization-destroying brand of tolerance. Dr. London's fighting style relies on the dissection kit rather than the sledge hammer and no social critic wields those tools more convincingly.
Hear now Dr. London on Islam's agenda. It is to "Destroy Israel, create a Middle East devoid of any religion but Islam, employ the oil empire to create caliphates from Madrid to Jakarta and then launch a holy war against the West." That, says London, is the defining test of our age and he wonders and worries whether the West will find the moral strength to defend its core values. `At the moment, in the face of what London sees as indisputable extremist Islamic evil, he notes America's radical secularists continue to treat Islam as just one more persecuted minority whose grievances against a rapacious America deserve to be heard and heeded.
Regarding the expunging of God from public education, Dr. London tells us, "reading assorted elementary school textbooks, one is prompted to guess that the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock for the purpose of sight-seeing, not religious freedom." On the blatant bias in media and academia Dr. London laments, "It is not bias that is so deplorable. It is the transformation of bias into an orthodoxy that cannot countenance another point of view."
"Western Judeo-Christian culture is ashamed of itself and in retreat," says Dr. London adding, "Secularists would probably bash Islam, too, were it not so quick to react with a violent defense."
This book urges American secularists to realize that "Islam's evil is real, that it is far more oppressive than anythng Americans have on offer, and that it threatens us now."
Dr. London's allegro movement at the conclusion of his introduction holds the following guarded hope. "I believe we still command the resources to salvage the spiritual center of our civilization. But to accomplish this we must have the courage to challenge the seductive tenets of radical secularism and revivify the traditoinal values that informed and nourished America."
Did this book change my mind about anything important? Indeed it did. As a Southerner from deep in the Bible Belt, I'd always ridiculed the hypocricy of solemn church-goers who discriminate racially, cheat commercially and surrender to a broad spectrum of temptations without much of a fight. And certainly our crowd witnessed enough instances of preachers themelves being caught in the brambleberry bushes out behind the rectory with women they "hadn't ought" to have known so biblically.
But those hypocritical people didn't lynch. They didn't maim. They didn't don sheets and burn crosses to keep minorities in what they considered their place. They may have preferred their children marry folks similar to themselves by a wide majority but those feelings never drove them to kill. They learned how to say, "Good Shabbos" ("Good Sabbath") to the visiting rabbi if the Friday brotherhood luncheon ended ended with the sun in the Western sky. These were white Southerners. They didn't eradicate racism, but they defeated it.
They did nothing to remind the world of Serbs versus Albanians, Russians vs. Chechens, Sinhalese vs. Tamils, Hutus vs. Totsis or any other past or contemporary genocides. So, if the indictment is hypocricy, maybe the defense is, "If we don't preach higher than we practice, our practices will sink lower and lower still."
This book is a rock-solid read; powerful, pointed, but not preachy. It entertains while it sets about the mission of trying to save us all. It belongs on bedside tables where alarm clocks commonly reside. You won't confuse Dr. Herbert London for one of those arm-waving devil-wrestlers springing the length of his chain to sink his fundamentalist fangs into sin. Dr. London is Jewish. He simply posits that this nation "under God" fares better than the present America that expunges the deity leaving the "public square naked."
Meanwhile young Lindsay Lohan gets famous for alcohol-driven tantrums. Paris Hilton remains famous for being well-known. Radical secular enthusiasts are encouraing one and all to roll their own morality joint by joint. Those who volunteer for military service are not hailed as heroes but derided as fools.
Young mothers who dispose of their infants in dumpsters get "understanding" from their peers and elders and immigrants who perform painful and life-damaging clitorectomies on their young women get a pass on "cultural" grounds. (Here's an interesting bet. By the time this review achieves print will "honor-killings" be the beneficiaries of that same "understanding?")
Oh, well. What do you expect from a country where hard-core pornography is the new freedom of expression and love of country is the new obscenity?
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